If You Use Tubes, Tannus' Tire Insert Might Be For You - Taipei Cycle Show 2018

Nov 4, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Taipei Cycle Show


Would you ever go back to running inner tubes instead of a tubeless setup? While it might sound like a step towards the past, Tannus Armour is proposing that it's a good option for some riders - but not all riders - when combined with their insert that wraps around the tube. Yes, I know there is already a load of foam-like tire inserts out there on the market, but this is one of the few (only?) designed around an inner tube. Tubeless Shmoobless? Maaaybe.


Taipei Cycle Show


Here's how it works. You use any inner tube, and that gets wrapped with Tannus' Armour layer that's a full 15mm thick at the top before tapering to just 2mm as it runs down the inside of the sidewall to below the tire's bead. Tannus says that the system offers in excess of 20mm of protection when combined with some tires, and that both the tube and the 2mm thick sides of the insert provide ''lateral protection and support to the sidewall, thus reducing the risk of pinch flats.'' They cite vibration damping as a benefit, too, and the whole setup starts at a reasonable $35 USD.

The 27.5'' insert is said to weigh 270-grams, and the bigger version adds another 20-grams to that.

Okay, but why? Tubeless systems, while far from being trouble-free, are pretty dialed these days just so long as you're using the right tires, rims, and pressures, so why would anyone consider this tube'd hybrid setup? Tannus rightfully points out that some riders and racers simply just prefer tubes, and also that some bigger, faster riders have stuck with inner tubes solely because it's much more difficult to unsteat a tire when a tube is inside to help hold it onto the rim.

All the usual benefits apply here, too: lower pressures and likely more traction, better tire protection, and some rim defence as well.

Taipei Cycle Show

I'm not sure if the Tannus Armour system is going to take off, but another option can't be a terrible thing, and especially as every other insert out there has been designed around a tubeless setup. So, do you think this makes sense? And would you consider going back to tubes if the Tannus system proves its worth?


142 Comments

  • + 61
 Still use tubes, never had an issue apart of, well, one flat this season. Put a patch on, inflate, ride on. The area where I'm mostly riding has very little sharp rocks… For me, tubes is the way to go. Plus: No hard tire-squeezing to install, no extra valves, no shiny liquids, no new emergency repair kit needed. Would I buy that insert? Definitely not!
  • + 36
 Same here. Tube is easy. Easy everything.
  • + 16
 Same here. I used tubeless for a while but got tired of the complexity of fixing flats. Tubes are the way to go for me here too. Easy and simple. No messing around with liquids.
  • + 1
 I only have an issues with inner tubes when I come up short on a double, it's the same damn double every time too. Run at it, don't quite make it... BLAP!... new tube in the back time. This thing equates to the weight gain of going to a full DH tyre, so it looks worth a punt.
  • + 90
 I only run tubes. No tyres, just tubes.
  • + 1
 I have one tubeless bike in a stable of three. I don't really notice a difference...
  • + 16
 Tubes and dh casing tires...the longest no flat run i had was 2 years. So i realy couldnt care less for tubeless
  • + 2
 @Kanta: dont forget dh soecific tubes !!!
  • + 5
 4 days on tubes this year 4 flats! Running tubeless for 1400km on about 1.6nar no issue - it’s clear for me
  • + 3
 @jhidalgo: How come you didn't fall for the marketing bullshit? You were supposed to! "Remember inner tubes?" Sometimes PB acts like they're so modern that the older and more simple alternative is merely a distant memory and that it surely must be too for their audience. Many pro's really don't give a damn and have been happily running tubes.

I always preferred latex tubes. Because they stretch more easily they're less likely to puncture/pinch. They're easier to patch too because unlike butyl tubes, they're smooth instead of having these ribs on them.
  • + 1
 @ferenooo: what tyres are you using?
  • - 1
 I run 32 psi, standard tubes in my trail bike, 28 psi normal tubes, and dh tires on my Park bike no flats.
  • + 6
 Up next: Clean coal is the future
  • + 2
 I do miss the ease of tyre swapping with running tubes!
  • + 5
 come ride some of the green trails in prescott AZ, your tire will be flat in minutes b/c of goat heads
  • + 1
 @Ozziefish: night a day difference! The carcass of the tire tread has full contact with the ground, versus an inner tube which gives a tire a slight concave, making it 'less supple' because of the fact of the 'space' taken up by the tube itself
  • + 2
 Latex inner tubes here. Only really nasty welsh slate gives them any worry.
  • + 1
 @TylerG96: Right, goes pretty much for any area with some thorny vines growing. Wild blackberry being the usual culprit in my area.
  • + 4
 @lehott: do you mean convex? Notntrying to split hairs mate, just can’t work out how a tube would make a tyre more concave
  • + 1
 @lehott: Ah, I think rim width makes the biggest difference there for sure.
  • + 1
 @fracasnoxteam: maxxis tires but in rough terrain tubes are on their limit
  • + 1
 @ferenooo: I don't buy your bullshit if your popping 4 tyres in 4 days with tube then you're gonna be blowing tubeless too.
  • + 35
 "Hey man, we heard you still like tubes. Check this out, it's a tube for your tube so you can tuck a tube in a tube and it'll make you totally tubular!"

Tube.

Seriously though as an old school hold out who still uses tubes without any real issues I would consider these if they work for bile park days or rockyier locations.
  • + 4
 I run an XC tire inside of my single ply trail tire which is inside a double down DH tire. I never flat! Weighs about the same as this setup.
  • + 8
 @bcmrider: What you have described is the Turducken of tire setups... and Turducken is mighty tasty (speaking from personal experience)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turducken
  • + 1
 @bcmrider: Tread lightly, some of these jokes may be recycled but they should probably be retired.
  • + 21
 I’m curious how many of these things are actually sold. Me and my friends use tubeless without any issues. Yes we slash a tire sometimes, but that thing or any other insert isn’t going to save us. I feel inserts are just extras for the minority racers out there. I propose Pinkbike replaces all insert reviews and articles with beer reviews! They will be more relevant to a majority of readers.
  • + 10
 That probably because you live in Toronto! The terrain around the GTA is very easy on wheels and tires in my opinion.
  • + 17
 @FLATLlNE: so you mean it's not all about me and people riding different terrains with different skill levels might need some different setup than ME? Out of my 3 friends I am the fastest one so I highly doubt anybody else would require anything else ever!
  • + 8
 @LOLWTF: lol wtf
  • + 1
 @FLATLlNE: Just bent my Spank Oozy handlebars today riding the Don Valley!
  • + 1
 @mtnrush666: whaaaaat?! No way! I guess shit happens hey. The DV has some good features, but for the most part it's pretty tame. I used to dent and crack rims on the regular before I moved to Ontario. I've cracked one rim since...on a trip to Quebec! Lol

Where did you do this?!

I rode the Don today also.
  • + 19
 Assegai and T-Anus. Well done, well done indeed
  • + 8
 At interbike I heard these tires and tubes were specifically designed for the rear end.
  • + 19
 I still use tubes.
  • + 2
 As have I for like 30 years and never any problems that all these so called bikers seem to always be worried about! BMX,DH,XC,Road.....Good tubes work, simple, reliable, cheap......DONE.
  • + 15
 How many people here run tubeless and talk crap about tubes yet carry a tube with them as a spare in case of a flat on the trail?
  • + 1
 I run tubeless. Haven’t carried a spare tube for the last 2 years. Never been a problem. 120-140 rides a year average. I also don’t bring a multi-tool. Use whatever works for you I guess?
  • + 1
 Having a backup tube to reach home doesn't mean it is your preferred option.
  • + 11
 I never left tubes and I have never felt the need to
  • + 9
 No tubes, No inserts. No tires is the only way i ride.
  • + 0
 #realmenriderimless
  • + 5
 After retiring a dh competition because of the weak exo sidewalls pinching all the time in the rocky spots, sealant everywhere, days lost because of burping, pinching, tire deformations, sealant inside the rim...i came back to dh casing and cheap regular tubes. I also have some heavy duty tubes for difficult terrains but i never mount them because of the weight. pinching is never an issue even with really low pressures. If you ride trails seriously, and don't like to spend a salary in sealant and a lot of time, forget tubeless. I yet have to try DD casing with tubeless...But now....why? I'm more than happy running tubes. It's simple, reliable, easy, cheap, clean...i can hear the rim dinging all the time and i rarely pinch flat. All because of the dh casing. If i still had one of these toy enduro tubeless casings i'm sure i would be hiking more than riding
  • + 1
 Don’t bother with DD for DH riding, sharp rocks go right through the carcass in between the tread blocks.
  • + 6
 "Tannus believes there's still a place for tubes"

Yes. Taking up space in my pack as a backup, which I've needed once in the 4 years since converting to tubeless.
  • + 1
 I have replace the tube in my pack out of fear that it somehow may have got accidentally punctured in the year since I put it in there more often than I flat with tubeless.
  • + 4
 So we all spent years and money getting our bikes lighter. Now we are putting inserts of variour forms in out tires vastly outweighing the gains we made?WTF Rotational mass is the most important place to lose weight on a bike FFS. I ride on the north shore vancouver (mecca) . I ride tubeless at 20/23psi with maxxis dhr2/dhf tubeless ready on WTB ust rims and Ive never had a flat and the terrain here is rocky steep and unforgiving. Inserts are a gimmick.
  • + 12
 Truth is the PNW is one the easiest place on tires. The soil is loamier and nobody really flats around here. The fact the trails are steep have nothing to do with punctures. Eh, sorry.
  • + 4
 I agree that we are going backwards sometimes. However, after riding for years in Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, the PNW definitely doesn't have as many sharp rocks as those places (concerning most local trails). And on videos it looks like the east coast might be rougher too.
  • + 1
 @LOLWTF: Whistler Bike Park is soft and loamy? No rocks there eh?
  • + 4
 @gramboh: I didn't know that was in North Van. Obviously there are exceptions, like the most crowded bike park in North America in the middle of fire season, but nice try smart ass.
  • + 4
 And I'd like to add that WBP is a joke compared to Mont-Ste-Anne regarding flats
  • + 6
 Looks like a great solution for townie bikes prone to punctures from thorns and the like. Reminds me of Schwalble's marathon tires.
  • + 6
 Cue, millions of negative comments from people who are unable to stop and think that this is actually a really good idea!
  • + 14
 Mmmmm like for instance it weighs 270g plus the 230g of a tube, so about 500g per wheel. Wow, impressive...
  • + 6
 I think it's a terrible idea, just from looking at pictures on the internet, mind you. "How to severely reduce the suppleness and damping qualities of your tires in one simple step!"
  • + 0
 It is?
  • + 0
 @mnorris122: Agreed, and @phutphutend I'm not negative - I'm critical. This foam insert is going to impact the dampening feature of the tyre, and will force you to use much higher PSI for your inner tube. Also, I'm not sure how the tyres will behave in turns.

On a sidenote, I cannot escape an impression all these inserts are solutions to a problem solved, and therefore addressing a niche within a niche - if I had the money, I'd look elsewhere to create a profitable business. Still, fingers crossed for these guys!
  • + 3
 @pieroglif: I was thinking it would make you have to use much lower pressure in the tube...the insert will likely severely stiffen up the tire, so less air pressure would be needed.
  • + 13
 @mnorris122: so I’ve ridden these, and because of the foam that they use it actually makes your ride significantly smoother, and strengthens your sidewalls so it runs faster at the same time. I’m running 15 psi but it’s running as fast as before. Having ridden tubeless for years, I’m convinced this is actually better.... But bring on the hate.
  • + 0
 Nah. Adding material under the tread just makes the tire track worse over uneven terrain. That's the big advantage of Cushcore since it adds material at the rim, leaving the tread section to stay supple for excellent grip.
  • + 2
 @shsfreeride: Fair enough, I'm glad you like it! I could see myself trying it out if I had it in my hand, but just based off pictures it looks very strange. But you're right, with the right density and squishiness of foam, and a thin, supple tire and tube, it could ride pretty nicley while providing good puncture protection and tire retention
  • + 6
 @GTscoob: says who? I rode these back to back with Cush core, 2 laps each, and these tracked significantly better.
  • + 1
 @shsfreeride: Yes sounds good, surely you could use this tubeless?
  • + 8
 Tubesception
  • + 3
 If you're a big fat rider like me, tubes are the worst option. Tubeless is always best, and if your tires fart (they don't burp), then the lightweight Huck Norris inserts will solve your problem.
  • + 6
 I'd be so mad if I installed this, and got a flat.
  • + 4
 Running tubless for ages and haven't had an issue in years. Tubeless setups are pretty bullet proof these days.
  • + 1
 Started with tubes (long before tubeless existed), went to tubeless when that became dependable, but came back to tubes. Just so much simpler and easier. And honestly, with today's tires and tubes, I rarely see a leak anymore. My Slime patches are at least 2 years old. I pull countless goat heads out and never have a leak. I run ~25 lbs with no issues with pinch flats. Not knocking tubeless by any means... I just prefer the "can't mess it up" simplicity of tubes. I spend my time dealing with the endless shift in standards for every other part of the bike Smile
  • + 1
 I would be interested in a long term test review. I was a hold out for tubeless for a long time having watched my friends burp tires or fail to seal up holes if their sealant wasn't fresh. However, I had to run high pressures with tubes to avoid pinch flats. Once the tires and rims improved such that regular burping was not an issue, I switched to tubeless and am very happy with the traction and overall performance I get from tubeless. But...having changed tires for the first time on my tubeless setup, I did not care for the sticky, crusty mess I had to clean up first. Personally, I think I might prefer the cleaner approach this design offers IF pinch flats are not an issue at lower pressures. Of course those inserts also add rotational mass which isn't very desirable, so there's that. So, back to my first thought; a long term review is in order.
  • - 2
 So you said you didn't care and right after you say you care. Which one is it?
  • + 3
 @LOLWTF: Perhaps you misinterpreted my comment and its chronology...or maybe even the word "care" which gets misused in the phrase "could care less" when people really mean "could not care less," neither of which is the context for my use of the word "care" in my post. In other words, I will continue to use tubeless because I like their performance (i.e. I do CARE for the PERFORMANCE of tubeless), despite the mess which I do not like much (i.e., I do not care for the mess). If the insert described in this article proves that it can allow users to run low pressures with tubes without getting pinch flats, I "might" be interested in trying them out and returning to tubes. Clear as Stan's Sealant?
  • + 1
 @DiscoMTB: sorry for hooking on the small details, my English isn't perfect but I'm trying. So when you say you don't care about the mess (you said it again) it means it annoys you, right?
  • + 2
 @LOLWTF: yes, that's what he meant. That is, the opposite of what he said. English works in mysterious ways.
  • + 1
 Try the Finish Line sealant it doesn't set inside the tyre unless it's sealing up a hole, looks way better than the current stuff everyone's using.
  • + 2
 @dannyboybiker: pretty much every comparison video says that stuff isn’t any good. My local shop already stopped selling it...
  • + 2
 @yzedf: Cheers for letting me know, looked like it could be really promising. Think I'll still be optimistic and try it after seating the tyre with latex sealant.
  • + 1
 And the tire companies still can't see the lengths people are going to to bandaid their weak sidewalls/cut protection? Maybe it's just folks refuse to accept the weight penalty in the tire but somehow justify the added weight of these Rube Goldberg 'solutions'?
  • + 5
 Omg the stupid from the bike industry never stops.
  • + 4
 How about just a better tube? Like lightweight with the durability of a dh tube instead of adding more layers.
  • + 2
 Ikr...but seriously though. Who are these people having so much trouble with tubes in the first place!? I ride pretty much every kind of bike on lots of terrain and I’m a 190lb aggressive rider.
We never have any issues with tubes! I have to wonder do people just not understand how to properly set up the right tire for the right conditions for the right rider or what?
  • + 5
 @bikebike69 "these people" are 250lb joeys running old worn out tires that came stock on their 2002 DH bike...Working at a bike park I see those guys getting litterally one flat per run...lol
  • + 9
 @bikebike69: because way too low pressures for maximum comfort are the great shizzle right now.
  • + 1
 It’s called tubolito they make tubes significantly lighter and they are indeed tougher I keep 2 with me as spares as 2 packs down smaller then 1 regular tube and it’s lighter and more resilient so perfect spares for a tubeless system or for someone to cut weight on their tubes system. I do however use Cush core tubeless regularly because the ride quality is smoothed out significantly for hardtails but for a full suspension I probably wouldnt
  • + 0
 @bikebike69: u cant run aggresivelly ehile weighing 190 tons. Jeeez. Look at mario kart analogy... you d be like bowser o yup
  • + 1
 If this setup would allow you to run with Durex thin tubes to cut weight and bring all the other benefits of tubeless, I can see a winner. In terms of maintenance hassle and expense, these have got to be easier and last forever.
  • + 3
 I like the $35 price tag but running a tube seems like a step backwards. I wonder if you could use this with tubeless? Think the foam would absorb the sealant?
  • + 0
 They say it damps the vibration but I imagine it also deadens the feel of the ride. I like having that extra little pop from my tyres when jumping stuff. I rode for about a mouth on some intense dh 2.5's on my trail bike and it was the worst ride I've ever had on any bike.
  • + 4
 Tubeless shmoobless Tannus shmannus. I ride on solid rubber wheels
  • + 5
 Tannus also makes those
  • + 2
 if tubeless is so amazing, why do people who ride tubeless carry spare tubes?

I'm still using three year old tubes, have had one flat over that time.
  • + 1
 Having a backup option doesn't mean it should be the preferred option.
  • + 1
 Why they spent a lot of money to reasearch insert tire protector instead of the tires manufactures make some tires stronger anti puncture, anti misile with approved military standard
  • + 4
 Is cheaper now spend aftermarket parts on my Car than on my mt.bike!
  • + 4
 Looks like dog shite to me.
  • + 0
 After being tubeless for a few years and dealing with the normal wears and tears I’ve switched back to a tube with removable valve core and add my tubeless sealant. I also like jumping and am a big guy hate how flexy the sidewalks get with tubeless. Quicker faster less mess and in a pinch my bike is still set up tubeless so if I ruin my spare tube on the trail I have co2 and a spare valve. Ill be getting something like this for my tubbed set up for sure
  • + 0
 Sidewalls*
  • + 1
 You're quite the specimen ain't ya?
  • + 1
 If you ride rowdy, tubes are not OK. maybe with this system. But all the "I still ride tubes" folks here are either slow or always fixing flats.
  • + 3
 Or they have the bike handling skills to ride fast, 'light' and smooth over the gnar instead of plowing through it like an ogre on coke : )
  • + 3
 not slow, not always fixing flats. keep up the gatekeeping and declarative statements though, if it makes you feel better.
  • + 3
 Looks like a great product for goatheads
  • + 1
 This is exactly why I run solid wood tires. Sometimes bales for more traction and ash for road. Nature always has the best solution.
  • + 3
 Consider going back? Hell, i never left!
  • + 1
 I have tubes on my old hardtail and always put Stans IN the tubes. Never had a flat with that setup, but maybe this is better somehow
  • + 1
 The most obvious issue will make this product fairly unusable for most cyclists: it will increase rolling resistance massively.
  • + 1
 I barely understand people who still use inner tubes in 2018. It is like to use cotton jackets while skiing in deep powder... Crazzy...
  • + 0
 As a faster heavier rider I tried tubeless. Waste of time and money bull shit. Tube holds tyre shape better during cornering. I’ve had 3 bikes and only one flat in 10 years. And my usual tyre pressure is 23 psi.
  • + 7
 Eh? You say you are heavy and fast ? I'm light and slow and at 23psi (checked with Schwalbe pressure tool) if I land on a rock or root I cut the tube. So I kinda doubt your pressure is really 23 psi. The only advantages of tubes are easy set up and that you can ride with a damaged tyre. The feeling is clearly different and it might be slightly more comfortable but I have not noticed any dramatic difference in cornering. Have you tried wider rims ?
  • + 3
 I get snake bites no matter what pressure I use when using tubes.
  • + 2
 same here with my 87kg... same tires ridden by dwarfs can obviously survive hits on sharpy rocks... Smile
  • + 3
 @zokinjo: I weigh about 62kg and dwarf-like. lol. I just ride super rocky tech trails so tubes just don't stand a chance.
  • + 2
 @tacklingdummy:

...are u using metrics in USA? since when? Big Grin
  • + 2
 How about we add all those weight on the actual tires and make them available as some "ironwall" options?
  • + 2
 This, light weight tyres with heavy inserts.......?
Or
Strong tyres in the first place
  • + 0
 Ironically, I've never had pinch flats running tubes on my mountain bikes. But I do run tubeless on my road bike because of constant pinch flats.
  • + 0
 Just run cushcore tubeless, honestly eliminates any rim damage or flats. idk why you would need that and a tube... just looks like a way to turn your bike into a boat anchor
  • + 9
 At that point if you're running sealant and cush core you ain't really lighter there dumdum
  • + 1
 but are you running a cushcore protector core to protect cushcore from creasing and compressing?
  • + 2
 Rearrange these words... Off and Fuck
  • + 2
 f*ck and Off? And f*ck off? Off and f*ck?
  • + 1
 Using tubes since 2003 and would like to give these a try. Where can we buy them?
  • + 2
 Traction is so much better without tube. He said.
  • + 2
 I got 99 problems but a flat ain`t one... Tubeless.....
  • + 1
 has anyone done the 'tubes.... what are they..... are they related to front mechs?' yet........?
  • - 3
 This is a ‘mountain biking’ website and in mountain biking its a terrible idea. Nothing improves the quality of your riding experience more than good tyres set up (tubeless) well. Too many folk run too high pressures or tyres with crap sidewalls that cause burping. But then at 100kg and running tubless on hardtails and full sus and being an aggressive rider as well, I have never needed this new wave of crush core/pool noodle nonsense either.
However, for someone like my dad who rides around in my cast offs and a bright yellow coat on a green route on a bike with two ancient branded but bottom of range front tyres and a 100mm stem, this would work. He wont notice the weight but benefit from the puncture protection. He probably has 500g of Slime in each tyre all ready anyway!!
  • + 0
 So you say you haven’t “needed” cushcore. Have you actually tried it?
  • + 3
 @andnyleswillriot: er no. What a dumb comment. Why would I try it if I dont need it? Countless bikepark and big mountain (by UK standards) days and no issues. Its a bit like saying I need to upgrade to 12spd when my 10spd 11-42 works for me.
Interesting thing though. I have on two occasions found them on the side of a trial where someone has switched in a tube and has no ability to carry a huge foamy thing. Sadly neither did I on their behalf. Scumbags.
  • + 1
 @ilovedust: okay relax there, Joseph. Haha
  • + 1
 i have been running tubeless since 2013- zero flats
  • + 1
 PNW stone age, where dh tubes and trires still work!
  • + 1
 Tyre inserts, the inside story
  • + 1
 I thought I was the only guy ruining tubes
  • + 1
 26"? 24"? 20"? 700C?
  • + 0
 Sounds like a bunch of hot air to me
  • + 1
 Month**
  • + 0
 If you live in the stone ages, this might be the product for you.
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