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Discussion Starter #1
Are tire inserts like Cushcore and Tannus really required for most riders, or just people racing? Are they just a placebo effect, making people think they're better at damping? Anyone tried inserts and went back to just DD or DH like carcass tire? I'm guessing the cons would be weight and increase rolling resistance, any others? Seems like lots of people are convinced inserts are the way to go. I bike the North Shore (BC), lots of climbing and steep descents.
 

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I’m only a single data point-
I punch a few holes in rear tires every year riding a hardtail. Living in the Arizona desert. I bought a long-travel FS rig and cut two tires and destroyed a rear rim in like half a dozen rides. What can I say- I choose bad lines and I like to smash at Mach-chicken.
I wanted to test the ‘insert game’ so I bought 2.5” foam backer rod for like $12, which I cut in half so it was D-shaped and ziptied it into a circle. Stuck it in all 4 rims.

I haven’t had a tire cut or a rim strike in 6 months.
I can’t feel any rolling resistance, and the foam is 73g each wheel.
I’m never going back to insert-less wheels, even in my singlespeed wheels.


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I use Cushcore and feel the only cons are additional weight, increased difficulty installing/removing tires, and cost of inserts. The biggest benefit is the ability to reliably run lower tire pressures for increased grip and lower rolling resistance. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks in Enduro/DH racing, and the drawbacks outweigh the benefits in xc/marathon racing. That leaves normal trail riding in the middle and I think it comes down to terrain (chunkier favors inserts), rider weight (heavier favors inserts), and riding style (focused on descents favors inserts). My experience with Cushcore is limited to 29” Bontrager carbon rims. For reference, I weigh 200 lbs and never damaged a rim while running Cushcore. I have about 60 days worth of bike park riding on mostly black and double black trails at Windrock, in addition to a couple years worth of trail riding. I used to go through rear wheels almost annually before Cushcore.


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Discussion Starter #4
I’m only a single data point-
I punch a few holes in rear tires every year riding a hardtail. Living in the Arizona desert. I bought a long-travel FS rig and cut two tires and destroyed a rear rim in like half a dozen rides. What can I say- I choose bad lines and I like to smash at Mach-chicken.
I wanted to test the ‘insert game’ so I bought 2.5” foam backer rod for like $12, which I cut in half so it was D-shaped and ziptied it into a circle. Stuck it in all 4 rims.

I haven’t had a tire cut or a rim strike in 6 months.
I can’t feel any rolling resistance, and the foam is 73g each wheel.
I’m never going back to insert-less wheels, even in my singlespeed wheels.


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How does the foam backer rod compare to Cushcore? Does it absorb sealant? Circle the same diameter as the rim or slightly larger? Have you taken the foam out to see if there's any damage(slice marks)?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I use Cushcore and feel the only cons are additional weight, increased difficulty installing/removing tires, and cost of inserts. The biggest benefit is the ability to reliably run lower tire pressures for increased grip and lower rolling resistance. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks in Enduro/DH racing, and the drawbacks outweigh the benefits in xc/marathon racing. That leaves normal trail riding in the middle and I think it comes down to terrain (chunkier favors inserts), rider weight (heavier favors inserts), and riding style (focused on descents favors inserts). My experience with Cushcore is limited to 29” Bontrager carbon rims. For reference, I weigh 200 lbs and never damaged a rim while running Cushcore. I have about 60 days worth of bike park riding on mostly black and double black trails at Windrock, in addition to a couple years worth of trail riding. I used to go through rear wheels almost annually before Cushcore.


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What pressure were you run before Cushcore? Pressure with Cushcore?
 

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For normal trail riding I try and run 30r/25f without Cushcore, and 25r/20f with Cushcore. I run 2-3 psi higher in more technical terrain. 2.4 inch tires


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running Rimpact's in MTB and Gravel bike....went through three sets of rims on MTB before inserts....didn't want to do that with the gravel bike. Went from 25psi to 11.5 on mtb and from 28psi to 18 on gravel. No more rim dings, no more worry going through rock gardens...
 

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I just got my first set of inserts (Tannus Tubeless) about 4 rides ago.

I’m a 6’1” intermediate-ish rider who weighs around 200lbs geared up. I live a few hours south of you in the greater Seattle area. So I’m in vaguely similar terrain and weather. I’m also no racer.

I run a WTB verdict front tire, and Michelin Wild Enduro rear. The verdict was installed at the same time as the inserts (front and rear). The Wild enduro rear I had on before the addition of the insert, and has been an interesting experiment.

So far, I’ve noticed that inserts let me run 5-6psi less pressure in the rear tire than I used to run (seems like 16psi feels about like 22psi used to be without the insert, both being about as low as I’d go).

I tried out the inserts, because in the winter wet roots, I get the feeling that I’m “ping ponging” at tire pressures high enough to prevent squirm in berms. So far, it seems to have done exactly that.

At the moment, I’m not sure I’ll keep them in the front year round (though no strong desire to take them out so far either). I may very wellkeep the rear in though, as I’ve dented my rear rim a number of times even through the DD class rear tire I’ve been using, and 25-30psi in the rear during the summers.
 

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I'm running Tannus armour inserts for inner tubes (I really dislike sealant) and it's exactly as described. Better damping and insulation from some trail feedback. It improves grip, stops punctures and rim damage from sub standard line choices.

They're also very easy to fit compared to Cushcore.
For reference, I'm 200lbs riding a FS and hardtail 29". I have them in the rear of both and won't ride without them.
 

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For this season I have installed Nukeproof horizon ARD. They are more budget friendly and quite good to work with and you also get new tubeless valves speciailly prepared for these insterts.

I just wanted them to have a litte bit better protection for my rims and new tires, so hopefully they will protect them good. For enduro/DH bike I would say it is important to have something inside. It is not 100% though..
 

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Can't comment on regular tires 2.3-2.5 but on Plus tires CushCores are magic. I have a Chameleon that I run 27.5x2.8 tires. It was hard to dial in tire pressure and prevent side wall squirm. So after two yrs of messing with air pressure I went with XC version. It transformed the ride more than I expected. I can run the proper pressure to take advantage of the Plus tires but have no squirm what so ever. I think the biggest change is the damping quality, I never had an issue with damaging rims just needed to stop the squirm with out bouncing all over the trail.
 

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I was [maybe still am] an insert skeptic. I've been on more than one ride where someone had to fight to the death to remove a cushcore insert from a damaged tire/rim and wear the sloppy wet insert bandolier style in shame for the ride back to the parking lot. Given I can ride my FS tires at 20/21psi without frequent flats nothing I saw or read about inserts seemed appealing.

Then I started riding hardtails a lot more and I found myself having to really pay attention to that rear tire/rim. I was still doing okay, but I couldn't ride at full fury...taking every drop without checking it out, etc... So I read about the new Tannus Tubeless insert over at NSMB with some interest.


Lighter and easier to install than CC with most of the benefits. I built up a new aggressive HT this year and decided to put a Tannus Tubeless insert in the rear tire.


I wanted to be able to charge on this bike and not have to worry about that rear tire/rim a lot. Well install was easy and the insert has delivered. I am running 17/18psi in the rear now and even down to 12/14psi for special conditions like snow. No flats or rim dings. Tire feels stable [I'm not a berm smasher and we don't have flow trails] on natural terrain. I don't notice the weight when riding.

So if I were to build up a new aggressive HT I'd throw another Tannus Tubeless insert in the rear tire. I have a second insert as I bought a pair and I have not rushed to throw it into the front tire on that bike. I haven't bothered with inserts for my bikepacking hardtail. On my FS bike I don't see myself using an insert for our normal BC/PNWet riding. That said if I was doing a Moab/Sedona desert road trip I could see myself throwing a Tannus insert in the rear of the FS bike for that kind of riding. Lot's of square edge smashing.
 

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How does the foam backer rod compare to Cushcore? Does it absorb sealant? Circle the same diameter as the rim or slightly larger? Have you taken the foam out to see if there's any damage(slice marks)?
I have never used CushCore, but I can tell you that 2.5” backer rod in a 2.35 tire is snug to get on, but works well for providing sidewall support. I have not damaged a rim or had a flat since installing it last spring. I think it probably ’traps’ a fair bit of sealant in the pockets where it was cut, but to my observation does not absorb it- I weighed one once during a tire change and it was like 10g heavier than new.
I have re-used my ghettoCore inserts in 2 different rear tires on my FS and 5 total tire changes on my SS. There was some evidence of the edges being beat up, but no holes or cuts.

I sized my inserts the way huck Norris and AirLiner suggests-tight to the rim channel.


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I just got my first set of inserts (Tannus Tubeless) about 4 rides ago.

I’m a 6’1” intermediate-ish rider who weighs around 200lbs geared up. I live a few hours south of you in the greater Seattle area. So I’m in vaguely similar terrain and weather. I’m also no racer.

I run a WTB verdict front tire, and Michelin Wild Enduro rear. The verdict was installed at the same time as the inserts (front and rear). The Wild enduro rear I had on before the addition of the insert, and has been an interesting experiment.

So far, I’ve noticed that inserts let me run 5-6psi less pressure in the rear tire than I used to run (seems like 16psi feels about like 22psi used to be without the insert, both being about as low as I’d go).

I tried out the inserts, because in the winter wet roots, I get the feeling that I’m “ping ponging” at tire pressures high enough to prevent squirm in berms. So far, it seems to have done exactly that.

At the moment, I’m not sure I’ll keep them in the front year round (though no strong desire to take them out so far either). I may very wellkeep the rear in though, as I’ve dented my rear rim a number of times even through the DD class rear tire I’ve been using, and 25-30psi in the rear during the summers.
I decided to go with these after reading your post. I'm about 15 lbs heavier than you, but I "ride light" on my pedals. I'm putting one in the rear (Hans Dampf on DT Swiss EX511) for my new Enduro. I'm not particularly aggressive as a new rider who is also coming from learning on a HT, but I feel I will be more apt to try stuff with the plow I just bought lol.

I'll report back with my experience hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
 

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Are they just a placebo effect, making people think they're better at damping? Anyone tried inserts and went back to just DD or DH like carcass tire?
I've tried CCPro, CCXC, and Rimpact. I've done some back-to-back testing with a couple wheelsets. To cut to the chase...I quit running inserts for normal trail riding.

Damping: I've found after running inserts for months then removing them that I could ride nearly as hard through the same sections and that the added confidence of running an insert is mostly psychological. If you drop your pressure 5 psi when adding an insert you'll notice a significant reduction in trail chatter. Keep in mind this is nothing like going from a hardtail to a full suspension bike. If you don't drop your pressure then the damping effect is much less. It's just physics, damping effects are dependent on displacement. So why wouldn't you drop your pressure after adding an insert?...

Good question, inserts add rim protection and reduce squirm so you should be able to drop your pressure... in theory. Unfortunately it's a bit more complicated than that and adding CC doesn't automatically mean you can or want to drop 5 psi. In my experience there's a big difference between a tire feeling squirmy and rolling/folding a tire. I discovered as I got faster that folding a tire is a threshold type event. Everything is fine until it isn't. A slight speed increase through a corner is the difference from no problems and the tire giving out from under you. I can feel tire squirm in a tire with 15 psi (I'm 215 lbs) just slowly pedaling around at the trailhead without it folding. However if you're riding hard enough to fold tires then having the pressure set where the tires feel 'squirmy' isn't an option. This is where the pressure issue gets complicated. I can fold trail casing tires at 30 psi depending on the trail and conditions. I can fold a trail casing tire with CCPro even easier at 25 psi. I need to run about 29psi with CCPro to avoid folding. I can also run an enduro type casing (ethirteen) at about 29-30 psi without folding. I can tell the CCPro offers slightly more support than the enduro casing but the enduro casing only weighs about 100g more than the trail casing, whereas CCPro weighs 260g more. Lighter inserts are nearly useless for tire folding type events in my experience.

If you're not folding tires, an insert actually feels more supportive than a heavier casing. If you are running pressures high enough to not feel squirmy but still occasionally folding tires then I think you're better served going up in casing weight. I think ultimately regardless of running inserts, it's best to run a casing that's up to the task then think of inserts as a bit of insurance against flats or icing on the cake for ride characteristics. Personally, I quit running inserts where I can. I still have CC in my wheelset I use for riding DH on the enduro bike.
 

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I don't alter tire pressures with inserts but I just run a light duty Tubolight insert. To me they are a necessity front and rear but I generally have the riding grace of a Rhino on roller skates. I simply get more sidewall support, way less flats, and no more rim strikes. The tires do seem a bit less bouncy as well.

For me, it's hopeless breaking a bead in the field with inserts. I no longer carry the tools needed for a tube install and just carry CO2 and tire plugs but lastly, it's absolutely no problem riding out at a slow speed on a flat with inserts installed. No damage occurs to anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was [maybe still am] an insert skeptic. I've been on more than one ride where someone had to fight to the death to remove a cushcore insert from a damaged tire/rim and wear the sloppy wet insert bandolier style in shame for the ride back to the parking lot. Given I can ride my FS tires at 20/21psi without frequent flats nothing I saw or read about inserts seemed appealing.

Then I started riding hardtails a lot more and I found myself having to really pay attention to that rear tire/rim. I was still doing okay, but I couldn't ride at full fury...taking every drop without checking it out, etc... So I read about the new Tannus Tubeless insert over at NSMB with some interest.


Lighter and easier to install than CC with most of the benefits. I built up a new aggressive HT this year and decided to put a Tannus Tubeless insert in the rear tire.


I wanted to be able to charge on this bike and not have to worry about that rear tire/rim a lot. Well install was easy and the insert has delivered. I am running 17/18psi in the rear now and even down to 12/14psi for special conditions like snow. No flats or rim dings. Tire feels stable [I'm not a berm smasher and we don't have flow trails] on natural terrain. I don't notice the weight when riding.

So if I were to build up a new aggressive HT I'd throw another Tannus Tubeless insert in the rear tire. I have a second insert as I bought a pair and I have not rushed to throw it into the front tire on that bike. I haven't bothered with inserts for my bikepacking hardtail. On my FS bike I don't see myself using an insert for our normal BC/PNWet riding. That said if I was doing a Moab/Sedona desert road trip I could see myself throwing a Tannus insert in the rear of the FS bike for that kind of riding. Lot's of square edge smashing.
So not really worthwhile for a FS?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've tried CCPro, CCXC, and Rimpact. I've done some back-to-back testing with a couple wheelsets. To cut to the chase...I quit running inserts for normal trail riding.

Damping: I've found after running inserts for months then removing them that I could ride nearly as hard through the same sections and that the added confidence of running an insert is mostly psychological. If you drop your pressure 5 psi when adding an insert you'll notice a significant reduction in trail chatter. Keep in mind this is nothing like going from a hardtail to a full suspension bike. If you don't drop your pressure then the damping effect is much less. It's just physics, damping effects are dependent on displacement. So why wouldn't you drop your pressure after adding an insert?...

Good question, inserts add rim protection and reduce squirm so you should be able to drop your pressure... in theory. Unfortunately it's a bit more complicated than that and adding CC doesn't automatically mean you can or want to drop 5 psi. In my experience there's a big difference between a tire feeling squirmy and rolling/folding a tire. I discovered as I got faster that folding a tire is a threshold type event. Everything is fine until it isn't. A slight speed increase through a corner is the difference from no problems and the tire giving out from under you. I can feel tire squirm in a tire with 15 psi (I'm 215 lbs) just slowly pedaling around at the trailhead without it folding. However if you're riding hard enough to fold tires then having the pressure set where the tires feel 'squirmy' isn't an option. This is where the pressure issue gets complicated. I can fold trail casing tires at 30 psi depending on the trail and conditions. I can fold a trail casing tire with CCPro even easier at 25 psi. I need to run about 29psi with CCPro to avoid folding. I can also run an enduro type casing (ethirteen) at about 29-30 psi without folding. I can tell the CCPro offers slightly more support than the enduro casing but the enduro casing only weighs about 100g more than the trail casing, whereas CCPro weighs 260g more. Lighter inserts are nearly useless for tire folding type events in my experience.

If you're not folding tires, an insert actually feels more supportive than a heavier casing. If you are running pressures high enough to not feel squirmy but still occasionally folding tires then I think you're better served going up in casing weight. I think ultimately regardless of running inserts, it's best to run a casing that's up to the task then think of inserts as a bit of insurance against flats or icing on the cake for ride characteristics. Personally, I quit running inserts where I can. I still have CC in my wheelset I use for riding DH on the enduro bike.
This will be on my enduro bike, I'm curious about rim protection. I've dented my previous rims and finally got a set of DT Swiss EX 511, the other rims I had have a history of being soft (E13, Raceface AR). Maybe with the Ex511 I don't need inserts?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have never used CushCore, but I can tell you that 2.5” backer rod in a 2.35 tire is snug to get on, but works well for providing sidewall support. I have not damaged a rim or had a flat since installing it last spring. I think it probably ’traps’ a fair bit of sealant in the pockets where it was cut, but to my observation does not absorb it- I weighed one once during a tire change and it was like 10g heavier than new.
I have re-used my ghettoCore inserts in 2 different rear tires on my FS and 5 total tire changes on my SS. There was some evidence of the edges being beat up, but no holes or cuts.

I sized my inserts the way huck Norris and AirLiner suggests-tight to the rim channel.


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If they're tight against the rim channel, did you have to modify the insert where the valve is?
 

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So not really worthwhile for a FS?
Fwiw, I have inserts on my long travel full suspension bike ('18 Kona Process 153 29'er).

And like you, the I've dented my stock rear rims a number of times previously. But... as they're low end WTB rims... they are also known for bending. Not sure if I'd have dented an EX511 or not.

And I haven't ridden with inserts long enough to know if I've "stopped" denting my rims. I just know that I've been able to reduce the ping-pong feeling I got in the big "root fields" before when I ran much higher tire pressure.
 
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