Most all of us grew up with Schrader valves as Presta valves were unheard of. But as time passed along came “skinny Minnie” and the controversy began. I had never heard of Presta valves until I bought my 2009 Catrike Trail which came with them. It didn’t take more than a couple of days before I learned to hate Presta valves. I say that the French can have them. I think they are ridiculous. So soon after purchasing my trike I took action and did something about this. I drilled out my rims to accommodate Schrader valves and never looked back. I have not had to deal with Presta valves since. HERE is a good article on this subject.

I vote for getting rid of Presta valves. I sure would not miss them. There is only one thing about Presta valves that I like and that is the threaded metal stem with the nut which tightens down keeping the stem from pushing into the rim. At least 3 inner tube manufacturers offer this feature on their Schrader valves and I use them whenever I can.

I am totally amazed when I hear/read of cyclists who actually like and prefer Presta valves over Schrader. It is one of those “I don’t get it” things … like … what’s wrong with them? Oh well, to each his own as they say. Hey, if Schrader valves were good enough for Benjamin Franklin’s dad they are good enough for me. What did I just say? Oh never mind. Just know that I am for Schrader valves and against ol’ skinny Minnie. France can keep them. Schrader valves work just fine. They help me to …


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Schrader valve Presta valve

Most tadpole trikes I am aware of come with Presta rim/tube valves. My Catrike did and it didn’t take me long to do something about it as I readily admit that I don’t like Presta valves. That being said, you, the reader, know where I stand. I know there are many who do like them even if I fail to understand why. 🙂 I personally think they are nothing but a pain in the neck to use in comparison to the simplicity and practicalness of a Schrader valve.

I will start this off with a video which illustrates and explains these two different types of valves as well as air pumps and adapters for the Presta valves.

If you like Presta valves and want to continue using them then the remainder of this article isn’t for you. But if you are like me (and many others) and would prefer Schrader valves you can do something about it … and I am not talking about buying new rims which would be very expensive and quite unnecessary. Unless one has a very narrow rim and tire it is not necessary to use the Presta valve. Anyone wishing to switch to a Schrader valve can do so easily by drilling out the hole in the rim to a larger size diameter. Some say use a 3/8 inch drill bit but that is a bit oversize. I use a 21/64th inch drill bit. Be careful when drilling the rim as you want to end up with a nice round smooth hole. Most definitely you don’t want the drill bit to “grab” as this can mess the hole/rim up. If you are having problems breaking thru once you are most of the way thru you can try running the drill motor in reverse. This usually works well without dealing with the grabbing problem. Remove any burrs. Also remove any and all shavings including any trapped inside of a double walled rim.

drill hole

Here is a simple and handy tip on how to inflate a Presta valve using a Schrader pump when you don’t have the adapter to use … (hint: you make an adapter out of the Presta dust cap).

If ever you find that you want to or need to go back to a Presta valve after drilling out the hole in the rim you can purchase a bushing made to go in the larger diameter hole so that the inside diameter is the correct size for the Presta valve. Here are pictures of what are probably the most common type. As you can see one goes into the hole of the rim while the other one is threaded and goes on the Presta valve threaded shaft and down into the bushing in the rim. There are also simple bushings which just go in the hole and the shaft of the Presta valve goes thru it without such a threaded nut to hold it in place. I don’t profess to know much about them. I used one once.

Schrader Presta bushings threaded bushing

These longer bushings are designed to go thru a double wall rim which most tadpole trike have due to the needed extra strength they provide to handle the tremendous side stresses placed on them when cornering.

Schrader Presta bushings 2

I hope this is helpful information for some folks. Questions and comments are welcome.


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