Reserve Fillmore valves review

Almost certainly the most hyped tire valves ever, do the new Reserve Fillmore valves really change tubeless life for the better?

Reserve Fillmore valves ​review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

BikePerfect Verdict

Reserve’s Fillmore valves literally bypass a whole load of potential fitting, filling and accidental damage issues compared to conventional Presta tubeless valves but that comes at an inflated price. Currently only one size and color too.

Pros

  • +

    Big boost for inflation ease and speed

  • +

    Bye-bye core removing faff

  • +

    No clogging yet

  • +

    Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • -

    Pricey

  • -

    Air release needs care (or cap on)

  • -

    Only one color/size so far

  • -

    Careful with the valve cap

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Reserve claims its new fast flow tubeless valves will change your life. That’s a bit dramatic to be honest, but they are very good if you switch tires a lot and/or hate regular valve core removing chores because they are filled with your best tubeless tire sealant.

Read on for our full review.

Design

While there are a few brands pushing larger bore versions of the conventional outer shaft with threaded inner core and center pin design of Presta valves, Reserve’s Fillmore is a complete redesign. OK, maybe not complete, as it still has a conical rubber grommeted base that seals against the valve hole in the rim when you tighten the knurled lock ring collar. Rather than a ‘Russian Doll’ of decreasing sized internal core and center pin though, the Fillmore just has a plunger rod that ends in a flat disc end with O-ring seal at the rim end of the valve. This means the valve cap is more than just an optional cover as it’s threaded inside so that it pulls the plunger into the valve to seal it.

Close up of Reserve Fillmore valves ​plunger

A plunger sealed with an o-ring helps stop clogging and increases airflow (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Performance 

Fitting and using the Fillmore is familiar and at 45mm long it fits every MTB rim we’ve tried fine. If you’re wanting to use it on deeper gravel wheels, you’ll have to hope that Reserve makes a longer one. Once the cap is off, bigger volume gaps and direct flow mean inflation is definitely much easier than even a fresh standard valve and far easier than the gunky, clogged ones we curse about on some of our longer-term test wheels. As a result, we’ve managed to easily air up always awkward tire/rim combos that normally require valve core removal and overall pump straining has been dramatically reduced. There’s enough space in the valve to inject sealant straight in without having to remove the core, although we tend to tip it into the last bit of bead left off the rim which keeps life a lot cleaner.

As well as time on the trail we’ve been using Fillmores in our hideously abused sealant testing tire for a couple of months. Despite running some really rich experimental mixes that won’t even get through the injector sleeve, we’ve not had any clogging issues. The ‘pop up’ design naturally breaks any crusts that form and it also removes any issues with a tire liner pressing on the valve end and sealing it. If they do get clogged over time the base unthreads from the center pin so you can ream the whole shaft out easily too.

The steel center plunger pin is also a lot stronger than the threaded brass pin and tiny barrel locknut of normal Presta valves so there’s no worries about it getting bent or snapped off by a crash or clumsy pump use. The Fillmore removes other conventional Presta pain as well. There’s no danger of accidental core removal with a thread-on pump hose, or the core firing out if you’re trying to unscrew a completely clogged valve. 

Reserve Fillmore valves ​fitted in a rim

The valves plunger works with standard pumps but is stronger and doesn't undo itself with screw on pumps (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The increased airflow does need care when trying to burp a bit of pressure though so it’s best just to fractionally loosen the cap to minimize the gap. Losing the cap is a potential issue in the field too, although a standard plastic Presta valve will do the job if you can beg one from someone else or you’re smart enough to take a spare.

Lack of colors still will be an issue for some although the ‘Henry Ford’ black-only vibe syncs perfectly with Reserve’s wheels. Reserve extends its excellent no-questions-asked lifetime warranty to the valves too and while that’s not unique it makes the high price easier to swallow on a “buy nice or buy twice” basis. Only you know how much cumulative angst and time-wasting your current setup is causing you though, and whether it’s worth paying almost twice as much as most fancy color-coded valves with the same warranty or potentially five times as much as the simplest options.

Verdict

Reserve’s Fillmore valves definitely make popping up tubeless tires a whole lot easier than a standard Presta set up and they remove a lot of other clogging, bending, cleaning and accidental core loosening issues too. That comes at a significant cost though and there’s only one length and color available at the moment.

Tech Specs: Reserve Fillmore valves

  • Price: $49.99 / £39.99
  • Weight: 6g (with valve and lock ring)
  • Colors: Black (with hidden red bits)
  • Length: 45g

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg