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Basic (stupid) question on tubes and pump......

Excitedly I picked up my first ever MTB yesterday. As a roadie, the idea of something that weighs the same as a small car and is optimised to cover you in mud is going to take some getting used to.

Anyway, apologies for the very stupid question but what do I do for tubes and pump?

I assumed everything in the MTB world was Schrader so I need a new hand pump and spare tube for rides as I only have road Presta pumps. The tubes seem to come in both versions though. From reading a bit it seems the rim drilling is a little larger for Schrader so maybe not the best idea to use Presta tubes?

To complicate things though, I’m quite keen on going tubeless and Trek advise these are the ones for my rims. They’re Presta as most tubeless kits seem to be.

If in an emergency I have to use a tube and it has to be Schrader that means making sure I have a pump which can do both which is a pain.

Sorry this is a bit rambling. What do you guys do?

As an aside, I got a Topeak RaceRocket yesterday as it can do both but they’re famed for unscrewing the valve inners on Presta which is something I really could do without.


  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 1,042
    I replaced the Schrader tubes on my old hack mtb with presta so that all the family bikes have the same system. The little nut thing on the valve has a narrow side that fits into the rim hole to keep the valve stem central.

    You can buy grommets to make the hole smaller as well. I think the idea is that it stops the tube from trying to squeeze through the hole and popping (I doubt it's much of a problem at 30psi or whatever i run the mtb tyres at)
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,604
    You should be able to use your road bike pump as most MTB,s come with hp presta valves now days. Not sure about race rocket but never had an issue with my pocket rocket. I,d be surprised if a new bike came with LP Schrader valves. Either way you get tubes with both. Have a search on MTB workshop for tubeless advice as loads of previous similar posts.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,562
    The rubber bit on most Presta valves is generally large enough to seal a Schrader drilled rim, and the locking nut which you have to use while tubeless helps as well. It's also fine to use a Presta tube in a Schrader hole. As mentioned above, you can get spacers to reduce the hole size, but they won't work if you're running tubeless as you'll never get a seal.

    If you want to stay Schrader for some reason, I think I have some Schrader tubeless valves which I'll never use and could drop in the post (if I can find them).
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,823
    Um? I don't really understand what you are asking, OP.
    What is fitted to your new MTB? Just buy tubes with valves to match.

    The majority of MTBs are equipped with presta valves but the main difference between road and MTB tyres is that the former are high pressure whereas the latter are high volume. So your new pump needs* to be a high volume version.

    * You can use a high pressure version but it takes longer to pump the tyre up.
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  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Tubeless that will be Presta valves.
    MTB tubes they mostly now are Presta.
    If you're going tubeless you carry a Presta tube with you as you should do.
    No problem here.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • jonathanukjonathanuk Posts: 67
    edited December 2019
    I've never actually come across a modern MTB that didn't come with Presta tubes fitted from the factory, except perhaps kids versions.

    I always carry a suitable tube with me on my tubeless setup, it will be the same tube that I would have fitted if I wasn't running tubeless; when it comes to using it, you'll just remove the tubeless valve from the rim and then fit the tube as normal (while getting thoroughly messy hands from the sealant - try not to get any on your nice clean MTB clothes). I also carry a tubeless repair kit, which normally consists of some rubber rods, a gouging / pushing tool, scraper, cutter, and maybe some rubber solution too, I've never had to use it yet though as normal puncture holes tend to fix themselves.

    It may be normal for your tubeless tyres to seep a bit of sealant (it may splatter onto your frame) as it finds any tiny gaps and holes, it should seal them after a ride or two so your tyre pressures should then remain stable (around 15 - 20psi for 2.3 width, 10 - 15psi for 2.8/3.0 width). I have some Specialized "tubeless ready" tyres that have thin sidewalls, they just wouldn't seal at all - the sealant kept seeping out through the walls where the canvas stitching showed through - if this continues after the initial ride then I can only advise that you do what I did and stick to tubes for those tyres, or buy some with thicker sidewalls. I'd also advise that you do the tubeless rim tape yourself, I've never had a problem when I did this but always had a problem when someone else did it!

    I tend to go for the short and fat pump types, they move a lot of air per stroke and they're easy to carry or store on the frame (next to the bottle cage, or in a pocket).

    Depending on whether or not you want to join the backpackers, there are MTB specific tops and jerseys available that come with rear pockets, I've never lost anything from mine so long as the stuff was inside the elasticated top, I can carry everything I need in them for a day's ride and I have a bottle or two on the frame.

    Oh, and make sure you have a decent track pump, you'll need it for fast pumping of a tubeless tyre to achieve that initial seal.
  • Just to dive in, virtually all bicycle pumps can work with both types of valves, there's usually a rubber bit and plastic bit in the part that attaches to the valve, put them one way round for presta or turn them both the other way round for schredar valves. Or old school pumps with the little tube attachment might need an adapter that will cost pennies. It's a bit of a faff and obviously easier to have all your tyres on the same valve type - but it's really not that big a deal.
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