New CushCore Insert, Less Expensive HT Pedals, Smanie's N.spire Seat - Eurobike 2018

Jul 12, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Eurobike 2018

CushCore 27.5+ Insert

CushCore's tire inserts are probably the most well-known flat tire solution on the market right now, but CushCore's Adam Krefting also emphasized how their closed-cell foam inserts are effective at changing the spring rate of the tire for the better, too. That's right, your tire is essentially an air spring, and using a foam insert is kinda like putting volume-reducing tokens into it: It shrinks the volume of the air chamber and means that the rate will ramp up quicker.

This changes how the tire reacts with the ground, Krefting explained, and how the closed-cell foam damps the tire's reactions.

And now you'll be able to run CushCore in your 27.5+ tires, too. The new size isn't just a lot wider than their previous offerings, though, as that would add a load of unneeded weight. Instead, cutouts on the underside keep the wider insert to within just 40-grams of the standard width version. The price is the same - $149 USD for a set - and that also gets you the required valve stems that play nice with the inserts.
Eurobike 2018



Eurobike 2018
Eurobike 2018


Smanie Seats

Smanie is a relatively new saddle company who say they've put a hell of a lot of research and effort into their seat designs, and the N.spire is their fresh mountain bike offering. You'll be able to get it in 136mm, 146mm, and 156mm widths, all of which you can test out via their demo program at participating bike shops. Smanie says that they've employed finite element modeling to design the N.spire, and that it's the brainchild of a pro mountain biker and biomedical engineer who simply wanted the seat to feel invisible.



Eurobike 2018

New HT Pedals

I think HT has debuted a new, or at least a revised, pedal at every single tradeshow in recent memory, and Eurobike 2018 was no different. This time around it's two fresh, less expensive versions of existing models, with the T1 and D1 being joined by the GT1 (pictured above) and GD1. The former is a trail-style pedal that features a medium-sized cage and looks a lot like the T1 that we reviewed back in 2017, but it costs $70 USD instead of $135 USD. HT is able to slash the price in half thanks to going with a slightly taller die-cast body rather than a forged one, with this also allowing for larger bearings to be used inside. It's also powder coated instead of being anodized.

The result is pretty much half the price, sees larger bearings that might last longer, and weighs just 20-grams more than its more expensive brother. Sounds like a good trade-off to me.


Eurobike 2018
Eurobike 2018


The other new offering, the GD1, is, you guessed it, the less expensive version of the D1 that's a single-sided clipless platform pedal. The normal D1 is pretty much just a one-sided X2 DH pedal for those who want a hybrid setup (please comment if that's what you've got as I've never seen anyone using these the wild), and the GD1 (pictured above) features the same die-cast body treatment as the GT1. It's thicker and has larger bearings, too, and also goes for $70 USD.

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98 Comments

  • + 103
 CushCore looks really promising, but I can't bring myself to pay $149 for 2 strips of foam. Knock off the leading digit and i might consider it
  • + 26
 Yeah for that price it should come someone to fit it for you considering how hard I've heard they are to fit haha.
  • + 2
 Yep, and I think they only sell them as a set. Were they cheaper and were I able to get just one for the rear, as that's where a majority of the flats are going on, I'd be more likely to buy. It's in the looks cool but not going to buy category currently.
  • + 11
 @snl1200: They're available as singles...
  • + 2
 You can buy single cush core inserts so you could get one for the rear only. And they are not that difficult to install. It took me 30 minutes per wheel to install the first time trying.
  • + 6
 What's the advantage of these foam inserts over Procore? In my experience Procore makes tire installation quite easy (you can seat the tire with a minipump), it protects the rim too and of course it also gives you a more progressive spring from the tire (hence the name). CushCore seems like a beast to install. The only advantage I can think of is if you've got rim that's too weak to deal with the pressure of the tube (which is adviced to be between 4 and 6 bar, I run about 5.5). Is that the only reason or is there something else?
  • + 27
 I don't take life seriously enough to be running these kind of things.
  • + 4
 Cush core isn't that difficult to fit if you're vaguely competent... You just have to know how (and have a large trash can to hand)
  • + 3
 They aren't at all difficult to install if you follow instructions. They also come with special tubeless valves you have to use, and the foam is not your typical pool noodle, it's very dense actually, I was surprised when I first saw it.

does it make a huge difference? I haven't felt it, the tire seems a little more stable thought. but the peace of mind I get from it is worth it
  • + 3
 @vinay: you can flat a procore! Seen it a couple of time.
Also Flat tire defender inserts are great too.
  • + 14
 Took me about 15 minutes per wheel to install, didn't even use a tire lever on one wheel and not till the last part of the bead on the final side of the tire on my second. Use soap and water like it says and they are actually easy to install.

As for feel I'm 190 lbs, probably 200 with gear and went from 27/30 to 24/27 psi and immediately felt a night and day difference. I ride all over vancouver island which is a strong testing ground. Tire is softer and dampens the trail like crazy. Noticed improved grip immediately which I expected. Took them to some hard berms and tried to get them to squirm and nothing, tires feel locked in and solid. Smashed some really rough trails and I always seem to dent rims. Nothing so far.

In summary, less arm pump, more traction improved my cornering overnight once I found out how solid your tire is still at low pressure. No rim damage, no flats. I one hundred percent recommend.
  • + 2
 @vinay: also procore user for about one year and something, never had a flat, can run lower (normal?) pressures around 25psi and best of all...
it doesn't burp, even running stupid low pressures (thats around 13psi).

confidance it's high enough to drop inner spare tube and pump, and that was what I did a few months ago on my weekend rides.

weight penalty of 200g per wheel is ok considering all the advantages: rim protection/lower pressures/no burping.

:-{
  • + 7
 Then you realise spokes brake and you have to take the shit of once again to fiddle with the spokes.....solve one problem a new arises haha! Bikes love'em and hate'em I do.
  • + 1
 Not a fan of cushcore. Insert yes, but they square off and it stands you up...
  • + 5
 It's a fraction of the cost of a full bike and add's allot to the performance, in an attempt to revolutionize a huge issue in mtb performance. How much do you pay for Shimano/Sram to keep selling you the same shit that breaks every 6 months so they can keep making money. Cushscore is just a small company, they have to pay the bills, they cost lest than a set of tires and last twice as long. Along with making your rims last longer.
  • + 1
 @teagues @PapaGordo awesome. When I had checked back when they first came out it looked as though the only option to order was the set. Thank you.
  • + 2
 @PapaGordo: you can do it in 10 mins or less once you know what you're doing, and you can get the tires back on w/o tools. The trickiest part is pulling the insert onto the rim (I used both hands to pull and pushed the rim away w/ my foot.
  • + 3
 @vinay: pro core and the other brands have no sidewall support, which means the tire can and will come after a flat like what happened to gwinn and those crappy huck norris inserts he uses. You can literally continue to ride on your flat tires w/ cushcore installed. I dont even bring a spare tube w/ me b/c it's unnecessary to get you back to your car.

The "V" shape of cushcore holds the tire onto the rim. Once you mount a set, you'll see that it's impossible for it to come off while riding. The only way to get it off is to squeeze the tire by the bead to break the bead, then use a tire lever to get underneath the insert to pull the bead out.
  • + 2
 @Grosey: what do you mean they square off and it stands you up?
  • + 1
 @snl1200: Find a buddy to go halfers with you.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Procore doesn't push against the side wall like these do from what I can tell. These probably give more stability in tire squirming, which is ideal for a plus size.
  • + 1
 @snl1200: +1 for maybe buying a rear one only if it were available (as some commenters say they are). I may even pay $75 for it if it includes the valve stem.

That being said, I started running tubeless about a year ago. I run 23psi front, 25 psi rear and have not had a single flat. *Knocks on wood*
  • + 1
 @sam264: Sawhorses works well too, you just have to rotate the wheel as you push the bead into the center if the rim. Patience is key and you must constantly push the tire bead down starting on the opposite side. I love the Cushcore but would like to give the Vittoria airliners a try.
  • + 1
 $150 is cheap compared to he cost of wheel breakage, which I can 100% confirm they prevent. Plus the added sidewalk support and it’s a no brainer, given that you ride in terrain at speeds that justify it. I won’t ride without it until something better comes along.
  • + 0
 @macimecdufour: Hard? It only took me two hours per tire the first time.
  • + 5
 @ryan83: $150 is expensive compared to about $49 dollars, at which point they'd sell about 10x as many. I think the price point is set too high.
  • + 1
 I definitely felt some benefits of cush core - most noticeable was how the sidewalls squirmed about much less whilst still being super grippy. Felt much more confident on the trail, especially on wider tyres
  • + 0
 @PapaGordo: not including hub/rim measurements to determine spoke length, I can build a wheel in about 30 minutes, so installation of cushioned in 30 mins does seem like a lot of work......
  • + 2
 @onemind123: wheel build in 30 mins? I call bullshit
  • + 2
 @sam264: My mom's neighbour taught me how to lace wheels. This is his business:
www.varnahandcycles.com
He kinda has to lace custom wheels, as his designs are so custom. He got down to 12 minutes or so per wheel from sitting down with the correct number of spokes, rim, and hub, to having a correctly trued wheel ready to ride.
He could check tension by the pitch of the plucked spokes.
It was amazing to watch.
Practice practice, practice.
Unfortunately, that didn't rub off on me, still takes me 1 hour if I build multiples in a row, but since I have no need for multiple wheels, it usually ends up being 3 hours and 4 beers.
  • + 2
 @moroj82: you sound like a Cush core ad. . . . And Gwin doesn’t run huck Norris!
  • + 2
 @johan90: They get easier to install on the subsequent installs... They're also really not as bad to install as people are making them out to be. Just follow their instructions.
  • + 1
 @MX298:

You can also flat a cushcore
You can also ruin a rim with cushcore
I bet its a lot harder to ruin a rim with procore
  • + 2
 The tire cant come off the rim with procore inflated, which it remains even if the tire is flat
@moroj82:

I have ridden a mile of black diamond trail then 4 miles back up the hill on a cut tire with procore the rim ans procore was fine after.

Doubt the cushcore would be ok after that
  • + 3
 @teagues: I'm going "Full Foam" with these, foam-filled vibrocore Spank rims, and a foam vibrocore Bar.

Foam is the new carbon.
  • + 1
 Yes it would, I cut my tire coming down Moore Fun in Fruita and rode it out hitting drops and ledges (albeit slower than normal) and the Cushcore remained in tact and I’m still using it.
  • + 1
 If you consider how much it costs to replace beaten up rims I think the cush core (for the rear) are actually an investment that pays of. Besides the financial point I have to do way less (non actually) trailside flat repairs since runing cush core.
  • + 1
 Not just the price it’s the weight, HuckNorris at 100gram each end is bad enough
  • + 1
 Well, I like to look at it as $149 to save my $1500 wheels, or at least the $300-400 rims.
But yes, Cushcore is extremely hard to install, particularly with heavy duty tyres. Super Gravity or Double Down casings will make your life hell when you go to install these. It took me somewhere in the range of 1-2 hours or so to do an install on one wheel, and I had to do it again because I somehow blew the tyre off the bead when inflating it, except this time with tyre sealant all over the place. I also destroyed my plastic tyre levers, so highly recommend metal tyre levers...

Once Vittoria start selling their Air Liners in Australia I'm going to chuck one of them on since they seem like they might be slightly less frustrating.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the responses. I've been running latex tubes at about 1.25 bar front and 1.5 bar rear until quite recently. Only last May when I built my current bike I went with Procore with 0.9bar in the front tire and 1.1 bar in the rear. My reasons/criteria were:
- I wanted to protect my rim, especially now that really has to hold air now.
- I wanted to run proper low pressures without the risk of burping air or pinch flatting.
- I wanted to be able to install the tire out on the trail with my bare hands and the mini pump if need be. Yes I even refilled the tiny 60ml bottle of sealant and leave it in my bag.

Cushcore seems to tick the first two points though the third one could be difficult, I guess.

@johan90: Should I be concerned about the spokes? According to the tire sidewall, they can be inflated up to 4bar. Not saying anyone would do that, but it would be odd if the tire can be inflated that hard but the wheel can't take it, would it? I know Stans rims only accept lower pressures so wheels built with those in mind may not be up to it. But my wheels (Syntace W35, 26") came with a label (Procore ready) so I suppose I should be fine.

Of course anything can break or puncture. Greg Minnaar had quite a mess dangling off his rear wheel at the WC finals last season. But the tire shouldn't be easier or harder to cut than if the system weren't present. As for the tube, can be patched or replaced too. Which brings me to my only gripe with the system. I don't like the Presta valve. The Procore system comes as such but too often do I unscrew the valve core when I just want to take the valve cap off. So I'm planning to just drill the valve hole up the Schraeder size and use a standard Schraeder tubeless valve (for bicycles). My rims already have another valve hole at 90 degrees for the tube, which should just be a regular narrow 26" tube with Schraeder valve. No more silly Procore specific Presta valve. My life will be complete.
  • + 1
 @MX298: Aye you can still flat with Procore but you will still get to the finish line running on the procore insert and the tyre stays locked on. I got a 3rd in a DH race last year crossing the line with two flat tyres, apart from Deaneasy, no other tyre insert will allow you to do that.
  • - 1
 I don't buy into Cush Core or Huck Norris. I have some Reynolds carbon wheels with a tubeless set up, and 2.3" tires run @ ~25psi, and I have never had rim strikes or pinch flats. This is riding rocky chunky trails with 3-4 foot drops. If something is going to break your rim I doubt foam is going to do much to stop it. If you check your pressure before each ride and don't run ridiculously low pressures you'll be ok.
  • + 1
 @moroj82: Procore locks the tyre to the rim and you can ride on a flat. No burping which can happen with cushcore.
  • + 1
 @onemind123: I can build a wheel in about 2 hours and cushcore takes 5-10 minutes. Pretty sure you aren't going to struggle with cushcore if you can build a wheel in 30.
  • + 2
 @vinay: Sidewall support and less squirm at the lower pressures they allow you to run. I've used them both extensively. I would not ride anywhere without one or the other in the rear wheel at a mimimum. In my experience, the ProCore is actually harder to install and remove. If you follow cushcores well done instructions (the trashcan method) they're actually pretty easy. The fancy procore valve also eventualy clogs up with sealent or just breaks from uses. I slightly prefer cushcore in most cases.
  • + 9
 D1 user here, love mine. I originally got mine to use the non-clipless side for a specific long technical climb on one of my home trails where I need to be seated (grip loss on rear wheel) while also having my feet free to balance myself as there's a bunch of tight turns covered with roots. I was simply too stubborn to walk my bike up that part, so these were perfect.

To answer the question what was wrong with the two-sided clipless pedals that I used before - I found that when balancing with one foot off the pedals and the balance shifting so I would quickly have to change which foot I'm balancing with (thus returning the balance-providing foot to the pedal in an exuberant fashion) I would often unintentionally clip back in, with the tired leg then too slow to clip back out to re-establish balance, thus causing me to tumble sideways down a steep loam-covered hillside at a comically slow speed.

(oh yeah, and I'm fully conscious of the fact that this sort of application is probably not what the designers/engineers had in mind... but hey, it solved my problem)
  • + 2
 Nice. Makes sense to me.
  • + 1
 I got a set on my hardtail, i live in london so not much foresty dh around so i just (try to) do a little street riding so need the flats, but when i go trail riding i like to clip in because hardtail. I got them for just under £100 which to me is expansive for pedals, would consider the gd1 if i ever need to change, which i hope i wont.
  • + 11
 "Smanie says that they've employed finite element modeling to design the N.spire"
... so just like literally every other engineered product?
  • + 4
 Also when I think ergonomics it's not often I think FEA?
  • + 15
 Yeah I'm pretty sure my Tioga saddle was designed with CFD in order to properly diffuse farts.
  • + 3
 The video gave much better information; they used a softer foam in the middle to make it feel like it has a middle cutout withput any pressure points from having and edge there
  • + 4
 Surely they should notch the standard width one to save the weight too?
And has anyone put one of these things in a pressure vessel with a window to see how much the closed cell foam closes up in a 25psi (for example) tyre? All very well seeing cut sections but that's with no pressure on it... I happen to have just such a pressure vessel...
  • + 1
 yeah good point, probably a fair amount. I can imagine the plus size really pancakes out inside the tire.
  • + 1
 Have pondered the same thing, thanks for bringing it up! I've been curious to see a cube of each of these foam insert materials compared in a pressure vessel to see what is really left once you are at riding pressure. Also curious to see how long it takes for them to take a permanent set from the constant compression from the surrounding air. I had some inserts, back around year 2000 from Specialized, with a different concept where they went between the tire and tube, so opposite the current arrangement, but after a number of months of use I finally got a flat. When I opened up the tire, I found that the constant air pressure had compressed the insert into a thin strip of hard material, and it was actually the edge of the insert that eventually wore through my tube. It seems that, if hoping to maximize longevity, one might want to let the pressure out of ones tires when not riding. That's assuming that slices from big impacts and bottoming on the rim don't kill them first.
  • + 4
 @mikelevy I am one of those one sided weirdos. I have a set on my SS mtb and my cross bike. Makes it a breeze to cruise down town or take a ride no matter whats on my feet. My dedicated trail bike is still running double sided!
  • + 2
 I have Funn Mamba on my steel hardtail and love them. You can just take normal shoes to commute to the work or around city or take clipless to ride on trail.
  • + 1
 I had the fun Mamba on my SS too. I though I could switch to flats for the scarier descents but the pins weren't grippy enough, and the platform didn't actually touch the shoe on the clip side so it was a lose lose setup for me.
  • + 1
 I just put some basic shimano one sided on my GF road bike as she use it for commuting too but don't want to have to change shoes. And I was thinking doing the same with some mamba or similar for my hardtail that I'm using to do Trial/Commuting/Funduro and whatever else.
  • + 1
 I run mallets on my enduro bike and find that the pins give enough grip for when I'm doing jibs in trainers outside my flat. The eggbeater bit isn't that grippy and feels like the other side of a cheese grater when it catches your shins though...
  • + 2
 @mikelevy You're still doing the really bizarre photo > title > description format. Please change and put the title before the photo, it just makes so much more sense. Otherwise the first photo looks like it belongs to the end of the item preceding it.
  • + 1
 Watched 2 different small teams having a hard time getting their wheels to not leak sealant when using these. The theory being that the insert can push on the rim strip and push it off breaking the air seal ever so slightly.

Thoughts?
  • + 1
 to all those commenting that procore is possibly as good I call b.s. i would really like to try these as I ran procore for 8 months and had nothing but problems. when the system works like it should it's great but generally for me that's not the case. I constantly had issues with the valves getting blocked with sealant and this caused major problems in that the internals would loose air as the valve is always done up completely whilst riding which engages the internal core which means you can go ride and not know that you have lost air, smashed rims abound which is kinda the point of it so not really the best.
  • + 5
 $149 for some semi fancy foam,no thanks
  • + 1
 Come on man, you can set up the tire low speed rebound with it, totally worths it !
  • + 1
 missed the + in the cush core's bit @mikelevy:
When I saw the single sided Funn ones I thought it was a good idea, like to use clips for climbing and flats for descending. Also, the heavier clip side should keep the flat upside when you go flat out-foot out. Had I have some clip shoes and I had give them a go, but not the case so I ended up with Spank Spikes instead.
  • + 2
 The weight bias on these pedals is usually to the platform, meaning you’re clip side up, at least from what I’ve seen. I think these pedals make more sense for commuter bikes
  • + 1
 Those GD1 look good for my road/commuter bike so I can wear flats when I go bar drinking.

I love my HT T1's but man it took a little getting used to the pins for extra grip. I have countless scrapes on my calves/shins because normally my pedals just clank against them when I am hike a biking.
  • + 2
 Sorry but cushcore is nothing like a volume token. Marketing BS at its worst. Think about the change in air volume inside the tyre when you hit something hard, it's such a small % .
  • + 1
 Dont knock it til you try it
  • + 1
 @zyoungson: it works, but not because of this
  • + 2
 I miss when bike companies where run by cyclists and fanzines/magazines where run by cyclists too.
Reading the cushcore marketing presentation is such a bone-blocker.
  • + 1
 I have a HT D1 pedal but I rarely use it indeed, cause I had a hard time finding shoes working equally well with the clip-in and flat side AND being waterproof at the same time. Sadly, they work like sh*t with Shimano XM9.
  • + 1
 It wont be long before big tire brands just make tires with built in inserts that are impossible to puncture without peeling the tire off the bead or destroying the side wall.
  • + 1
 having just rode to work in sandals on my crankbrothers mallets, I like the idea of the GD1. It would suck to unclip and then struggle to flip the pedal over though
  • + 1
 i would really love to try cushcore and i do think it could change the way people ride, but 150 bucks? come on its just 2 foam strips
  • + 1
 CushCore HuckNorris FlatTireDefender what about tyres which have a rim guard bulge inside the tyre? So on a deep impact the tyre rim guard helps absorb spread the force?
  • + 3
 Pull up your pants, pump up your tires and get off my lawn.
  • + 3
 Call me when we aren’t still sticking crap in tires to avoid flats
  • + 8
 Is it the same phone number as "when we aren't hanging fragile and expensive pieces of jewelry off the back end of our bike"?
  • + 34
 Im guessing its a landline with a rotory phone and you ride 26 for life...
  • + 2
 Maybe you should take up bmx ?
  • + 1
 Is it worth getting this if I'm running Super Gravity casing? I've only ever had strikes on my EXO/Snakeskin tyres
  • - 1
 Does that new HT pedal actually have a wrench flat on the axle? Wrench flats are sooooo much better than a hex key if you switch between clips and platforms or if you frequently disassemble for travel. Killer feature for me.
  • + 1
 Smaniec depression's bringing me around
  • + 1
 Am a firm believer that a good pool noodle still out does cush core.
  • + 1
 K-Flex insulation works too!
  • + 1
 Has anyone actually tried pool noodles? I mean, they might work....
  • + 2
 They are legit, you can cut them to any size to suit, small one for the front, larger in the rear.
  • + 1
 for easy cut, buy some NiCr wire and 9v battery
  • + 1
 HT I love your Pedals!! tup
  • + 0
 Cushcore, Please make wheels...
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