Tubeless tires have seen a dramatic increase in the number of users over the past few years. Even with tubeless and tubeless ready tires, punctures cannot be reduced to zero. The following is a summary of the causes of punctures and how to deal with them.
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What is a tubeless valve?
A bicycle wheel consists of three component parts: the tire, which contacts the ground, the rim, which holds the tire, and the inner tube, which holds the tire shape with air.
Tubeless is a mechanism that eliminates the tube from the tire. The elimination of the tube is made possible by introducing a mechanism to hold air on the tire and rim side.
On the other hand, the inner tube of the tire also had another role as a “window for air”. Whether a clincher or a tubular, there is always a tire valve through which the air is inflated.
Tubeless systems have no tube and therefore no valve. Since it is not possible to inflate a tubeless system without a tube, the “tubeless valve” acts as a valve that is conventionally attached to the tube.
There are two types of tires and rims: “tubeless” and “tubeless ready,” which require sealant, and tubeless valves are compatible with both.
Types of tubeless valves
Tubeless valves are usually the basic, stock valves for each manufacturer. Tubeless/tubeless ready wheels come with tubeless valves as standard or can be purchased as an option.
The reason why you should use the manufacturer’s OEM product is that each manufacturer has different valve hole configurations for tubeless rims. Each manufacturer uses tubeless valves that are best suited for the valve holes in their rims.
Tubeless valves differ in two major ways.
- the shape of the adherence to the rim (square, fishbowl, or cone)
- whether the valve core can be detached or not
For the shape of the contact to the rim, the “square type” is often used for rims with flattened valve holes, and the “conical type” is often used when the curve of the rim is left as it is. In addition, there is also the kamaboko-type. Each of these types has a different shape to enhance adhesion to the rim.
As for whether or not the valve can be detached, if the valve core can be removed, sealant can be injected from the tubeless valve. The ability to inject sealant through the valve prevents the risk of sealant splashing around.
For deep rim wheels, it is necessary to choose a tubeless valve with a usable valve core or a long tubeless valve in order to use an extender.
How to choose a tubeless valve
Choose the manufacturer’s genuine product that fits the wheel.
As explained earlier, it is basically best to use the wheel’s genuine tubeless valve. There are various types of genuine products, and the tubeless valve that fits each wheel is different, so check the manufacturer’s website before purchasing.
If you cannot get information from the wheel manufacturer’s website, check the shape of the rim. In the case of tubeless, the shape of the tire side of the valve hole can be analogous to whether a square or conical type is better.
If genuine parts are not available
If a genuine wheel is not available, use a valve with the same close fitting shape as the genuine one.
There are many third-party products available for square or conical type tubeless valves. However, third-party products may have lower air leakage performance than the genuine products.
If possible, choose a tubeless valve with a detachable valve core!
When using tubeless ready tires, it is important to know whether the valve core can be detached.
If the valve core can be detached, sealant can be injected from the valve using a sealant injector while the tire is still fitted. Sealant is not permanent once injected, but needs to be reinjected every six months or so.
When re-injecting, if the valve core is removed, the sealant can be injected without removing the tire. Since the operation of tubeless ready tires is mostly “sealant hassle,” the ease of sealant injection is a big advantage.
Also, when you replace your wheels with deep rim wheels in the future, you can use the tubeless valve all the time.
It is best to check the manufacturer’s specifications to see if the valve cores of tubeless valves can be removed and attached.