Pneumatic tires all have valves to let air in and keep it from leaking out, until such time as you want to deflate the tire. Back in the states, I’ve seen two types of valves over the years: Schrader valves (aka, car valves), and Presta valves (aka, French valves). The floor pump I brought with me from the states handles both types, so I thought nothing about offering to top off the tires of a buddy’s city bike the other day.
Imagine my surprise when, after unintentionally letting the air out of his front tire, I realized that his tires were equipped with a valve I had never seen before. Worse yet, my floor pump was not set up to work with this valve! Fortunately, he had a pump at home, so we drove to his place to get his pump. While there, I looked at the tires on his wife’s bike and sure enough, they sported these odd valves as well.
A few days later, I stopped by a bike shop and asked the mechanic about this valve. He replied that it is a Dunlop (or Dutch or Woods) valve. Apparently, Dunlop valves are quite common here in Germany and the Netherlands, but pretty much unknown back the states. Though people claim you can inflate a Dunlop valve with a Presta compatible pump, I was not able to get it to work with my particular pump. Now that Karen has a bike of her own, complete with Dunlop valves, I need to get a pump to go with it.
Like so much of life here in Germany, bikes look the same as back in the states but differ in the small details. It’s all good, all part of the European biking experience!