You’ve been there, I’ve been there. You get a new set of tires, you’re eager to mount them up and go rip around the roads or trails with new rubber confidence, but they won’t freaking seal up! The new skins either won’t snap into place, or if they do, you can hear the oh-so-subtle hiss of failure as your chances of riding and the tire itself deflates.
On the flip side, every time I slip on a new tubeless tire and the beads pop into place without fuss I feel as though it’s a trick, like I’ve somehow cheated, or something’s not right and I’ll pay the price later.
Either way, it sucks that this is the norm, that throughout the years and all of the technological advancements, most cyclists expect to struggle and fight to get tires and wheels to work minus a tube.
Proprietary valves that come with wheels are generally okay since they’re hopefully made to work together, but being so small, they can be pretty easy to misplace (due to a flat on the go, a messy garage, bad roommates, whatever).
So the best thing to do is eliminate the problems the best you can; Speed Evolution Alloy Tubeless Valve Stems to the rescue.
The valve cores are removable Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Speed Evolution Alloy Tubeless Valve Stems spec
Length: 38mm, 48mm, 60mm
Weight: 8g/pair (48mm)
Fit: Rubber cone base large enough to seal Schrader hole
Colors: Black, Red, Gunmetal, Blue, Green, Gold, Pink, Purple, Orange
Pricing: $24, $26, $28
Speed Evolution’s valves have a couple of well thought out details. The O-ring on the outside of the rim is thicker and the corresponding locknut has a larger recess.
On the inside, the base has a raised center to prevent sealant from getting inside and clogging the valve.
Speaking of the valve, it’s aluminum not brass, so it saves some grams and it has a slightly larger diameter for better airflow. The inner diameter of the Speed Evolution alloy valves is 4mm, while standard brass valves taper internally to around 2mm.
The larger valve opening allows more air to rush in Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Installation and use
Installation is as straight forward as any tubeless valve. I’ve used them successfully on DT Swiss, Roval, Stan’s, Mavic, Nox and Knight Composites rims.
The tapered base sat deep in the rim’s valve hole, sealing quite well. On the outside, the big O-ring and locknut pulled the valve snug and sealed it tight.
Three lengths are available: 38mm, 48mm and 60mm Russell Eich / Immediate Media
With the Speed Evolution valves I had good success (which is a rarity) inflating tubeless tires with just a floor pump. Credit either goes to a string of dumb luck or more likely the larger diameter of the valves letting more air in.
It’s that initial rush of air that’s the most crucial bit, the one that moves the tire’s beads to the rim wall.
Any gripes? Maybe the price, as they’re a couple of bucks more than other aftermarket tubeless valves. But honestly, in the heat of the moment when sealant’s leaking on my floor and I’m cursing the tire, rim tape and valve in frustration, I’d gladly pay more.
The only other thing is a couple of my riding buddies noticed the green valves and thought I was a dork for being so into valves.
The tapered ends seal well in most rims and work with Schrader valves as well Russell Eich / Immediate Media
As far as the aluminum vs. brass durability concern, there really isn’t one in my opinion.
While I’ve destroyed more than my fair share of parts over two decades, I’ve never broken a valve stem. The weak link in a Presta valve is the minuscule valve core. With rims finally spreading wider, Schrader valves should become the norm, but that’s an argument for another day.
All tubeless valve stems are not created equal. But if the devil is in the detail, then the folks at Speed Evolution sold their souls for the sake of cyclists everywhere.