Vittoria Releases Completely Redesigned Air-Liner Tire Inserts

Feb 14, 2024 at 18:08
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Vittoria is one of the few tire manufacturers to make their own insert, treating the two as a hopefully cohesive system. To further cover their bases and offer a wider range of utility, they've designed a completely new insert - the Air-Liner Protect - with two variants, Enduro and Downhill.

The two should both offer better protection to the tire and rim, reduce the weight of the overall system, and feel more akin to a typical air-filled tire than the prior Air-Liner MTB model. Some folks might take issue with that last point, as some seem to prefer the feel of a damped insert-filled tire, but now you have the choice between the options. The prior Air-Liners fared well in Henry's multi-insert shootout, but were bested by some of the more robustly constructed options. With the updated changes, that might just change.

As Matt covered in his recent Burning Question with various rim and insert manufacturers, there's some varying feedback on the utility of inserts. Despite that, fans of the foam will probably stick around for the lower pressures and increased tire support they can achieve with them.

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The new Air-Liners come in two variants, two sizes, and one price: $69.99 USD. You can mix and match the two different densities and sizes to your liking, allowing for some fine-tuning of the overall tire-insert-rim system.

More on those different densities, as that's the primary differentiator between the two options. The Enduro insert uses a lower density foam, for lighter weight and faster rebound. The Downhill model uses higher density foam that slows the rebound down and offers more protection at high speeds. There's about a 50 gram penalty to the latter, with the overall weight spectrum of the inserts ranging from 125 to 185 grams.

Both use the T-shaped profile, and are optimized for rims with a 25-30mm internal width. Unlike the prior model, the new Air-Liners are a continuous loop, with no sizing and zip-tying required. This will also hopefully help prevent the inserts from stretching, as Henry experienced in his back-to-back test.

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For more information on the new Air-Liner inserts, head over to Vittoria's website.





Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
175 articles

79 Comments
  • 283 0
 Please call these "Vittoria Secret"
  • 9 58
flag Joecx (Feb 15, 2024 at 9:34) (Below Threshold)
 The secret is they stole CushCores's basic shape and made them with less protection to save a bit of weight
  • 3 2
 Bust...guaranty.
  • 9 1
 @likeittacky: a whale tail for your rim it goes on and on.
  • 5 3
 You win the internet today lmao
  • 1 1
 It would have to be colored black, or at least red maybe pink...$hit we already missed the perfect date on that one.
  • 1 1
 @ArizonaJack: you missed the busty pun apparently
  • 13 1
 @Joecx: Whoa they stole the circle shape?! Big if true
  • 2 0
 Someone said the old version looked too much like a pool noodle...
  • 31 0
 Glad, they're e-bike compatible! All others interfere with the motor as we know.
  • 28 11
 I gave up on inserts, just running a DH tire in the rear now. Snapped so many tire levers over the years installing them. If anyone wants two 29er Tannus inserts, $1 each plus pay for shipping, lol.
  • 26 3
 Tannus are the easiest ones to install in my experience. Only use the tire lever for that last bit, which I'd be using on a non-insert tire install anyway.
  • 5 1
 I’d take em, have been wanting to try tannus ….fwiw I run 30psi, in dh Maxxis tires, and feel the insert pretty necessary for my rims longer term serviceability. Still have broken a carbon Lg1En rim with this setup but the tire I think was slashed and leaking and low pressure allowed fast rock garden to defeat both casing, liner and low psi to flat tire and destroy rim. Message me direct with shipping costs to 59106 and your PayPal address
And I’ll PayPal you directly
  • 2 0
 I assume these are the tubeless version Tannus?
  • 3 0
 My fisrt attempt installing Cuscore, my levers surprisingly didn't snap, but I ripped the tire bead... now the tire goes to grabage
  • 11 0
 I find it really helps to stretch the tire before installing inserts. Put them on the rim, no insert, and inflate them to max pressure for about a day, then come back and install the insert. Works really smoothly
  • 5 2
 It depends on whether this insert allows you to push the tire bead into the center channel. If it doesn't, you're going to have a hard time. If it nearly allow you to do that, you may have better luck with a different rim next time. I can imagine an offset rim might work better as the center channel is offset too. So finish with the side where the center channel is closest and you may just make it. I do have a pair of offset rims (Syntace, whiich is probably just Ryde Trace 29 OS) but I'm using these with ProCore anyway so no foamy insert. I've built another wheel with a Spank Spike rim where ProCore is near impossible to install so I'm using Pepi there. It has two (off)center channels so the insert actually sits on the raised center buldge inside the rim and leaves the (off)center channels vacant. Tire installation is a breeze. So yeah, I can imagine it might work for these Vittoria inserts too. Either an offset rim or one with two center channels.

Not for me though as they don't offer the 26" wheel version.
  • 7 0
 I also just run DH tires but I'll say in fairness I don't find installing new Kryptotal DH's any easier than EXO + Tannus.
  • 2 0
 @jdejace: You're not lying.... I mounted a Xynotal DH this past September. I had to let it sit out in the sun for an hour on raging hot tarmac surface before I could mount it.

Great traction & durability, but heavy AF.
  • 12 2
 I fail to understand the issues with inserts and installation. Multiple rims, various tires with DH to trail casing and so far never needed more than a single plastic tire lever with my Cushcore pro and nuke proof ard’s for yrs now. Can’t imagine I’ve been this ‘lucky’ this long.
  • 15 0
 Tannus tutorial:
1-remove wax from tire if new (Conti) make sure your rim is at least 29mm id if using DH insert
2-make sure rimtape is well friggin done (theres plenty of tutorials) make sure tubeless valve is tidy
3-put some sort of lube on tire beads (could be olive oil, i dont care)
4-install tire without insert, pop er up like a boss, remove one side of tire bead (the disc side)
5-insert annus armour like you would a tube (pro tip: i punch holes in the sidewalls and top of insert to let sealant and air travel more >FREEELLYY) i use a hole puncher, or whatever those things are called
6-re lube bead if its dry
7-start at valve and push bead and insert in middle, if other side of tire breaks contact with sidewall, dont worry, also push into middle of rim. Work both directions from where you started, in the goal of pushing last part of bead on the part of rim oppsosing the valve (180 degrees)
8-once you start swearing (you should have about 35 deg left of tire) tie a strap around tire and rim. that will hold it while you use both hands to bring in the the rest
9-go around tire and push everything in middle as much as possible
10-using all possible leftover teenage angst and hatred that you forget to tell your therapist about, get that frickin last bit on..silicon sparay, olive oil, whatever sopay water floats your boat will help
11-if you do it without tools aint nothin gunna stop you in life, bet
9-
  • 11 0
 if your tire runs straight go buy a lotto ticket immediately
  • 1 0
 How’d you snap a tire lever?
  • 3 0
 @jdejace: Interesting. I have found the install of Kryptotal DH tires super easy, but I have only installed them on EX511's, maybe they don't go on as easy with other rims.
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: the Kryptotal front 29 dh was easy for me, the Kryptotal rear 27.5 dh was a pain in the butt. For both Spank and Crankbrothers rims. Worth the extra effort though.
  • 4 0
 @housem8d: "...5 - insert annus armour..." not sure we want to know what you're doing?... lol
  • 2 0
 @lwk: trust me, its an important pubic service announcement
  • 1 0
 @housem8d: rude typo jokes aside, I thought you had some good suggestions.

I bought some a couple of years ago as I thought maybe provide a bit of extra rim protection.

But they were beyond miserable to install. I managed to get one into my back rim (a WAO) but found basically impossible on the Bontrager front rim. This was with EXO tires.

That, combined with the fact that it didnt seem to make a notable difference meant it came out when I changed the tire and havent bothered since. Maybe I'll try again this spring using some of your suggestions but I'm skeptical of the the whole insert business
  • 1 0
 @housem8d: #5 is interesting. Late in the game, I found either using that Cushcore bead locking tool or going to the hardware store and spending a few bucks on some ratcheting straps to prevent the bead from popping up was hugely helpful. Some rims, especially taller rim walls (like an I9 wheel I have) were just impossible — lower profile ones were much more friendly.
  • 1 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: cuz you are lying Big Grin
  • 1 0
 So far i've installed a Bontrager and a Specialized tire with a Rimpact insert on DT rims. Both went on pretty easily and I didn't have to use levers.
Am I doing something wrong?
  • 1 0
 @housem8d: I've used tannus tubeless inserts on a couple of bikes now and can get them seated by hand... dunno what black voodoo I've inadvertently been using. Also fitted cushcores with a single plastic tyre lever so perhaps it's just technique?
  • 12 3
 I’d like them to post a video of them actually installing these with normal tools. I always wait until the family has left for the day to ring the bell for the new-tire-insert-install-wrestling match. So much profanity required to get these things crammed in the tires. Once installed all is forgotten, but damn!
  • 19 0
 Get one side of the bead seated. Pop in the insert then just keep stuffing the bead as far in as you can. It creates the space you need to get the tire on. It’s really not bad once you commit to forcing the bead in as far as you can.
  • 6 1
 @whitebirdfeathers: if you seat one side, you are effectively reducing the amount of slack you have. Need to pinch the bead into the center channel of the rim as much as possible, which will allow more slack in total. I typically can install tires with an insert by hand (one bike has CC pro, and the other has Rimpact Pro).
  • 2 1
 @RBalicious: I think y’all are saying the same thing (“keep stuffing the bead as far in as you can” ~ “pinch the bead into the center channel”)
  • 1 1
 @pmhobson: No, if you seat one side, you are not pinching the bead of the whole tire into the center tread. It maybe @whitebirdfeathers doesn't actually mean to seat the bead, because that is getting the bead locked into place on the rim.
  • 4 0
 If these are anything like the current Vittoria XC inserts, they will be super easy to install.
  • 3 0
 @TheEradicator : I install in stages to give everything a chance to stretch and adjust. Remove tire and put insert on rim so it stretches and adjusts to being straight for a day. Remove insert and mount tire, inflate a little high, 40-50 psi and let rest for a day. Then pull just one side of the tire bead and stuff the insert in.
  • 1 0
 @motts: very good tactic for sure. Definitely had to go that route on the heavier casing tires.
  • 2 1
 @RBalicious: I think @whitebirdfeathers used “seat” incorrectly here. My guess is that they mean to get one bead on the rim in general and not to that it has to be pressed against the sidewall in a manner that would hold air if the other bead was similarly mounted.
  • 2 1
 Soapy water…and the cushcore levers (just like the instructions say).

Easy no matter the tire or rim combo and 1 person can do it. Taking them off…that can be a bitch
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: I definitely meant seat. I find it works best with one side seated. Without doing that I find it’s more difficult to get it to inflate properly.
  • 1 0
 @RBalicious: agreed. Inserts in all bikes since Huck Norris was cool and always bead in the bead channel.
  • 13 5
 I think a lot of insert brands are figuring out that most consumers don't need ride-out capabilities, we just want additional anti-flat and rim-protection capabilities in the lightest possible package.
  • 7 1
 The run flat aspect of inserts is more valuable than anti-flat and rim protection if you’re running good tires at the right pressure. I find they’re life savers if you flat part way into a several thousand foot descent. Allow you to still enjoy it to an extent instead of walking.
  • 13 1
 @TannerValhouli: Ya, used to think that... but after a few issues in the field, I've found the best run flat protection is just to not bother with inserts anymore and carry a spare tube and boot.

Overall, with the hassle of install and switching out tires etc and issues... I've just gone with a heavier casing in the rear, run a little bit more pressure and carry a tube + boot + plugs. My mtb life is forever improved moving away from inserts.

Even for amateur/fun enduro racing... an insert with more run flat protection isn't going to allow you to ride at full speed anyway so that stage is boned no mater what. Might as well repair properly and be ready for the next stage and again, not have to deal with inserts mid-race.

I don't know... I see the benefits and why people still use them, just not for me anymore. To each their own.
  • 1 0
 I used to think that too. which is why I ran Tannus. Then a buddy had a flat with one, and getting it sorted in the field was a nightmare (that ended with us walking out because the skeeters were too bad). So I switched to the Rimpact pro, theorizing that I could at least finish a ride, even if more slowly, without destroying my rim. I started running inserts to lessen pinch-flat cuts to the sidewall at the bead, which can't be fixed. A proper DH tire might get me there too, but still can't really be run flat if necessary...
  • 2 0
 If I'm running inserts, I want to be able to ride out on them simply because removing the insert to install a tube and then having to carry out the sealant covered insert sucks. The run flat capability isn't really a reason for me to chose inserts over heavier tires, though.
  • 2 0
 @TannerValhouli: Living in El Paso I can say the cactus is no joke. The runflat aspect of the airliner is a huge bonus for me. Also the size medium in 29er length was only 150 gram. My current rear tire is a standard EXO rekon with an airliner. I prefer a lighter, faster rolling tire for climbing with the added security of the insert.

For maximum rim impact protection, there are some better options but i have yet to bend a DT hoop or crack a carbon hoop with them. Lots of ping though.
  • 1 0
 Interesting. For me, run flat is the primary reason I use inserts.
  • 7 0
 Their ‘XC’ liner is superb for upto 2.3 tyres. It’s insanely light and gives just enough protection and feel without being heavy / too gravity focussed. My personal driver with these is for two things, protecting carbon rims and secondly preventing burping
  • 1 0
 @yetiboyjay The Vittoria version of XC or different brand? I have a Cushcore XC on my back enduro rim for burping mostly. Still a pain to install and do not look forward to the replacing that tire.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: yeah it’s a Vittoria one. It’s the Airliner Light, just 50g. Works awesome on my trail bike.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: The main advantage of the old Vittoria airliners is you size them yourself. They don't come as a hoop, just a noodle, you cut the noodle to length and use a zip tie to hold the two ends together. If you keep it a little bit loose you give yourself enough room to make tire installation easy, with as far as I can tell no downside.
  • 6 0
 I have been running the old Air Liners for a long time. Liked how easy they were to install. Personally I think inserts are a no-brainer if you are in a situation where you either can't afford a flat, or want/need the extra grip a bit lower pressure can afford. I've even run them in XC races (Moab Rocks) with great success. Sometimes there are just so many rocks, and 40 psi just sucks. I've pinch flatted double downs at 35 psi as a very lightweight rider on porcupine, multiple times. And I've ridden the same sections faster on my XC bike with XC tires at 25 psi 3 years in a row without any flats with the inserts.

The amount of hand fatigue the air liners can take out too, especially on an XC bike, is worth it alone (course dependent). Same can be said for park days, lower tire pressure, more foam damping can take just enough sting out to make things more fun. You probably wont notice that at all in loamy PNW conditions since you're basically riding on pillows anyway, but in rocky, hard packed places in the southwest, it's huge.
  • 3 0
 Stop me if you heard this. I use a round trash can as a work surface. One of those shorter, harder plastic bins approximately knee high. Fits a 29” very nicely. It was a good tip from a friend. I have only installed for customers, ima DD guy myself. It’s rocky here, maybe I should try em??
  • 1 0
 I think these will be next. I am a big believer in eva foam compared to others but cushcore uses too much in the middle and adds another 80g compared to these. Have perfected the install with rimpact pro and as long as you're patient and use technique, it's not too bad.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, I'm a cush core runner. Had the pro but it took up too much volume and kept the tire from conforming from the trail as much. Ran the XC but still bust rims with it in. This looks like it can save my rims without taking up as much volume.
  • 1 0
 @JFfullsendsonly: I just got a set. One DH and one enduro. DH definitely a denser foam, quite significantly. Enduro still good and will definitely offer some protection. They are not quite as volumonous as cushcore but are just as thick or thicker where they actually overlap the rim. Might try to install today.
  • 1 0
 @ksilvey10: how does the foam of the enduro compare to cushcore or original airliners?
  • 2 0
 @andrewbn42: Very similar foam to original air liner but shape is totally different. I would say the enduro density is similar to cushcore. Maybe a little softer. I think cushcore might be somewhere in between but just adds a lot of volume in the middle to create more sidewall support. I think the DH air liner is probably more rim-protective
  • 1 0
 I hope these work better than the Airliner Lights, which were shredded after a few weeks on my rear wheel. They're basically disposable protection since a decent hit slices right through the liner, then the liner turns into a sponge and absorbs the sealant. Maybe worth it for a race wheel that you pull apart and check after every race, but not for general riding. FYI Vittoria claims satisfaction guaranteed if you purchase from their website, but didn't return any of my emails expressing dissatisfaction.
  • 1 0
 I was excited to the launch of a new airliner, then dissapointed in the changes i’m seeing. I love the orignal airliners, they offer loads of protection for carbon rims and also make the ride feel better…. This is a completely different product… looks to me like the only protection this will provide is for pinch flats,
  • 1 0
 Thanks to Pinkbike for sponsoring, for reviews, interviews, and coverage the likes of which we couldn't do on our own.
Kudos as always to the tire gurus at Vittoria for continuing to innovate and lead the way.

What's interesting about this, to me, is the reduced weight. Adding just 100 grams to our stock ENVE (742 grams front, 850 grams rear) M5 rims, is a healthy 25% increase in the rim weight. Then, to put 150g of Vittoria Air-Liner HD on each, adds even more significant weight. A single, insert-ready WTB ASR** (779 grams rear) will add just as much weight as BOTH of Vittoria's newest inserts. So, Vittoria has essentially built the entire system with TWO lighter air-liners, for the same price, and retained good protection from flat tires. Reading more on the tech roundup, it sounds like the Double Compound sidewall also contributes to this design. The lighter air-liner doesn't work on "Rally" compound tires.


There are still more variables to choose from with the "high density" air-liner, which can be fun for shoppers. But for the more weight-conscious among us, it looks like Vittoria has found a sweet spot with these two, that covers the range of super-thin, to "black chiliix" sidewalls.

Oh, and I also thougth it important to note that Vittoria recently updated their compatibility guide with various brands, and incorporated some updated info for the new air liner.


Update: older Air-Liner MTB models (cinquinhundreds grams each) also work well with Compline, G-Sport Ultralight, and Rally/Rally-GR rim families. I have Complines on my rims like that, and they work great, but there is definitely increased tension from those animals holding back the sidewall when air-lined. It sounds to me like these new air-liners with "soft compound" tires will be the most trouble-free pairing option overall, from a manufacturing and material cost optimization perspective, for a rim family like MY Enve's with "aspero" sidewalls. One of the benefits of Vittoria's air-liner models is these rim compatibility updates they publish, which comes from 20 years of testing and tech-cred in collaboration with MRP. Vittoria manufacturers to metallurgy/industrial spec sheets (ISO 13172).


** guy at WTB actually donated an ASR** for our rim brand to test on, and they work just fine. No harm no foul WTB, thanks for your support and involvement in our testing efforts as well. A pioneer in the tire scene too and all your rims accept air-liners work just great as well. You probably know that about your rims too.... but we thought we'd share.


===
Original Posted By:
The-Black

*(my actual post was deleted by a mod misinterpreting my words as a personal attack, so I'm posting it here anonymously)

!--more-->Back to the post.
Thus far Vittoria has taken the most interest in the rim-tire-insert marketplace, and they have long worked together with ENVE (this is a long time partnership with guys in both organizations both involved in material science before entering the tubeless/mtb market,) and other brands to identify
  • 1 0
 I havent had any issues installing the airliners. Really like the runflat options of the original, especially here in the SW. Kudos to vittoria for continuing to expand on their product lines though.
  • 2 0
 Vittoria pls stop redoing these every other year. Most shops that stock airliners still have OG airliner stock that no one wants, ask me how I know
  • 1 1
 Ummm.... If you're having a hard time mounting a tire with an insert, I suggest talk a "dad" in your hood who rides and does his own repairs. As "that dad" I have not had a problem (untried insert is Rimpact), being the size of a small sasquatch probly helps. I do the prestretch trick on some tires, if they're stubborn to mount. The trick for me is "lube", dish shop 1:4 in a spray bottle. Any time you're working with rubber and tight places, a little prestretch and lube helps.
  • 2 0
 A video showing ease/difficulty of install would help set these inserts apart.
  • 1 0
 I have an older pair installed on the Turbo Levo, and they've been awesome! Cheaper, lighter, & easier to Install than most.
  • 1 0
 it says big air volume but it literally reduces the air volume
  • 1 0
 Relative to other inserts like Rimpact or even the original air liners, these definitely take up less volume. I have all of those options and a set of these now.
  • 1 0
 #ProtectEnduro
Seems up-to-date! UCI can you hear it?
  • 1 0
 The amount I don't care about this is staggering.
  • 1 0
 Let’s fight!
  • 1 0
 inserts are dead
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