Reserve Fillmore Tubeless Valves

Reserve Fillmore Tubeless Valves

Reviewer: 6’, 165 lbs / 183 cm, 74.8 kg

Test Locations: Washington

Test Duration: 3 months

Blister’s Measured Weight: 5.5 grams per valve

MSRP: $50 per pair

Mounted to: We Are One Union

David Golay Reviews the Reserve Fillmore Valves for Blister
Reserve Fillmore Valve

Intro

If you had told me a few months ago that I’d soon be enthusiastically writing a review of tubeless valves, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But today, Reserve Wheels is launching a fundamentally redesigned Presta valve, and after using them for a few months, they’re clearly better than the standard versions we’re all used to.

Design

The Fillmore valves fit in standard Presta valve holes and are compatible with typical Presta pumps as well. The magic happens internally.

Instead of using a typical valve core, the Fillmore uses a custom design, with only a thin stainless steel rod running through the middle of the core. An o-ring at the very top of the valve (the end that’s inside of the rim) handles sealing duties. This has two key advantages:

(1) The Fillmore valves flow way more air than typical Presta valves. My shop is equipped with an air compressor, but I still usually need to take the valve core out when seating a tubeless tire with a typical Presta valve. The standard design just can’t flow enough air quickly enough to get the job done in many instances. The Fillmore valves make it possible to seat tires with a floor pump, without messing around with the valve core. Just remove the valve cap and go.

David Golay Reviews the Reserve Fillmore Valves for Blister
Reserve Fillmore Valve
(2) The Fillmore valves are also far more impervious to getting clogged with sealant. For one, the passages inside the valves are far bigger, and therefore harder to clog. And for another, the Fillmore valves seal themselves off from the main chamber of the tire at the very top of the valve, so far less sealant ends up inside the valve in the first place.
David Golay Reviews the Reserve Fillmore Valves for Blister
Reserve Fillmore Valve
The final piece of the puzzle is the valve cap. Unlike a typical Presta valve, there’s no threaded nut to close off the valve. Instead, the valve cap contains two separate sets of threads, one of which engages the threads on the end of the central stainless steel rod, and the other which catches on the outer body of the valve itself. Once the cap is tightened down, it pulls the central stainless steel portion of the valve shut, sealing the valve. This means that the specific Fillmore valve caps are needed for the valves to work correctly (unlike a standard Presta valve, where they aren’t really required at all). Check out the quick video, below, for a demonstration:
This design also means that you can control the rate of air flow out of the valve when trying to drop pressure by simply unscrewing the valve cap part way. The farther you open in, the wider the valve opens when you press on the cap. I’m not going to say that’s a huge advantage over a typical valve — the better airflow and lack of clogging are far more important. But it’s a nice added touch, and does make minor on-trail pressure adjustments just a touch quicker and easier.

In Use

The Fillmore valves really do deliver on their promise of better airflow. Having gotten used to them over the last couple of months, standard valves feel notably slow to work with. The added flow is especially helpful when trying to seat tires in the first place, but it does make adding and releasing air from the tire significantly faster, too. And while three months maybe isn’t quite enough test duration to definitively declare the Fillmore clog-proof, they’ve had no issues so far, and the design certainly does seem like it should be an improvement on that front. And if they do manage to clog, the Fillmore valves can be disassembled for cleaning, though doing so does require removing them from the wheel. I’ll report back if anything comes up, and I’ll definitely keep using the Fillmore valves going forward — they’re a genuine improvement over anything else I’ve tried to date.

David Golay Reviews the Reserve Fillmore Valves for Blister
David Golay testing the Fillmore Tubeless Valves

I can also confirm that the Fillmore valves work reasonably well with Cush Core inserts. The contact with the insert does mean that it takes a little extra force to open the valve, and airflow is hampered slightly. But the Fillmore valves still work better with Cush Core than most standard valves (i.e., not the side-drilled Cush Core branded ones) by a big margin.

Bottom Line

The folks at Reserve have given the old Presta valve a re-think, and they’ve come up with something genuinely nicer to use — while still also being compatible with standard rims and pumps. I’ve been using a couple of pairs for several months now, and I’m completely sold. They flow air so much better than normal valves, making it faster and easier to seat tires, but also just to add or remove air on a day-to-day basis, too.

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9 comments on “Reserve Fillmore Tubeless Valves”

  1. Valves may not be sexy, but I hate nothing more than the e*thirteen tubless valves that came with a used wheelset.

    They were prone to coming unsealed. They didn’t work well with my floor pump or my hand pump because they didn’t have the normal threads (had to hold everything just right with one hand and pump with the other). Didn’t work with normal presta-schrader adapters for seating tires using a gas station air compressor. And they cost double what normal Stans or WTB valves cost at the LBS. Was so happy to get rid of them.

    Unlike that garbage, these actually look like an intelligent attempt to rethink the valve.

    • Bingo. This is 2x what I’ve paid for even the blingiest anodized aluminum stems on custom builds, and 3-4x the cost of industry standard Stan’s brass valves (assuming they didn’t come free w/ your wheels). Valves aren’t even a Top-5 factor in mounting a tubeless, and if you’ve worked your way that far down the troubleshooting ladder, it takes 2 seconds to pull a core. Sorry Santa Cruz, I don’t see the value. How will your internals clog less upon injection when I can’t pull your cores? That’s a huge minus in my book.

  2. The one question I have is: if it DOES clog, is there any way to fix it?
    With standard Presta valves, I pull the valve core out, and poke something like small Allen wrench through there. If the core is gummed up, I can easily replace it (light enough to carry a spare) or pick much of the gunk out of the gummed up one.

    Is anything similar possible with these? Maybe disassembling it somehow?

    • Good point. They’re easy to disassemble if need be, though you do need to take them out of the wheel to do so. I added a line to the review covering that.

  3. Why are there so few rims that support Schrader valve? You’d think that with modern, wide rims there would be more than enough room to fit them.
    Unlike these and presta, there’s no possibly of bending them, valve core isn’t as fiddly as Presta, you don’t have to have special adapter and they provide much more airflow.

    • Because no one has used a Schrader valve on a bicycle worth more than $300 in over 30yrs. Bending has never been a factor for Presta, and every pump made in the last decade has an auto-head that simply adapts to whatever valve you put it on. Also in 35yrs of wrenching, I’ve never once failed to mount a tire due to airflow limitations at the valve. Poorly-designed rim profiles (replace them), problematic tires (soap them), bad taping (practice more), and weak compressors (add CFM) account for 99% of tubeless mounting problems. As for “fiddly” Presta cores, I can get them out in 2 seconds w/ my bare hands. Can you get your hands on your Schrader tool that fast?

  4. Am I reading this right- the valve cap is integral to keeping air in the tire? I may not be the only rider who’s misplaced a cap out on the trail while adding or subtracting air pressure. Hm. So if lose the cap, I’m S.O.L….?

  5. If you lose the cap, the fillmore stay closed buy the pressure.
    I tried to ride with no cap, and no problem. In emmergency, you can put a presta plastic cap on your fillmore for dust protection.
    But lose the fillmore aluminium cap is more difficult than with presta.
    it is threaded inside and integral with the piston of the valve.
    There is still the distraction, but with this price the distraction could be cured :-)

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