cushcore-vs-heavier-duty-tires-300920-ajbarlas-4216.jpg
Mano a Mano

Is Cushcore Preferable to a Heavier Tire Casing?

Words A.J. Barlas
Photos A.J. Barlas
Date Oct 29, 2020
Reading time

Tire inserts have generated a lot of discussion since their debut in mountain biking. It was revealed in 2017 that Aaron Gwin had used Flat Tire Defender for his downhill runs for an entire season without anyone knowing. The factions are polarized, even among riders who have never ridden on an insert. Some riders think inserts are only for racers, but there's another camp that refuses to ride without them. I’ve spent time on both options from Cushcore and, more recently, Rockstop, which I'll have a review for soon. During this process, a question kept coming up over and over: Can a tire with a heavier casing achieve the feel of a lighter one with an insert?

That question has stuck with me and late last year I did some testing to try and find out. After organizing some Maxxis tires – Assegai (front) and DHF (rear) – in various carcass options, I was ready. The Whistler Bike Park provided the best chance at the daunting task of getting the tires tested in a day, and offers a variety of terrain in a single lap. The test track was originally set as Schleyer, Lower Whistler DH and Heart Of Darkness. Come test day in 2019, Mother Nature had different plans and with conditions freezing overnight, Schleyer and its neighbouring trails were shut.

Another loop that remained mostly in the trees with less water was put together to limit encounters with frost and ice. After a short puzzle of what was open, I opted for Upper B-Line over to Ninja Cougar, Karate Monkey, Samurai Pizza Cat, Afternoon Delight to Tech Noir, and finally Heart of Darkness. This was the best loop to provide me with a bit of everything, considering the limited options. Schleyer and Lower Whistler DH have more of the speed that I was looking forward to testing with but after a quick lap of the reroute, I found rim in a couple of spots. The tight, fast corners on Ninja Cougar also provided a great opportunity to test tire support. For consistency, I used the same route when I repeated the test this year.

Equipment Check

Unfortunately for me, the wheels I was riding last year during the test threw in a curveball – and left me with very sore fingers. A set of Spank 350/359 Vibrocore wheels adorned my bike during the initial test and the damping qualities of the foam-filled hoops made isolating that same attribute with the Cushcore added, difficult.

I thought the earlier test would have to be binned so a year later and with the perfect set of wheels for the test, I headed up to try again. On the same test loop, but with a set of remarkably unremarkable WTB KOM 29 rims, I was better able to identify the differences between the two combinations. Many of my thoughts from the initial test were validated but it was easier to pinpoint the changes with the WTB rims.

Having spent the last few years mostly on Maxxis tires, it made sense as the rubber of choice. Maxxis offers a strong selection of casings and I decided to go with the EXO+, Double Down, and DH options with the aforementioned Assegai out front, my preferred front tire since its release, and DHF for the rear. The DHF was available in each casing and used to be my go-to front and rear tire. I also spent time on the DD and EXO+ Assegai for a long term review last year.

Cushcore now makes two versions of their insert; the XC which has less volume and weighs around 150 grams and the original, now called the “Pro,” which weighs ~265 grams. I opted to go for the original because it makes a more pronounced change to the feel on the trail. My GeoMetron/Nicolai G1 remained the same as I ride it every day to start with but my suspension settings required adjustments during the test.

Leading up to the test I’d mostly been riding the Assegai and DHF in Double Down casing. I've also spent time on a High Roller II and Aggressor this summer, and more recently a set of Michelin Wild Enduros, but last year and for a good portion of 2020, my tires have remained Assegai/DHF. In the summer and usually in the park, my tire pressures bump up to 22psi front and 25psi rear with the Double Down setup. Once things get wet and slow down they can drop as low as 20psi (front) and 23psi (rear).

cushcore-vs-heavier-duty-tires-300920-ajbarlas-4214.jpg

A day dealing with sealant and changing tires doesn't leave you with clean hands and heaps of time for riding.

Time to Smash

One major difference from last year to this test is that the Spank Oobah rim profile makes insert installation a tad difficult. After plenty of time in the Whistler Day Lot wrestling with setups last time, my fingers hurt for days. Things were easier with the WTB KOM wheels and the above freezing temperatures. Add a set of Cushcore Pro inserts that had been lightly used and I was able to mount them without the hammer handle method.

EXO+ and Cush/EXO+

Before the inserts went in for the first time, I rode a scouting lap on EXO+ casings to check conditions and feel out the bike for the day. Everything was close to ideal and heading for a second lap, I focussed on the tires and keeping my riding at about 80%.

Before the latest test, I'd spent a few rides back on my Double Down tire setup. The EXO+ carcass offered less support with the same pressure so I bumped up to 23 and 26psi. This felt comfortable on the trail but I hit the rear rim once and noticed the bike stall slightly in a couple of the choppy compressions on Ninja Cougar and Afternoon Delight.

With the inserts installed, I was able to maintain momentum better through these sections, highlighting the issue from the previous lap. It felt great and added a sense of seamlessness when connecting sections of the trail on either side of the ugly (or fun, depending on your jam). It felt faster too. The EXO+ tires with Cushcore Pro were also noticeably stiffer and felt similar to bumping up to the heavier casing. When the inserts were installed, I dropped pressure to 21 and 24psi.

cushcore-vs-heavier-duty-tires-300920-ajbarlas-4223.jpg

The test was performed on 29-inch hoops and I spend most of my time on Double Down tires. My experience might have been different if I'd spent weeks riding DH tires before the test.

Double Down and Cush/DD

With the Double Downs set to the same pressure as the Cush/EXO+ – 21psi front and 24psi rear – the bike immediately felt more comfortable on the first section of the loop, a mildly beaten B-Line. It made the previous run with the Cush/EXO+ through the same section feel rough by comparison – I was shocked. The Double Downs were more than 100 grams lighter than the Cush/EXO+ while tire stiffness felt similar when generally playing around.

As I progressed down the test loop, the lack of an insert became more apparent. While the wheels felt more comfortable in general bike park conditions and terrain, they were less so through rock armour or compressions with rock-strewn throughout. As with the laps on the EXO+ above, the support of the Cushcore was sorely missed in these situations and with the DD carcass, both rims pinged the ground; once in the same spot and another to only the rear.

I didn’t use a stopwatch but the inserts felt quicker, smoother, and more supportive through sections with choppy, sharp edges. Coming into fast rock-armoured sections without the insert, the wheel felt less composed and the rim pinged off the ground. In other situations, the absence of insert was less noticeable and I quite liked the feel in all but the rougher situations. Inserts considerably stiffen the base of the tire and when not pushing hard into the wheels, they felt harsher than the heavier carcass without.

Inserting the Cushcore into the Double Down tires, the added weight was easily felt. The unsprung mass caused my bike to feel sluggish and required changes to my damper settings. Pulling out of the bike quickly – bunny hops and similar, aggressive extensions – resulted in the engagement of the top out in both the Öhlins RXF36 m.2 coil and EXT Storia V3. I slowed the rebound at each end – eventually to a total of two clicks – to compensate while still maintaining grip. If I'd spent more time on the setup further damper adjustments would have been made.

I didn’t go too low with tire pressure, settling on 20psi front and 23psi rear. In other tests, I’ve found 3 psi to be my max change with the Cushcore. When I go lower than that the tread squirms too much and bottoms too quickly into the dense foam material. But the 1 psi change I made wasn’t enough and the tires felt too stiff. They also presented a more dead feeling than the DD without inserts. Similar to the Cush/EXO+, when I pushed the bike hard through sharp compressions with uneven rock, the Cushcore setup was more composed, preserving more momentum and damping more of the feedback.

cushcore-vs-heavier-duty-tires-300920-ajbarlas-4215.jpg

The downhill tires w/o insert were the least comfortable of the test.

CUSH/DD to DH

COVID made for a slow lift line and I was quickly running out of time. With more time I would have taken a second lap with the Cush/DD at a lower pressure. With only the DH tire left to install and enough time for one more lap, I quickly ripped off the Cush/DD setup and installed the heavy-duty Maxxis DH casing. Tire pressures started at 20psi and 23psi as with Cush/DD.

On the trail, the downhill casing tires produced sharper feedback than the Cush/DD setup. They felt less comfortable everywhere with the thicker, 60 TPI carcass not able to conform to the terrain as subtly as the lighter 120 TPI casing of the Double Down tires. During other recent tests, I’ve found the higher 120 TPI thread count more comfortable, regardless of the rubber compounds in the tread or layers in the carcass, but that’s for another article.

Despite the tougher tire casing threaded with thicker gauge cords, the rim still connected with the ground and when pushed hard in the wrong situation, quite easily. Grip and support were great but I wanted to see if the feedback could be cut down. The tire also felt quite stiff and I opted to drop the pressure slightly, finishing the run with 18.5psi front (I was aiming for 18) and 21psi rear. This helped with comfort on the trail but the Cush/DD still had more protection and maintained more speed more effectively through the rough.

Both the Cush/DD and DH setups produced more feedback in one section of Afternoon Delight; a right-hander that starts out of a mild compression but has some sharp hits in the corner to jostle the bike. The DD and Cush/EXO+ setups were most comfortable here. This is likely due to the fact that I am used to riding Double Downs.

cushcore-vs-heavier-duty-tires-300920-ajbarlas-4220.jpg

Oh Assegai DD, how I enjoy thee.

Conclusions – Sort Of

The most interesting discovery was jumping from the Cush/EXO+ to the Double Down without an insert. I didn't expect the standard DD setup to feel more comfortable in general riding situations. It wasn’t until hitting rock armour at speed or pushing the bike through compressions riddled with sharp edges that I felt better with the insert in the lighter carcass EXO+ tires. This partially answers the question behind this experiment while also making it clear that the terrain you ride in most often is an essential part of the equation. Cushcore's benefits are clear for many riders but if your trails don’t have ample rough terrain and rock-filled compressions, the advantages are less clear.

The Cush/EXO+ and Cush/DD setups damp trail chatter but the stiffer ride they provide also has an effect on feel. Being more experienced with Double Down tires, I preferred the feel of the Cush/EXO+ to the Cush/DD because the added weight and stiffer tire took some getting used to, while the Cush/DD tire setup felt more comfortable than the DH tires alone. I can only put this down to the DH tires stiffer overall carcass and thicker, 60 TPI construction.

While I focused more on trail feel, there's more involved in the decision-making process; cost, personal preference, and rim protection to list just a few. The protection Cushcore offers is a selling point for most riders and while their damping qualities are more pronounced in some situations, it may be that tire support and rim protection are more important.

That’s not black and white either though. Outside of the test, I spent some time on an EXO HR II with a Cushcore Pro installed and fell victim to a classic pinch flat. Thankfully it was at the tail end of the ride because I wasn’t keen to remove it trailside and it would surely have been an issue finishing the trail with it hung over my torso – a disadvantage of Cushcore. Instead, I left it in and bounced down the rest of the trail. I was able to pedal back to the car with minimal problems though which is another advantage of Cushcore.

There’s a huge crowd of people who swear by inserts but recently I’ve come across more riders who don’t feel the benefits are worth the cost or faffing involved. Whether that be installation or dealing with them when something goes wrong during a ride, some riders are moving back to heavier duty tires, sans insert.

Which camp are you in?

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas

Age: 39
Height: 191cm/6’3"
Weight: 73kg/160lbs
Ape Index: 1.037
Inseam: 32”
Trail on Repeat: Changes as often as my mood.
Current Regular: Every test product spends time on Entrail

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Comments

momjijimike
+1 Pete Roggeman
momjijimike  - Oct. 29, 2020, 12:20 a.m.

Thanks a lot for the detailed review! Very helpful!

I'm using Assegai DD Maxxgrip in front since its available. For the last few month I also have it on the rear. Dream for going down, specialy on wet conditions, damping is great too and for my 95kg enought support. I haven't testet a additional tire protection because DD is okay for me. EXO and EXO+ I allway's have problems with the sidewalls or thorns.

Uphill is a little bit of pain, I don't do more than 700hm with them. So during winter I'm going to build up an second wheelset with lighter tires for try conditions and longer "XC-rides" with my Megatower :)

Because I ride much more local trails than bike bikepark, the uphill performance is very importend for me. I know the Assegai DD Maxxgrip is one of the worst options :)

What do you think rolls more efficient in the back: (My thinking and feeling - from hard to easier)

Assegai DH 29" 2.5 Maxxgrip
Assegai DD 29" 2.5 Maxxgrip
DHR DH 29" 2.4 Maxxgrip
DHR EXO+ 29" 2.4 Maxxterra
Assegai EXO+ 29" 2.5 Maxxterra
...
...
Tomahawk DD 2.3 Maxxterra
SS EXO 2.3 Dual

I'm not sure if I should try out the new Assegai EXO+ 29" 2.5 Maxxgrip insted of the DD. Do I gain some rollingspeed - yes I think so, but are the about 150g weight safing worth because of less damping and may again problems with the sidewalls?  EXO - I have the experience the sidewalls are getting faster weak than the profile erased away. So with EXO I have to change sooner for a new one... Not so with DD...

I have just ordered the new DHR DD 29" Maxxterra - looking forward so try it :)

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 6:11 a.m.

It sounds like you’ve been putting some time into testing and digging into what’s best for you, Mike. I reckon you’ll find the DHR II to roll better than the Assegai, possibly even in the next heavier casing. The Assegai is one sluggish tire, as you noted, but the grip is often worth it. If you’re not having trouble with DD and enjoy the ride, I don’t think you need to try an insert.

Reply

momjijimike
0
momjijimike  - Oct. 29, 2020, 6:43 a.m.

Thanks AJ!

Something I'm amazed everytime I try a new tire - the difference in rolling resistance betwin try and wet. The fireroads in Austria do have gravel but very differnet in detail. Some have just very small pebble and hard surface some much bigger and los gravel - there is a difference in speed and afford. And things change again if they are try, a bit wet or heavy soaked. 

With a semi slick or tire with lowprofile the distinction betwin try and wet isn't that huge. The pimple and kind of rubber is the topic - I think so :)

Reply

jason
+1 AJ Barlas
jason  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

On my small bike (transition scout 150/160mm) that I ride primarily north shore and Squamish and mostly stay on the steepest, rockiest janky trails, I use an Assegai maxx grip dd on the front in winter (in summer I uses a DHF did maxx grip) and a maxx grip DHRII DH on the rear (all seasons). With pressure of 20 front and 21 rear for winter and 21/23 in summer. No inserts on this bike or my DH bike for that matter.  Seems to meet all my needs.  

I used to run lighter casing but had to run too high pressure to avoid flats or dings. The heavier casing works great for my 92kg weight. Rolling resistance is Meh, and I am slow as shit going up, but care more about the down anyway.

Reply

Heinous
0
Heinous  - Nov. 1, 2020, 10:23 p.m.

The Dissector is a great option for good rolling. I've been surprised how good it is - it's replaced my old go to tyres for speed, being the Minion SS and the Aggressor.

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Oct. 29, 2020, 5:13 a.m.

AJ - Do you have the weights for each set up?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Cr4w
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 6:06 a.m.

Hey Marty. I took some weights during the first attempt but missed a couple of wheels, which is why I didn’t include them. Here’s what I had weighed. 

  • EXO+ – Weight: F: 2,486g / R: 2,946g

  • EXO+ w/ Insert – Weight: F: 2,752g / R: 3,277g

  • DD – Weight: F - 2615g / R - 

  • DD + INSERT – Weight: F - 2873g / R - 3369g

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Oct. 29, 2020, 6:52 a.m.

Thanks.  Interesting the DD (w/o insert is lighter than E+ insert).

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 2:37 p.m.

I honestly wasn't expecting that. Weighed that DD front twice to confirm I wasn't trippin'. Might be why I missed the rear though, ha!

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Nov. 2, 2020, 6:11 a.m.

AJ - Out of interest what would you run if it wasn't rocky and you weren't prone to pinch flatting?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 2, 2020, 8:39 a.m.

I don't think I'd bother in that case, tbh

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Nov. 4, 2020, 9:07 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

agleck7
+1 Pete Roggeman
Agleck7  - Oct. 29, 2020, 5:49 a.m.

Been on Cush for a couple years (rear only) and switched to Tannus recently and so far it seems pretty much the same with less weight and more springiness. Probably not quite as good in the super chunder but haven’t tried that yet.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Agleck7
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 6:07 a.m.

I’m quite intrigued by the latest Tannus offering and Cam seemed quite happy with them too. Let us know how you make out.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 AJ Barlas Cr4w
IslandLife  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:33 a.m.

I've been on them for about a month now... and have been trying to test them, bashing into everything I see and not treating my wheels kindly... nothing but good things. In terms of protection, support and being able to run low PSI, I'd say they are equal to CushCore pro. Yet at a significantly and noticeably lower weight. Where I used to feel the weight of cushcore... I don't feel Tannus... it's removed a good chunk of weight from my bike. I run them with EXO+ casings.

Bonus is how easy they are to install... when I put them in, I just broke one bead and didn't even need to dump my sealant! Sealed with a regular pump.  And use valves of your choice.

I think once more people catch on... Cush Core is going to have to come up with a major redesign because these things seem to so far offer no downsides yet so many upsides vs CC including a much lower price point. Pricing direct from Tannus via the website brings them closer to CushCore because of the shipping/duty. But supposedly they are working on that and hope to update for the spring. Shop around your local shops who may have them... I've heard Trek stores or dealers tend to have them.

Reply

Gdreej
+1 werewolflotion
Graham Driedger  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:06 a.m.

Can confirm that Tannus in an Exo+ casing (particularly the new Assegai Maxxgrip) is fantastic. I've been trying silly pressures, 17-18 front, 20-21 rear. Sure, I've bottomed the rear rim on some nasty shit, but that's to be expected with that low of pressure. Those who ride in the PNW owe it to themselves to try any kind of sidewall supported insert - it's a total game changer. I'll never ride without one again. 

I'd be keen to try a DD DHR2 Maxxterra in the rear, for a little more support. 

I wonder if there's a way to figure out the characteristics of grip of inserts vs a tire without. As one is basically a volume spacer, having some type of amateur-ish tool to measure the casing pressure/penetration - such as, a 2x2 cm block of whatever, pushes into the casing 10mm @ 20psi, vs. same block on a tire w/insert achieving the same deformity at what pressure? Maybe I'm out my head.

Reply

monsieurgage
+2 Cam McRae AJ Barlas
Gage Wright  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:05 p.m.

Just noticed today that there is a huge difference in insert vs tube.  I pretty much only run DH casing tires and pretty much only assagai, yes front and rear.  In a pinch DD will do and while I had my DH assguy up from I only had a puny DD in the back with a recently inserted CC pro.  

CC feels kinda dead in its dampness and I was checking to see if I had a flat but the PSI was 25-26.  I had run a tube for a month after a frustrating experience with CC and would run the tube with DH casing tires at 26-28 PSI for a lighter (150-155lbs) smashier rider.  Tube and DH casing would pinball but feel playful and be noticeable for extra pop on jumps.  

The way I see it if you are a set and forget guy then maybe tubes and DH casing tires.  No mess, no fuss, run higher pressure (which won't slowly leak out as with tubeless) and carry a spare tube (you will probably do this regardless of setup).  If you don't mind the chance of a catastrophic failure but with relatively low frequency then go CC.  It is a mess, pain in the butt, slowly leaks air, requires a flawless tape job but it saves wheels and man can you lower that PSI for grip.  I have tried to murder rims on the shore or tear through a DH casing in Pemby and it is near impossible.

My CC fail came on Cypress and I suspect a lazy and neglected tape job killed my setup.  Messy swap and rode out with the pool noodle of shame around my body.  Buy CC used as it is meant to last, note that some companies like RIMPACT state their product is a consumable.  If you cannot find used then go old school.  Beef up those casings, fill them with more air than you think you need, and remember to weight through the pedals.

Reply

burnbern
0
Bern  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:43 a.m.

I bought ProCore when they first came out and ran that setup for many years. I also have a reasonable amount of time on Cush bikes. When I upgraded to a 29er a few months ago (Ripmo AF) I bought the Tannus Tubeless inserts through my local Trek dealer. I am in love with them, less weight than my previous inserts and significant sidewall support.

On "dry" days I've been running 22/24psi and on slower greasy/wet days I've been riding 19/21psi. I've always struggled with rolling the rear tire over when running ProCore (or no inserts) but the Tannus inserts definitely support the sidewall enough to significantly reduce that issue just like CushCore. At 21psi I can still get the the tire to roll over so I save that low pressure for slower muddy rides.

The one thing I don't know for sure yet is how the Tannus does on the front compared to ProCore/CushCore. I have a tendency to burp the front tire off the rim and ProCore nicely locked the tire on (via 80psi in the inner tire) and it remains to be seen if the Tannus puts enough pressure on the bead (Tannus isn't as tight as CushCore Pro).

My initial impressions are that Tannus is better than CushCore XC and lighter than CushCore Pro and cheaper than both. I think it's going to be a very popular option...

edit: I should add I usually run an Bontrager SE5/SE4 tire combo though I am currently running Assegai tires front and rear.

edit2: For reference on my tire pressures, I did 2 rides on my new bike without inserts at 26/28psi and put as small flat in the rim bed of the rear rim and a sidewall dent on each of them as well (I weigh 170lbs).

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Bern
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 2:40 p.m.

It's sounding more and more like I need to check out these Tannus inserts… Thanks for sharing your experiences, Bern!

Reply

kyle-doherty
+1 AJ Barlas
Kyle Doherty  - Oct. 30, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

I tried Tannus for three months this summer and noticed that for a given pressure they would audibly bottom out relative to the Rimpact I had on prior and Cushcore I had on it the past. They also added a noticeable substantial wobble and imbalance that could be felt while coasting on roads. Perhaps there is a way to massage them into shape, but I was not successful at this, and couldn't figure out how to align them. I think the inserts that lock onto the rims center channel have an advantage in this regard, less faffing. When I did get a sidewall cut, I noticed sealant didn't flow as freely to it no matter how much I added.

Reply

burnbern
0
Bern  - Nov. 2, 2020, 10:45 a.m.

The first time I shoved my Tannus insert into my rear tire I had this issue. However, the second time I carefully made sure not to have the tire unbead on the opposite side and to seat the tannus deeply into the rim on both sides and it has been smooth going ever since.

Reply

burnbern
0
Bern  - Nov. 2, 2020, 10:45 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 29, 2020, 7:15 a.m.

I was in the not-interested-in-inserts camp, but I have installed a Tannus Tubeless insert in the rear of my hardtail after reading Cam's review on NSMB. The whole bike is new to me and quite a departure from my previous hardtails so the jury is out on the insert. I need to get comfortable with the bike before I can really pin down how the insert is affecting the ride.

A few thoughts I have so far:

1. install was easy

2. extra weight is noticeable, but not awful

3. running lower pressures allows better winter traction and no issues with rim strikes despite a lot of rocky riding

4. the bike feels heavier/less agile than my previous hardtails, but it's also longer and slacker so I can't pin that on the insert necessarily and the added stability is nice on steep techy descents

So I can say running the Tannus insert isn't bad. I'm not yet sure if I like it enough I would keep it in the wheel long term. At some point I'll have to pull it out and run the bike with just that DHRII EXO tire and see how it rides. I've done fine without inserts in the past so it's not essential for me.

Reply

mammal
+1 Vik Banerjee
Mammal  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:02 a.m.

I have my eye closely trained on Tannus feedback, as I'm leaning towards that for my hard tail soon. Please continue updating your findings.

I get away with running just EXO casings, without much in the way of rim damage, but the traction/mitigation/rim protection ratios really depend on a razor-thin tolerance of air pressure. I'd love to throw in some Tannus, drop the pressure, and enjoy the increased traction and a bit of tire damping. Especially since I only rotate tires every 9 months to a year on that particular steed.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 Vik Banerjee Mammal
IslandLife  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:36 a.m.

I just replied to AJ above... so I'll just paste the same here...

"I've been on them for about a month now... and have been trying to test them, bashing into everything I see and not treating my wheels kindly... nothing but good things. In terms of protection, support and being able to run low PSI, I'd say they are equal to CushCore pro. Yet at a significantly and noticeably lower weight. Where I used to feel the weight of cushcore... I don't feel Tannus... it's removed a good chunk of weight from my bike.   I run them with EXO+ casings.

Bonus is how easy they are to install... when I put them in, I just broke one bead and didn't even need to dump my sealant!   Sealed with a regular pump.  And use valves of your choice.

I think once more people catch on... Cush Core is going to have to come up with a major redesign because these things seem to so far offer no downsides yet so many upsides vs CC including a much lower price point. Pricing direct from Tannus via the website brings them closer to CushCore because of the shipping/duty. But supposedly they are working on that and hope to update for the spring. Shop around your local shops who may have them... I've heard Trek stores or dealers tend to have them."

Reply

mammal
+1 IslandLife
Mammal  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:08 a.m.

Thanks for the feedback friend! Good advice to check around locally before ordering. Cheers.

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - Oct. 29, 2020, 11:16 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Vikb
+1 Tehllama42
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

> I get away with running just EXO casings, without much in the way of rim damage, but the traction/mitigation/rim protection ratios really depend on a razor-thin tolerance of air pressure. 

That's ^^^ where I was at with my hardtail. I could ride it fine without an insert, but given our rocky terrain pressures had to be higher and I had to be careful about what I did with that back wheel. So far it feels like I can ride lower pressure and not have to be particularly careful with the rear wheel. I'll be ramping up the abuse as I get to know the new bike better and it will be interesting to see how far I can push it before I start having issues with EXO tires.

Reply

mammal
+1 Vik Banerjee
Mammal  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:13 a.m.

Thanks Vik. Offseason on the Shore is a slick, slimy mess of rocks and roots, and this will likely add a whole lot of value to the ride quality.

Reply

tehllama42
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Tehllama42  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:22 a.m.

By virtue of being a fat kid, that an be a negative margin, when I'm in the mood for rock smashing.
Rolling in at 32psi in the rear, and still bottoming just isn't all that fun, the tires really struggle at higher pressure (just to hold it through a ride, not even talking about how laughably bad the grip can be), so that's why the insert dance is something I'm probably going to have to do.

Given limited availability of serious casings in 29er SemiSlicks, I feel like that's going to be the long term answer, despite the downsides.  I've been getting by with the e13 TRS-R SS in the Enduro casing, but it has been a case of 'barely' - 28psi is the highest I can go with grip feeling good, but I know that's in the red zone of being able to attack rocky sections at a gross vehicle weight north of 125kg.

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craw
+1 Mammal
Cr4w  - Oct. 29, 2020, 1:58 p.m.

This is where I got to during the bony part of the summer. I was riding my HT so hard that I kept ramping up tire pressure to maintain structure but then I was skipping all over the place and getting pretty beat up. Once I put in CC Pro and got my pressures down to around 21psi I was stoked. That's super low for 230+ lbs of me, and to have it run so well was a revelation. Great ride feel, lots of traction, zero burping or folding. The weight was the only downside and it was manageable.

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tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - Nov. 2, 2020, 9:09 a.m.

That's basically where I'm at with my hardtail, but it sees so much use on pavement that I don't want to give up any more of that climbing utility, as that's really how it gets used most of the time... seems compltely asinine to complain about 'snappy response' for a bike that spends about half its timing hauling a trailer with a toddler in it, but it still ends up mattering.
Honestly, opening up tire selection to where I can stay on 29x2.25 Aspens/RekonRaces should be what pushes me the rest of the way in that direction, but I really enjoy how the AUW of this bike can be in the 26# range, fully fat kid prepped with DH pedals on there, because that's the kind of idiot I am.

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jt
+4 James Vasilyev Cr4w werewolflotion Cam McRae
JT  - Oct. 29, 2020, 7:43 a.m.

1st thing, rad article. Thanks for keeping things interesting, AJ!

Recent convert here. I had been running EXO tires sans insert for some time until a botched landing left a rim bent and a couple threads in the tire casing snapped. When I ordered a new tire I decided to give inserts a go. First ride on the local loop had me sold, mostly due to one feature: a spot where you're wedged between a sandstone wall on one side, a river on the other, and a small boulder (2.5' or so) you need to climb over to keep going forward. Every time on that rock I would bang the rim with enough force to always pay mind to the potential splooge of sealant and air escaping. With the insert, no problem. The bike rides up it quite differently/confidently and silently. Couple that with some little rock garden booters that either have you landing clean if at speed or in the garden if not fast enough, and I totally groked what the inserts were doing.  The added support under hard turns in berms was just a Luxardo cherry on top of the dirt ice cream.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:46 a.m.

Sounds like the perfect scenario for the inserts. In addition to the lack of rim to rock, did you notice the bike moving more easily across the sharp edge with the insert?

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jt
+1 AJ Barlas
JT  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:53 a.m.

Yes. It felt damped in those chundery sections/rock gardens. One of the little kickers' landings was pretty blind as summer growth took over, so I ended up riding through it rather than popping until I could get out with a saw. I was able to run the 2.5 WT's down from 21 to 19, and it felt like the back was just shrugging off the rocks, way more noticeable when I started to run the inserts on the hardtail. So far, the only neg is the weight, but traction and control make you faster than losing a couple hundred grams. Confidence in your equipment counts.

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craw
+5 Tim Coleman AJ Barlas Tehllama42 Sean Chee Tjaard Breeuwer
Cr4w  - Oct. 29, 2020, 7:54 a.m.

Being 230lbs in an insert-free world I would typically have to run pressures around 28 to prevent burping and ride feel was just some distant secondary concern. With Cush Core Pro inserts it's possible for me to run 20/21psi for great traction and ride feel and still have support and burp resistance. It's kind of a revelation after spending most of my riding life without sufficient traction to be able to have both.

I rode a hardtail all summer and the CC made it possible to ride as hard and fast as I would on my FS (though my wrists and ankles might tell the story differently).

But the CC are heavy. I recently switched to EXO+ and Tannus tubeless inserts on my G1 and it's now my favourite combination. Good support/protection/grip and a wheel weight that doesn't feel like I'm pushing a tractor that's out of gas up the hill. The CC are a much more aggressive sort of insert and I'll reserve them for the HT.

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tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:24 a.m.

I'm glad you're close enough that you've learned some of that on my behalf... 28 is the entry point for me how I ride, and yeah, grip/feel is secondary.
If I could get Exo+ in my desired tire, I'd be all about it, although Tannus plus e.13 LG1-EN SemiSlicks is probably the closest thing to the right answer I can find.

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Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Nov. 4, 2020, 9:16 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Nov. 4, 2020, 9:16 a.m.

Looking for a semis like in a ‘trail bike’ , slightly tougher casing? 

Terravail Ehline might work for you? They come in the ‘durable’ casing. Nice volume too, at 2.5.

https://teravail.com/tires/ehline#TR7284

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jasbushey
0
Jason Bushey  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:41 a.m.

Thanks for putting this out.  I've been doing this the last couple months on my new trail bike (switchblade).  I've ran Exo+ and DD rear for a couple years now.  On the new bike I started with no inserts Assegai Exo+ / DHF DD, and then added Tannus Inserts about a month ago.  My first weekend at the bike park, I loved it.  It smoothed out the chunk even more and kept me on line even with the same pressure sans inserts.  For normal trail riding I was at 20/23psi and dropped to 19/21 with inserts.  I'm 67kg.  But riding on trail that rear tire was a pig and I hated the weight.  I just put on a Dissector Exo+ and really curious to see if it will stay together, it did drop around 350g claimed.  I'll probably go back up 23psi for a bit more protection and hope it holds.  

Another thing to note is that when I did switch tires, I had 3/4 solid indents on the rim, but never got a flat.   I'm not surprised, a weekend in Moab will do that, probably should have added a few PSIs.  Without Tannus I expect I would have flat.  I'm not sure if cushcore pro would help more for protection there.  I'm really curious if exo+ would have held up.  I hope it does because I like the feel of the inserts but hate the extra weight.

Now to ride my bike and see how it feels...

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JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:57 a.m.

i've used Rimpact and while i don't think they provide the full benefits of CC pro, they are still very good, half the weight and a fraction of the cost. i don't notice the weight at all. i went to DD tires and thought i'd try without. at higher speeds i'll still smack the rim (amazingly, with no damage to the DD tires, impressively tough, but also due to the thick and rounded rim bead of WAO Faction wheels) so i've gone back to Rimpact all around. i don't see any good reason to ride without them anymore.

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maximum-radness
+1 Sean Chee
Maximum Radness  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:07 a.m.

I’m Mid-huge. Live in a place With lots of sharp pointy rocks and classic shit built trails. I like to ride fast and here to skip a connector or loop cuz it’s “rough”.... and fire roads suck. 

The cush core allows me to ride longer, ride faster, ride rougher, and carry less garbage. To save weight I drilled a bunch of one inch holes in mine and still ride the crappiest high speed jank, chunk, and rock garbage around. 

Last season (Pre-cushCore) I had 8 flats: all rim Wall through tire bead. Ruined days, ruined rides and ruined vibes thinking of where I COULD RIDE WITHOUT FLATS! This season : all season on modified cush core, zero flats, zero rim issues, zero ruined days, zero bad vibes. They literally changed my whole season. And I can drop to 18-20 psi as well? Traction is improved, control and damping improved. 

I’m on EXO MINION DHF and DHR2 and spank oobah 350’s on a Firebird 29. The combo has been nothing short of PHENOMENAL SUCCESS for everyday hard core committed trail shredding all Spring summer and Fall.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 2:44 p.m.

Mid-huge, haha, love it! Tell us more about this "modified Cush Core" Max Rad.

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maximum-radness
+2 AJ Barlas Tjaard Breeuwer
Maximum Radness  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:21 p.m.

I’ll snap photos tomorrow as I’m about to modify a second set. And this time I’m weighing them .... I told myself: first run it into the rocks fast and see what happens..... it lived. So did the hoops.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 makudad
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 6, 2020, 9:41 a.m.

Still waiting… :D

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Hollytron
+1 Cam McRae
Hollytron  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:30 a.m.

I noticed that the tube, pump and levers I strap in my bike weigh the same as cushcore pro. I am on wild enduros right now and run them in the mid and upper 20s. Im curious if you have tried the cush in the wilds? I really like them but I miss the maxx grip rubber of a dd assegai up front on wet stuff. Im hoping the lower pressure with the cush will help.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 AJ Barlas
Cam McRae  - Oct. 29, 2020, 1:39 p.m.

For me that's one of most significant benefits of Cushcore, the ability to extract excellent traction out of even mediochre rubber by dropping pressure. My first Cushcore experience was on some Mavic tires that had no business being on the North Shore and they did really well until things got extra slimy. 

https://nsmb.com/articles/cushcore-inserts-shore-tested/

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luisgutierod
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
luisgutierod  - Oct. 30, 2020, 2:01 a.m.

I have raced wild enduro rear with CC pro couple times, and being average weight (75ish kg naked) I am terrible line picker and EXO tires last me nothing.. the rim tires survived Madeira EWS with good traction.. on the front I was not convinced on the benefits back then, but this summer I managed to use MagiX Wild Enduro from + CC pro in the bike parks in PDS.. this one held up to the abuse of high speed rocky and/or groomed berms as a DH tire, with 20 psi... on the other hand, I tried Michelin DH34 with CC pro in the rear.. not needed in my opinion.. better damp and enough support without insert.. I just put a huck norris to protect the rim in case of catastrophic line choice.. I had a lot of those but at low speed (if you saw Zermatt race conditions.. worst weather snowy muddy cold af).. I understand Maxxis is benchmark for testing and there are comparative casings to other tires.. but I think that there a nuances that make very different experiences with other manufactures + inserts. Tire profile, volume for example play a huge role, if you see the Michelin DH offers, these are not high volume tires, compared to Wild Enduros.. and new Schwalbe Supertrail are in between Exo+ and DD may be ?.. good article on experimenting !!

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 30, 2020, 1:02 p.m.

Thanks Luis. Some interesting points raised and I must say I hear you on differences. I have a set of Michelin tires that the review will be written for soon and they have brought forward some similar realizations.

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LoamtoHome
+2 AJ Barlas Tjaard Breeuwer
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:14 a.m.

I've had rim protection on thinner sidewalled tires and I still got tears.... happened to Trevor on a brand new tire (EXO+) and now it's garbage.  On the rear, you need DD or DH casing for the Shore cuz inserts doesn't help with sharp rocks and light casing.

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tehllama42
+1 Jerry Willows
Tehllama42  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:28 a.m.

Not unique to that geographical area - out here in the desert southwest, those side tears, or cacti can mean an early end to tire integrity through other ways.  I do think the DoubleDown (or any other 2-ply 120tpi) casing really should be the standard, we're just having to drag reformed roadies along to give them the clue bird that mountain rides are more fun when you're not having to ride around limitations of the rear tire, in exchange for 150g.

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maximum-radness
0
Maximum Radness  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:23 p.m.

What if they mounted a half of insert to the indexed sidewalk of the tire??? Slash proof //insert incl. and we’ve allready stopped talking about weight ...

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 Tehllama42 Lynx .
Cam McRae  - Oct. 29, 2020, 12:05 p.m.

The other option is to lose some weight or ride more slowly! ;) So far so good for me and I've been on them a lot longer than Trevor.

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tehllama42
+1 AJ Barlas
Tehllama42  - Oct. 29, 2020, 12:49 p.m.

Those two are competing options - I ride to go fast, and riding more is how to lose weight - although getting under 215 is a struggle that requires illness or significant muscle loss to achieve... so I'm still in the range where I do bad things to tires.  
I'm actually fast in very specific circumstances (even compared to people with actual bike-handling talent), but the recipe is momentum and commitment.

Like DarioD, it's the tire squirm that is the ultimate performance limit, the last 6 off-bike excursions I've experienced have all been rear tire squirm induced low-sides.
So far more tire casing has been that answer, but I've been concerned about how muted the feel will get with a DH tire, and 'helpfully' being unable to source semislick tires in that size through any local shops has kept me from experiencing that issue.

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Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:11 p.m.

Ha - you change tires every two weeks.

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LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 30, 2020, 10:26 a.m.

@cam maybe you should gain weight and ride faster!

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Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Oct. 29, 2020, 9:09 p.m.

Oh you wait Rigs, I'ma gonna put a Park patch and a pile of shoe goo on that tear and it will be back in bidness. That was on the tread if that matters not the sidewall and more importantly it was on your newly reno'd trail, so ya.

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LoamtoHome
+3 AJ Barlas Andrew Major Todd Hellinga
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 30, 2020, 10:25 a.m.

tread, sidewall... lighter casing tires no work on the rear.  Saving 150 grams would probably be 5 seconds quicker on an hour climb and 15mins to try to fix trailside when the light is fading.  No sale.

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Falltricky
0
Falltricky  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:22 a.m.

+1 for Tannus inserts! Tore a few DD casing DHRs earlier this summer before adding the inserts – been trouble-free since then. Plus, better traction, less feedback in the hands and a much quieter ride was a fun bonus. Most noticeable in bike park brake bump chatter and rocky chunder, wheels feel more composed and easier to stay on line when going fast through this. Have the Tannus front and rear on my '21 Yeti 150, 2.5 Assegai EXO+ in the front,  trying out a Kenda Pinner 2.4 in the rear, so far so good never going back no-inserts.

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DarioD
+3 Tehllama42 Cam McRae AJ Barlas
DarioD  - Oct. 29, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

Reporting from a California town with extremely rocky trails, and pretty high trail speed. I'm generally sold on the e*13 tire program, and have found that their single ply trsr offerings are ideal when mated with a Cushcore in the rear. Might be nice in the front as well, but bike weight matters in a place where 4k' elevation gain is not unusual. I don't deviate from this combo much anymore, after much experimentation it seems ideal for my riding here and offers peace of mind if and when I travel to new trails.

I recently ran an EXO casing Aggressor in the rear while I waited for a new tire to arrive, and though I feared a blowout every ride, it survived quite well with Cushcore backing it up. I could definitely feel tire squirm on compressions, even with the CC and around 24 psi. I'm 170-ish lb.

For what it's worth, I'm riding an Evil Following MB, typically around 33lbs.

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nzstormer
0
Michael Stormer  - Oct. 29, 2020, 1:55 p.m.

You pinch flatted a tubless tire with cushcore? I didn't even know that was possible.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 29, 2020, 2:51 p.m.

Oh, it is and I'm not the first to do it. I still don't know what got me but it clearly was the classic pinch from the tire bottoming. Worst of all, the tire was on its fourth outing…

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jaydubmah
0
jaydubmah  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8 p.m.

Does anyone know where we can get Tannus inserts in Canada (aside from a Trek store)? These things sound promising but ordering from Tannus’ site is too expensive once shipping, duty, exchange is factored in. Cheers!

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 jaydubmah
Cam McRae  - Oct. 29, 2020, 10:43 p.m.

AFAIK this isn't an option at this point.

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joey-jeremiah
0
joey-jeremiah  - Oct. 30, 2020, 10:49 a.m.

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Korc
0
Korc  - Oct. 30, 2020, 6:02 p.m.

Riley's Cycle in Calgary had stock. I just order a set from there.

Pacific Bike Shop in Vancouver can bring them in from the distributor. 

Seems many bike shops have access to it but surprised nobody really stocking them with their current hype.

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Korc
0
Korc  - Oct. 30, 2020, 6:02 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

canterbury
0
canterbury  - Oct. 29, 2020, 8:18 p.m.

So my current set up is F Assegai DD and R DHF DD with Nukeproof ARD. Both tires in 2.5.

I'll probably go F EXO+ next time around as i never have problems with the front wheel, and if I taco the rim it isnt because i had the wrong tire or insert.

As for rear - my sole concern is longevity of my rims. Ride quality and grip are a nice to have, but i'm not racing the clock and i can't afford to be building up a new rim every month (have considered carbon just for the warranty but again $$). I find the Nukeproof ARD is a nice cheap solution for protecting you rim, comes in a 2 pack with valves, and if i really had to ditch it I wouldnt lose too much sleep.

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AX3L
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Axel Ericson  - Oct. 30, 2020, 12:27 a.m.

It's really interesting to hear about your thoughts regarding CC vs heavier casing, but as with most similar reviews I feel that it lacks one specific detail namely rolling resistance. While this might not be a question in a lift/shuttle or if you mainly ride transport up with trails pointing down, the difference when you actually generate speed yourself is pronounced. Just as pumping and unweighting (?) makes you carry more speed, having a thick casing seems to me like it makes for a significantly slower ride. But maybe this is more relevant where I ride, mainly (unfortunately) pretty flat but gnarly terrain.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 Axel Ericson
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 30, 2020, 1:15 p.m.

Hey Axel. I’m a huge fan of self-supported rides and spend 95% of my year pedalling up, around and down. Heavier casing tires are slower to push, for sure but as you will notice in my comments on the lighter casing tire with insert vs heavier casing without, the lighter with insert (at the lighter end of the tire carcasses here) were actually heavier. With that in mind, the Cushcore with lighter casing would require more effort. 

If you’re able to get away with lighter tires AND no insert, great, go with lighter. Unfortunately that’s not an option for me.

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AX3L
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Axel Ericson  - Nov. 3, 2020, 11:53 a.m.

Hey AJ!

That's exactly my point! Everybody is talking about weight, and surely weight in general but rotational weight in particular are important. When it comes to tyres, it only tells half of the story though. Just as puncture free tyres on road bikes takes more effort to pedal, the same goes with heavier casings. When the tyre deforms energy is lost, and the heavier casing and rubber the more energy is lost (for more insight, I recommend the podcast cyclingtips ep 9 "where the rubber meets the road", form a road perspective but transferable nevertheless). On the other hand, the same thing that adds resistance also adds damping meaning that one need to strike a balance and this is where I think cushcore plays a very important role. 

Furthermore, thicker casing might add damping and thus increase traction while descending but my experience is that when things go slower such as while climbing a more supple casing will better find traction due to easier being able to conform to the surface. But of course, I haven't done any back to back testing myself so it's hard to tell. 

So basically, what I'd love to see is a back to back comparison between lighter casing + inserts vs thicker casings (with equal weights) on both technical climbing, descending and something in between. But yeah, maybe this is something not too relevant for most of you and the bottom line will always be that a sturdier casing is always worth it.

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Tjaardbreeuwer
+1 Axel Ericson
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Nov. 4, 2020, 9:29 a.m.

The one thing I wonder about is whether there might be a benefit to running a lighter casing+insert, vs heavier casing, if balancing rolling resistance with grip and pinch flat protection.

Heavier casings have more rolling resistance, because they are stiffer(harder to deform). So my hypothesis is that the more supple casing, even combined with an insert, would have lower rolling resistance than the thicker casing.

So even though the heavier casing tire was lighter than the combo, I wonder if rolling resistance might still be better.

The other thing of course, is that this depends on the exact casings and inserts compared.

For example, EXO+ with Tannus might be lighter than DD.

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Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 30, 2020, 3:33 a.m.

My umbrage towards inserts centers primarily around their cost. No matter which way I run the cost breakdown, I can't find good value in them. 

Maybe when more oem options make it to market, I will give them a try. Right now they're in the titanium stem bolts category for me.

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Vikb
+2 AJ Barlas Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 30, 2020, 5:17 a.m.

> My umbrage towards inserts centers primarily around their cost. No matter which way I run the cost breakdown, I can't find good value in them. 

Assuming you find they are beneficial the cost of $100-$150/wheel is not high in relation to the cost of replacing a damaged rim or tire or the cost of other performance upgrades on a mountain bike.

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Bad-Sean
+1 Tehllama42
Sean Chee  - Oct. 31, 2020, 5:03 a.m.

Thats a lot of money for a foam hoop. 😞 At work we just tooled up for some vibration dampening sensor and payload mounts. A similar foam and volume as these inserts and our low  production volume still costs next to nothing. 

I can't imagine the asian oems are letting this segment slide past them. 

I am 240-250 and my trails tend to not benefit too much from lower pressures in my maxxis dh casings. Maybe I would see a need for them if it wasn't so dry or hard packed here. 

It's been a long time since I trashed a rim. The last rim I murdered was an older mavic dh rim trying to do something silly on a step up. Replaced it with a ringle duroc and I happily plow through and case everything in sight with it.

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Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 31, 2020, 5:03 a.m.

Thats a lot of money for a foam hoop. 😞 At work we just tooled up for some vibration dampening sensor and payload mounts. A similar foam and volume as these inserts and our low  production volume still costs next to nothing. 

I can't imagine the asian oems are letting this segment slide past them. 

I am 240-250 and my trails tend to not benefit too much from lower pressures in my maxxis dh casings. Maybe I would see a need for them if it wasn't so dry or hard packed here. 

It's been a long time since I trashed a rim. The last rim I murdered was an older mavic dh rim trying to do something silly on a step up. Replaced it with a ringle duroc and I happily plow through and case everything in sight with it.

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pdxkid
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
pdxkid  - Oct. 30, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

Major props for simply committing to changing all of those tires with inserts! If only a wheel maker would offer up several of the same wheel sets to make the whole process more seamless. My hands would be roached from just changing all of those tires!

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AJ_Barlas
+1 pdxkid
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 30, 2020, 1:18 p.m.

Haha, thanks pdxkid. The first time they were hammered. This time is wasn’t so bad. Not keen on fettling with tires for a while though 😅

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andy-eunson
+1 Sean Chee
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 30, 2020, 9:12 a.m.

Here’s the one dissenting voice. I only weigh in the low 140 pound range. My rims are 30 mm wide inside. I run 2.4 to 2.6 EXO or equivalent casings. On 2.4 I need around 18 to 20 psi. On the wider tires I run 15 to 18 psi. I bottom out a bit when I neglect to check my pressures. I very rarely puncture or tear. I tried the Tannus tubeless inserts. Initial in the damp I liked the really low psi. But once I started going faster when it dried out I found the lower psi allowed the tires to squirm. I needed to run almost the same psi as before so after a couple weeks I decided there was no real benefit to me. I don’t ride bike parks ever so keeping the weight reasonable is important for all the climbing I do.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 Andy Eunson
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 30, 2020, 1:22 p.m.

Interesting Andy. I wonder if the benefit of those is really only worthwhile with a stiffer carcass thanks to them offering more support than the thin EXO carcass?

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Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 31, 2020, 5:14 a.m.

I am in a similar situation to you. The difference is I'm fatter so run higher pressures. 2.6 dhr front 30ish psi. 2.4(I think) minion ss rear at 33ish psi. Even in the wet I don't get below 20. I find it squirmy down there. 

Obviously I have a lot more rim compliance than a lot of you guys so that offsets some insert benefit.

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GiveitsomeWelly
0
Karl Fitzpatrick  - Oct. 30, 2020, 2:32 p.m.

Steel 27.5 HT. Flat pedals (of course). 78ish kg rider weight. 

CC pro in the rear with maybe 23-25psi (I'm not that precious about exactness) in my bike park MM.

Same tyre on the front with a free ride tube (only cos I've traditionally punctured way less in the front).

It's awesome. I basically ride it like it's a full sus, properly forcing it into compressions to pop and pump no matter the terrain.

Heavy? Hell yes but reliable, confidence inspiring and bullet proof? Check mate.

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Glass
0
Glass  - Nov. 1, 2020, 6:57 a.m.

For years I ran DH tires and tubes on my full suspension DH bike. Then in around 2014 I got Schwalbe Procore and it changed everything! I stopped having flat spots and flatting became super rare. I was able to run procore with singleply tires, lose weight off my wheels and gain insane traction! 

Last year I tried Cushcore and really liked it. The extra vibration damping is really noticable. I have been running them with tubolite tubes so I don't have the extra mess of sealant and with no weight penalty.

I run 35mm inner rim width with Assegai dual compound EXO tires for dry conditions. 14/17psi for trail riding and 17/20psi for the bikepark. I find the low pressure provides insane amount of grip and thus negates the use of softer compound, plus they roll faster.  Off camber roots sections are now easypeasy! 

For Wet/soft conditions I am using a WTB Verdict wet with tube (though I just switched to a tubolite tube and cushcore today to test out) and a Eddy current front super gravity setup tubeless as a back tire. 

Been running 16psi with the tube and 14psi in the rear with the thicker casing. Now with the front cushcore I have dropped down to 14psi for the front.

I weigh 60kg/132lb. 

I will be sticking to insert for the foreseeable future unless someone decides to incorporate inserts into the tire sidewalls.

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ChazzMichaelMichaels
+2 Sandy James Oates Tehllama42
ChazzMichaelMichaels  - Nov. 2, 2020, 12:46 a.m.

I still find the whole process a bit frustrating. Why do we need to put inserts in tyres? Is it rim design, is it tyre design? It strikes me that either one of these isn't designed correctly? The cynic in me says simply run more pressure, I read comments of tyre pressures of low or sub 20s, then I hear Troy Brosnan and Greg Minnaar running 30psi and at least one of them is lighter than me!

At what point does the rubber compound (say Super Tacky vs Maxx Terra) trump pressure? Does it ever?

If you run an insert, how large could you get away with before it's almost a solid tyre? I'd love to see blind tests, bit hard perhaps, but with the same width and type it might be possible? Wheelsets could be built up identically and the tyre blacked out. With an efficiency climb test too!

Sorry. So many questions.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 Andy Eunson
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 2, 2020, 8:46 a.m.

So many questions, and all of them equally good food for thought!

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - Nov. 2, 2020, 9:13 a.m.

All good questions, and more frustratingly they seem to vary based on terrain specifically.  Rock slabs, wet roots, and bike pack hardpack, rubber compound is massive (and only competes with tread/void ratios) on performance.
In loose-over-hard, loam, sand, and mud, it's tire pressure and tread pattern all day.
Just that subtle difference is why for some people 'just add air' is a complete and adequate answer, and for others inserts, lower air pressure, and selecting a casing that lets the tread pattern work from there is the answer... and neither one is wrong.

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slyfink
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slyfink  - Nov. 2, 2020, 8:25 a.m.

I'm beginning to wonder if this drive to inserts isn't in part caused by wider rims. I'd been on i26 rims for the past few years, and in combination with 2.3 DD rear and 2.4 EXO+ (both DHR2s), I'd found a winning formula. It was the first time I'd ever worn a tire out before cutting it at the sidewall (which I find is not fixable). I weigh 217 (it's been pretty steady for the many years), and I like to think I ride fairly hard (not pro, not beginner). At the end of this summer, I swapped to i30 rims. 

In order to only change one thing at a time, I kept my pressures the same (26 front, 29 rear). I've found that I get more burping with the wider rims. I suppose it could be the different rims bead seats (went from Stans Flow EX to Chromag Phase 30), but I kind of doubt it. On my first week with the new rims, I burped the rear tire and dented the rim as I went through a significantly chundery section. (the rim now holds air just fine, but I'm still running fairly high pressure at around 30). A few weeks ago I finished a ride with a run down a very rocky section that's known to destroy DH wheels and tires (it's called the Dump...) I rode it gingerly, but managed to burp my front tire, which was a bit freaky in a high speed rock garden.

My theory is that wider rims create more volume in the tire. Since tires are essentially undamped springs, increasing the volume of the spring chamber is like running a more linear spring. As you hit things harder, the spring will blow through it's travel easier. This is my theory anyways. I can't help but feel that inserts are a way of countering this drawback. But so would simply running narrower rims.

I've been really interested in the Tannus inserts and been thinking long and hard about them. But I can't help but wonder if going back to a narrower rim would be lighter and more beneficial. I suppose I'd be giving up a bit traction by running lower pressure, but that's not something I'm really benefiting from at the moment anyways. At the same time, I'm willing to give EXO+ and Tannus a try to see if I can get the best of both worlds. @korc, do you know which distributor those shops are ordering from?

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AJ_Barlas
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AJ Barlas  - Nov. 2, 2020, 8:50 a.m.

Some real good points Slyfink. When I think back I realize I flat more since going to wider rims, despite running more heavy-duty tires (on the trail bike) and much-improved suspension and geometry which in other instances I've found to prevent issues with the wheels (there's less mass being forced into them than a more compact wheelbase). Maybe I'm (we're?) riding with less regard for our equipment or just being more hack-ish?

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tehllama42
+1 AJ Barlas
Tehllama42  - Nov. 2, 2020, 9:22 a.m.

More volume absolutely creates the opportunity for burping, and rims being wider is only a partial answer - I think what AJ nailed with this is that the tire construction needed to come along and get beefier to take advantage of it, but instead the weight weenie answers of 'more volume less carcass' is what sold initially, but that same set of problems described are why 'plus' tires are going out of vogue, but somehow e-bike tires in 'plus sizing' are becoming an extant thing, and for pure gravity bikes that aren't strictly about speed, they're an amazingly good answer.
The tire inserts create a lot more changes than just displacing what would be compressible air, but I suspect that's part of the situation that is why the tread-peel of being on an effective camber is less noticeable there, it's not that they're adding side support so much as making any compression in a side-loaded situation result in less overall lateral displacement of the contact patch.

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Glass
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Glass  - Nov. 2, 2020, 9:08 a.m.

Not a fan of narrow rims as they don't give enough sidewall support without running higher pressure. That then causes grip issues. 
Read/heard Cesar Rojo (guy behind Unno bikes and Forward Geometry) that running lower height tires would solve alot of our current tire problems. The tires would squirm far less and could be made stiffer and lighter.

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Korc
+1 slyfink
Korc  - Nov. 2, 2020, 5:11 p.m.

Slyfink, Pacific did not say. They just said local distributor and $67 ea. I went w/ Riley's since it was in stock and free shipping. But price was exactly the same. So I'm assuming same distributor.

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slyfink
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slyfink  - Nov. 3, 2020, 11:26 a.m.

thanks!

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slyfink
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slyfink  - Nov. 3, 2020, 11:26 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

MuscogeeMasher
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
MuscogeeMasher  - Nov. 2, 2020, 11:20 a.m.

I've always thought we went to wide rims to support the sidewalls of the wider/higher-volume tires.  If you're really looking at optimizing a rim, insert, and tire setup, you can go with a narrower rim because the insert supports the sidewall.   AJ's experiment and all the comments are super helpful, but don't answer what is my main question from a trail-riding perspective: how does 2.5 DHF, 2.5 Aggressor, no inserts, 30mm ID compare to 2.3 DHF, 2.3 Aggressor, inserts (cushcore pro or tannus), 27mm ID, and 4ish psi lower in each tire.  Really narrows down the difference in weight.  And, with the inserts, can easily throw 2.5's (and a DHR) on the 27mm ID for shuttling days.

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slyfink
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slyfink  - Nov. 3, 2020, 11:28 a.m.

I think we're saying the same thing? wider tires need wider rims. so I say why not just stick with narrower tires and rims, and save the weight?

or maybe my point is that for heavier riders, or for going fast, wide tire/rims aren't really beneficial?

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Bendjosh
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Josh Owen  - Nov. 4, 2020, 2:29 a.m.

Great write up, thanks.  This is slightly off the topic of your article but...  I've been playing with CushCore a lot this last year.  I've got the Pro on my park bike and the XC on my trail bike.  

I've decided to not run an insert at all on my trail bike next tire swap.  While I definitely feel some benefits with the XC, it doesn't outweight the loss of acceleration and poppiness I feel I've lost.

I recently had a flat with the Pro on a Schwalbe Super Gravity casing.  Trying to deal with replacing that flat was so difficult that I'm done with the CushCore pro.  I still prefer an insert for park riding so I'm either going to put the XC on my trail bike or try the new Tannus Tubeless.

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VertigoCycles
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VertigoCycles  - Nov. 5, 2020, 7:56 a.m.

I'm probably way too late to this thread to help anyone...but Motion Pro Bead Pro tire levers make installing/removing tires with Cush Core super-easy...well much easier than with standard levers anyway.  I'm a fairly big guy and run CC with Maxxis DH or DD tires.  The biggest problem I've encountered is trying to break the bead after it's been well sealed and practically glued to the rim.  I have the Motion Pro levers for my motorbike, and it's the bead breaker function of it that's so valuable with CC inserts.  Spendy for sure, but if you're already riding motos and do your own work, or if you're a professional mechanic looking to save time on stubborn rim/tire setups, it's a good investment.

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AJ_Barlas
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AJ Barlas  - Nov. 6, 2020, 9:50 a.m.

Thanks for the tip guys! It's true, removing the tire after it's bonded itself to the rim is probably the hardest part. That makes trailside removal super frustrating when things go wrong.

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VertigoCycles
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VertigoCycles  - Nov. 6, 2020, 10:22 a.m.

Trailside repair is still a nightmare if you need to remove the tire.  I was working on a stowable bead breaker, but everything I've developed in the past year has had something similar come out by a larger company before I can line up a manufacturer so I'm not putting my efforts into tools anymore.  I did develop a way to store my Dynaplugs inside a Silca mini pump (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vertigocycles/albums/72157716615477641) that I modified to work with a OneUP top cap and luckily I haven't suffered any flats with a CushCore that require anything more than plugs, though I will say that if you get a hole at the bead, it's problematic but not impossible to plug with the inserts in the way.

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