Modern Schrader chucks can't match the 1927 ball.

spokewrench

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USA
I've read that presta valves are better than Schraders because prestas were designed specifically for bicycles. To the contrary, Etienne Sclaverand invented the presta in 1800. Nobody was even experimenting with pneumatic tires. Schrader developed his valve for bicycles in 1890.

I've read that prestas will hold higher pressure. The lowest rating for a Schrader is 200 PSI. The issue is irrelevant.

Some say prestas hold air better. In case the core leaked, Schrader designed the cap with a gasket. The issue is irrelevant, but I know what they mean. The other day I bought a gauge with a hose and quarter-inch NPT fittings. In a series of checks on a tire, and each averaged 2 PSI lower than the last. That much air was hissing out as I pushed the chuck onto the valve and pulled it off. Chucks like that seem to be the reason many ebike manufacturers have gone to presta valves.

It wasn't always that way. In the 1950s and 60s, I rode on 26 x 1-3/8 tires at 60 PSI. I could connect and disconnect my frame-mounted pump without hissing. In 1972 I bought a German motorycle that I rode 25 years. The latex tubes required air every couple of weeks. It was convenient because the hose from the frame-mounted pump, and the dial gauge, would go on and off without the hiss of escaping air.

What changed? From 1937 to 1945, there were 30 million motor vehicles in the US, one for every 5 Americans. Bicycles were important, especially when gas was rationed. If there's a hiss on disconnecting, a bicyclist won't know how much pressure remains. Besides, Americans depended on manual pumps at home. An instant of hissing meant additional pumping. The secret to a good chuck was a thick, soft washer that could seal against the rim of the valve, then be squeezed down as the chuck pin opened the valve.

By 1965, the number of American motor vehicles had tripled to 90 million. By 1985, it had jumped to 170 million. Gas stations with free air disappeared. There was a huge consumer market for pressure gauges and electric pumps. A soft washer may reach the point where if won't seal, making it impossible for a gauge to get a good reading or a small pump to fill a tire. A professional would keep spare washers, but a consumer might vow never again to buy that brand.

A harder washer would hold up better. The trade-off would be hissing as the chuck went on and came off. Air is almost weightless, so it doesn't take long for a liter to hiss out. If a consumer lost a liter from a 30 liter tire at 30 PSI, he'd lose 0.3 PSI and probably wouldn't notice. On a 3 liter bicycle tire, the same hiss would lose 3 PSI. What's more, a bicycle would probably lose more because it's harder to seat and remove a chuck from a bicycle wheel in a quick, deft movement.

Ball chucks still work. The ones I’d used screwed onto 1/4 inch pipe threads, so I bought a compressor, an inflator with a digital gauge, and a ball chuck. i discovered that leaving a tank charged makes it rust ten times faster, which could lead to bursting. To top off a tire I'd have to start the compressor, pull out the hose, move the bike within reach, and wait for tank pressure. Afterward, I'd shut off the switch, pull the release valve, open the drain valve, and put up the hose. It was easier to add a few strokes with a manual pump in the old days.

I bought a pocket-sized rechargeable pump with a digital gauge. The locking chuck was of good quality but hissed badly. If I connected it to a tire at 30 PSI, it would read 28. I’d pump until it read 31, then remove it and check with a gauge: 28. In other words, I typically lost 2 PSI connecting it and 3 PSI disconnecting it. The amount lost in hissing is unpredictable, so I wouldn’t know how much pressure was left after I disconnected the chuck.

When I spotted a clipped ball chuck with barbs for clamping into a hose, I ordered it. There was a problem. When I released the spring-loaded lever with the same hand that held the chuck on the valve, the chuck could go askew as it latched. I made the hose a rigid handle by putting vinyl tubing over it, slipping in two nails, and clamping.

Now if I measure tire pressure, clip the pump chuck on, take it off, and measure again, I find I haven’t lost even 0.1 PSI. The pump's digital gauge reads to the nearest 0.5 PSI. I've found it to be that accurate. The specs say plus or minus 2 PSI. I guess that was as good as the engineers could do on car tires with the OEM chuck.

I have 27.5x 1.95 tires that hold 3 liters, 20 x 2.4 tires that hold 4 liters, and 20 x 3.3 tires that hold 8 liters. I removed the core from an 8 liter tire to reduce the pressure to zero. It would take 16 liters to bring it to 30 PSI. The rechargeable pump took 2.2 minutes, at 7.3 liters per minute.

Each inflation/deflation cycle took 2.5 minutes. The tire was nearly inflated the seventh time when the pump shut off. A pump extracts heat from the air. The manual warns to shut it off to cool after 15 minutes. It had run fine when it quit, and it ran fine when I came back, so it seems to have been a protection circuit.

I inflated the tire for the eighth time. The charge indicator has three bars. One had gone out quickly. Two were still lit. If that means the battery was still more than 2/3 charged, it looks as if the battery is really good for an hour of pumping as the specs say. Amazing!

No laying out air lines or power cords, no waiting for the compressor. Just clip the chuck on, see what the pump's gauge says, and if necessary, press the button to top off. Like a 500ml bottle of “spring water,” it weighs 18 ounces. Out on the road, my punctures have been slow enough that this pump could have brought me home.
 

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It never ceases to amaze me how much hate there is for Presta valves. I have seen entire threads on other fora dedicated to complaining about this. It all comes from outside the cycling community, but since ebikes have democratized the bicycle, there are a lot of people who aren't into the gear so much and aren't appreciative of a different valve whose purpose seems hard to justify.

Presta valves in the modern era can be argued as holdovers, but only to a point. They serve a real purpose on bikes where the rims are narrow, and the valve hole in the rim needs to be narrow too. Try and put a Schraeder hole in a rim that is 19mm wide internally (or less!) and that smaller hole means a lot. Nowadays, many bikes have rims that are constructed deep-dish and are as narrow as road bike rims once were. Not the cheap stuff you see mostly on ebikes, but presta is pretty much ubiquitous on a quality wheelset or manufactured bike. Same goes for tubeless setups. You can find a Schraeder valve for tubeless but you will have a lot fewer choices. I think the last time I did a market search on this I came up with a product mix of 19-to-1 in favor of Presta. And when it comes to buying a quality rim, oftentimes you can forget about one with a Schraeder hole. Its not an option.

Schraeder also has a real practical weakness under some circumstances. Unless you have a special fully threaded schraeder valve, you cannot screw them down onto the rim. That means the valve can walk... the whole rim slides forward or backward and you see the valve tilting at an angle as a result. Should be a familiar sight to anyone with a kids' bike that has inner tubes. This is a risk especially when you run a tire at lower pressure. You can count on the valve walking (its also a PITA in some cases when pumping up the tire and the valve falls into the hole).

At its worst? If you have a powered wheel (front or back) and ride in hills. This adds lots of torque to the tire and may cause it to slip on the rim (no such thing as beadlock rims for ebikes), if the tube is not clamped into the valve hole it can walk with the tire far enough to tear the valve clean off the tube. Just had this happen to me about a month ago. Basically an explosive decompression without the explosion. One second the tire had air and the next it was dead-flat. Luckily I keep a spare tube on the bike. Schwalbe makes tubes with American valves (schraeder) that are fully threaded. So I can screw the valve down like I can with a presta and the problem goes away. I have to use schraeder on this bmx-sized custom wheel cuz BMX doesn't do presta generally.

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Beyond that, choosing one or the other is about what pumps you already have. Mine are all presta so I prefer that. Nowadays though my pumps - like the one behind the wheel in the pic above - are interchangeable automatically so that doesn't matter anymore, either.
 
I didn't say I hated presta valves. I said I'm disgusted with the decline in consumer-grade chucks, and that explains why many bicycle manufacturers have turned to prestas, which weren't designed for bikes.

I got a great ball chuck with clip the other day. The rubber washer didn't let any air out. There was a problem, though. It didn't open the Schrader valve completely and sometimes not at all. I got out some wet-or-dry sandpaper, wet it, and rubbed half a millimeter off the washer. Now the chuck works fine. Why didn't the manufacturer do it right in the first place? I had ordered a Milton, but they canceled the order. I think they discovered they had none in stock.

If a bead slips, don't you think a tube could tear whether or not a nut held the valve straight? I consider an unfastened Schraeder valve a safety device, so that maybe I can notice and correct a slipped bead before the tube tears.

If you prefer tubes with threaded Schraeder valves, they're readily available. I have 8 bike rims with Schrader valves. Four are threaded. The threaded ones make it easy to inflate a flat, but the unthreaded ones assure me that the tube isn't pulling them.
 
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I buy Milton chucks at the auto supply down the street. The chucks on most stand up bicycle pumps are garbage. I use the Milton with the grab lever as I use both hands to pump.
The schrader chuck on the lyzene pump is fine, but I have to lay on the ground to screw it on. Then lay on the ground to pump it, unless the bike is upside down on seat & handlebars. The advantage of the lyzene pump, it only weighs a pound. It rides with me everywhere. It has been underwater and did not rust up.
I used the presta function of the lyzene pump on my brother's bike in Houston. He apparently has only gotten his tires aired up at the cycle shop, as he did not know that presta has a locknut on the stem to keep them shut. It took me 30 minutes laying on the ground to figure out how to get air in the prestas. Last time brother's tires were aired up was at the REI for only $110 a bike. For that not all 8 speeds were available. He takes his bikes for rides to the shop in his truck when he wants some exercise. He calls the things on the presta valves schrader adapters, when in fact they are valve stem protectors. Amazing what you can learn by using your eyes.
Brother used to run regularly for exercise, but at age 68 he has had to give that up. Knees. I took him out for a checkout ride 12/27/23. He lives 1/2 mile from the extensive bike trail on Houston bayous. I hope he repeats the experience.
 
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I didn't say I hated presta valves. I said I'm disgusted with the decline in consumer-grade chucks, and that explains why many bicycle manufacturers have turned to prestas, which weren't designed for bikes.
I was just speaking generally on the hating, not directed at you. Its a subject that brings up a lot of emotion among new riders who often have all sorts of problems with them.
If a bead slips, don't you think a tube could tear whether or not a nut held the valve straight? I consider an unfastened Schraeder valve a safety device, so that maybe I can notice and correct a slipped bead before the tube tears.
The fact that it solves the problem completely makes me say no. I've used them for 3 years on my other Bullitt, not the 1-year-old I'm usually showing pics of. The older green one has about 4000 miles on it and thats where I had my learning experience with the tubes. Which I promptly forgot until I re-learned the hard way.

Schwalbe tubes are a step up from the usual Thai or mainland Chinese animal. I'm using a '7D' type where the 'D' means it is thicker for downhill applications and, I am assuming, trials (trials competition runs on very low pressures). Its also good up to a 3.0 tire and I'm using a 2.40.

I have also had tubes with Presta valves tear out. But that was because I was using a 20x2.40 tube on a 20x3.0 tire. Part of the rules associated with tubes is you always oversize them and take great care in mounting as a result to not pinch them. That gives you a tube that is not distended, which is like blowing just a small puff of air into a balloon, then brushing it with a pin. It doesn't pop. But blow it up fully graze it with a pinhead and boom. Much better tube performance. A secondary benefit is it helps fix the tube hard under the tire. I've heard of it happening on rear mid drive tires as well and the rider blamed the BBSHD motor. Since mine happened on a 45Nm motor that 160 Nm BBSHD was innocent (as usual... everyone blames the equipment and never looks in the mirror).

This is the tire/tube that tore off. It lasted a few test rides around the block but only made it halfway on a 4-mile errand. This is also an entirely different wheel than the earlier pic. Presta valve with alloy sleeve inside of a Schraeder holed bmx rim (Alienation Blacksheep).
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And this is the wider wheel with a 2.40 tire and a 2.40 presta valve tube. Took everything I could throw at it for about 6 months and 1000 miles. You can see the presta-to-schraeder sleeve sticking out on this rim. So, the diff here was the differential in tube size. Once I went to the 3.0 screw-down tube after the failed big tire experiment, I went back to this 2.40 tire and kept the threaded 3.0 Schraeder. its still on the bike.
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If you prefer tubes with threaded Schraeder valves, they're readily available. I have 8 bike rims with Schrader valves. Four are threaded. The threaded ones make it easy to inflate a flat, but the unthreaded ones assure me that the tube isn't pulling them.
I'll disagree completely. I have thousands of miles ( about 6000 it looks like) just on these bikes, not counting many others going back to the 1970's as a daily commute and utility rider, where everything else is 100% screwed-down presta. That experience only gives me one conclusion. I screwed up once and paid the price in less than 4 of those miles.

Plus the North American and European cycling community relies almost exclusively on Presta worldwide and has for decades (I don't count the Far East. Thats an order-of-magnitude larger population operating on the cheapest of the cheap, and THAT is where things like freewheels, 7/8 speed ... and schraeder valves persist. Not because its better but because it is the cheapest solution available to a population with much lower income).

Anyway, this walking business never happens on quality bikes that screw down their presta tubes, and those tubes don't tear off when competently installed. The sliding valve is a bug not a feature.
 
The fact that it solves the problem completely makes me say no. I've used them for 3 years on my other Bullitt, not the 1-year-old I'm usually showing pics of. The older green one has about 4000 miles on it and thats where I had my learning experience with the tubes. Which I promptly forgot until I re-learned the hard way.

Schwalbe tubes are a step up from the usual Thai or mainland Chinese animal. I'm using a '7D' type where the 'D' means it is thicker for downhill applications and, I am assuming, trials (trials competition runs on very low pressures). Its also good up to a 3.0 tire and I'm using a 2.40.



This is the tire/tube that tore off. It lasted a few test rides around the block but only made it halfway on a 4-mile errand. This is also an entirely different wheel than the earlier pic. Presta valve with alloy sleeve inside of a Schraeder holed bmx rim (Alienation Blacksheep).




I'll disagree completely. I have thousands of miles ( about 6000 it looks like) just on these bikes, not counting many others going back to the 1970's as a daily commute and utility rider, where everything else is 100% screwed-down presta. That experience only gives me one conclusion. I screwed up once and paid the price in less than 4 of those miles.

Plus the North American and European cycling community relies almost exclusively on Presta worldwide and has for decades (I don't count the Far East. Thats an order-of-magnitude larger population operating on the cheapest of the cheap, and THAT is where things like freewheels, 7/8 speed ... and schraeder valves persist. Not because its better but because it is the cheapest solution available to a population with much lower income).

Anyway, this walking business never happens on quality bikes that screw down their presta tubes, and those tubes don't tear off when competently installed. The sliding valve is a bug not a feature.
Somebody should take Schwalbe to task. The 7D's selling point is resistance to valve tearoff, and it's available only with a Schrader valve. It's as if they don't know what they're doing! ;)

I got an odometer when I was 15, and my bike was stolen from the basement when I was 18. During those three years, I'd clocked 6,000 miles, and I'd been a daily rider since I was 7. I never saw a Raleigh without Schraders. I thought they were fine, but people who knew more than me were sure to find out, sooner or later. Do you think that's why they closed their factory after 80 years of renown? ;)

I have only about 5,000 miles on ebikes, so you're senior, but I did roll up 150,000 miles on BMW motorcycles. I thought the Schrader valves were fine, but what did I know? A front tire gets tremendous braking torque, and tearing the tube could be fatal. Why did the DOT ever allow the importation of motorcycles with out safe, reliable presta valves? ;)

I don't recall ever seeing a tube torn at the valve. Ever since elementary school, I've often had a tube pull a valve out of line when I started inflating it. If the tube has a threaded Schraeder, I like to leave the nut loose during inflation so the stem will be free to tilt if the tube is pulling it. I believe you said you once tore a tube with a presta valve in an adaptor. I wonder if the tube was pulling when you inflated it, and the adaptor kept the valve from tipping you off by tipping.
 
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I like the only thing about prestas that I understand: they're check valves. Schwalbe offers them up to 80 mm long. That's beyond my comprehension.
 
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