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Reinventing the Valve Stem - Reserve's New Fillmore Tubeless Valves

Prior to their launch, and even now, Reserve has made themselves clear - this may sound like jumping the shark, but hear us out. Vital set our BS meters to high as we took possession of the new Fillmore valves to learn for ourselves what this was all about. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Except that while Presta valves may not be broken, they do have glaring flaws in the tubeless world. Reserve is in pursuit of addressing some of those issues head on with a completely new valve system.

Highlights

  • Designed specifically for modern tubeless setups
  • Increased air volume flow
  • Integrated cap/bleeder system
  • Fits rim depths 18mm-28mm
  • Works with Presta pump heads
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Price: $49.95

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We'll avoid the potential pitfall of marketing why the Presta valve is outdated and doesn't work so well anymore. Instead, let us focus on whether the Fillmore valve is a better option or provides a net gain to our tubeless interactions. To us, this is the uphill push Reserve will be facing. As mountain bikes have transitioned to tubeless, we've been using the Presta valve almost exclusively. Change is hard but at least this one involves no new standards and is backward compatible.

What's Different

To start, the valve cap is now an integral part of the valve system as it performs the important jobs of keeping crud off the valve, making sure the valve stays sealed, and being a bleeder port. Once the cap is removed from the stem, in a system with no compressed air (in your hand or a flat tire) the internal rod and plunger will freely move about. When installed with an inflated tire, the air pressure will keep the internal plunger sealed. Much like an unthreaded Presta valve, it is prone to leaking air if bumped.

 

With less obstruction through the valve via the Fillmore design, tire sealant is less likely to build up and seal the valve from the inside. The Fillmore does not have a removable valve core and sealant can be added (injected) through the valve as it is. Should riders want to let a little air out of their tire, just a few rotations of the valve cap and it acts as a bleeder. It does not need to be fully removed to let out air.

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What if I lose my valve cap? Ok, what if you lose your valve core? Small bike parts are bound to have even smaller parts that make them work correctly. The Fillmore system does not eliminate all potential issues. Either way we look at it, our ability to lose a part is not a brand's responsibility. Ultimately, the Fillmore system involves fewer parts that are less tedious to manage.

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In the Field

Several Vial staffers seem to struggle with seating tires on Reserve 30 wheels via a floor pump. No matter the tire or the method, more often than not, we have to reach for the air compressor. No other brand or Reserve model gives us such fits. Being in the product testing game means that we swap a lot of tires and wheels around. A lot. Our hope was that the Fillmore would save the day and give our floor pump the unrestricted power it needed to set rubber on wheels that we otherwise adore. In short, that did not happen.

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When installing new tires on our Reserve 30 wheels, we still resorted to a compressor to get them seated. That is only the beginning of our story though. Generally, with a Presta valve, we'll pull the valve core and use a flush-fitting rubber attachment on an air compressor to get the deed done. Once seated, it's a quick plug of the finger and a precise reinstall of the valve core. Filling the tire is finished off with a floor pump. There are other methods for sure but this one always, always gets the bead to pop and we're quite efficient with it.

Even though we had to use a compressor in this case, the Fillmore still offered a simpler install. There was no core to remove. We just mounted the tire, injected the sealant through the valve, connected our fitting, and fired away. Boom. Job done. There was no fiddling or topping off, just a well-sealed tire on the rim. 

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Subsequent inflations with the Fillmore have proven simple and easy. We pull the cap and inflate as desired. Removing our floor pump is met with a reassuring sound of the internal valve quickly being pressurized into place. If you are of the type that actually can keep track of your Presta valve cap, the Fillmore system eliminates a step in pumping up your tires. Otherwise, it is net-neutral.

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Reserve claims these valves will never clog or gum up and it is our experience that this process takes a little time to really accumulate. After a few months, we have no signs of sealant build-up but truly, this takes a full season to show its gummy little head. With some wheel and tire tests on the horizon, we'll continue to be putting the Fillmore valves through the paces.

the overall design makes more sense in a tubeless world

What's the Bottom Line

So far, we've been using the Fillmore valves for a couple of months and have nothing negative to report on them. Just like Reserve wheels, the Fillmore valves have a lifetime warranty which is pretty bold for valve stems. There are some nice little gains to be made here and the overall design makes more sense in a tubeless world than the Presta valve. Reserve's Fillmore valves may not make your next ride any better but when it is time to replace the current setup on your bike, the Fillmore's deserve a look.

Head to ReserveWheels.com to learn more

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View key specs, compare products, and rate the Fillmore Valves in the Vital MTB Product Guide.

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