Terske Titanium Valve Stems by Lindarets: A Closer Look
Launched this fall, the new Terske Titanium Tubeless Valve Stems by Lindarets are four times stronger than alloy ones, have replaceable rubber gaskets, and are made to last. Here’s a closer look at this nifty little upgrade, plus an interview with designer Marc Basiliere, who shares his product design approach and philosophy…
It would be reasonable of you to be skeptical of the benefits offered by titanium valve stems. And in truth I was initially more interested in the titanium aspect than the features that Terske outlines on their website. But after meeting and riding with the product designer responsible for this neat little upgrade—and installing a set of my own—I’ve grown to appreciate their design and price tag.
Designed by Marc Basiliere of Lindarets, the same designer responsible for the Yaak Carbon Magnetic Belt that appeared in my 2019 Editor’s Dozen, the Terske Titanium Tubeless Valve Stems were designed to be better and more durable than standard aluminum ones. Although they may not look too different, there’s actually quite a lot going on behind those titanium walls. For starters, the through hole is 86% larger than standard stems, the stem is four times stronger, and the rubber rim gasket is replaceable.
The packaging alone is the first indicator that Marc considers every aspect of the products he designs. Made from Tyvek, a material commonly used for DIY ground sheets, the bag has instructions on how to use it as an emergency tire boot, plus it’s recyclable. The valves themselves are sleek, with finishes that are bound to look great on any rim. They are available in four different colour combinations: Natural Ti with blue nut, Natural Ti with red nut, gold, and off-black. Besides the through hole being larger, the main gasket is quite large, which I’ve found to help with tubeless setups in creating a better seal. I easily set up a new set of tires that had never been mounted on my rims using a Lezyne Travel Floor Pump, and again a second time with a Milkit Tubeless Booster.
From a bikepacking perspective, I can see two real advantages of using Terske’s Titanium Valve Stems. First, titanium is stronger than aluminum. Although it isn’t the most common trailside issue, a broken valve isn’t a fun problem to deal with while bikepacking. After testing both types of stems, Marc was able to apply four times the force to the titanium stems than the aluminum ones, after which the titanium valves would bend, while the aluminum ones would shear off completely.
The second advantage? The larger thru hole has the potential to make backcountry tubeless repairs a little easier, and means less clogged sealant in the long run. This, coupled with the ability to replace the gaskets and valve cores using Terske’s $9.95 Refresh Kits, has me convinced.
There’s a visible difference between the Terske Titanium Valve Stems and the more standard aluminum stems most people are using. Check out a visual comparison below. Note the larger thru hole, the shape and size of the valve head, and just how great they look.
I had questions after meeting Marc last November, so I put together a Q&A to learn more about him, his company, and the more technical aspects of his titanium valve stems.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Seeing as we’re talking bikes, I started riding over 30 years ago on a Huffy Stalker mountain bike paid for by mowing lawns… and fell in love with the freedom and discovery that bikes allowed. I was the typical shop rat throughout high school before proceeding to Lyndon State College for a degree in outdoor recreation program management and experiential education. Kingdom Trails was just getting off the ground in the next town over, and after graduation I briefly served as the group’s executive director before taking on the GDMBR with a college buddy and heading to the UK to pursue a degree in product design.
After that, I spent some time as a bike messenger and waiter/mechanic/guide/housekeeper in the French Alps. My trail maps from the time are on my office wall today, and a goat-filled local village served as the inspiration for both my company name and logo. Years later, I found myself as a mechanical designer and project manager for the process control and aerospace industries, where I learned a lot about how to work with design and production teams to create, source, and build products to a very high standard.
What about your company, Lindarets? Care to explain what you do there?
My contract structure changed after about a decade of working in aerospace, which left me with the time and space needed to play with some of my own ideas. The ReMote and GoatLink were the first couple of products to see daylight, addressing the awful ergonomics of stock dropper remotes at the time and improving shifting and chain wear with then-popular cassette extenders.
While I built a lot of the products myself, it was when I met and licensed those products to Wolf Tooth Components that things began to build momentum. Today, a good deal of the Lindarets catalog (ReMote, GoatLink/RoadLink, Valais, and more) is licensed to others, while I build and sell more niche items like the Narwheel and Titanium Tubeless Valve Stems through Lindarets.
Why titanium valve stems, of all things?
Much like following someone struggling with poor shifting on a cassette extender inspired the design of the GoatLink, seeing a rider snap his fancy red tubeless valve while pumping inspired the Ti valve stems. The change in material was enough to quadruple the strength without adding more than a gram or two per wheel. But what else would justify the added initial expense? Well, there’s too much disposable stuff out there. It’s the same reason why just about every part of the Wolf Tooth ReMote is readily upgraded or replaced. We made a point to have replacement gaskets and cores available inexpensively from day one. I had been playing with the head geometry as well and now have a patent pending on the geometry that helps to keep the tire bead from hanging up on the head of the valve, which makes tires easier to seat. They’re small things individually, but taken together they add up to a product that will be durable, functional, and justify the additional initial cost.
You’re responsible for some pretty clever designs. What influences this?
I think part of it has to be how I’m wired. As a product designer, a lot of what I do is try to puzzle out why certain decisions were made and how they shape the products we encounter. Sometimes they cause literal or figurative friction with the user. There’s little worse than a product that draws unnecessary attention to itself. Most ideas come from wanting or needing something that I can’t quite find on the market. By the time you’ve put the time and energy into building two front wheel holders for your van, you might as well give it a name (the Narwheel) and make a few hundred for others to use.
Take belts as another example. At one point I found myself looking for an outdoor belt that I liked. One that would be durable, hold my pants up, and not require adjustment every time I went to the restroom. The Yaak B-Series was the result: a simple tension hook design that has no moving parts and simply unhooks when nature calls. TSA checkpoints and nickel allergies drove the choice of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the buckle, which opened up the travel market. Because it’s great to be able to support domestic jobs, the buckles are molded in Minnesota and sewn here in Albuquerque by an education-focused nonprofit. The magnetic M–Series (which came later) is molded here in Albuquerque by the same folks who make the Wolf Tooth Valais.
So, it’s a process of questioning, designing, prototyping, and iterating, all guided by my desire to build products that bring something unique to the market, are durable and serviceable, and don’t get between you and your ride.
What’s a favourite project you’ve worked on?
Probably the ReMote. We went through quite a few iterations and talked to a ton of shops and mechanics to try to address as many issues as possible. It’s been great to be able to adapt the mount to quite a few brake lever standards as they’ve emerged.
Where do you get your inspiration when designing products?
Really, inspiration comes from the experience. As much as I love gear and take joy from a well-designed product or cool piece of bling, I love the experience of riding more. And there’s little worse than being distracted from your ride by something that’s not working well.
Any particularly challenging design problems you’ve solved?
The ReMote Sustain cable actuation kit for RockShox Reverb dropper posts was a big one. There are a lot of challenges associated with creating a retrofit like that, and it’s true what they say: the best are born not from complete freedom but from the most challenging constraints.
Are there new ideas or products in the works that you can share with our readers?
The closest that I can talk about is probably the long-promised slim belt from Yaak. The design is a little cleaner and the buckle will fit through Dickies and fancy active travel pants’ belt loops. We’re sooooo close, but it’s hard to know when the internal ribs and webbing feel and stretch are just right. There are also a number of smaller bike parts and accessories in testing now, and collaborations with bike and non-bike brands that probably won’t show up in my portfolio for a while.
- Material (as tested): Titanium, Brass, and Aluminum
- Weight: 5.3g grams (with dust caps, per stem)
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Price: $44.95 USD / $7.95 for Refresh Kit
- Manufacturer’s Details: Terske.com
I admire Marc’s approach to product design. As a cyclist himself, it’s clear he’s passionate about making things better, not just making things. To the unknowing, the Terske Titanium Valve Stems may seem like a frivolous purchase. However, if you consider the replaceable gaskets and proven durability, these valve stems are arguably much more sustainable than standard alloy options.
Personally I’ve been making a conscious effort to own less, focusing on high-quality, locally made products when possible, and there’s no reason why this mentality can’t cross over to smaller bike component purchases, too.
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