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The Goldilocks Principle: Valve Stem Length

The Goldilocks Principle: Valve Stem Length

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The Goldilocks Principle is under assault, balance is lost. Without balance, we are reduced to savages. Steerectile dysfunction is spreading like wildfire; socks are quickly becoming knee-highs and the line between shorts and knickers continues to blur.

We spend considerable time making everything on our loyal steed fit and look perfect. Bar tape and tire color are carefully coordinated to frame and decals; the tape is wrapped and finished expertly. Saddles are positioned with a spirit level. Cables are cut to the shortest length possible to allow for smooth and friction-free braking and shifting. Cable ends are trimmed to the shortest sensible length. Tires are mounted with labels mounted directly above the valve. And yet the valve stems themselves have recklessly been allowed to grow ever longer.

The Prophet and De Vlaeminck didn’t ride around with 5cm of valve stem sticking out of their rims. Granted, they only had one length to choose from, but that one length stems were made in was obvious: as short as possible. Valve stems need to be managed just like everything else on our bikes. They need to protrude from the rim enough to allow for a pump head to be securely attached to it; anything more is ugly and dead weight. (Incidentally, if you are using a pump with a screw-on head like a Lezyne or Silca, then this means all you need is the threads of the valve core plus a few millimeters to allow for the head to securely thread on.)

For those among us riding deep section rims, forget the long-stem inner tubes. Buy tubes with 32mm stems with removable cores and use the shortest valve extender possible. Under no circumstances should one use an inner tube without removable cores. It is important, however, that upon removing the tube from its package and before installing it or placing it in your kit, that the core be removed and reinstalled using a small wrap of plumber’s tape; this will ensure that the core does not unthread with your pump head, causing a disappointing deflation of both spirit and tire.

Bring back the balance. Stop this long valve madness and get thee to your local bike shop for some fresh, short-stemmed tubes.

We are not savages, my children. We are the Velominati. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

 

// La Vie Velominatus

  1. @pistard

    @Puffy

    @frank

    This is why you are still but a Pedalwan, my son. Comparing valve stem length to sock length is a hopelessly rookie move. They are different things entirely, but I understand your confusion; it is in the nature of a Pedalwan to strive to draw connections between the unconnected.
    The middle ground lies between a valve that can not be engaged to function, and one which it superfluously long. The stems in question are perfect.

    Pedalwan I am, but question I must since it is the question that leads to knowlege, not the answer.

    How are sock length and stem length theory not connected? Too short a stem is unusable, as is too short a sock. We look for a higher than ankle length sock for no functional reason, merely good form. In the same way, a valve stem need not be so short and stubby. A little length looks good.

    However negligible, definitely lighter and more aero, a shorter valve stem is. Socks may or may be not, so purely aesthetic, their length is.

    The longer the valve stem, to flop around and make noise the greater potential. Socks, not so much.

    Your month off has done you well, my son. Exceptionally strong work.

  2. Interesting timing. My pal who rides to get around flatted last week and was trying to get a long enough valve to work with his Mavic CXP33s. Need something like 42mm or more. He was all excited to get the wheel back together, then realized he couldn’t inflate the tube.

    Hmm, what to do. Vredestein latex tubes have really long valves, something approaching 50mm. How they look on Open Pro rims has bothered me, but I otherwise really like these tubes. They’re okay on deeper rims, but not ol’ short lads.

    I’m a big, big fan of smooth valves, and gold valves too.

  3. @frank

    I would submit that ideal length is (a) subjective and (b) that mine is dependent on using a Lezyne or other pump that screws on and (c) not to take any of this crap too seriously. Except the bit about the nut because that’s just crazy talk.

    Go as short as is reasonable with your pump.

    The moment I start taking any of this too seriously is the day I go insane and get on a recumbent…:shudders:

  4. I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

  5. @Hashola

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    Don’t be.

  6. @Hashola Reads like Asshole if you squint.

  7. @unversio

    @Hashola Reads like Asshole if you squint.

    Chapeau!

  8. @Jamie

    @unversio

    @Hashola Reads like Asshole if you squint.

    Chapeau!

    Brilliant!

  9. @unversio

    @Hashola

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    Don’t be.

    Of course this is quite amusing as it implies @arshola has been around for a while and so is damning themselves!

  10. @Teocalli

    @unversio

    @Hashola

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    Don’t be.

    Of course this is quite amusing as it implies @arshola has been around for a while and so is damning themselves!

    My favorite part is the apparent feeling of obligation to take the time to post in order to state the obvious.

  11. @Ron

    Hmm, what to do. Vredestein latex tubes have really long valves, something approaching 50mm. How they look on Open Pro rims has bothered me, but I otherwise really like these tubes. They’re okay on deeper rims, but not ol’ short lads.

    As mentioned before, those are the exact tubes that got my dander up and finally brought me to the point of savagery. Balance was lost.

    Besides being more sensible length-wise, the Vittorias are thicker tubes and ride almost as well and are much less prone to punctures.

  12. @frank

    My favorite part is the apparent feeling of obligation to take the time to post in order to state the obvious.

    I’m chuckling like Beavis after a big pull on a bong.

  13. @frank   Yes I was stepping over that but I too find it amusing when folk go to the trouble of subscribing only to post diatribe and not just here.

  14. @Hashola

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    We have a life. Welcome to it.

  15. Chop wood. Carry water. Enjoy your life.

  16. @frank

    Besides being more sensible length-wise, the Vittorias are thicker tubes and ride almost as well and are much less prone to punctures.

    Except the only Vittoria tubes that come in 36mm are for 25-28 tyres and they aren’t going to fit in my frame. 19-23 are 42mm and the latex are all 50mm.

    I kinda thought this artical should be accompanied by a list of tubes that have short stems…

  17. @pistard

    However negligible, definitely lighter and more aero, a shorter valve stem is. Socks may or may be not, so purely aesthetic, their length is.
    The longer the valve stem, to flop around and make noise the greater potential. Socks, not so much.

    Ok. I shall consider myself “told”. You have convinced me. It’s just going to have to wait however, I’ve got six tubes left in 42mm. Still with the wet season upon us, they shouldn’t last more than a few weeks.

  18. @Hashola

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    I tried to “get a life.”  When that didn’t pan out, I realized I’d rather ride a bicycle and debate velominutiae with all that free time.  Fortunately, I’m not alone.

  19. @Hashola@Teocalli@unversio@PeakInTwoYears , @scaler911@Optimiste

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    This is why we call it La Vie Velominatus.

  20. @Optimiste

     

    I tried to “get a life.” When that didn’t pan out, I realized I’d rather ride a bicycle and debate velominutiae with all that free time. Fortunately, I’m not alone.

    Velominutiae should be in the Lexicon.  Though I’ve never been good at malarky or whatever, so I won’t attempt to come up with a definition.

  21. @frank Thanks. I promise not to wear it with my Carrera denim bibs.

  22. @Hashola

    I continue to be surprised by the simple fact that you people really need to get a life.

    I have a life, and it’s good. And I get to discuss important topics (bikes) with interesting and entertaining people via the Interweb. Looking forward to riding with some of them in 3-D.

  23. I joined The Order today just for this post alone…for decades now I have watched the stem length fiasco continue  on it’s terrible trajectory …my complaints to other riders went unheeded,  of course…so I am so glad to see The Order taking a stand on this….long overlooked!

  24. i did not believe is till i saw it very hot

  25. @PeakInTwoYears

    @frank

    My favorite part is the apparent feeling of obligation to take the time to post in order to state the obvious.

    I’m chuckling like Beavis after a big pull on a bong.

    I have to say, it was brilliant thinking having the random selection of old articles that pop up be available. I don’t read ‘em often but when I do, rarely do I not find a post that cracks me up and made the time well spent. >>> chuckling like Beavis after a big pull on a bong <<< Sometime in 2015 that line’s gonna get used with great effect.

    @PeakInTwoYear’s post followed a random post from someone apparently surprised at how “… the simple fact that you people really need to get a life” ! Hah!! May 2015 provide us all with plenty of opportunity to obsess over our bikes, our rides, the countryside we see on our bikes, our friends on bikes and allow us to be completely and blissfully unconfronted by the otherwise looney tunes nonsense that real life can bring us every day on the front pages of newspapers. Cheers all!

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