Tested: 9 of the Best Tire Inserts vs an Impact Rig

Jul 14, 2021
by Henry Quinney  

Welcome to the two-part insert test. This is the second part, where we put the inserts through their paces in a controlled test. If you want to read about how the inserts felt on the trail then please see part one.



Introduction

Every insert is accompanied by bold claims of life-changing performance. Each brand championing its product as the one true insert that will give you more grip, more stability and better protection compared to either a standard tubeless system or indeed anything else on the market but how true are these claims? And is there any way that they can be tested in a controlled setting?

The widowmaker.

Hunt, a wheels manufacturer that is also behind such brands as Privateer, invited us to use their wheel testing jig to torture test all these inserts with whatever it took until we yielded the truth - which insert, in terms of ability to resist shear load, is the best insert on test?

Hunt originally built this machine to test and develop their own wheels. They’ve even not only benchmarked but also published their data about competitor’s wheels too.

The Test So Far

The first part of the test was there to talk about the feel of the inserts. I did this part of the test first as I didn’t want any of my judgments to be influenced by previously gathered data.

During a month of back-to-back runs on a downhill track I was fairly confident in my assertions about feel. I concluded the article with the following.

bigquotesEvery single one of these inserts improved the performance of my tires. If I were to separate them, I would say the Vittoria, Rimpact and CushCore offer the most support. The other three, while definitely offering a lot, are better used in conjunction with slightly higher pressures. If it’s all out support you’re after then I would say the Rimpact Pro offers an equal amount, if not even more than the CushCore but both are leading in this regard. The Vittoria does offer a similar feel to these two, but that stability is not so pronounced in turns.Henry Quinney

But how would they all stack up against the jig and how did we test them?

The Method



During the test we used Hunt Enduro Wide V2 rear wheels with a 31mm internal diameter and had 32 spokes and shod with 2.4” Magic Mary Super Trail tires which typically come in around 1150g. The tire on this rim, at its widest part, measured 58.6mm at 25PSI.


We wanted to test in two distinct ways. Firstly, a square hit that impacts both sides of the rim at the same time. We wanted this to be something like a maximum load test.

The second part was to move the wheel to a 5-degree angle and then see how the wheels cope with angled impacts. We wanted to see if the order of impact resistance would be replicated through both parts. I wondered if some of the narrower inserts might be vulnerable to being pushed across to the side of the rim under load.

The impacts were always done on the same part of the tread pattern, at a repeatable intersection of the wheel's lacing pattern.

All impacts were done between the two parallel spokes on the same part of the tread pattern. A caveat here, we never put the impact in line with the valve hole though for fear of compromising the findings. The spoke tension was checked between each run and sent off to one of Hunt's on-site wheel builders if it required adjustment. The tire pressures were checked with the same digital pressure gauge between each run.

We decided that our threshold for a failure would be any visual signs of stress to the rim as well as check for any discoloration of the potentially stressed metal. If we were ever in any doubt we removed the tire and measured the dimensions of the rim with some digital vernier calipers to see if the metal had in any way been distorted or bent.

During the course of the test there were two factors that made us readdress our methodology. Firstly, even with the machine maxed out during the square hit test no rim was taking any damage whatsoever. Chris Colenso, one of Hunt’s engineers, had already run tests to work out the rough parameters needed, albeit without inserts, and we were both very impressed with how the inserts, even the lighter ones, took the burden off the rim.

During both the angled and parallel test, we were dropping the22.4kg impactor 546mm. It was measured and realigned between in run.

So, what was happening then? How can a bit of foam make that much difference? Well, when inspecting the inserts you could see just how much damage they were taking. This threshold wasn’t breached during this initial test. That’s not to say the rim wasn’t undergoing stress, only that we couldn’t show that it did.


How many times you hit something exactly square is probably open for debate, and its subsequent implications to the real world should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt, but either way, all of the inserts passed this parallel strike test with flying colours.

It’s for that reason we had always intended for the second part to hopefully give us a more realistic scenario… but how much difference would 5 degrees really make? Well, as it happens, the gulf between the two is absolutely huge.

The Results

From the parallel hit, where all the inserts resisted damage to the rim, to a small alteration of five degrees, how much difference does each insert make? You can see in this graph the point at which the rim took damage. We ran a control of no insert and the rim received damage at 32PSI.


From this, we can clearly see that two of the lighter inserts, which are both often recommended to be in the front, or for benefits other than impact resistance, immediately show that their light weight does come at a cost. That’s not to say that they don’t still carry some benefit - only that the supposed benefit was significantly less than some others on test.

Speaking of weight, how do these inserts compare pound for pound with one another?


Here, with the weight on the right side of the y-axis, we can see the trade-off between weight and resistance. Ideally, we want both of these bars to be as low as possible.

A few things are immediately apparent. Firstly, the Rimpact Pro seems to have the aggregate best score of resistance to weight. Not far behind is the Tannus. As somebody that has ridden them both, this is fascinating because they feel so different.

The Hamburger, the heaviest insert of the test, goes some way to justifying its weight by showing itself to be the most resistant to impact overall. It’s also very interesting to see the MegaNorris range’s weights and resistance work inversely to one another.

Both the Cushcore Pro, which offers comparable protection to the MegaNorris Hamburger, and the Hamburger itself, do offer the most protection but both come with a considerable weight penalty.

Another consideration that may well be a factor is cost. If you’re trying to save some cash and see inserts as an investment to protect your rims then what would the best bet be?


The price per set is on the right hand side of the y-axis and we can compare it against the impact resistance. Here, again the Rimpact Pro is the strongest, closely followed by the Tannus Tubeless Armour and the Vittoria Air-liner.

The Limitations

The impact resistance of the inserts, and the parameters set out in this test, are important but only in relation to one another and within the context of the comparison. The pressures don’t necessarily reflect what you would ride in the real world.



Conclusion

There are some important takeaways to take from this.

Firstly, this test only shows maximum load and not how these ride passively or indeed increase cornering stability. That’s largely what the first part of the test was for.

Something I learned through the previous back-to-back testing was that one of the main benefits of running inserts was how they dulled down and damped compressions before they got to your axle. This cannot be understated. Just because something doesn’t resist high-speed impacts it doesn’t mean that it won’t provide damping at lower speeds.

That’s not to diminish these results but rather to understand that there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to testing. It is useful though.





Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesSo, what's the best insert on test? Which one would I recommend?

Well, I'm going to stick with my original recommendations. I feel that the testing here confirmed my original assessment, and if anything substantiates a lot of my reasoning.

In terms of performance on trail, the Rimpact Pro was my personal favourite. When you factor in cost, weight and impact resistance it becomes a better proposition still. All of these inserts offer something, but if I had to put my hand in the fire and say which offers the most with the fewest drawbacks then that's what it would be. I hope that this two part test has been informative for anyone looking at inserts. I tend not to ride lifts or shuttles so weight does matter to me. However, if it's not such a factor for you then the Cushcore does prove to be a good option.

Will I run them in the future? Funnily enough, as I recently got on a plane to move to PB HQ, a set of the Rimpact Pros found themselves taking up some of my precious suitcase space. That's how convinced I am. I think it's rekindled my interest in running lighter tires when previously I'd gone off the idea. Combined with an insert though, it could be just the ticket.
Henry Quinney



A special thanks to Chris Colenso, Sam Meegan and all the team at Hunt and Privateer bikes for their help, hospitality and use of their testing jig.


248 Comments

  • 598 5
 The latter two plots (impact resistance v. weight and impact resistance v. price) would be more effective as scatter plots. E.g. plot impact resistance on the vertical axis, weight or price on the horizontal axis, label every point with the particular insert it represents, then put the whole article behind a paywall.
  • 64 0
 haaaa yep, the end made me lol but the beginning was a great point
  • 146 13
 I can't even be mad.
  • 36 2
 @brianpark: just wondering, did you expect less anger and sadness, and overall the response, from everyone after that news?
  • 91 0
 @dualcrownscottspark: it was harder when he told Levy, poor guy went offline for a month just riding shorter and shorter travel bikes until he made peace with the whole thing…
  • 6 0
 Penny for your thoughts?
  • 1 0
 @richard01: The freeride aspect e13 can come with benefited experiences to whit AI.
  • 2 1
 I'm running tubeless so I WIN
  • 20 0
 @toddball glad I'm not the only one who was thinking that. Having a bar chart where there is an inverse correlation between the two types of data recorded is quite confusing to look at.
  • 8 0
 @brianpark: Give some of us engineer members free memberships and t-shirts/XX1 AXS carbon bikes and we can help you!
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: Better get used to it, you're going to see a lot of similar comments over the coming weeks.
  • 4 2
 Or simply stack both bars on top of one another. The lower the better for both, so the lower the aggregated vertical bar the better. Heck, even all three values from both charts could be stacked up on the same bar.
  • 8 0
 @toddball This article is missing the most important chart when I comes to tyre inserts; impact resistance v. installation time.

...coming soon, exclusive to premium plus subscription members.
  • 10 0
 Outside Magazine wouldn't give them the budget for a scatter plot.
  • 1 0
 @ROOTminus1: Or even more important, removal time. If at all possible!
  • 5 0
 @toddball @brianpark Double paywall for gold comments like this
  • 10 0
 Just announced:

Rimpact Pro purchased by Outside. Now a monthly subscription. Failure to pay and your rim will self destruct. Do not store inside of home or car (especially a GM EV)...
  • 2 2
 @toddball : "...then put the whole article behind a paywall."

That part made me so furious for a second. But only because of fastpitch bat testing or prospect recruiting websites.

They all want you to pay for stuff they're getting paid to test for free from site sponsors. Double dipping the consumer. I get the premise. But I just consider it a crap business model if you can't generate revenue off the information outside of a pay wall.

But if a pay wall helps get those Rimpact Pros through customs and pays the overage charge....well then. Beer
  • 1 0
 Little do they know, but I just made this into a PDF. Suckaz! Bwhahahaha! Wink
  • 5 0
 Can't wait for the payroll to come. NSMB will be the new number 1
  • 1 0
 I came for the comments and came from this comment. Thank you
  • 390 15
 Enjoying this article? For only 7.99 a month you could get Outside+
Get unlimited access to all your favorite websites and apps.
Click the link below.
  • 9 11
 Best Response of the day right here!
  • 3 6
 So good!
  • 288 7
 Lost my will to create creative comments on pinkbike looks like a session, dick pound whatever
  • 39 0
 Long live dick pound. RIP Pinkbike.
  • 10 0
 @blackthorne: dick pound is getting impounded behind a paywall
  • 10 0
 I think I'll let my Ibis make the comments
  • 3 0
 @Gregmurray50: Nice!!! That saying will need to be worked more into whatever new MTB-website/comment forum we all move to once we start getting cock-blocked here.
  • 243 13
 Sigh.....what's the point anymore?
  • 45 0
 Yea, it’s like when the Bobs come to Office Space and start interviewing everyone to keep their jobs… just not sure how we’re supposed to tap into our inner Peterman on this one
  • 35 2
 Right? I was going to make a jab at the write up, but the air is out of my tires.
  • 24 3
 Yeah.. I feel a bit deflated.
  • 16 0
 I was going to try and make a tire pun, but there really isn’t any point anymore. I’m just… disappointed. Puncture, air, deflated, whatever.
  • 7 1
 to tread where noone has been before in the realm of pinkbike puns
  • 43 0
 insert puns here
  • 7 1
 I might be tyred, but i don't get it.
  • 3 3
 @DizzyNinja: Peter was hypnotized into not giving a ship when the hypnotist dies, leaving him in this frame of mind throughout the rest of the movie. I can’t recommend it without saying “watch your cornhole bud”.
  • 4 0
 @rory: pun inserts here...
  • 2 0
 @MmmBones: did you get corn holed at the hypnotist? Name checks out
  • 3 0
 @rory: It is a crying shame this only has 14 up votes.
  • 2 0
 Tired of puns already?
  • 2 0
 @rory: It will be a shame when a golden comment like that disappears behind a #PUNWALL
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh: don't ever take away from me my punography
  • 1 1
 @MmmBones:
Brian Parks: "two chicks at one time"
PB commenters: "watch your cornhole, bud"
  • 2 0
 @gossman: Just didn't have the same impact the second time around.
  • 1 2
 @noapathy: I've never been cornholed, but I just imagine it would have the same impact the second time around.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: stop jumping to conclusions
  • 2 1
 @SterlingArcher: ---- My personal stalker following me to the next thread. Your value and importance depends on me? Poor thing.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: ^ wait, that’s a quote from the movie? Whoosh
  • 2 3
 @SterlingArcher: stalker. Stop. You're only commenting on my comments to try to make me mad. You're acting like a baby. Get a life.
  • 2 2
 @blowmyfuse: we’re all just quoting from the movie here, crybaby. Maybe join in and people will like you. Ask your alter ego @WesleyFelchy to give u a thumbs up since he’s your only friend lol
  • 2 0
 @blowmyfuse: well he is the world’s greatest spy
  • 2 0
 @DizzyNinja: AND he used to work for ISIS (not to be confused with either the Islamic terrorist state or the BB standard)
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: unfortunate that they were way better at branding that the BB standard and my mothers spy agency. The name didn’t stick til these m jackasses came along
  • 133 11
 RIMPACT 4! SOUNDS LIKE A SERIES OF HARD ANAL PORNOS
  • 27 3
 And the testing jig looks like a f@ckmachine
And there are many nipples involved
  • 18 0
 @Tasso75: ha ha ha. Bashing all them rims. Least they have their rubbers on
  • 8 0
 to which, I am more willing to pay for!
  • 17 0
 ... and here we go again

from race safety measures to cars testing
from tire inserts resistance to hard anal porno

I am not surprised of the strange PB AI Comments algorythms anymore ; lol
  • 13 1
 Get the Asse-gai on the rim job and spank it with some vibrocrore
  • 2 0
 all the names are horrible except 1 hahah
  • 15 1
 better make these comments while you can! Soon you'll be censored by Outside(TM)
  • 8 1
 Fill her up until the beads pop out
  • 6 0
 Outside gonna love this comment
  • 13 0
 @Dogl0rd: there's definitely a vibe of "let's spread our shit all over the walls and carpet before the new people move in".
  • 8 0
 Your account has been blocked by the Outside+ policies
  • 76 2
 No one cares about any review/test anymore Pinkbike. Everything going forward will be a poor attempt at keeping us interested until Paywall day. Just shut it down…
  • 78 15
 Can't even upvote anymore, since the Outside mag takeover lol
  • 3 0
 Outside Mag soldout this year too. Now its just "Outside" by Pocket Media and their Silicon Valley VC investors.
  • 51 2
 No one is going to pay for charts that are this bad. Pink bike data has looked like shit for years, but because it's free I've declined to comment...that pressure vs. weight chart, shit, have you never seen a scatter plot? It's one of the first things excel is going to suggest you.
  • 1 3
 The only issue with a scatterplot is it might be hard to assess which insert falls where. Maybe a quadrant chart would be more appropriate? Or both?
  • 2 1
 You are not wrong! Also, Henry's English needs some work, or a better proof reader.
  • 45 1
 PAYWALL
  • 7 0
 Everyone should comment this on every article for here on out.
  • 8 0
 @Jcolis1904: And then stop commenting entirely once a change happens.
  • 4 0
 "PAYWALL" -- that means "kurwa" in English for all you Eastern Europeans out there.
  • 38 1
 "as I recently got on a plane to move to PB HQ... I think it's rekindled my interest in running lighter tires when previously I'd gone off the idea"

Said nobody in the sea-to-sky corridor, ever.
  • 27 7
 We'll see if @henryquinney changes his tune after he's been in BC for a couple months.
  • 44 3
 I changed mine... 13 flats too late.
  • 3 0
 Meaning no one would consider running lighter tires there? Forgive my ignorance, but why? Is it common to tear sidewalls there?
  • 14 0
 @GBeard: It's common to wreck pretty much everything here.
  • 2 0
 @paulwatt: So many dang rocks that way. Feel like they transported builders in from ancient Rome to build expresso...
  • 1 0
 @GBeard: Yes very rocky and gnar terrain in Squamish
  • 5 0
 @GBeard: lighter tires mean even less damping
  • 5 9
flag wyorider (Jul 14, 2021 at 15:30) (Below Threshold)
 @GBeard: ride ANYWHERE in western North America (and all of Mexico) and the trails have spiky plants and jagged rocks everywhere. Only tires that don't get sliced open (inserts do ZERO for this) are double casing tires like Maxxis Double Down out back, at least reinforced sidewalls like EXO up front.

Riders here who don't grenade light tires out here are slow/poor descenders.
  • 4 0
 @paulwatt: like pb by selling it to outside
  • 3 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: If you thought expresso was rocky then 7th secret is basically an aqueduct
  • 7 2
 I honestly wouldn't qualify the sea-to-sky as the type of rocky terrais that is hard on tires. It has lots of rocks, sure, but they are usually somewhat rounded off or delicately ordered in a paving arrangement where even a roman sandal wouldn't get caught in the cracks. So many other areas have much more jagged, broken, pointy rocks that really go after your tires in a way the sea-to-sky doesn't. The period of my life where I flatted the least was when I lived in the Sea-to-sky, and trust me I did not avoid the rocks...
  • 1 3
 @wyorider: I have been mountain biking for 16 years now I think. I have lived in Tahoe (lots of decomposing granite everywhere) for over 10 years and I don't grenade tires and I'm definitely not a slow or poor descender, but I do weigh 63kg (140lbs.) so maybe that has something to do with it. EXO has always been fine for me. I was just curious about S2S because I have never ridden there or been to Canada at all. In the first article he mentions EXO+ being a lightweight choice let alone EXO.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Actually interesting to hear that. There seems to be a common trend towards even the fast guys riding exo+ with one of the heavier inserts instead of going to a heavier casing. I don't think cut sidewalls are generally a huge issue, but smashing the rim through the tread certainly is. Were you running inserts with the lighter tire?
  • 3 0
 @friendlyfoe: Squamish has all the pointy things. I was running EXO+ tires with no inserts, but am now running a Vittoria Air Liner in just the bike tire and it's been great.
  • 2 0
 So I actually got to try an EXO+ Assegai today and it was my first time on an EXO+ and on an Assegai because I've been on 26" wheels for the last 10 years before I got a 29er this year. The grip of the tread was phenomenal, but also the tire did feel more damped. I don't know if that was the 120 TPI or the thicker casing but it was noticeable. Also oddly it was lighter than my EXO DHF slightly. I don't know what the point of a DHF is at this point. I feel like my whole life has been a lie...
  • 2 1
 @GBeard: try some sick beffy Schwalbe Big Betty with the super gravity casing.
I have ridden the Aassegei Exo+ for a few weeks and changed it back to that Betty last weekend.
It isn't gripping like the Betty in my case. To not burp or squirmy tire's on turns I needed more pressure for the Aassegei. Damping is the other thing you will notice instant. Both are on the opposite spectrum I would say.
Gripp could suffer because of more pressure.
  • 1 2
 I feel like Plattekill is just laughing at these comments about your nice rocks with rounded edges. Nothing says wheel murder like the shale at Platty.
  • 42 6
 Let's talk about the Outside mag takeover and pay-to-read...
  • 23 0
 In a month: If you'd like access to the detailed results of this test...
  • 13 1
 I bought a set of Tannus tubeless inserts this last winter. I wanted to see if I could get more traction for the PNWet roots/rocks.

I ended up dropping my pressures ~4-6psi, and keeping vaguely similar levels of support when cornering, while increasing my traction in the roots/slop/etc.

Interesting to see that according to the data, the "max" I should have been able to drop it by is 8psi (32psi for no insert down to 24psi for Tannus). Given that I was going by cornering feel, I'd say that's actually remarkably close all things considered.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: Question, Henry commented in the first insert article that he liked the smooth, comfortable feeling they provided. Was that your experience too?

I ask specifically because I loved the comfortable damping feeling I got from cushcore but hated the weight and PITA install. Thanks!
  • 10 0
 @mrosie:

I've never ridden Cushcore, so I can't compare personally.

That said, I did find the tannus tubeless really is noticeable compared to just standard tubeless. It feels a bit like someone turned the volume knob down on the "trail surface chatter" setting. Particularly if you are running them with really low pressure. Which means I notice it more in the winter, than in the summer, as summer time my pressures tend to be higher.

The main thing I use them for is in the winter, there are days when its so slick, the PSI I need to keep the tire from squirming in the supported berms, was high enough that I felt like I was "ping-ponging" off of all the roots. Tannus let me drop the pressure enough to track well through the roots/moss/rocks/etc, and not get the squirmy feeling in the turns.

So I went from a min pressure of ~22-24psi in my Wild Enduro Rear tire, down to ~16-18psi as my min pressure (again, for the wet).

In the dry, I squirm at 18psi even with the inserts, but I figure thats because the speeds are much higher. I now run ~22-26psi in the summer. But, in comparison, without the inserts, I'd need to run 25-30psi to keep from damaging my rim. So the inserts are still helping me with more traction/compliance.

Good luck with whatever you do Smile .
  • 8 0
 @mrosie: I'm running Tannus tubeless armor in my XCish HT and mid travel FS trail bike. For both bikes, I've found Tannus to be a nice improvement. I've never ridden/installed other inserts, so my experience is decidedly limited. With that being said, I did a full day at Trestle bike park on Saturday with 19psi in the rear, never a single impact that I could feel. I'm 155 lbs geared up FWIW. On this bike, it makes the rear suspension feel more supple on the small chattery stuff that I've had trouble tuning out.

On the HT, I raced it in the Breckenridge firecracker 50 a few weeks back and same thing, 19 PSI and I didn't destroy the wheel or a Rekon tire (29x2.6). You can definitely feel when you bottom it on a rock, but it's a very damped feeling vs. "That sounded expensive!"

I'm sure folks are still going to blow up tires and wheels with these inserts but for my stupid riding style and setup, they were well worth the $$$ and the little additional weight. Install is honestly a breeze once you've done one or two of them. Takes 5 minutes or so (or less) start to finish with some Pedro's levers on the last little bit.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the responses!!
  • 1 2
 @ocnlogan why were you running 32 psi? I've never found a need to run more than 28psi rear when mounted tubeless.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe:

I was denting rear rims through my Michelin Wild Enduro Rear (its casing is kind of between EXO+ and DD) at pressures less than that. Given, my stock wheelset was really low end, and was easy to damage, but it is what it is.

Also I'm not a small fellow (6'1", and about ~190lbs). I'm not exceptionally skilled (specifically I can't jump for crap), but at my local small trail system I'm in the top couple percent of riders according to segment times, so I'd say I'm at least average-ish for speed, if that helps.
  • 1 1
 FYI I just installed Tannus for the first time after previously being on CushCore Pro. I found it no easier or no more difficult than CushCore. Hopefully removal is easier than CushCore, which I always found to be the real pain in the ass. Not ridden it yet (new frame arrives today ...I hope) but if it offers me enough protection and saves 100g over CushCore I'll stick with it.
  • 3 0
 Are you guys running the Tannus in the rear only, or both front and rear? I currently have a pieced together setup: Tannus & double down rear, Cushcore xc & exo+ front. I'm thinking about going to Tannus & exo+ rear and getting rid of the insert up front altogether. Not sure how much impact cc xc is actually making.
  • 1 0
 @jpat22: I'm thinking about running this same set up.
  • 2 0
 @jpat22: I'm running tannus up front and cushcore pro in the rear. I think it's a good compromise.

Don't think cushcore xc is worth it. Would rather run tannus or cushcore pro. Either provide more sidewall support than xc.
  • 2 0
 @jpat22: Depends on the conditions. Moab? Front and rear Tannus although I've ridden out there for years without inserts. The peace of mind and lower pressure is really nice. Most of the time riding on the front range of CO, just the rear is good enough.
  • 15 0
 Feeling a little deflated after the previous article.
  • 12 2
 This is some interesting data, but I think one data point is missing: the DH casing tyre with no insert that weighs as much (or a bit less) than the enduro casing tyre + insert. I've not tested the latest offerings from Cushcore or Rimpact, but when I did a couple of years ago I couldn't help shaking the feeling that just running a DH tyre was lighter or similar weight to an enduro casing + insert, and less problematic with regard to fitting, maintenance, trailside repair and cost.
  • 3 0
 DH tyres will be harder work to pedal because of the stiff carcass, this can be particularly energy sapping on the front, in my experience.
I've found Exo+ with an insert on the front and Double Down or Supergravity with an insert on the rear is a good balance.
  • 2 0
 But a DH tyre doesn't protect your rim so you still use a setup that can ruin your day completely. Also most DH-casing tyres have a rubber that's too soft to enjoy pedaling your bike.
I have a Vittoria Air-liner M in a Assegai DD front and a Rimpact Pro in a Assegai DH rear, perfect setup in my mind but for park days or competing. Assegai EXO+ front and whatever EXO+ rear, both with inserts like Rimpact Pro works all day for most stuff you pedal and most people if you don't have super sharp rocks that cut you sidewalls open.
  • 14 1
 I guess the comparison of parallel and angled hit is behind the paywall?
  • 12 0
 Please sign up for Outside Epic Plus Boost for exclusive videos and blooper reel. Link below..
  • 8 0
 Please take my money huge soulless conglomerate!
  • 7 0
 My Rimpact Pro mini review:

I’m 210 lbs with gear. I had these installed in my 2020 spec enduro running the stock butcher tires the bike came with. My usual tire pressure w/o inserts was 25 psi front, 30 psi rear. I ride a lot of bike parks, Snowshoe, Windrock, etc. I was really hoping these would allow me to run lower pressures while protecting my rims and possibly getting fewer flats.

Bottom line: I could NOT run lower pressures with out getting tire squirm. I never damaged my wheels, or got a single flat, and that’s with 18 months of riding. I was disappointed I couldn’t run lower pressures but I rode a season and a half with out a problem.
  • 3 0
 I had the same exact experience with the Nukeproof ARD. Same weight as you, maybe plus a burrito, riding a V1 Ripmo on EXO+ DHF. They let me run low enough pressures, successfully, to realize I want to try cushcore for the sidewall support. I don’t ride Park but there are still a few good local berms that really like to put squirm in the case.
  • 3 0
 That's my impression of inserts in general. If you're actually folding tires in corners, inserts make a very small difference. Sure the tire will feel less 'squirmy' in sub critical events but do little for riders dealing with actual folding. With Cushcore Pro I could maybe run 1 or 2 psi less for the same folding resistance. That's why I quit running inserts for handling reasons and just use them in my park wheelset.
  • 3 0
 @jeremy3220: so you found that Cushcore did NOT provide you with sufficient sidewall support? In terms of impact protection for the weight I have been very pleased with the Nukeproof ARD. Before I had them I had to run excessive pressure to keep the rim off of square edge hits.
  • 3 0
 @mrpfp: Correct. I think the issue is that sidewall support doesn't translate to cornering knob or tread support.
  • 2 1
 For what it's worth, I'm 155lbs with gear, run the same pressures as you (actually 31 in the rear) on my trek slash.
Nukeproof ARD front and back and DH casing maxxis tires front and back.
As others have mentioned, rolling lower pressure is too risky, but this setup makes it so I have no flats and no rim damage. I love it and would recommend it to anyone doing lots of park laps.
It's still possible to damage the rims if not being careful, but no where near as easy as with lower pressure or no insert or smaller casing tires. I MUCH rather take the weight penalty than deal with rim damage, slashed tires, punctures aka downtime.
  • 1 0
 interesting. i am 95kg and have exactly the opposite experience with rimpact inserts: lower pressures (and thus better grip) without tires folding. this is the main argument for me to use them. 60mm (2.4"ish) tires on 30mm rims. vittoria trail and schwalbe supertrail sidewalls (sinilar to exo+). snakebites depend a lot on the tire pattern and rim shape in my experience.
  • 11 1
 Too bad they didnt test Cushcore XC.
  • 7 0
 Awesome! Love to see some well constructed, objective testing. I may have to consider trying a set of Rimpact Pros to drop some of that Cushcore weight. Excellent work!
  • 3 0
 Felt the same. Cushcore has been real good to me but can't deny the rimpact pro price. I think I need more info on the ride quality differences before I pull the trigger.
  • 1 0
 @iduckett: Agreed, I think it would be hard to improve on the ride quality of the Cushcore!
  • 6 1
 Nice article, and an interesting place to start from:
Would have been a more complete test if they tested no insert (it reads like this test was performed) and a standard tube.
From the test data, I cant tell the real advantage of the insert, as I would not expect to damage my rim at over 30psi during normal riding, this would indicate that the test is not representative of real life riding. (what was the TMV used for the test?)
It would also be good to have something that showed the perceived feel of the inserts in real life conditions for several riders to demonstrate if the best performing on the jig is the best performing (or feel) on the track.
Finally, a high speed camera and the rebound height from each insert at a given real life pressure would be good, this combined with the real life feel (and performance against the clock) could give a good indication of which insert is the best overall insert.
  • 5 2
 PAYWALL
  • 2 0
 They did. This is directly above the first graph.

The Results

From the parallel hit, where all the inserts resisted damage to the rim, to a small alteration of five degrees, how much difference does each insert make? You can see in this graph the point at which the rim took damage. We ran a control of no insert and the rim received damage at 32PSI.
  • 6 0
 A follow up with xc/trail lightweight inserts would be awesome. Cushcore xc, tubolight evo sl (which I am currently loving) etc
  • 2 0
 I run the CushCore XC on the trail bike and the Pro’s on my DH bike. There’s a noticeable difference in how much the small bumps are dampened compared to the two. The XC ones are certainly lighter for the climbing but I feel like they still provide a decent amount of cornering support and rim protection so I stick with them when I have to pedal.
  • 2 0
 At the end of the day, I'm now very happy we have these types of options for rim protection. I'm not a heavy rider, normally going between 170-180 lbs depending on how much I eat...but I am a very aggressive rider.

I've recently cracked a DT XMC 1200 carbon rear wheel and although they have the Fairshare policy available (which is basically a crash replacement program), it still costs $399 + tax for a replacement wheel. Cushcore is widely available here in Canada and $120 MSRP per piece is a fantastic insurance policy for protecting your wheels.

Let the trail bombing continue!
  • 1 0
 @SpecSRAM have you cracked the XMC with or without an insert?
  • 1 0
 @miuan: Without, however was most likely a result of 3 months of very hard riding - not just a single hit. While I wait for DT to get back to me about warranty/Fairshare, I ended up buying an alloy wheel to get me through and Cush'd up at least the rear wheel. One ride in and so far, so good lol.
  • 3 1
 Sorry, TLDR, but was it discussed, or does anyone agree, that running inserts on the front seems like overkill? I've never had a problem with a front tire, rocks or not beyond a burp once. It's the back wheel/rim that takes ALL the grief.
  • 3 0
 I first put a Tannus insert in the rear because I dented my rim: my main goal was to prevent any more dents. Then found out the lower pressure also added grip and damping (I'm on a hardtail). I put one in the front and really liked it because of the damping and grip, not impact protection.
  • 4 0
 Putting an insert up front makes your crappy fork feel like a Fox40 for top end suppleness. Gives more traction. Makes the tire ramp up like you just added a bunch of air tokens in a fork (helps prevent bottoming out even before it hits the insert) helps with making the sidewalls feel even more like DH casings, great for driving into the corners and not feeling the tire roll over. You can ride harder, longer. It does all this while lowering the PSI needed to prevent getting a flat. If you don't ride hard enough to burp a tire at 23psi or notice any of these benefits, then an insert is definitely not needed for you. After riding inserts for a year I forgot about them and rode the other day without one (new mulleted WeAreOne rear wheel). Difference was huge. I put three holes in the tire and tore the sidewall open on the first three laps at the bike park. I added 8oz of pink sealant and by the end of the 4th lap I had a pink stripe up the back of my shirt; then replaced the tire.
  • 1 0
 As someone said above, also running inserts front and rear on my hardtail (previously with Maxxis DD casings, now Michelins). It does seem to help quieten things down quite a lot! I got a flat recently and had to use my rear Rimpact as a run-flat and having felt how much damping and support it provided with a flat tyre I can certainly understand how it's helping out up front. At the end of the day it's about 90g or so of weight (albeit not in a great spot) so it doesn't seem like much of a compromise to me for the improvement in performance it brings.
  • 2 0
 I usually have the basic Rimpact inserts in the front, more for the feel than the protection (though it does prevent the odd rim dinger). I feel a bit silly writing this, but it makes the front tyre feel a bit more progressive IYKWIM.
  • 1 0
 I used to run huck norris + double down casing in the front with 25-26 PSI.
Got countless flats, some very frustrating immediately after installing a brand new tire.
I now run DH casing + Nukeproof ARD at 24-25 PSI in the front.
  • 2 0
 The thing about running a bit lower pressures (I weigh 182#s, run 1000 gram tires, and tested running 22f/ 24r psi for trail riding with inserts front and rear) is that it still just destroys the inserts (bad!), even if it saves your rims (good!).

At those rider specs listed in my first paragraph, running 24 psi on a 1000 gram rear tire, my rear insert had 18 large slices (I counted and marked with a sharpie) in it after approximately 4-5 average trail rides. Basically the insert was destroyed.

If your terrain is soft or you turn very aggressively, inserts probably offer some traction and stability advantages by allowing you to run lower pressures. But unless you are completely in to burning money, lowering tire pressures doesn't work for me on inserts because then the inserts just get wrecked almost immediately.
  • 4 0
 "Hunt Enduro Wide V2 rear wheels with a 31mm internal diameter"

What is this, a wheel for ants?! (I think you meant "31mm internal width")
  • 2 0
 running Rimpact mix inserts (pro on the rear) for a year and a half now. I don't huck to flat much, so I didn't destroy them, although they show signs of wear, only thing is that the front unglued, but just used normal glue for that and it holds perfectly.

Rimpact's are of substantial size, so thought they would give me a lot of trouble putting them on - but they didn't. just helped myself with some zip ties, and it was not that big of a deal.

used DD dual tire in the rear and EXO+ MaxxTerra front for a season and liked it. few months ago put DD MaxxGrip front, and DD MaxxTerra rear and love it with Rimpact's.

95kg geared, so thought that inserts would help me run lower pressure more safely, as everybody else thought. and everybody else is right - it does help. a lot.

usually running 1.3 bar front (sometimes going as low as 1.1), and between 1.6-1.8 bars in the rear.

the bike behaves like it's on rails - no wonder, right? I just love the fact I can plow through gnar confidently. muting the trails with inserts is what I love the most about Rimpacts.

I know DD's plus inserts might be overkill, but just love the ride quality they both provide. can't even imagine not running inserts anymore.

next to dropper, inserts became my favourite bike invention in the last decade.
  • 3 1
 Pinkbike - Forged by its comments section...now dies by its comments section. Putting out more articles to try and distract people only gives them more opportunities to write paywall in the comments section. Its almost like there are people at PB who dont care anymore and are letting it happen....
  • 2 0
 I'd like to see results on a 25mm rim. 30mm rims react very differently and personally I don't run them for various reasons. I run DT EX471's with no inserts for everything including DH racing. Unless you run silly low pressures inserts aren't a necessity.
  • 6 4
 Can someone explain to me the impact PSI? No insert = 32PSI for rim damage.. with insert, shouldn't the wheel take more load before damage occurs aka higher PSI? the graph is showing lower PSI which is confusing.
  • 19 1
 With no insert the rim sustained damage with the tire inflated to 32 psi. With inserts installed, that number dropped, all the way down to 22 psi in some cases. In other words, the inserts protected the rim from damage at those lower pressures.
  • 7 0
 I was confused as hell also and maybe still am, but I think PSI in the graphs is referring to the tire pressure when the damage occurred, not the force per inch of the impact.
  • 2 0
 The PSI is the pressure in the tyre. Higher pressure means less rim damage (and less grip, which is why we run inserts so we can lower the pressure).
  • 2 0
 The insert absorbs some of the impact. As you lower the tire's pneumatic pressure, the tire is less able to resist impact on its own.

At a sufficiently low pressure. the impact resistances of the tire and insert are not enough to fully resist impact. At that point the rim is directly affected by the impact.

Go even lower in pressure and eventually the tire + insert + rim is insufficient to resist damage. Those are the pneumatic tire pressures that are reported.
  • 3 0
 I believe they lowered the tire pressure until the rim was damaged
  • 1 0
 Its the actual air pressure in the tires.
  • 2 0
 Impact PSI is the PSI in the tire when damage occurred, not the PSI of the force impacting the tire. They tested by repeatedly dropping the anvil on the tire, lowering the psi between each test, until the rim showed damage. With no insert the rim was damaged at 32psi. Add inserts and you can lower the pressure further.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: had more damaged rims with inserts then without, changed back to conti tyres without inserts… no issue same psi as maxxis schwalbe bontrager with inserts.
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: I don’t think the article makes it very clear that you are taking about tire pressure. It seems more like the impact pressure (test force) changes at a set tire pressure from the way it’s written up.
  • 2 0
 @stubestrong: I'm a fan of the casing feel of Conti tires too. I've been wishing they'd make a rear-specific tire (moderate to low rolling resistance) with Apex protection.... Really hoping their new Dissector copycat prototype comes in at least a 2.4 with Apex
  • 1 0
 @WoodenCrow: Apex just bombproof, i use Barons all year round and if i need a faster rear just use a TrailKing
  • 1 0
 I said it in the last article and I'll say it again @henryquinney , Rimpact original in the front and pro in the rear. Best combo you can get. Keeps steering light but still provides excellent protection and tyre stability.

Rimpact really are so good for offering whichever combo you want!
  • 3 0
 What about an analysis of the difficulty in getting a tyre with an insert inserted off of the rim?

Nukeproof ARD - A right twunt.
  • 3 0
 For trail riding this seems like THE critical point
  • 2 0
 I'd like to see a test on tire damage instead of rim damage. I Don't mind riding a dented rim, as long as it's holding pressure. If the casing of my tire is pinched through though, I'm SOL
  • 1 0
 Not sure if anyone has mentioned the insert and sealant aspect. I have used, and still use Rimpact but I have found that sealant doesn’t get around the tyre very well and so often does not work without a bit of effort. I have switched to Slicy now on my bigger bike which are a bit like a beefed up Huck Norris with lots of holes to allow sealant to move. Seems to work well and sidewall support is there on my DT EX511 Maxxis WT combo. Anyone else have this problem with the high volume inserts? I have tried a variety of sealants, best truly with Stans
  • 1 0
 Good point. I found it very hard to get got circulation with a Cushcore in a 2.4 WTB Judge (which is quite small casing to be fair), and the rimpact seemed to actively absorb sealant!
  • 2 0
 No Tannus w the tubes? That is the real game changer if you want to also eliminate flats completely, instead of limping out on your insert, which I’ve done more than a few times w CC
  • 1 0
 I've been running tanus tubless and its a great ride! I'm running way less pressure and the benefits of lower pressure are pretty amazing. My only complaint is silly. I can feel the insert rattle around when I load the bike up in my van.
  • 1 0
 Rimpact Pro does look like the clear winner - who woulda known. You guys should try to monetize this type of valuable info or something... Joking aside, unpopular opinion but I wouldn't mind paying for PB. A lot of work goes into this stuff and if it means those who make it happen get a little more compensation and resources then I can live with that
  • 1 0
 Are you kidding? That's not how big corporate shit works. Most people working there won't make more. The big titles like CEO CFO etc. Make more when you pay for shit that was already supported by advertisements for shit that you probably actually buy and are exactly the target audience for.
  • 1 0
 I would have liked to see nukeproof ARD. I usually destroy rims every park season. First ride out on my brand new raceface atlas wheels I got a big dent in the rear rim. 28 psi with DH casing tires and I only weigh 150 lbs. Now I have E13 wheels with ARD and zero damage. down to 15/18 psi.
  • 1 0
 And then theres me, running 18psi front 20psi rear tubeless Maxxis minnion exo tires 2.5F/2.4R No inserts. Im light at 180lbs but ive never dented a rim or flatted, even running double black runs at tons of bikeparks. I usually truck through everything. The tires do have 40+ wet spots on the sidewalls from pinholes. just war scars i guess.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney Question about the test method:

Hunt recently released information about the Enduro Wide V2 Wheels and had some information about the impact resistance of those wheels: www.pinkbike.com/news/hunt-release-updated-wheelsets-pond-beaver-2021.html In this test, Hunt show data that indicates rim failures were found up in the 160J range for several rims.

However, in these test of these rim insets using the same Hunt machine, you state a 22.4kg impactor was dropped from 546mm. This translates to 120J impact.

Were you not able to get the machine up to the same 160J range that Hunt used when testing their Enduro Wide V2 Wheels (i.e. adding more weight to the impactor or raising the drop height)? Just curious....
  • 1 0
 I'm sure every type of comparison has a comment "but why didn't you include X", however, it would've been really nice to see Cushcore XC on this list. With Cushcore being the market leader, their lighter insert is probably more practical than the Pro version for many readers. Either way, it's really hard to find research on this topic so I greatly appreciate what's been done. Almost perfect, just missing CCXC.
  • 4 0
 why is there no coverage of the flat tire defender?
  • 6 0
 They probably didn't pay Outside to be featured in this test
  • 3 0
 It feels like removal of the spesh status article. Flooded us with articles just so that we might forget what happened
  • 4 0
 I feel as though this needs slo-mo videos in huck-to-flat style
  • 1 0
 Don't give two $#!+s about the tires, can you do an article about the machine? In fact, do an expose on all your most destructive machines! It's strictly a...uh...bike-related interest...
  • 3 2
 Scanned the article ho hum, but could not stop looking at the welds on the test jig, I am sure they will hold up fine but do you really want your company name next to welds like that.
  • 3 1
 What are you talking about? Those might not be IG-worthy welds, but they're more than adequate and certainly are not the booger welds that you would cringe at.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: Booger welds hahahah
  • 2 0
 As a viewer of many welding videos on youtube and therefore basically an expert, they look fine to me
  • 1 0
 @boozed: Check out Welding Tips and Tricks, to see what welds should look like.
  • 2 0
 Gosh, this was a REALLY darn good comparison. Sure I wish my personal inserts had been included, but still it's great info.

Thanks for doing this PB & Henry Q.
  • 1 0
 So......light inserts don't do much. What a shocker.

Here's another news flash-if you ride where the rocks are sharp, you'll still slice the f**k out of your casings even with an insert.
  • 3 3
 @henryquinney Pretty friggin lame that schwalbe procore was not included in this test, what giveS? Procore is the original insert, in my experience performs very well and is a different type then the rest of the foam types...
  • 1 0
 Great article. How does the durability of Rimpact Pro compare with that of Cushcore Pro? Also, in the spirit of the scientific method, it'd be interesting to see another mtb media outlet repeat the experiment.
  • 1 0
 strange, i own both cushcore and the vittoria airliner. With the airliner i get way less audible "dings" and less hard impacts on the rim, it probably has to do something with the direction of the impact.
  • 1 0
 Feel like the Nukeproof one is sorely missing here!? As the only one less than £50 over here (UK) but seemingly pretty good at its job it'd be great to see how it fairs against all these (Seemingly) crazy expensive ones.
  • 4 2
 Judging by weight and psi, the Panzer Evo seems to be the best one. Or just 7 more psi for free.
  • 1 0
 ….7psi and no extra weight
  • 1 0
 I’m wondering about Hunt rims as the control. I’ve heard extremely good and extremely bad comments about them, not sure who’s right
  • 1 0
 Hunt V1s were soft, they acknowledged as much with the update (I destroyed two of the previous enduro wide rims). New rims seem to be up to Dt swiss /Newmen levels, but then why not just build up a wheel with those instead?
  • 1 0
 @aribr: i think the Hunt wheels come out slightly cheaper, and their customer support is fantastic
  • 1 0
 @melonhead1145: agreed with customer support, very nice to deal with.
  • 1 0
 Stay away from the carbon impact rims. I broke two of them within 14 days running cush core pro, 30psi, and I weigh 185lbs. Didn't even case anything or crash, just regular enduro riding. I think their new alloys are stronger maybe.

They did send me new rims though, customer service A+ just the "enduro" version is way too weak.
  • 1 0
 @aribr: imgbb.com/qgD03Qq
never seen this on DT
  • 1 0
 Does hunt test at 5 deg normally or did you have to ask them to modify the rig to support it? Rig looks pretty robust and reliable for this testing.
  • 2 0
 Bummed you didn't include the Nukeproof ARD. Easy to install. Would have been nice to see if they're in fact nuke proof.
  • 5 2
 i'll take, who cares and get out and ride for $1000 Alex
  • 1 0
 Surprised the test was performed on Hunt Endurowides seeing as quite a few people are waiting on their orders, which have been delayed twice in a month.
  • 2 0
 Why is Tubolight getting overlooked all the time? They make awesome inserts
  • 1 0
 "Not far behind is the Tannus"
I'd say Panzer Evo: just 1psi more and way lighter than tannus. Panzer isn't even mentioned in the article!?!!
  • 1 0
 Why was flat tire defender not included in this test? Especially after they paid a whole lot of money to you guys last year for an ad campaign. So many questions.....
  • 2 0
 Tannus! If only just for what it looks like
  • 3 0
 Moarair®
  • 4 4
 No inserts, We Are One, Union wheels. 3 seasons 0flats other than the tire burping out some air due to rider error(smashing square edged rock at high velocity)
  • 5 1
 You are either extremely talented or extremely lucky, most likely both
  • 3 0
 Wouldn't have burped with an insert...
  • 1 0
 I've had min for about 5 months. Many rim strikes and rocks strikes later, I haven't had a single tire or wheel issue.
  • 1 0
 @hardcore-hardtail 45 seconds it took me to pump back up vs 200bucks in inserts. I’ll take that every ride every day!
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: a bit of both I suppose! Haha
  • 2 0
 @hardcore-hardtail: mind you if I was riding 100 dollar aluminum rims, i’ld get insert supports for sure!
  • 1 0
 @machaut: True. WeAreOne are hard to hurt. I have spend thousands of KMs and 40 park days on my Unions and they are still true. Even though I can't ride the biggest jumps yet and still case all the landings. Just got a Strife for my DH because I broke the front E13 rim in 5 days at the park.
  • 3 0
 Still got tubs
  • 1 0
 Absolutely love my Rimpacts and stoked to see their great performance here!
  • 1 0
 We're going to run some experiments on all inserts available and publish the results but I'm pretty sure we will be on top.
  • 1 0
 Loved my Rimpacts but couldn't install the pro with a 2-ply tire... Worst experience. Had to switch to cushcore in the rear.
  • 1 0
 Been running the Rimpact pro on my last few bikes. Matt and crew (and product) are top notch!
  • 2 2
 Hunt sell Rimpact on their site. Cant help feel it isn't surprising that Rimpact came out on top in a test carried out by hunt...
  • 2 0
 Except the graph shows the standard Rimpact (which most people buy) is one of the worst-performers?
  • 1 1
 My jockstrap provides "more" support than regular underbritches. Harder to install though. I do a stink finger test twice a ride just to be sure. Sometimes more...lots more.
  • 2 1
 Who even cares any more? Nice Hunt advert, I guess there is only more of this kinda crap to come. RIP pinkbike
  • 1 0
 I'm a little disappointed that there isn't at least one video of the testing. Watching stuff get destroyed (or not) is fun!
  • 1 0
 And now I’ve probably jinxed myself...
  • 2 0
 Pepis???
  • 1 0
 Useful evals, thanks much!
  • 3 4
 sorry - can't read the article on account of the bad welding on the tool. If you aren't going to build the tool right, test results cannot be trusted.
  • 1 0
 @henry quinney why no Nukeproof ARD on test ?
  • 2 2
 I can't use any of your data because you did not compare to the test bed without an insert.
  • 1 0
 They did, it's referenced in the text with the result.
  • 1 0
 Tannus Armour looks pretty good there at half the price of CushCore
  • 1 0
 Panzers not available on North America....
  • 1 0
 That welding looks great-Stevie Wonder
  • 1 0
 Pepi's Tire Noodle R-Evolution
  • 1 0
 Would have been very interesting to see Schwalbe Procore in this test.
  • 1 0
 I'm impressed that 29 inch tires fit on 31mm internal DIAMETER rims.
  • 1 0
 Good job Quinney (on the new job). Chur
  • 1 0
 Tubolight HDs would win on weight and protection.
  • 4 4
 Hunt may make great rims.....But they suck at welding!!
  • 6 2
 Welds look fine.
  • 1 1
 Please try out and test Mynesweepers!
  • 1 1
 Would have loved to see mynesweepers!!
  • 1 1
 …..what? No Chappetta??
  • 1 1
 Edit: never mind
  • 2 5
 F*ck u perfidy-bike
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