What's with these new threadless Presta valve stems?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by stevecoh1, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    This year, for the first time, I'm seeing tubes sold that don't have threads on their Presta valve stems. First time I saw it was on a new bike. Now, I have to be careful when buying tubes - I make sure the stems have threads.

    Why? When inflating a tire with a threadless stem, frequently the pump valve will blow itself off the stem before the pressure gets to the level I want. That never happened with a threaded valve stem.

    Who asked for this "innovation"? What is the point of it, to save a few pennies per tube? I am increasingly annoyed by the cheapening of bicycle components. Another one was cyclocomputer attachment mechanisms. The ones sold ten years ago had mechanisms for solidly attaching the sensors and computers. The new ones are cheaper. One model I bought for my wife fell off during a ride. Frequently, the wind will push the sensor into the spokes while transporting the bike on the roof rack requiring moving it back before or during the ride. That never used to happen. What was wrong with the old way?
     
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  2. toomanybikes

    toomanybikes New Member

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    I suspect that they are cheaper to manufacture.

    Doesn't metter if we didn't ask for 'em, if they're cheaper that's what we'll get.

    I expect the advertising to start soon telling us why they're better.
     
  3. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I think all of the people using Michelin tubes would disagree w/ you. Threadless presta valves don't bung up the rubber grommet in your pump head. Maybe you need to check your pump: the head should not be "blowing" off. Maybe you need a new grommet.

    If you have a question re: sensors and bike computers, you oughta give specifics.

    There is nothing sacred or intrinsically better about the "old" way for anything.
     
  4. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    Right. I'm trying to think what power we as consumers have in this. Here's what I would recommend: Anyone about to buy a new bike who sees these threadless valve stems should make the purchase conditional on the shop replacing the tubes with threaded ones. If the shops start getting this kind of pressure maybe they can exert some pressure back on the manufacturers - both of bikes and tubes. This is ridiculous. I doubt they're saving more than a couple of pennies per tube.
     
  5. John M

    John M New Member

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    Threadless valve stems is not an innovation. Tubular tires have never had threads on their valve stems and therefore do not have nuts to hold them to the rim. This is so that in the event of a blow-out/roll-off, the tire could theoretically separate freely from the rim and not get tangled in the bike/wheel. Although a properly glued tubular will not come off the rim in the event of a flat. Obviously, a clincher will not come off the rim becuase of the tire bead.

    The solution for the pump blowing off is to make sure that the rubber grommet in the pump head that seals onto the valve is not too worn.

    I do agree with you that there has been a general cheapening of the construction quality of all things--not just bicycle components--in recent years.
     
  6. supergrill

    supergrill New Member

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    There is nothing new about them. There have been both theaded and unthreaded valvestem presta tubes around for decades.
     
  7. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    My pump is less than six months old. Maybe it's not the highest quality but I had no issues with it until these threadless valve stems came along.

    I don't have a question. I have a complaint. But I'm glad to give you specifics.

    The older models such as the ones Vetta sold about a dozen years ago had an attachment mechanism that was like a plastic version of a radiator hose clamp. Very solid attachment, the thing never moved. Now, every cyclocomputer I've seen sold uses thin "cable-tie" systems that just don't bind with the same force. I've bought cyclocomputers from SigmaSport, Performance's Axiom, CatEye. The latest CatEye I bought doesn't even use screws in the computer mount attachment.

    It seems that every year, the computers get better from an electronic/ergonomic perspective and worse from a mechanical perspective.

    And the one that fell off my wife's bike was the "dB 4LW" that Performance has been trying to get rid of for years at bargain prices. Caveat emptor on this piece of garbage. I should have returned it right away when I saw the attachment mechnanism. It was completely non-solid. But I kept it and sure enough, on my wife's first or second ride with the thing, the computer fell off and she didn't notice.

    Did I say that? I certainly did not. I said the old way was better in these cases and gave my reasons why. Don't try to defend the industry's cheapening of componentry with an argument this weak. There is nothing sacred or intrinsically better about the "new" way, either. I've given you specifics. Please put up or shut up.
     
  8. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    I'll take your word for it, but I've never seen them until this year.
     
  9. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    It has nothing to do with cheapening. Those heavy duty clamps work terribly if at all on any kind of aero shaped fork leg. The legs on my Kinesis fork are so sharp that cable ties won't even work. I use rubber bands cut from old tubes, and they work perfectly. Same deal with the bar mounts. There are more shapes and sizes of bars around now than there used to be, and most people would rather use cable ties than have to mess around with shims.
     
  10. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Touchy aren't we? Well, FWIW, my pump never blows off the Michelin threadless presta valves....doesn't matter whether it's my floor pump or my itty bitty CO2 inflator.

    No computer I've used over the last 10 years has moved, nor have the sensors. Those computers include Cateye Astrales of varying vintages, Cateye dual wireless, and now, Polar CS200 cad (which BTW is attached w/ spindly zip ties that work just fine, and when I switch to the new bike, I just may attach it w/ the rubber bands.).

    No one said there is anything sacred or better about the new ways. Everything has to be evaluated on its own terms. You obviously feel you have issue w/ some of your kit, but others using the same kit as you have zero problems. Maybe you just have bad luck.
     
  11. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    Well, maybe I just have a crummy pump. But it is a new one and as I said I had no problems until these tubes came into my life.

    Do you ever put your bike up on a roof rack? That's usually the time I get movement. The constant force of the high-speed air pushes the sensor out or position. It didn't used to happen with the older radiator-hose style clamps where you could get a tighter fit on my bike but maybe other bikes had troubles with it.
    All right, so both of us are responding to straw men. I thought you were responding to an argument I hadn't made ("The old way is always better") and you never said "The new way is always better."

    But certainly for me, some new stuff is no improvement. For example, the Cateye 7 comes with a mounting system that uses no screws, instead relying on a blob of rubber cement into which the the mount sets into position, held by cable ties. The problem with this setup is you'd better position the thing exactly where you want it because you can't move it later. And sometimes you might want to, say if you later get a new piece of handlebar-mounted equipment like a headlight. I can see no way this could be better for the user than a screwed-on attachment. The only advantage is to the manufacturer in cheapening the product.

    And see, none of the advertising or catalog entries for these things explains the mounting mechanism. Which is why I say that although the display and electronic functionality continues to improve, the hardware aspects are getting worse.
     
  12. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    As I said, in my other reply, the problem with the handlebar-mount systems relying on cable ties is that they're much harder to move to a different position later. For that reason I would much prefer a screw-based attachment mechanism with shims here. Sure, it may be a little harder to install initially, but once installed you can move it easily - to a new position or to another bike. You don't get that with a cable-tie system. And mounting systems are rarely sold separately from computers.

    And none of the catalogs provide the least bit of information on this. When you mail-order a cyclocomputer you have no idea what attachment mechanism it's going to use. The manufacturers should either provide both systems or allow the consumer to make an informed choice. Then you'd have some real data - 80% choose cable ties, or whatever, based on sales data. Instead, we have you saying what "most people" would rather. What is this based on? Nothing that I can see. Your "most people would rather" defense sounds to me like a rationalization for a decision already made to cheapen the product.
     
  13. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    There are nearly 100,000 registered users on this forum and only one complaining about their computer mount. Sounds better than 80%. Every computer maker on the planet didn't switch to cable ties on the same day. Given the choice, enough consumers chose them to make the rest of the industry follow. If you really want a close look at a computer's mounting system, perhaps you could try supporting your local bike shop.
     
  14. otherworld

    otherworld New Member

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    As others have said, unthreaded valve stems have been around for years and are far better than threaded ones. I use Michelin tubes and even on track bike tyres inflated to 150 - 160 psi with a floor pump the head doesn't pop off untill the clamp is released. One of the advantages is that the pump head comes away easily and the seals last much longer.
    The seals on your pump have probably been damaged by using them on threaded and should be replaced.

    Kind Regards Jay
     
  15. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    Art, that's ridiculous. Any given complaint that anyone could make about any bicycling equipment would only be made by a very small minority of forum users - those who felt it important enough to comment about.

    But if you took a poll of users and ask them if they preferred screw-mounted or cable-tie-mounted cyclocomputers, I'll bet the results would be different. I'll bet the industry never took such a poll. I'll bet they didn't do extensive consumer testing. They have never attempted to advertise or even publicize their mounting hardware. They have never attempted to differentiate on that basis. ALL marketing of these things is on the basis of the electronics. I guess most people care most about the electronics, so the manufacturers get to go cheap on the non-sexy stuff like mounting brackets. I'll bet they spend most of their money on the electronics, and the mounting hardware is an afterthought - go as cheap as the market will let you get away with. There was never a market test: since the mounting hardware is never advertised or publicized, the consumers don't get to choose on that basis.

    But how do you even know that nobody's complained about this here before? The search engine in use here is horribly primitive. I tried searching for cyclocomputer mounting screw and it does an "OR" search for any of the three words. So I don't think either of us knows.

    On the other hand, using Google, I was quickly able to do the same search. And whaddaya know - the very first item it retrieved: http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Computer/product_20696.shtml
    contained a comment making exactly the same point as me. (Look for the item submited by "[size=-1]Larry a Weekend Warrior from Long Island, NY")

    The real question is, if any of us think screw-and-shim mounts are better, is there anything consumers can do to get the manufacturers to use them? I don't think so.
    [/size]
     
  16. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    There seems to be a difference of opinion. You make a good case for your side. I do wonder, though why I haven't seen unthreaded valve stems before. Has the industry recently decided to switch? I've been buying tubes for years in bike shops and via mail order and I never saw one before this year.

    I don't think my pump is damaged, it may be of poor quaility (cost about $29, instead of the more expensive models), but it continues to handle threaded valve stems just fine. I'm not sure where I'd go to obtain new seals.

    Again, it would be nice if the industry would let the consumer know if the tubes they were selling were threaded or unthreaded because obviously there are some cyclists who prefer each type.
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Well now that you know what to look for, if and when you go to your LBS, uhm, look. In case you didn't read it before, at least Michelin has been making threadless prestas for a very long time. In fact, other tube manufacturer's have stopped selling threadless prestas and other riders are not happy 'bout that. If you haven't seen threadless prestas before, it's because you weren't looking to see them.

    And FWIW, computer mounts are not part of some conspiracy. If you want a computer with screws and shims, buy one. If you buy one that doesn't have screws and shims, return it. If you mount and use one that doesn't have screws and shims and you don't like it, tough luck. Life's a b*tch and then you die.
     
  18. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    There we go. Who said anything about "conspiracy"? Only you, my friend.
    Another straw man. What I will say is I want information on the mounting of cyclocomputers made available to me before I buy one and I want information about threaded or threadless prestas made available to me before I buy one. I guess I can get it one way or the other (call the mail order house?) but the manufacturers and mail order vendors ought to provide that info routinely.

    Why are you guys so hostile to consumers who want to be better informed about what they're being sold?
     
  19. pod

    pod New Member

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    The first hostile remarks on this thread were yours.
    "Please put up or shut up."
    All the poster did was politely give his opinion on the issues raised in your original post. Not everyone is going to agree with you and fwiw I don't either:
    I've never had any trouble with threadless valve stems but if they (or threaded ones) are too short then you will have lots of troubles. You need to buy the right ones for your rims if that is the problem.
    I much prefer cable ties for mounting things on my bike. They work fine if you use the rubber base pads that usually come with the equipment. If you don't read the instructions and leave out the base pads things will slide around. If there were no base pads then cut some pads out of an old tube and you will find things stay in place just fine. As far as moving things fixed with cable ties, go and buy a packet from the hardware. They cost a couple of dollars for a packet of a hundred which will last you the rest of your life. Very easy to cut the old ones and use new ones to reinstall.
     
  20. stevecoh1

    stevecoh1 New Member

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    Not entirely. He also accused me of saying "The old way is always better". That was what ticked me off. Still, I'll concede an overreaction on my part.

    Let me sum it up.

    I listed two issues where I thought a general trend toward cheapening the product was making things worse for the consumer.

    1. Threadless valve stems - I'll concede there is strong difference of opinion. The threadless ones were new to me, I assumed this was an instance of cheapening - I'm now convinced that's not the case, although I myself still prefer threaded.

    2. Cyclocomputers - cable ties vs. screw-thread attachment. Here, no one has convinced me that cheapening of the hardware is not involved. You may prefer cable ties - I don't. They might be acceptable if you will never move the computer on the handlebar or to a new bike. As a consumer, this represents a small but definite decrease in value of the product to me. With a screw and shim setup I don't have to make runs to hardware store or anything else. I just unscrew it and move it. I like that system. The manufacturers can get away with this, because it's not the sort of the thing you care about until you try to do it. And it's not a conspiracy either, it's the economics of the industry - the competition is in electronics, not hardware. But the consumers have little choice in the matter - and soon, if my judgment of history is correct, we'll have none. Now, if I shop carefully, I can probably still find a screw-mounted cyclocomputer. In two or three years, probably I won't be able to.

    But it's hard to exert any influence on this as a consumer, since the sellers don't even find this attribute worthy of mention in their catalogs. There is a general cheapening of hardware going on, and all you have given me is a way around it. I'm still not sure why you're unwilling to admit that the cheapening exists. Sure, we can live with it. But I'd rather not.
     
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