Tubeless valve and tire systems are almost universal in mountain biking now, and very popular for gravel and gaining ground on the road too.
Despite lots of development when it comes to the best tubeless tires in mountain bike, gravel and road, the best tubeless wheels and best tubeless tire valves have hardly changed for ages. You could get different colors for matching other anodized components and you could get different lengths for different depths of rim but that was about it.
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That was a real issue too, as tubeless tires are much easier to inflate if you can get a lot of air into them quickly. Even the best tubeless tire sealant is also almost impossible to inject through the congested core of a conventional Presta valve. The only answer was to remove the core of the valve to make more space. That means inflating the tire twice though and potentially ends up spraying sealant everywhere as you fight to get the core back in.
The good news is that we’re now seeing a new breed of high flow tubeless valves that make blowing up tires and filling them with sealant a whole lot easier. We’re also seeing a lot more valves that work well with protective tire inserts too.
With that in mind here are five of the best tubeless tire valves that the Bike Perfect team have used and can confirm are better than anything else currently available.
Meet the tester
Guy's been writing and testing for bike mags since 1996. He's been testing tubeless systems since they first appeared on mountain bikes and you needed biceps of steel (or a compressor) to get the tire to properly seal.
Best tubeless tire valves
I’ve seen too many ‘game changing’ products not to have a degree of cynical kick back, but the Reserve Filmore valves are genuinely brilliant and I’ve not heard of anyone who’s bought or tried them who doesn’t agree.
It’s a genuinely radical design too, effectively reversing the normal structure of a Presta style valve but pulling the closing valve upwards using the threads of the valve cap. This gives masses of less interrupted space for air – and very importantly these days – sealant to gush into your tire. That means more air volume to jump an unsealed tire out of the center rim well and up to the sidewall to lock in place. The sheer volume of extra air (Reserve says three times as much as a standard Presta and I'm not arguing) means more chance that a tire that’s got a gappy fit will still swell up fast enough to make the leap rather than leaving you fighting with a wheezy mess that needs extra tape or endless massaging to get it in place.
The side exit end design is completely insert compatible. The thicker rod makes it far tougher than a standard spindly valve core pin. It also effectively self-cleans internally as it operates so any sealant bogies are prodded out before they cause a problem, or you can pull it apart and DIY clean if necessary. You can even partially undo the top cap to micro leak air if you overshoot on installation pressure. And while it’s a shame if you lose the knurled metal top cap you can fit a standard plastic Presta one on and it’ll work fine.
The only downsides are that it costs about 50 percent more than other valves and only comes in one colour and 50mm size. The amount of time and stress my sample sets have saved me though means I’d gladly put my hand in my pocket for a pair.
For more info, head to our full Reserve Filmore Valves review.
I’ve picked these Chain Reaction/Wiggle own brand valves as the best value option because they’re a bit prettier and available in more lengths than really cheap ones on Amazon. In fact, with options up to 100mm they’ll fit deeper wheels than any other valves here – if you decide to go time trialing without tubes. That is a thing BTW, as Vittoria actually says its ultralight Corsa Speed tubeless tire is the fastest rubber it makes. But anyway I digress. The other advantage of sticking with the online ultrastore is that if there’s a problem there’s a more solid company to provide backup than might be the case with a random supplier.
The fully black anodized design also makes them look neater on most rims than the shiny silver finish of most bargain tubeless valves. The cores are replaceable for fast inflation/sealant filling and I’ve used several sets over the years without any complaints (until Filmore valves came along) as long as you keep them clean. They aren’t insert compatible though and the shaft is only partially threaded. That means you need to pick the right length or you won’t be able to tighten the collar down fully onto the rim.
These 76 Projects valves are another cunning ‘hi flow’ ‘NO CLOG’ [their capitals not ours – Ed] design that have flipped standard valve design to liberate more internal space and easier airflow. They’re arguably even more radical than the Reserve valves too as the locking element is the part inside the rim. That’s because the top of the valve uses an enlarged bypass collar around the core that won’t fit through a conventional Presta valve hole. That gives it a claimed four times the airflow of a conventional Presta valve and again I'm not arguing as it certainly makes a massive difference when it comes to popping reluctant tubeless tires onto rims first go. There’s plenty of space for flowing sealant in once you’ve got the tire seated too.
The broad pin design is tougher than a standard narrow valve pin, but in the unlikely case of accidental damage the whole valve is rebuildable and spares are available direct from 76 Projects. The machined alloy valves come in three sizes for different depth rims and the latest versions are threaded all the way down so they don’t need spacers if you pick one too long. They’re also very light if you’re as rotational inertia sensitive as Greg Minaar (he reckons he can tell if he’s got valve caps on his wheels or not while riding).
They only come in pink or black anodized though and only the shortest length is insert compatible. That means gravel riders using an insert in a deeper rim are out of luck. The big issue though is that the narrow length of valve above the bypass makes it impossible for a lot of press-fit pump heads to grip on so you have to physically hold the head in place. That’s fine with some designs but a real juggling act with others. It’s a complete no go with screw-on heads too so pump compatibility is a definite glitch in an otherwise clever, well-priced product.
There are tons of colorful tubeless valve options – some of which are noticeably cheaper than Peaty’s, but there are two things that really make them stand out.
The first is that the valves are lifetime warrantied against bending, snapping or cracking. That means whatever you manage to do to them, Peaty’s will send you a fresh set so you’re effectively investing in valves for life. The company will send you the same color as before though so don’t go vandalizing perfectly good valves in the hope the big lad in Sheffield will color match some fresh ones to your new bike.
Secondly the 12 anodised colors are all lined up with the anodised colors of legendary hub/headset brand Chris King. They also overlap with the electro palettes of Burgtec, Hope and others too and of course you can just get plain silver or black.
They’re slide slotted to work with inserts but still have a straight through hole for fast filling if you’ve not put an insert in the way. Another nice touch is that one of the valve caps works as a mini wrench for undoing the valve core (for faster inflation/sealant filling) and the other one is a spoke tensioning key. Oh and the rubber rim plug sections are replaceable too.
Otherwise, they’re just well-made valves that work as well as any other conventional design and come in three sizes.
Muc-Off is best known for pink products so it’s no surprise its valves are available anodised in that signature color as well as nine other colors including SRAM ‘oil’ style. They also come in 44, 60 or 80mm lengths so they’ll match most rims as well as most colorways.
Additional neat details include a 4mm hex shape in the bottom for holding them tight while you cinch up the collar. They also come with three different shaped rim plug pieces so you can choose the shape that gives you the best fit against the rim. All sizes get a slotted base that works with inserts so you don’t need to worry about your rubber rim protector making pumping up or deflating a pain. You get a valve cap with a core remover built into it and they use durable 7075 series alloy for strength. The collar is laser etched and flat sided so you can tighten it with a wrench but don’t overdo it or you’ll damage the rim/tape/seal rubber or all three.
Apart from that, they work pretty much the same as any other standard flow Presta valve design. Keep watching for deals though as you’ll often find them for sale at much less than RRP.
How to choose the best tubeless tire valves
Can you get Schraeder style tubeless valves?
No. All tubeless rims use the smaller valve hole that only works with Presta.
Do all valves fit all rim shapes?
Some rim designs such as Bontrager still use proprietary shaped ‘feet’ to seal against specific rim or liner shapes. Now that most rims are wider though, most valves with a conical rubber sealing plug will work fine.
Why does sealant clog valves?
Sealant is designed to ‘scab’ together when forced through a small gap under pressure. That’s great for fixing punctures but it’s also great for gumming valves solid. That’s why I generally slop sealant into the tire beforehand rather than coating the insides of the valves with more goo than necessary.
Do I have to use a valve cap?
Most tubeless valves won’t leak as long as you’ve tightened the little barrel lock nut down on the valve core. That leaves a pointy metal end that can cause damage in a crash though, and I’ve got a 35-year-old scar on the side of my knee to prove it. That means I always stick a protective cap on if I’ve got one.
Why do some valve caps have slots or holes in?
These are normally so you can loop them over the rectangular neck of the valve core to loosen or tighten it for removal/refit. Peaty’s valves have a spoke key cut out on their valve caps too though.
Why do some valve bases have slots in?
Putting slots in the base of the valve means the air can come out sideways. That’s vital if you’re using a rim protecting tire inset. Otherwise this can cover the inner end of the valve so it’s harder to inflate and can be impossible to deflate.
Do I need to maintain tubeless valves?
It’s definitely worth loosening the core on tubeless valves and letting some air out then reinflating on a regular basis. This lets you check they’re not too clogged or sticky when it’s easier to deal with, rather than finding out they’ve got gummed shut in an emergency situation. Check that the collars holding them into the rim haven’t worked loose enough to leak either. Don’t ever do them up super tight though or you can damage the seal/tape.