Cush Core Tire Insert Set
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Raising the bar for tire protection.
We dream of a future where the grass is green, the dirt is tacky, and we never get flat tires. Thankfully, we're not the only ones, which is why the engineers at Cush Core have been putting their all into designing a tire insert that far surpasses yester year's attempted quick fixes, and even goes beyond to provide suspension of its own, inside of your tire, for a plusher, more supportive ride of the future. The Cush Core Tire Insert Set might be a dream come true for riders who have blown countless tires or cracked rims on rough rides, designed to mount inside of mountain bike tires to divide the inner volume in half, protecting your rim with dense foam that reduces vibration and adds lateral stability to your tire.
What makes the Cush Core so ideal is that it doesn't only take care of pinch-flats and protect your rim, but it actually improves the supple comfort of your ride by working as an inner-tire suspension system. This is achieved by filling half of your tire's volume with foam that dampens vibrations, while the remaining volume of your tire works as an air spring, effectively responding to blow and chatter like an extension of your bike's suspension, soaking up turbulent forces for a smoother ride. This reduces lateral vibrations by 77%, longitudinal vibrations by 58% and even vertical impact by 50%. While, naturally, adding an insert to your tire will increase its weight, the Cush Core manages to reduce rolling resistance of your wheel, so despite a bit of additional rotational weight, the added increased lateral stiffness works to keep your wheeling better than before.
The Cush Core Tire Insert Set comes along with its own valves, which Cush Core recommends swapping to when you add your inserts to your wheel, as they make adjusting air pressure and adding tire sealant easier than with a standard tubeless valve. Cush Core Inserts are easy to maintain once you've mounted them, but there is a bit of a learning curve to installing them, as they involve some stretching to get a tight fit on your rim, and moving an already difficult to seat tire on top of extra volume poses its own challenge, so Cush Core recommends watching their installation video and playing close attention to instructions before jumping in head-first to your installation. Once you've taken the time to learn how the pro's do it, it's only a matter of time before you can get your ride primed for with flat-preventing cushion to ride every trail with confidence.
- Inserts for avoiding pinch flats and prolonged rim life
- Adds suspension damping to your tires
- Increases lateral stability for confident cornering
- Compatible with tubeless tires and rims
- Specially designed tubeless air valves included
- Weighs about the same as a standard butyl inner tube
- Fits rims with internal diameter of 22-35mm
- Ideal for 2.1-2.5in tires
- Item #CCU0001
- Q & A
A Real Step Forward
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Let's get this out of the way; if you think it's crazy to add a pound of rotating weight to your bike to mitigate flat tires and rim damage, Cushcore isn't for you. If you've had race weekends derailed by punctures, had to replace multiple rims per season due to impact damage, or have resigned yourself to running 30psi+ to fend off flats, this setup is worth a serious look.
The Good: First and foremost, Cushcore actually lives up to the marketing promises. It acts as a bumper between the rim and tire under full tire compression, making it extremely difficult to pinch flat the tire's casing. Because the insert is much wider than the tire, it applies pressure to the sidewall of the tire, reducing the chances of burping air, and supporting the sidewalls in corners at lower pressures. It noticeably reduces the "pinging" sensation that you'll experience as the tire deflects off rocks at speed. The sensation of riding Cushcore is similar to the damping provided by dual-ply DH tires, although it's even more pronounced. I was originally skeptical, but the improved tire feel has become one of my favorite features of the Cushcore system. In practice, it has effectively eliminated pinch flats, stopped rim damage, and has plainly allowed me to ride my trail bike faster, especially in rocky terrain.
The Bad: It's an absolute hassle to install. Following the instructions and using soapy water helps, but installing and changing tires is a bear. It's heavy, at roughly 200g/wheel. It's expensive for what amounts to a set of glorified (albeit carefully engineered) pool noodles. The included valve stems are not long enough to fit many modern carbon fiber rims. And one insert lasts through about two tires before the foam has broken down to a point where it looses its supportiveness and must be replaced.
The Noteworthy: Although plenty of folks have claimed that they've been able to run lighter weight tires and much less pressure with Cushcore, that's not been my experience. Tire pressures have been reduced slightly, with attendant improvements in grip and rider comfort (26f/28r, from 28f/30r with 2.3-2.4 tires @ 175lbs). After experimenting with EXO casing tires, I'm back to running Double Down casings to avoid cut sidewalls. YMMV.
Overall, I'm very impressed. It's not perfect, and it's obviously not for everyone, but for those of us who regularly exceed the air retention capabilities of reinforced tubeless tires, Cushcore is an effective solution to one of mountain biking's most persistent problems.