Detail of bicycle tire and valve. The valve is pointing downward from the 2 o'clock position. There is barely any gap between the black valve cap and the sliver nut securing the value to the hub. The hub is black and with a white "Mason X Hunt" logo which is upside-down from the viewer's perspective. The tire's sidewall is tan, with a logo partially shown in white. The logo says "King SK" in tan and "27.5x1.75 [650b]", "Made in Japan" and "TLC" in black.

Too short to satisfy

The weather was beautiful today, sunny and warm, but I had prior commitments. Rather than ride, I took to opportunity to swap out the inner tubes on Kuroko, as she was already out on the Workshop in the Sky.

The existing inner tubes are holding air well, which is their main job. The concern I have is that their valves stems are too short. This is noticeable in the rear, where it’s not really a problem, but really sticks out on the front (erm … by not sticking out, if you see what I mean) where it makes it hard to secure the pump head when I want to top up the air.

Shirt sleeves

With the mercury at 16C, I stepped out onto the balcony in sweatpants and a short-sleeved T-shirt. Not bad at all. Within minutes I had Kuroko in the bike rack, the front wheel off, and I was deflating the tire to remove the inner tube.

The tire still has quite a bit of latex residue inside from when I was running it tubeless. This is not an issue, so I’ll most likely keep using this tire until it’s worn out. After removing the new inner tube from its packaging, I gave it a minute in the talcum powder shake shack to make sure it wouldn’t pinch during installation. As is my usual practice, I gave the inner tube just enough air to give it shape, and then mounted it together with the tire on the rim using my hands only. (The Billy Bonkers required just a bit of tire lever at the end to get them on last week.)

Once mounted, I quickly filled the tire to 60psi with a number of satisfying pops as the tire seated on the rim. After inspecting the seat all the way round both sides and bouncing the wheel on the balcony floor a few times, I let all the air out again before inflating it to the final 40psi.

The rear tire went nearly as quickly, with the derailleur just giving a moment’s delay getting the wheel in and out of the frame (or out and back in, actually). With the wheels mounted in the frame once again I gave them a spin, made sure there was no rubbing, and checked the brakes. All good.

Stop the clock!

I had the impression I was done in about 20 minutes, and well satisfied with my work. In fact it was about 40 minutes by the time I had Kuroko out of the stand and had refitted the saddlebag (which has to come off for the bicycle stand). Regardless, I was satisfied with the result: valve stems that are clearly long enough that I won’t have any issue with topping up the air pressure while on the road — and they’re matched.

The last photo above shows the old valve stem from the rear tire. The valve core is decidedly bent. That explains why it had got so difficult to open when I needed to boost the air in the tire (which added motivation for the tube swap).

Now with that done in addition to Dionysus’s fattening up, the question remains: when will I get these beauties back on the road?

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