September 2016 Product Picks — Ritchey, WickWërks, Topeak, Scott, MilKit, and Sako7

by James Huang

September 19, 2016

September signals the start of autumn for CyclingTips readers in the northern hemisphere, but on the flip side — literally — it ushers in the beginning of spring for those south of the equator. In either case, it’s also time for some of the best riding conditions of the year.

In this edition of Product Picks, CyclingTips U.S. technical editor James Huang reviews a few items to check out before you head out on the road — a set of super wide-range chainrings from WickWërks, some higher-end alloy clincher wheels from Ritchey, Topeak’s cleverly compact torque wrench, Scott’s racing-focused RC road shoes, a novel approach to tubeless valve stems by MilKit, and last but not least, hard-to-miss socks from Sako7.

Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:


MilKit tubeless valve and maintenance kit

by James Huang

Although generally praised for its ability to blend ride comfort and grip with the convenience of fewer flats, tubeless tire systems aren’t exactly known for their setup ease. Sealant is messy, for one, and tires can also be tricky to fully seat on the rim.

Upstart company MilKit aims to help with the sealant aspect of the equation, with a set of clever tubeless valve stems and a novel syringe design that makes it a little easier — and cleaner — to deal with the goop.

The valve stems are equipped with supplemental seals at the rim end that are meant to maintain some air pressure inside the tire even with the valve core removed — at least enough to keep the tire locked on to the rim.

When paired with the long-and-skinny tip of the included syringe, the idea is that you can remove the cores, insert the syringe needle, and suck out the sealant for a firsthand peek at its condition and amount. All of this can be done without unseating (or even completely deflating) the tire.


The key to the MilKit tubeless system is its unique valve core, which uses a supplemental seal at its base. It holds air inside the tire, but still allows you to extract the sealant inside (with the included syringe and plastic needle) and inspect how much is left and its condition.

Meanwhile, little extensions pierce through those supplemental seals when the valve stem is depressed, allowing you to remove or add air pressure as you normally would.

All of this is neatly housed in the syringe body itself for a neat little package.

Our Take:

The MilKit system is great in theory, but not quite so rosy in practice.

As promised, MilKit does help clean up the often-messy process of setting up tubeless tires. With this system, you can simply mount and seat the tire dry, and then just add sealant later through the valve core, all without spilling a single drop. As promised, the syringe needle and proprietary valves also let you extract the sealant later on to see how things are looking in there without having to take everything apart.


A plastic extension on the end of the otherwise standard Presta valve core pierces through the supplemental seal so you can bleed off air as usual — or, at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

All of the bits also seem well made, and the valve stems worked in a wide range of rim shapes (although the sole 35mm valve stem length will only work with shallow-profile wheels).

However, the needle is easily clogged if your sealant has gotten old and chunky, and you still have to remove the tire if you need to remove any of those dreaded “Stanimals” you hear rolling around inside the tire casing. The plastic extensions on my valve stem samples also weren’t long enough to fully break the supplemental seal, either, so I wasn’t able to bleed off any air without using the syringe needle on its own, or a smaller Allen wrench.


The included tube and valve lets you inject sealant in through the valve without making a mess.

Finally, the system is awfully pricey for what it is, especially when much of what MilKit offers (save for the fancy valve stem seals) can already be done with the stuff already on the market. Convenience often comes at a cost, but in this case, there doesn’t seem to be enough added convenience to justify the outlay.

Price: US$56 / AU$72 / £44 / €56