First Look: CushCore Trail Inserts

Apr 20, 2023
by Seb Stott  
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CushCore have released a new mid-weight insert for trail riding. It has a claimed weight of 212 g (29") and 199 g (27.5"). That weight slots it in between the original PRO insert (260 g in 29") and XC (150 g in 29").

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But aside from being about 50 g per wheel lighter than CushCore Pro (which is aimed at DH and Enduro riding), it has a more complex design too.

The Trail insert uses the same foam composition as CushCore's other offerings, but there are some new design features. A fluted sidewall (with notches cut into the edge) is designed to help with sidewall support; inner channel notches reduce weight & allow the sealant to move around; centrifugal channels allow the sealant to flow between the insert and tire, and a valve notch which is said to make the insert sit more flush against the rim.

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“The fluted sidewall design provides progressive sidewall support", says Austin Sanford, CushCore Engineer. "The harder you push, the more support you feel. CushCore TRAIL enables supple tire response on flat corners and a stable sidewall when railing berms.”

A pair of inserts (with valves) will set you back $150 USD, or it's $78 USD for a single insert & valve. It's available in 29”, 27.5” and Mixed (“Mullet”) sizes, and is designed to fit tires from 2.1” – 2.6” and inner rim widths: 22mm – 35mm. Availability is expected from June at dealers worldwide and at cushcore.com.




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seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
306 articles

116 Comments
  • 100 0
 The MX set is cool. Just gotta make sure to get the one with 29 front and 27.5 rear and not vice versa…
  • 20 1
 Depending which side of the bike you're standing on, it could be the other way around.
  • 6 1
 You can always ride reverse mullet! Party up front, business in the rear!
  • 1 1
 @mtbwillems: you just had to go there! Smile
  • 67 1
 When's the downcountry insert coming out?
  • 20 29
flag dmackyaheard FL (Apr 20, 2023 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 There is already an XC insert, I have one, it works well on the DC bikes.
  • 6 3
 @dmackyaheard: Agreed, the light version is pretty good for DC or XC. Keeps that snappy fast feel!
  • 1 2
 @dmackyaheard: I think it depends on what you're running. I have 30mm internal rims and 2.4 tires on my DC bike and those are the max that XC is rated for. I blew up one rim, have had a couple of flats, and a lot of rim pings/hits.

I think they only work well if you stay below the max recommendations, like 28mm internal rim and 2.2 tire.
  • 5 0
 @ZSchnei: I have it installed on a 24mm internal wheels with a 2.4 Rekon, works great.
  • 1 0
 @dmackyaheard: That makes sense, the narrower inner diameter allows the cush core to better protect the rim. My next DC wheelset will definitely have a narrow inner diameter for this reason. Good to hear it works with 2.4 yet!
  • 3 0
 @dmackyaheard: yah haha. I would say the xc one is a downcountry.

I run the xc in the back only on my last top fuel and now element
  • 1 0
 down the line.
  • 6 2
 Tannus Tubeless works great in this application. Sealant movement, no interference with the valve core, etc.

Not sure what benefit the Cush Core Trail(duro) has over the Tannus. Other than "cool grey" as opposed to orangutan butt red.
  • 2 0
 @ZSchnei: the recommended inner width range is 22-32mm.
  • 1 1
 Plus size?
  • 4 0
 Think you need a sarcasm sign next post. Replies didn’t get it
  • 1 0
 @dscottycole: Recommended and real world experience differ. The insert hasn't done much with 30mm inner width and 2.4" tire at 27 psi.
  • 2 0
 @ZSchnei: I can see that. Cushcore XC is pretty thin, and I have tried it on wider wheels in the past and it didn’t seem to add much protection, but on a narrower wheel it works well.
  • 5 0
 @solarplex: Nope the XC one is only for the flat. If you are riding in the mountains you need to start climbing with the upcountry inserts, then once at the top swap the tires and inserts for downcountry specific ones, remove the upcountry saddle and grips for a downcountry ones, then start the downhill.

Otherwise, you risk life threatening injuries.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: I would say from my experience with the Tannus, the Cush Core should give more sidewall support. I didn't really notice anything different in that area with the Tannus.. But, if nothing else, it's lightweight rim protection to a certain extent..
  • 1 0
 @opignonlibre: perfect post. Beer
  • 37 6
 Just dropped exo+ and inserts, for Conti DH casing. This is lighter, and more supportive. Immediately more confidence inspiring.
  • 36 6
 Ha, that's funny... I just dropped DH casing for exo+ and inserts (Tannus). For me, with Tannus inserts, it's lighter, and more supportive, also immediately more confidence inspiring and less flat prone, more damped, yet you keep the more supple tread of a lighter casing.

To each their own for sure.
  • 8 0
 I did the same thing and blew up my carbon rim within a week. Insert is mandatory for me on the rear. Enduro casing with insert.
  • 3 0
 @islandforlife: I was using cushcore pro, have not tried tannus but maybe with the next tire change I will.
  • 2 0
 @bitterbiker: No dings yet, but I will be sticking to my (relatively) cheap and sturdy DT aluminum rims.
  • 2 0
 @pisgahgnar: same here, the tire does most of the damping especially compared to lighter trail casings
  • 7 0
 Ha.... I went DH casing with cushcore and still blew up an EX511 first ride.....I just suck
  • 1 0
 @maestroman21: Or... too fast.
  • 7 1
 @pisgahgnar: I really like Tannus because it feel like the perfect middle ground. I tried CushCore XC... wayyy too small, not enough rim protection, not much damping and very little support. Liked CushCore Pro a lot, but it was just so heavy and annoying to deal with. Tannus doesn't have quite the same support as pro, but enough for me... it's just so much lighter... works for me. This new version might be a good option as well.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: I used Tannus for a good while with exo+ until they got older and started deforming my tires. Also, they seemed to become prone to front tire washouts. Keep an eye on things as they age.
  • 1 0
 @hanslomo: I've been running the same set of Tannus inserts for the last several years. Haven't seen any signs of degredation.
  • 1 0
 Going back to the Conti tyres, I read that their dh casing was more supple than other dh tyres. Closer to exo+. They use 120 tpi. I've run exo and exo+ with Cushcore Pro but am up for trying Conti dh if that's the case.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: were you reading that from marketing booklet or are those actual thoughts Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @hanslomo: I used a set for 3 seasons. They didn't cause any issues with my tires but they did eventually soften up and needed to be replaced. On a fresh set this season. Found they lasted longer than my cushcores which slowly got pretty cut up and lasted close to two seasons. Inserts are definitely a wear item.
  • 2 0
 @valrock: Haha, kinda sounds like it doesn't it! idk, I've been experimenting with various inserts and casings for about 5 years now.. just my thoughts on some of the set-ups I've tried.
  • 2 0
 @tremeer023: Whoever said that is either pulling it out of their arse or has a complete lack of sensitivity. Conti DH is in no way comparable to EXO+, literally no. I've used several Conti Krypto & Xyno tires in both Enduro and DH casings (also both Super soft / soft compounds) and the Conti DH feels somewhere in between a Maxxis DD & DH. A bit more supportive than DD but more supple than DH. The Enduro casing instead feels more supportive than EXO+ but puncture protection is worse. Had my first flat in 6 years with the Enduro casing while I haven't had a single flat using DD or DH during all that time.
  • 2 0
 @maestroman21: But... You also need to use the pump!
  • 1 0
 @dick-pound: thanks for the info. What you say sounds far more likely and kind of what I'd expect. I haven't tried any proper dh tyres in a while.
  • 1 0
 I think if you're going to say that you should say how much you weigh, what kind of bike, what location.
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: 175 freedom stones, Raaw Madonna, western North Carolina Pisgah area.
  • 11 1
 I been cutting valve holes into the pros for years. Inserts are the best! Good on ya cushcore, I use these front and rear. Theyve saved me some $$ on rim replacements for sure. And dampen out the sharp ass rocks here in pemby.
  • 1 0
 What is your method/channel path of cutting a valve hole? I find when I try to air up the tire with cushcore, I have to force air past the 'sticky' insert with quite a bit of pressure before any air gets in- figured it is a small amount of dried-up sealant that does this?
  • 3 0
 @GFozzz: I cut a square out where there's already a sealant channel. So the channel let's the air in easily.
  • 9 1
 I've been loving Tannus insert. 160g for 29er, $50 a pop (vs. $75 for these). I run Cushcore pro front and rear on the big bike, but love the Tannus on the enduro bike. Great middle ground for weight and feel.
  • 2 1
 Same, Tannus are lighter, cheaper, and feel better. Actually sitting up in the tyre rather than against the rim just feels more lively.
  • 9 2
 Rimpact original is ~$60 per set and ~100g. I use it on the rear of my trail bike and am very happy with it, although I prefer the beefier Cushcore for my DH bike
  • 2 0
 Rimpact is kinda confusing with all their different models
  • 5 0
 I hope they make some of these changes to the Pro--mostly the ones that allow better circulation of sealant and give space for the valve. I've had occasional issues with tires holding air with Cushcore and I think it is down to sealant not being able to reach certain areas.
  • 4 0
 I have not ran inserts before but after picking up a new hardtail I have reconsidered. The XC cushcore was not suitable for wider tires and the pros are too heavy for my taste. These look like a good option for weight consciousness and wider tires.
  • 14 3
 Check out Rimpact. their inserts are fantastic and reasonably light.
  • 7 0
 Insert in the rear tire completely transformed my hardtail. I don’t use em on my full suspension, but the damping they provide is 100% worth the weight penalty on a hardtail.
  • 3 0
 Highly recommend. On my hardcore hardtail, 2.6 DHRIi tires and CC Pro are amazing. Take some edge off the bumps and allow traction for days as can run at lower pressures.
  • 1 0
 I guess? I mean if you're worried about 50g of rotational weight while running a 1000 gram tire, that's a bit...
Anyway, run a DH insert on your wheel with an EXO casing instead of am EXO+.
  • 14 4
 In my soon to be downvoted opinion, the two best applications for inserts are hardtails and racers who are fast enough to rip DH tires off the rim. I think everyone else would be better served by just running the appropriate tire and pressure.
  • 5 0
 @jeremy3220: I upvoted you, I agree with you on most fronts, but the ability to run a lower pressure in a rear tire without having to worry about pinch flats (on an FS bike) allows for fantastic traction, which is pretty awesome if you're into not dabbing on the ups.
  • 2 2
 @woofer2609: I have a lot of experience with inserts. I've found that I can't lower the psi with Cushcore Pro but about 2 psi before I'm back to folding tires. Another downside is that they seem to fold less predictably with Cushcore. Lighter inserts don't do much for support. The traction gain from 2 psi is pretty insignificant on a longer travel bike.
  • 9 1
 RimPact. Way lighter with all the fun
  • 3 0
 Love Cushcore-this is a minor tweak but I'd be curious to try a set. What I'd really love is to see some rims and tires built around inserts. Keep the 2 ply casing, but ditch the Apex sidewall protection on the tires. Shave the weight at the rim bead and maybe make that shorter and hookless. Maybe even make a rim bed shaped specifically for seating tires with inserts (deeper center channel). I suspect that an optimized setup could come close to the weight of current stuff + an insert.
  • 1 0
 I do indeed agree that what insert works well really depends on the rim design. It seems to me like this one would work really well with a symmetric rim with a single center channel. I run ProCore in a set of Syntace wheels which come with asymmetric rims which appear to be similar/identical to Ryde Trace 29 rims (and the spokes are from Sapim too, so...). The ProCore system primarily pushes the tire beads apart but doesn't rest against the tire sidewall so the asymmetry is fine there, but I can imagine it could be weird when used with CushCore. I've also built a rear wheel around a Spank Spike rim which has two center channels (with a raised center in between). Trying to install ProCore there was horrible as when the inner tire drops into the wrong center channel, it is near impossible to drag it to the other center channel. I used Pepi (the original pool noodle) in there and it is beautiful as it exactly doesn't sink in any center channel (leaving them vacant for tire installation and removal) yet does still push the tire beads apart. Not as firmly as ProCore does (nothing does that as well as ProCore) but it definitely does help the beads to seal during installation. So yeah, you definitely need to view the tire and insert as a system and some combinations work better than others. Actually, my Syntace rims were already made for use with ProCore. They happily deal with the 6bar pressure that goes in the tube and they also already drilled the second valve hole. Not that you wouldn't be able to do that yourself (and some people even use the stupid and expensive ProCore tube to only have a single valve hole) but two separate valves is definitely more convenient so it is nice if the rims are already prepared for that.
  • 4 0
 When I wanted a CushCore Pro with the protection and support, but 100 grams lighter per insert last year, I ended up just buying Rimpact Pros. Too little too late with these, and just a bit heavier than competition.
  • 7 0
 Waiting for the version of Cush Core where I no longer have to run tires.
  • 2 0
 I use the pros, if you use them as intended (don't run much lower pressure) they are great. I've not had a flat once, during hard cornering the tyre is much more stable, and they feel damped. A DH tyre is great but for us lighter guys the sidewalls can be too rigid (Specialized new Cannibal has a great feel). In the case of a flat they can help you finish a run. This looks like a great option for me.
  • 2 1
 Still pretty heavy compared to some other options out there. I have a set of the new Panzer enduro / DH insertes on the way and they weigh ~110g each. Haven’t seen any reviews of them yet but they look pretty improved over their older Evo inserts.
  • 1 0
 I found out an interesting thing recently. Cushcore is so hard that it can transfer force to the rim during impact and cause it to dent. Interesting.
Or maybe these people are riding at too low a pressure and cushcore can't manage to protect the rim? Because a lot of people think that if they have an insert they can ride almost airless
  • 2 0
 Hmm...might be worth trying these in the rear.

Tires have come a long way...abck in 2015/16 inserts were mandatory...now...not so much
  • 2 0
 I’ve been running the XC version on my Patrol for ease of installation and the lighter weight. Looking forward to trying these out for comparison.
  • 2 0
 Went from Tannus last two seasons. They always make my tires have a wobble. Trying CC XC this season.
  • 2 0
 Was hoping they'd start coming standard with black valve core and cap.
  • 1 0
 @cushcore will these stretch out faster than the pros?
  • 1 2
 Wouldn't these be a good option for someone running tubes to have between the tire and the tube?
  • 5 0
 say no to tubes
  • 4 0
 All good, just put the insert insert inside the tube.
  • 1 0
 Tell me you don’t work on bikes without saying you don’t work on bikes…….
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: wouldn't something like this be a great protection product from thorns and stickers and such?
  • 1 0
 @cmi85: you can get tire liners for that purpose. But ditching tubes for tubeless and sealant will help you more.
  • 1 0
 @bainer66: oh yeah? Not familiar with tire liners. What brand?
Sealant is frustrating because I don't ride 4x/wk. So by the next time I ride, I need to do it all over again. So I end up rolling loads and loads of dried sealant. Would love a "foam" layer between tube and tire to snag all the thorns I get where I ride mostly
  • 2 1
 Where's the 26" option?
  • 1 0
 Ditto!!
  • 1 1
 I spent $35 total on a set of nukeproof inserts with valves
  • 1 3
 When is this gimmick company going out of business already? They sell junk.
  • 14 17
 There’s no way if I’m riding cross country that I’m going to increase the rolling weight of my wheels by a pound.
  • 43 1
 no one is asking you to. Problem solved
  • 5 0
 That's honestly completely fair. I run the Pro's front and rear on my enduro bike - and it is extremely noticeable when climbing.

Turns out, adding 0.6 lbs of rotational weight to each wheel is quite significant. Smile
  • 2 0
 Tbh I thought that until I tried it - the light version in just the rear of my XC hardtail was barely noticeable weight wise and allows me to be less careful with line choice and have a bit more fun. Rolling resistance is the same too. Don't have to treat the back of the bike like it's all dainty anymore or worry for my rims when I come too quick into a rock garden. Food for thought! The pro version front and rear I have on my big bike is a different story lol, definitely notice that.
  • 3 2
 150g or 212g does not equal one pound.
  • 5 0
 From what I understand from the article, the 29" XC insert is 150g a piece. Are you riding a tricycle?
  • 10 0
 Its all about perspective, isn't it? Think of it as a training regimen. Like ankle weights or how you feel when you take off ski boots. That's why i fill my training bike tires with a lead concrete mix. It's like training at high altitude. Which i also do in Peru. And i ride my bike with lead concrete wheels there. In ski boots. With ankle weights.
  • 2 1
 ok boomer
  • 7 0
 @vinay: He's talking XC pounds. I'm sure I saw a conversion chart somewhere on the interwebs.
  • 4 0
 @noapathy: All those different pounds. The imperial pound (454g), the metric pound (500g), the GBP, the XC pound (300g), Dick Pound (the total fine paid by racers who appeared on the award podium too late or wearing the wrong jersey). All those rocket scientists attempting to launch a rocket today must have been using a different version too without even knowing. I'm pretty sure it was the one working with the XC pound which was the straw that broke the camel's back. The conversion between the GBP and the imperial pound is easy. Between imperial and XC pound though...
  • 3 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: 212g X 2 = 454g = 1 pound. Rounded up due to inflation.
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: Please help me understand what you're complaining about. They offer an XC version but you consciously choose these trail versions and complain that they're too heavy for XC riding. Is that correct?
  • 2 0
 @toxic-toast: according to Cushcore, rolling resistance is actually improved
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: Yeah, the marketing says that, but I think they mean thinner casing tire + core vs. thicker casing tire with the same tread. I can’t really tell a difference with and without for rolling resistance in the same tire, but maybe there is! Logic to me would say negligibly more, like with a tube, but idk
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: They don't say anything about the wattage required to overcome inertia, however.
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