I recently started riding a road bike to work and about a week ago I realized my tires were a little low on air. Not thinking about it, I grabbed my bike and my air compressor and was put off a bit when I realized they didn’t have Schrader valves on them. Schrader valves are far more common in the United States for bicycle and car tires. If you’ve inflated a tire before, it most likely was with a Schrader Valve.
However my road bike didn’t have Schrader valves, instead it has Presta Valves. (Presta valves don’t look anything like Schrader. ) These valves are long, skinny and require you to twist the top loose almost like a screw. If you put pressure on the tip of the valve it will let air in and out. However, as I found out, you can’t inflate Presta valves without a converter.
Don’t worry the converter isn’t expensive – about $1 at your local bicycle or hardware store. Once applied, the converter slid over the top of the valve and with a little pressure from me, the tire was able to inflate correctly.
The other downside to a Presta valve is they are used for high pressure tires like my road bike where the pressure should be 100-130 psi. I purchased my small air compressor to fill tires and it can only handle 100 psi!