I have Kona Dew 2018 and the front tire has a Presta valve while the back tire has a Schrader valve. Is it common to see bikes have different valves for each tire?

  • If one wheel has a 6mm hole for a presta valve and the other has an 8mm hole for a schrader valve then you would ideally carry two spare tubes, one with each size of valve. I've done this, but ended up buying a special metal grommit from the LBS and only carrying a presta. If the other tube punctured, I would install the presta tube with the grommit. – Criggie Nov 18 at 8:25
  • The answer to the question "Can a bike have..." is obviously yes as you have such a bike. Asking whether this is common is different from the title of your question! – user2705196 Nov 18 at 19:35
  • From the pictures at different sellers' websites the valves should be Schrader. If the bike was bought second hand it is also likely to be a stolen bike that has been fitted a matching wheel because one of the wheels had been locked to a fence or post. Both wheels should be identical. – Carel Nov 20 at 15:56
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Short answer, it's not common at all and probably wasn't like that when the bike was new.

The valve that you need is determined by the rim rather than the bike. If the rim is drilled out with a big enough hole for a schrader valve, then that's what you should use. If a schrader valve doesn't fit through the valve hole, then you should use a tube with presta valve. If one of the rims on the bike has been replaced (or drilled out), then they may no longer match and you would need one of each.

The more likely scenario is that at some point one of the tubes was replaced and instead of getting the correct schrader valve tube, a presta was used instead. This is easy to check as the presta valve will not fit snugly in the valve hole. If this is the case, it will work well enough in the short term, but I'd still recommend replacing it with the correct tube with a Schrader valve. Over time, the rubber around the thinner presta valve will rub against the edges of the larger diameter valve hole in the rim and eventually wear out.

  • 1
    “Over time, the rubber around the thinner presta valve will rub against the edges of the larger diameter valve hole in the rim and eventually wear out.” Not sure if this is actually an issue. The nuts of e.g. Schwalbe Presta valve tubes are even recessed to fit in a Schrader hole. – Michael Nov 18 at 8:34
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    If the rim tape is in good condition then it's unlikely to be a problem, but I've changed enough tubes with cuts around the valve to be certain that it can cause punctures. – Carbon side up Nov 18 at 11:48

Why not? The bike will roll anyway. You would need two pump heads or an adapter to pump both tires, but other than that, it will work just fine.

  • I mean I had such setups for a while, when I had no other tubes but ones with different valves. – Grigory Rechistov Nov 18 at 7:04

There's no mechanical reason why you can't have one of each. The disadvantages are purely practical.

  • You need a pump that can deal with both valve types, or two pumps, or to mess about with adaptors.

  • You need two kinds of spare tubes at home.

  • Most people who cycle longer distances bring a spare inner tube with them because it's much faster to replace the tube than to find and repair a puncture at the roadside (a second puncture on the same ride would need to be repaired). You could just bring a spare presta tube which will certainly get you home if you replace your Schrader tube with it.

Whether any of this is a problem for you depends on your needs and preferences.

  • Presta valve stems are narrower than Schrader, so you could just replace the Schrader tube with presta and then you'll only have one kind of tube. You could use an adaptor to avoid concerns about the narrow stem moving around in the wide hole.

  • Check the rim of your presta wheel: it might just be that somebody put a presta tube in a Schrader rim. In that case, you can replace your presta tube with the Schrader tube the rim was intended for.

  • If both your tubes match the rim they're installed in, you could replace the front wheel (cheaper than the back) with one that takes the same kind of valve as the back wheel. Depending on what kind of bike you have, new wheels might not be all that expensive, though I'm not sure if I'd replace one just to get the convenience of matching valves.

  • The advantage with Schrader valves is that you could use, though carefully, the air-hose at car service station to fill up the tyre when commuting. – Carel Nov 21 at 8:51

My hybrid currently does, and it's not a problem.

I'm switching over to presta tubes so that the same spares fit that and my tourer. That way I don't have to stock so many types of tube, especially in my commuting pannier.

The presta should be used with a spacer of some sort. I prefer a rubber grommet as the plastic parts sometimes sold for the purpose have caused me problems in the past (hard edges abrading the tube).

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