What types of bicycle valves are there? At the latest, if you have a flat tire, you should know the bicycle valve types. The bicycle pump must fit the valve! The article explains the differences of Sclaverand valve, Dunlop valve and Schrader valve.
Fortunately, there are only these 3 types of bike valve types. In this article you will get an understandable overview of the different bicycle valves. You’ll also learn the advantages and the disadvantages of the valve types, as well as the practical handling.
On which bicycles are the valves used?
Bicycle valve types are typically installed in certain classes of bicycles. Also, there are alternative names for the bike valves. With the table you keep the overview:
|auch bekannt als
|Car valve, MTB valve, car valve
|Touring bikes and mountain bikes
|French valve, Presta valve, road bike valve, tubular tyre valve
|Road bike and mountain bike
|Normal valve, flash valve, alligator valve, wood valve, German valve, English valve, Holland valve
|City bike, trekking bike
Which bicycle pump for which valve?
Simply put, there are two types of bicycle pumps:
- Type 1 for inflating the Sclaverand and Dunlop valve
- Inflate type 2 to inflate the Schrader valve (autovalve).
Bicycle stand pumps often have two bushings. This allows you to inflate all three types of valves: the small bushing inflates the Sclaverand valve and the Dunlop valve. The Schrader valve (car valve) is inflated with the large socket.
When it comes to bicycle pumps for on the road, you should pay close attention to the compatibility. The Crankbrothers Click HP or HV pump, for example, can inflate all three bicycle valve types.
|Pumpe und Ventil
|für Fahrradventil Art
|Bicycle valve (small socket)
|Sclaverand and Dunlop valve
|Car valve (large bushing)
|Schrader valve (Schrader valve)
Practical tip: For the Schrader valve you can find pumps at any gas station. As the name implies, it’s a car valve.
Bicycle pump: for Sclaverand valve and Dunlop valve
Three bicycle valve types: structure and function
Bicycle inner tubes are all similar in construction. On the hose itself there is a metal tube through which the air can be pumped into the hose. The tube contains the bicycle valve or the valve core. Thanks to the valve, the air remains in the hose. Air can be pumped into the hose through the open valve, but the air can no longer escape through the closed valve.
The valve core is either screwed into the metal tube or screwed on.
The valve cores are not compatible with each other, i.e. if your tube has a car valve, you cannot simply replace the valve with a bicycle valve. If you want to use a different type of valve on your bike, you will have to replace the entire tube. As described, the valve is already attached to it.
Each valve is characteristic of one type of bicycle. There are these three types of bicycle valves:
- Schrader valve or Schrader valve
- Presta valve or Sclaverand valve
- Dunlop valve or bicycle valve
Schrader valve or Schrader valve
Also known as: car valve, Schrader valve, MTB valve, car valve.
Application: Touring bikes and mountain bike
Rim bore: 8.5 mm
Maximum pressure: 10 bar
The name says it all: The car valve was originally developed for use in cars. However, it is also used for bicycle tires, because the car valve has a great advantage in practice. More on that in a moment.
Advantages car valve
✅ Can be pumped up at gas station: A really big advantage in case of a sudden flat tire, if you don’t have a suitable bike pump with you.
✅ High stability: The car valve has a wide diameter and therefore high stability.
✅ Up to 10 bar fillable: The pressure is more than sufficient for mountain bikes and for touring bikes. For road bikes, the car valve is out of the question anyway due to the somewhat more important optics.
Disadvantages car valve
❌ Not every bicycle pump can inflate the car valve: Simple and minimalist bicycle pumps only have the option for inflating a French valve and a bicycle valve. For this purpose, the same book is used for the bicycle pump. To inflate a car valve you need a bicycle air pump with a suitable socket for a car valve. Corresponding bicycle pumps have 2 beeches and can inflate all three different bicycle valves.
French valve: Also Sclaverand valve or Presta valve
Also known as: French valve, Presta valve, Sclaverand valve, road bike valve, tubular valve.
Application: Road bike and mountain bike
Rim bore: 6.5 mm
Maximum pressure: 15 bar
The French valve is most commonly used on road bikes. Meanwhile, the French valve is very popular. Thus it is also used for trekking bikes, mountain bikes, racing bikes and other types of bikes such as gravel bikes.
Advantages French valve
✅ Air pressure precisely adjustable and readable: Air pumps with built-in pressure gauge can read off the air pressure exactly.
✅ Withstands the highest air pressure: The French valve can withstand up to 15 bar pressure. Narrow road bike tires are ridden with high pressure. Therefore, the French valve plays this strength especially on the road bike.
✅ narrowest bike valve: Thus highest stability of the wheel rims: To guide the valve through the wheel rims is only a hole with a 6.5 mm diameter necessary. The result is increased stability of the wheel rims, compared to bicycle valves with a larger diameter. Especially with narrow road bike rims and heavily loaded mountain bike rims, this strength of the French bicycle valve comes to bear.
Disadvantages French valve:
❌ lower stability: The smaller diameter is accompanied by lower stability. When inflating and the general handling you should therefore be a little careful not to bend the French valve.
Bicycle valve: also Dunlop valve or flash valve
Also known as: normal valve, flash valve, alligator valve, wood valve, German valve, English valve, Holland valve.
Application: City bike, trekking bike
Rim bore: 8.5 mm
Maximum pressure: 6 bar
The valve is mainly used on city bikes, trekking bikes or other everyday bikes.
Advantages bicycle valve
✅ Easy handling the bike valve is very easy to handle.
Tool-free assembly and disassembly of the valve core I
✅ High stability due to the quite wide diameter, the bicycle valve has a high stability and can not bend so easily
Pump up with any bicycle pump bar: Every standard bicycle pump has a bushing for inflating the bicycle valve.
Disadvantages bicycle valve
❌ with 6 bar low maximum pressure: for racing bikes, the maximum pressure is thus much too low. For city and trekking bikes, the maximum air pressure of the bicycle valve is perfectly adequate.
❌ Pressure not measurable: your bike pump or floor pumps can still be so good. The pressure of a bicycle valve cannot be measured due to its design.
Was the guide to bicycle valve types helpful? Do you have any questions about the bicycle valve types Sclaverand valve, Dunlop valve or Schrader valve? Feel free to write me your comment 😉
Sources and further links:
- Stiftung Warentest – Bicycle repairs (page 90 and 91: wheels and valves)
- Wikipedia bicycle valve article
Cover image: ©Arkadiy- stock.adobe.com