Orange Seal VersaValve Tubeless Valve Stem
We’re sold on Orange Seal’s Endurance formula sealant for long bikepacking trips… here’s why. Plus, a look at Orange Seal’s new VersaValve tubeless valve stem kit…
I’ll never forget the day I discovered a record-setting Stan’s-berg in my front tire. I was rolling down a spit of pavement somewhere deep on the TNGA. Flump. Flump! Flump. echoing inside the cavernous recesses of my 29×3.0 Maxxis Chronicle. It was unnerving. I stopped, excised it from the tire and marveled at its stature. Sometime thereafter, I switched to Orange Seal Endurance formula and haven’t looked back. I’ve since used it on big trips such as our ~2000 mile trip around Uganda and through Rwanda, with no flats to speak of, only to find it still liquid and in good shape afterwards. The ‘Endurance’ compound seems to ball up less and stay fluid for some time, even in dry climates, without creating Stanbergs, or ‘Stanimals’ as their often called — the balls of solidified latex that end up ricocheting inside your wheel when the compound dries out. It also does an excellent job sealing up thorn punctures.
While sealant choice is worth pondering, most people don’t give much thought to tubeless valve stems, other than carrying a spare. Be that as it may, there are issues that arise from time to time. Valve cores clog. The metal presta stems get bent on occasion. And sealant leaks from the rim’s valve hole, perhaps due to an improper-fitting rubber grommet or a bad tape job. To solve these issues and more, Orange Seal released their VersaValve tubeless valve stem kit back in the fall. We recently had a chance to take a look at it.
One notable innovation is that the Orange Seal VersaValve has a larger inner diameter than other valve stems for improved air flow (below left compared with a WTB valve stem). According to Orange Seal, this decreases the likelihood of clogs. And, while I don’t have scientific proof, it seemed to help make a floor pump tubeless setup job little easier too.
Otherwise, the most obvious breakthrough is that Orange Seal removed the rubber rim gasket molded to the end of the stem and made it interchangeable. The VersaValve package includes two different pairs of rubber grommets, one with a conical shape and the other with more of a beveled square profile. The idea behind the system is that the grommets can be matched to the interior shape of the rim bed profile to provide the perfect seal. As you can see in the photo below, I used the beveled square on this set of MASON x HUNT 650B AdventureSport Disc wheels which matched the rim bed perfectly. I was also impressed by the fact that the rubber gasket is situated in-between the large flat metal base, making it seem to create a more secure clamp between the rim and the grommet.
In addition to the extra grommets, the Orange Seal VersaValve kit comes with two anodized orange locknuts with corresponding O-rings, two replacement valve cores, and a valve core removal tool. The VersaValve kit is also available in several different lengths — 32, 48, 60, 80 — I am using the 48mm stems. Also worth mentioning, as shown above, each orange locknut has two opposing flat edges that allow it to be tightened with a 9mm box wrench. A nice touch when you really want to clamp them down.
As mentioned, the tubeless setup was a breeze with a floor pump and the VersaValve stems work as expected. I’ll make sure to update this post should any issues arise. Otherwise, the kits are available now; they are little pricey, but considering the versatility and extra valve cores, they might be a good investment if you are preparing for a big trip. The 32 and 48mm kits sell for $24.95, while the 60 and 80mm kits are $26.95. Pick some up at your local bike shop, or if you don’t have one, you can grab a set at JensonUSA.