Photos by Mercedes Lilienthal and Ben Allread
One of the most unexpected things that can happen on the trail is slicing a tire’s valve stem. It’s a small detail many overlook, but destroying a valve stem can mean the end of your off-roading adventure if you don’t have a spare tire or means to replace it.
Arkansas-based Colby Valve offers a variety of premium valve stems to replace standard rubber units. Gone are the days of cheap rubber tubing; in are heavy-duty, low-profile quality brass fittings. I recently reviewed their patented US-made Ultimate Valve System permanent valve stems.
Colby Valve Ultimate Replacement Valve Stems
Colby Valve Ultimate valve stems boast an extra short length which lessens the opportunity of trail-side mishaps. Made of quality brass components, Colby Valve replacement stems install from the outside of the wheel and are ready to go in approximately one minute per valve stem. The Ultimate series fits standard .453 wheel openings (which fits trucks, SUVs, and even most bikes). Colby Valve states their products are 20 times stronger than standard valves so we decided to see for ourselves. Colby Valve retails the same standard valve core as stock or OE stems.
How Do You Install an Ultimate Valve Stem?
1. Take vice grips or needle-nose pliers and remove the old valve stem (this should be done with care to not damage the inner surface or edge of the hole).
2. Push the remainder of the valve stem into the hole (if needed).
3. Take the replacement stem out of the packaging and pop it into the hole.
4. Tighten the nut with a 7/16-inch socket or wrench. Do not overtighten as the rubber gasket could pinch. Tighten enough to create a seal that normally would be tight enough to fit the valve cap on.
5. Fill the tire with the appropriate amount of air.
6. Screw the Colby Valve cap on.
Colby Valve Ultimate replacement valve stems are quick to install, low profile, are made from durable components, and can withstand trail hazards better than traditional stock valve stems. During the last few months of travel, our replacement valve stems have held air perfectly and were easy to deflate. Our testers worked adequately with our Pajero’s Fifteen52 analog HD wheels. However, due to their flat design and lip location, the Ultimates protrude farther than anticipated with their metal bases gently resting against the inside wheel lip. Once tightened, we knew it wouldn’t budge. Ben Allread, who also runs Colby Valve Ultimates on his Toyota 4Runner, says they fit perfectly. They’re nestled deeply into his wheel’s valve stem hole with plenty of allowance.
In sales of approximately 20,000 units, Colby Valve is aware of only three customers having fitment issues. They are happy to work with customers to achieve proper fitment; they also boast a no-
questions-asked return policy. (FYI, Colby Valve’s products do not fit in Indian Sport motorcycles with stock wheels.)
If customers are concerned about Ultimate valve stems being too short for their wheels, their Permanent tire valve system has the same design, but are ½ an inch longer.
In addition to the Ultimate valve stem replacements, Colby Valve makes an emergency tire valve system: a no-tools-required kit to replace shredded valve stems. These are great to keep in a tire patch kit. They also make the XL emergency tire valve and the aforementioned Permanent tire valve system. They showcase a variety of patented American-made products, which, when in a pinch, can get you home from a trail disaster in no time.
Colby Valve Ultimate Valve System 2-pack list price: $35, colbyvalve.com
Easy to install
Made in the USA
Made from high-quality materials
May protrude out further with some wheel designs
Not the least expensive option