I've gone back and forth many times between EXO and DD casings in the rear, and pinch flats have always been a problem for me on both. I could always just add more pressure to prevent pinch flats, but I really prefer the damp feel of lower pressures.Subscribed to this thread because I’m strongly considering inserts for at least the rear of both bikes, especially my hardtail.
My biggest goal is to be able to ride packless and no longer carry a spare tube. I did not get a single flat on my enduro bike last season despite riding very technical terrain. However, most of ultra-tech stuff is relatively slow speed because it’s so steep— I think there’s just not enough energy in those slower conditions to pinch flat. I just want it flat-proof so I don’t have to carry so much on my rides.
I ruined a brand new Maxxis Ardent Race riding Captain Ahab in Moab last spring. I knew the trail had some square edges so I ran about 37psi in the rear, but ended up slamming one axe-edged rock way too fast and it pinched one hole in the tread and another in the sidewall right next to the bead. I plugged and patched it later but I could never get it to hold air again at the bead. I think if I’d had an insert, it might have saved the tire.
At the moment I run a double-down Aggressor out back, and it’s a fine tire, but damn it’s heavy on the long rides. I keep thinking about how fast that Ardent Race rolled and how light it was, and then start thinking about one of those with an insert...🤔
I originally added CushCore for pinch flat resistance, but I found the other main benefit is ride feel. The bike just feels way more damp, as if the suspension is working much better. There's way less harsh feedback coming through the hands and feet - You hear that nice pitter patter as the tires roll over and conform to all the little bumps and rocks on the trail, but you none of the vibration and harshness transfers through. For that reason, I'll always run it on the front in addition to the rear.
I'm a lightweight at 130lbs running 16f/21r on one bike with Maxxis 2.5's and regular CC, and 17f/22r on the other bike with Maxxis 2.3's and CC XC. -1psi in each tire when it's wet. I typically descend ~40-60k ft per month in a pretty rocky home park and haven't had a single pinch flat since I started using the inserts a year ago. I even managed to break a Santa Cruz Reserve rim without any damage to the tire.
Inserts won't help you with cuts, but if you're like me, the problem pinch flats from hard impacts. I do still carry a Tubolito S-Tubo (44g) just in case.