SILCA is proud of their reputation as “THE name in premium bicycle inflation for nearly 100 years” and they are still innovating products to ensure they boast that title for another 100 years. SILCA's team is made up of riders who know bikes and experience the real frustrations that cyclists suffer in the field, and they are designing products to address those frustrations. Exhibit A is the Tubeless Valve Kit with Speed Shield, designed to strike the perfect balance between strength and weight while improving the aerodynamic properties of your wheel. SILCA engineered a fantastic compromise for heavy brass stems and their brittle aluminum counterparts, striking gold with a durable, sleek valve.
When it comes to fine-tuning a bike, every gear nerd loves the numbers, and SILCA is highlighting a lot of good statistics that make this an obvious buy. A cold drawn aluminum process is used, a more expensive process than the standard valve manufacturing procedure which allows the SILCA valves to weigh less than 50% of the weight of brass stems, yet stand 50–200% stronger. A speed shield manufactured from high strength silicon protects your wheel from scratches while reducing power requirements by 0.2-0.3 watts per wheel at 30 mph. Its obvious that these guys are stoked on their design process and these are only the highlights of a long list of features that really make this valve a high quality product.
The design process mentioned above is specifically intended to leave more internal space inside of the valve to improve airflow and make them more tolerable of sealant. The speed shield's many features include increased aerodynamic quality while simultaneously reducing the bending risk of fragile stems. They also help to reduce scratches on carbon wheels.
Since starting my journey down the path to tubeless bliss, my frustration with weak valve stems was the only roadblock to truly enjoying my tubeless setup. Weak valve cores that spit sealant when actuated and a bent core that made loosening the pin to inflate the tire a process in itself were just a couple of my frustrations. Valve rattle would back the valve nut off the wheel and brittle pin caps were bound to crack and eventually disappear, followed by that dancing valve nut. As the dent in my wheel just above the valve stem can testify, I'm hard on my rims and I need something tougher to keep me inflated on the trail.
Just opening and examining the SILCA kit I could feel the durability and quality of the product. The valves were simple to install and went on quickly, requiring a tight seal to the rim while firmly compressing the speed shield on the opposite side. The glue on the speed shield created a nice tight seal to the rim. The speed shield has a spherical recess for the valve nut and provides a solid housing for a valve that I have never before experienced. Even the cap is more durable, protecting the sturdy brass core contained inside of an aluminum stem. With this system, the valve truly becomes part of the wheel, not just a weak point in an otherwise durable tubeless system.
SILCA is supplying valves at 44mm, 60mm, 80mm and 100mm, ranging in price from $26.00 for the 44mm system to $34.00 for the 100mm valves. Compared to a similar 44mm valve, which comes in around $15.00, I can attest that the hike in price is easily worth the goods. This system is determined to last twice as long as the other brands I have used in the past and it will pay for itself in terms of both longevity and durability. They even provide a valve extension kit that can increase the length up to 120mm total.
SILCA sent these valves to us just as my frustration was peaking with my old valves and they have come as a very pleasant improvement to my old setup, one of those rare system improvements that I didn't know I needed but could now never move away from. Whether I'm pumping my bike in a hurry, taking large rock drops or having a rough day on the trail, my confidence in these valves is strengthened by a high quality and high tech product. Check out the SILCA inflation prestige here and pick up a new set of valves for yourself. This is an investment you will not regret: