October 12, 2017 - Scott Wilson answers a burning question on our guest blog.
What’s this nut for?
Look at the picture of a presta valve, exploded. You see the stem, the valve core, the cap … and that weird little round nut.
It’s an installation nut, or a jam nut. Its job is to keep the valve from sinking into the wheel when you try to pump up the tire (photos below). Once there’s enough air pressure in the tire to keep the valve from going under, the nut’s job is done and it should be removed.
And there are a couple good reasons to keep it on.
Most people these days are using extra-long valve stems and don’t need installation nuts at all. This trend is reflected by the increasing popularity of smooth, threadless valve stems.
There’s also a belief that that the installation nut will keep the valve from rattling. This is sort of true as long as the nut stays tight against the rim, but the picture above proves why that’s a bad idea. If you have problems with the valve shaking about, do like the pros and stack up a few layers of electrical tape, put a hole in the middle, and put that over the valve, like so ...
But just because installation nuts aren’t particularly necessary, doesn’t mean you should throw them away. They have lots of uses, like acting as spacers when installing a rack ...
Or they can be used as bracelets for your doll collection. Or you can make a necklace out of them. Be creative and post your installation nut uses in the comments below or on Adventure Cycling’s Facebook page.
Photos by Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson is a recent graduate of Columbia College’s MFA, nonfiction writing program, a nine-year veteran bicycle mechanic, and long-time reader of Adventure Cyclist magazine. He lives in Chicago and his writing can be found in anthologies by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, and the Chicago Anthology by Belt Publishing. His personal blog, where he writes about the technical aspects of cycling from an insider’s perspective, is BikeBlogorDie.com
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