Ask Pinkbike: CushCore vs. Tubes, Fork Setup, Sticky Brake Pistons, & 12-speed Chain Length

Nov 3, 2021 at 9:40
by Matt Beer  

Here at Pinkbike, we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers?" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech-oriented.

DH Wheels: Tubes or No Tubes? CushCore or Not?

Question: @Michvin asks in the Downhill forum: Got my first DH bike and started overthinking. First knee-jerk was to go tubeless CushCore, but now I don't know... Should I? Magic Mary + Big Betty. Thanks!

bigquotesI have always been a strong believer of the thinking that if you were to flat with a tubeless setup, you would have flatted a tube, barring that a dented rim causes the tubeless system to lose air, which is a different type of failure. Given that reason and the time I have spent on both systems, tubeless is also lighter and some riders claim to notice the tire being more supple. Some drawbacks to setting up tubeless wheels are getting the tire to seat on a dented rim (a pro for choosing carbon rims), air leaking from the rim tape, low air flow while seating from a clogged valve, and the mess of tubeless sealant.

As for CushCore inserts, they offer benefits in the eyes of some riders, such as rim protection, the ability to run lower tire pressure while supporting the sidewall against tire roll, and increased damping. They are not a guarantee against denting wheels and do not deter sidewall tears. It can take some practice to install and remove them without throwing a tantrum, but following the instructions will set you on the right track.

Both pros and amateurs sit on either side of the fence when it comes to the tire insert debate and ultimately you have to choose what works best for you, whether that may be saving ride time warding off flat tires or the preference of a lighter wheel. Depending on your riding style and the terrain you frequent most often, you may want to start your own experimentation with inserts before your rims become too dented to seat tubeless tires on. From there, you could remove the insert and note the differences. The price tag for engineered foam may seem high, but you could be saving money in the long run, in addition to performance benefits, and if they don't find them beneficial, you can resell them.

Pinkbike's Henry Quinney did an in-depth analysis of nine inserts here, if you wish to dive into the characteristics of each one on test.

Picture is property of CushCore
Tire inserts offer sidewall stability and rim protection, but they aren't the golden ticket to keeping air in your tires.

RockShox Pike Fork Setup Help

Question: @mca896 asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: The last few rides I've been trying to pay more attention to what my fork is doing to see if I can tune it to improve handling. It is a 2015 Pike RC. I had it set up completely stock, meaning no tokens (as far as I am aware), about 70 PSI, and LS compression fully open. I am happy with the rebound setting. I am 162-165 lbs. fully kitted, depending on how much food and drink I've consumed that day.

I was feeling like there was very poor small bump compliance, and also poor bottoming resistance. I tried decreasing my air pressure to 65 PSI and this improved the small bump compliance some. I added three clicks of LS compression. My question is will the tokens alone allow me to run lower air pressure while adding bottom out resistance? I would like to stay around this 65 PSI (maybe even lower) without having to add much compression damping. I always used to think good enough was good enough but now I'm thinking I can tune this to be better than good enough?

bigquotesDecoding suspension settings to find the optimum balance doesn't always have to be a game of chance. Most suspension manufacturers' setup guides are a great place to start, like SRAM's explanation of the suspension controls.

Since we are talking about a fork that could be nearing six years of use, it may be worthwhile to get a full overhaul scheduled. If this hasn't been completed before and the performance is poor, there could be a chance that the damper is blown or needs service. The suspension tech will be able to service the lowers while checking things out and refresh the fork for the silkiest operation.

Jumping back to setup, your previous air pressures are within the suggested RockShox brackets, but always resort back to the sag measurements, which can change depending the bike setup. The general rule is 15-20% sag for the fork and around 30% for the rear shock. Remember, the entire bike needs to balanced, which applies to suspension controls too.

Rebound can also have a compounding effect on small bump performance. If it is too slow, the suspension will not recover between successive bumps, which may be the cause of the complaint you have. It's best to adjust one parameter at a time to understand the changes it has on the system, so if you want to open the rebound control for faster return to full travel or add a volume spacer, it's best to use the same pressure as before. Depending on the travel, you may need to add more than one token to notice any apparent ramp up - too many volume spacers can feel like the fork is bottoming too early.

Just because they're hidden away in an oil bath doesn't mean that dampers last forever.

Magura MT7 Brake Drag

Question: @spudmaster asks in the Mechanics' Lounge forum: Got some new Magura MT7 brakes that I've been trying to set up for the last couple of days now but whatever I do I can't seem to stop the brakes from dragging. It's not just a little bit of drag, it's constant drag for the full rotation of the wheel! The brakes aren't over filled with mineral oil, the pistons will fully retract when pushed back in but they don't seem to retract enough under normal operation. With the pads removed to check the pistons, they don't seem to move out properly when then lever is pressed, one or two always seem to remain in the caliper and requires holding the other pistons back to get it to move.

It's not consistently the same piston and the brakes haven't been used yet so aren't dirty and shouldn't have sticky pistons. Despite the drag the lever feels solid so I don't think its a bleed issue but no amount of aligning or adjusting will get rid of the drag. At this point I'm wondering if there is an issue with the brakes, faulty seal preventing the pistons from retracting properly perhaps? Anyone got any ideas or tips I should try. Never had an issue like this before when setting up previous brakes I've owned.

bigquotesHaving been down this road myself, sticky pistons can be so downright frustrating that I've removed the brake pads for a long climb in order to avoid the constant chirp as they graze the rotor with every rotation of the wheel.

Step one to solving this problem is to make sure that the rotor is dead straight. Any wiggle can throw off the reference for the later steps. When performing any operation where brake fluid may be present, remove the pads and set them in a safe place, then unbolt the caliper from the mount. Install a bleed block between two opposing pistons and squeeze the lever slowly to expose the other two pistons, being careful not to fully displace them - a second set of hands can help to hold everything here, since you may need to manipulate the pistons with a soft lever. Using isopropyl alcohol, clean all the way around the exposed pistons with a lint-free rag. Add a couple drops of Magura's Royal Blood mineral fluid to the exposed surface of the piston and work the piston in and out with the soft tool and the brake lever. Continue this for the next three pistons by alternating the bleed block.

When the process is finished, make sure the caliper is clean and dry of any mineral fluid, then proceed to reinstall it on the mount. Center the caliper on the rotor, not the free space between the pads. If the pads are not centered, gently manipulate them with the soft lever to position them evenly. This will give the best brake performance, making the pads heat up evenly and give the crispest brake lever action.

Brake pistons collect a lot of nasty brake dust and grime. They deserve a regular cleaning for the best performance.

GX Eagle Chain Length Correct?

Question: @mikebowden asks in the Mechanics' Lounge forum: Hi there, This might be a dumb question, but I am new to how sensitive 12 speed drivetrains are to setup! I'm having difficulty getting my GX Eagle to shift cleanly through the cassette, and I wanted a sanity check on the chain length! Pictures are taken unsagged, but there isn't much chain growth (2021 Sentinel). How does it look? Before I break the chain to check, does anyone have any thoughts? Thanks!

bigquotesMeasure twice, cut once, right? You can always make a SRAM chain shorter, but you cannot reuse the pins that are already pressed into the chain. Adding length must be done with a SRAM PowerLock master link.

There are two baselines for measuring SRAM Eagle 12-speed chains: hardtails or full suspension bikes. Both methods start by wrapping the chain around the front chainring and the largest cog on the cassette, bypassing the derailleur altogether.

For full suspension bikes, release all of the air from the rear shock or remove it altogether and cycle the suspension to the end of the travel. From here, one outer and one inner piece of chain should overlap from the opposing inner link. You'll need to connect two inner pieces of the chain with the PowerLock master link, so it's best to err on the longer side of the measurement when deciding where to cut. Hardtails require two outer and two inner sections.

SRAM also has two B-tension chain gap tools available, depending on the size of the cassette range, to lineup the exact clocking of the derailleur on the hanger. This should be adjusted under the rider's sag.

SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrains require a full suspension bikes' rear wheel travel to be bottomed out to set the correct chain length - an overlap of one inner and one outer link, wrapped around the largest cog and chainring, without being routed through the derailleur.


  • 46 7
 quicker chain length setup:

feed chain correctly through derailleur, and around 10t and the chainring. pull ends together and not the two pins that over lap. remove one more link than that(making sure you are left with two male ends obviously. if its close, cut it longer). install the quick link and see if there is tension on the derailluer. of it's slack, remove one more link.

you are now done in about 3 min
  • 4 1
 +1 for this method. Have used this "smallest cog/ring" setup for years, from 3x8 to 2x10 to to 1x12 and it's always worked well. It removes the minimum number of links for acceptable chain length and tension and you can always go shorter if you need to, especially on the trail if you snap a link. YMMV if you run a HUGE low cog.
  • 19 1
 This only works well if b tension is set correctly. I have seen a lot of chains cut too short with this method, especially with a new derailleur where the b tension comes from the factory backed out pretty far. SRAM Eagle shifting is also very sensitive to chains that are too long, which can work okay but will never shift as well as a chain cut the correct length.
  • 13 3
 @probikesupplynewport: this method errors on the side of too long. a much easier remedy than too short(thats what she said!)
  • 3 34
flag Dewis100 (Nov 4, 2021 at 14:40) (Below Threshold)
 Even quicker chain length setup:

Take chain out of pack

Install chain

Has worked for me the last two chains. Never dropped a chain and gears change nice and crisp.
  • 9 0
 @Dewis100: Dude, the stars have aligned
You running like a 1x12 with a 34T sprocket on a frame with 450mm chainstays?
  • 1 7
flag Dewis100 (Nov 4, 2021 at 16:04) (Below Threshold)
 @chrod: I can purchase a KMC X11 11 speed chain for my 32T, 11-46, 430mm chainstay bike, slap a quick link on and away I go.
  • 12 0
 60% of the time, it works every time
  • 4 2
 Even quicker, count the original links on the stock chain and note the number....
  • 6 1
 @betobi: Or lay the new chain on a bench next to the old chain, cut the new chain the same length. No counting Wink
  • 1 0
 @betobi: the only issue I've run into using this method is once I broke a chain on the trail, and didn't notice that a piece of maybe 4-5 links flew off into the bush, and my replacement chain was way too short!
  • 1 0
 How many links have riders here with 1x11 32t 11x46 or similar got in your chain?
  • 19 0
 A harsh Rockshox Pike RC from 2015? You can play with the air pressure and tokens all you want, but that thing is probably f*cked because of a superhard shim stack. They used to cripple those forks just to give them a hard lockout for the parkinglot test.
It's solvable by replacing the shimstack with a softer one:
  • 10 0
 I wanted to post the same thing. Pinkbikes answer is just a generic setup reply, but that forks problem lies in the compression tune.
  • 1 0
 That's my impression as well. Also your weight is towards the light side (I'm even lighter and the stock damper doesn't seem suited for light riders). Fully open damper feels very heavily damped for me (have a shock with a large range to compare).

Also could send an email to a group like suspension syndicate if you want to talk to a shop. They supply EXT stuff but they work on everything.
  • 5 0
 Not to mention the Debonair air spring upgrade that significantly improves the small bump compliance over the solo air. I think an older pike, if its in decent condition, is worth upgrading and keeping around.
  • 2 0
 Yet again, comments far more valuable than the article.
  • 4 0
 I had this fork and it was absolutely transformed with the Vorsprung Luftkappe kit. Made the air spring which I had to run too soft just to get some small bump soft off the top and ramp up through the middle. Highly recommended.
  • 2 0
 Hmm I'm still running this fork, the screw holding the charger bladder came loose once so I did the inner oil change, done some lower leg small services and replaced standard air shaft with debonair, it's still a great fork. For my riding and 90kg naked it's not overdamped either, even though when it was released many people found it was, remember in 2015 the "new" Pike was an enduro race fork!
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: Older Pike Charger 1 dampers suck oil from the lower leg, so before messing around with the setup, get it serviced before the Charger 1 explodes.
This should be noted in every advice to that Charger 1 damper!

I had an old Pike RC Charger1 and it was bad. The RCT3 Charger1 works well though.
  • 17 2
 Sticky pistons are a bit of a myth. The pistons don't actually move relative to the seal contact patch when you squeeze the brake pads against the rotor. When the pistons extend under normal braking the seals flex forward with them then when you let off the brakes they relax to their normal state and pull the pistons back with them. It's quite normal for pistons to not all extend evenly when the lever is pulled with nothing in there. The fluid will take the path of least resistance and there is always some difference in friction between pistons because tolerances. My money, since the brakes are new, would be on the post mount surfaces of the caliper not being perpendicular to the surface that the rotor lives in. This would hold the pads at a slight angle relative to the rotor so the retract would be too small on either the top or bottom side of the pad. Without some inspection equipment the only way to really figure this out would be run the calipers for a bit and see if the issue goes away as the pads wear. Now if you have really dirty brakes, grime around the top of the seal can prevent the seal from flexing forwards the necessary amount, which will decrease pad retract.
  • 6 0
 I think you are probably on to the cause. And that gap on the MT7s is extra small. As such, they much less tolerant to any misalignment.
  • 4 0
 I've dealt with this issue on my new Maguras previously, and I can tell you without a doubt it had nothing with caliper alignment. Long story short, it's either an inconsistency in the o-rings or the monoblock is not machined to spec. Unfortunately my holtest mic was a tad too large to measure the o-ring recess uniformity within the caliper, and I ruled out the piston surfaces by measuring them with a profilometer. I can go on all day about their trash like qualities; like venting about a unemployed ex, luckily Shimano took me back and life has never been better.
  • 2 0
 @Brave1i1toaster: Funny. Mine seem to be great. The only reason I am on Magura is that Hope was not available, and I ended up liking them. I would take Hope or Magura over Shimano but to be fair I have not ridden any of Shimano's newest generation of brakes.
  • 2 0
 @Brave1i1toaster: I ended up moving my Maguras to my DH bike. I liked the brakes but they just had too much residual drag. You could clean up the pistons, exercise them, move them back and it woudl seem fine, but after a ride they'd be back to noticeably dragging on the wheel. Much worse than Shimano or the Hayes I'm on now. Sometimes I would sit there in the shop and free spin the wheel for 5 minutes at a time watching it drag to a stop and wondering if it was noticeable while pedalling. Spoiler alert - the drag all adds up you need to eliminate where you can.
  • 3 0
 @Brave1i1toaster: You can't really inspect the o-ring groove on a brake without cutting it in half. Most of the surfaces are tapered since that's what controls how much the pistons retract. If anyone is curious, this is what the seal groove on a Code caliper looks like It only takes the taper on the outer edge of the seal groove being off by about 0.003"(at most) for the retract to be seriously screwed up. But if that's the problem there's no saving the caliper because it's defective. The caliper angle only has to be off by about 1.5 degrees to make the rotor rub IF the runout on the rotor is perfect. If we assume the runout is +/-0.1mm over the whole rotor, then the angle the caliper can be off is less than a degree. Since the body of Magura calipers seem to be cast and the tolerance on caliper adapters is never too great it's easy to see this being an issue.
  • 13 2
 My amateur take on cush-core: They're great until you want to swap out your tires for a week due to changing conditions. Rainstorm brought some mud and want to put on your mud tires? Without cushcore, it's a 5 minutes process. With cushcore, at least for me, it's a multi-hour messy ordeal with lots of swearing involved. And then the same thing when you want to switch back.

I've got them on one bike, because hype. But I won't fall for that again.
  • 30 0
 pshhh you're supposed to have multiple wheel sets with the tires and inserts already installed, come on now
  • 3 0
 Tubeless makes this a pain for me. Use sealant that's "meh" and it's easier, but if I get a puncture it might not seal. Use good sealant that basically glues the tire on - high chance I have to retape my rim when I go to replace a tire.
  • 14 1
 It only added maybe 5 or 10 minute per tire when I got the butt plug lever and a trash can.
  • 1 0
 @iridedj: I second this. It changes the installation process. Also the bulky tire levers from walmart make it easier too. My park tool levers broke instantly.
  • 1 1
 The first couple of times yes it's a bitch, but after that it's a bit more of a pain but not huge. I do find I can get a wider range of performance out of 1 tyre than without cc. Sounds silly but a 2nd set of cheap 2nd hand wheels is not actually a bad option, as moving a cassette and disc over is quicker than even a tubeless only change, no sealant mess and the option to switch out last minute if conditions change
  • 1 0
 you have to take the insert off the rim, spray it off with a hose, dry it with paper towels, get the tire on with insert on rim to 95% then add the sealant very last. installing tires with cushcore is way easier when the cushcore insert is completely dry.
  • 1 1
 @Tristanssid: my previous comment was 90% joking, but in all honesty, especially if you have a mullet bike and only run a CC in the rear, having a spare rear wheel ready to go with your alternative conditions tire of choice means all you have to do is swap a regular tire out on the front and is ballpark worth the $$ if you're swapping often
  • 5 0
 @EnsBen: don't tempt me!!!

"no babes, I need these 5 sets of $1700 carbon wheels so that I always have the right tire in all conditions! swear babes......babes!? why are you putting clothes in a bag....??"
  • 1 0
 @iridedj: so do you put the lever in and then have two free hands? like a prehensile tail but for tools!? LOL
  • 16 6
 Inserts might deter sidewall tears. What cuts or punctures easier, a fully inflated balloon or a soft compliant one? I'd argue that if you can reduce your tire pressure by 5-10 psi due to inserts, that your sidewall will be more compliant when it encounters a razor sharp rock and deflect instead of slice open.... I've never had a true sidewall tear after 6 years of running inserts with exo casings. Every once in a while I'll still get a small "snakebite" puncture/cut right at the bead from smashing through the insert that's fixable with a plug. But so far I've yet to kill a wheel in over 12,000 miles at ~18 psi in very rocky terrain and weighing 170 lbs. In that time, I've ridden home twice on a rear flat, NBD. I won't ride without inserts. Cushcore to be specific.
  • 25 4
 18psi on exo casings? Can't even imagine the tire squirm that would cause, even with inserts.
  • 9 16
flag tsheep (Nov 4, 2021 at 12:18) (Below Threshold)

Less than a tire without inserts inflated to 30 PSI. The whole point (or one of them) of Cushcore and similar inserts is that your sidewalls are physically supported for most of their height. Under lateral loading the sidewall joins the entire width of the insert in resisting rolling. which makes for a much stiffer overall tire system.

There are downsides to inserts, but squirmy tires are not one of them.
  • 2 0
 @tsheep: personally I didn't notice a huge difference in tire squirm, I definitely could still feel squirm, I couldn't really drop any psi. This is front and rear cushcore dd tires vs just dd. It definitely made a difference in damping and rim pings, for me the trade off wasn't worth the weight. I have a smoother style and am quite heavy though.
  • 1 1
 This has been my experience as well.
Cushcore pro in my hardtail and have been running Tannus tubeless in my full suspension. I also put the CushCore XC in my son's wheels. I will take the weight penalty over the potential for flats.

I can run lower pressures (with 19.5 front and 21.5 reason being my go to ), allowing the tires to grip amazingly well, Haven't had a sidewall cut since converting two years ago. I did recently get a pinch flat right on the bead on a rocky trail with the Tannus set but I was running too low of PSI for that trail and thought I would take a chance (Around 19psi in the rear) had to plug it and go back to the higher psi. Rode the CushCore Pro flat once due to a slow leak and no pump and it was sluggish but doable for a ride out.

As for the installation, they are more work, especially the first couple of times you do it but now, not much longer than a standard tire change. The Tannus is noticeably easier than the CushCore pro but similar to the XC. I agree with those about it being messy job but so is a tubeless tire change.
Make sure the tire is warm when attempting it first, making it more flexible. DH casing tires are gonna be a bitch, I have found, regardless of temp.
Get a big bucket or round garbage can to lay the wheel on flat
Get a CushCore bead dropper, This will help speed things up dramatically and save your hands.
Make sure the beads are truly pushed into the center well of the rim.when attempting to rermove or put on.
Start at one side and move both hands around opposite sides of the rim, pushing and rolling the bead and insert itn.

Practice makes perfect.
  • 2 0
 @slish: I've been a big fan of the tannus insert since installing one in the rear. I run around 22psi with an exo+ DHF and have had amazing results. Tons of grip and compliance, but I don't roll the tire off the rim in turns and I haven't heard the dreaded "PING" noise since installing.

Cheaper and lighter than cushcore as well! + I've found the tannus doesn't have quite the distinct bottom out feeling or drag that cushcore does.
  • 1 1
 @tsheep: As a bigger rider who deals with folding tires, adding CC Pro only allowed a 2 psi drop before I was folding tires as easily as without CC. It felt less squirmy and I wonder if that's what some riders are feeling.

I also know that you don't need a stiff sidewall to prevent folding. That's the fundamental design of steel belted radials in car/motorcycle tires. Lots of motos run radials with sidewalls designed to flex. The stiff belt package keeps the tread from folding...which is really what you want to keep its shape (to maintain the contact patch) not the sidewalls. We use bias ply tires in MTB though but increasing all around carcass stiffness also reinforces that tread area we want to keep from folding. So inserts make the tire feel more supported and it is to some degree but it's more efficient weight-wise to reinforce the carcass.
  • 1 0
 @Perra: around here, I don't think tires get a chance to squirm when the rocks, gravel, and chunder are moving underneath. I'll take the increased grip, comfort, and control. Maybe if I lived somewhere with high-g corners I'd feel different.
  • 2 1
 @tsheep: there is a huge difference between sidewall rolling and tire squirm.
  • 4 0
 Magura guy: Check the conical washers on your caliper mounting bolts. On my bike, the ones supplied by Magura had too big of an outside diameter, and no matter what I did to adjust the brake, they dragged against the (Magura) rotor.

Switching to Shimano and Tektro bolts solved the issue.
  • 1 0
 I have the MT5's, just did a bleed and everything went smooth but after one ride the front caliper is sieving oil. It looks to be coming out of the bleed bolt but comparing the two calipers I don't see any spacers/washers that I'm missing. Have any idea of what's going on?
  • 2 0
 @cgreaseman: check that the little o-ring didn't get stuck on your bleed tube. Sometimes the o ring stays in the hollow when you remove the bleed screw but when you tighten the bleed hose it'll stay attached to the hose and you inadvertently remove it when you remove the hose.
  • 2 0
 @solephaedrus: I'm 98% sure Maguras don't have gaskets on the bleed screw...the bleed kit adapters definitely don't. Check this video no gaskets visible. I don't wanna crack my bleed screws for no reason to confirm tho. @cgreaseman did you tighten er down with a torque wrench or just go to 3 ugga duggas? You didn't strip it did you?
  • 1 0
 @solephaedrus @mnorris122: Like there's a floating grommet in/near the bleed port? I never noticed anything like that. I bled both brakes the exact same way, on the same day, and the rear is fine.

I didn't strip it. Definitely just used some ugga duggas but not too many. It's an alloy bolt and receiver, so it feels plenty snug and tight. I'm going to try and bleed it again later today and if it starts leaking again I'll hit up Magura.
  • 1 0
 @cgreaseman: Nah, I'm almost certain there's no such thing, just the metal bolt.
Definitely hit them up, their customer service is absolutely amazing.
  • 5 1
 this one's for @mca896: I had the same fork, and it had two main issues:
1- High speed compression was overdamped in those forks, making it feel harsh and generally speaking, to suck. You can read in forums about it.
2- Low speed compression knob does nothing at all in the first half of the clicks from open, is not until a few clicks in that it starts having an effect. Worth knowing.

I serviced the damper removing one of the shims of the HSC and the fork improved a lot. So as Henry says the service alone will have a big effect in sensitivity if it was in need, and if you can get the HSC issue looked at, all the better.

Also, eventually I changed it for a Mattoc pro and was mind blown by the difference soo...
  • 1 0
 forgot to mention, the debonair air shaft upgrade does A LOT too, and it costs £35. Instead, you can drill a tiny hole in the original shaft right under the piston and seal the footnut with PTFE tape. That along with the HSC shim really improved the fork.
  • 4 0
 A cotton string dipped in isopropyl alcohol works really well for cleaning pistons, you can get it wrapped almost all the way around the piston and then floss it back and forth to scrub.
  • 5 0
 I use pipe cleaners. Works like a charm
  • 7 2
 I had that same issue with a set of MT7s, after trying every trick in the book I just ended up buying a new caliper. Maguras are hot garbage; change my mind.
  • 1 0
 ive had issues with my mt7's too and ended up having to get warranty but in the end it was a manufacturing fault and got replaced. also found they can be very temperamental and without being properly bled do seem bad but once you get it right they are great .
  • 10 7
 if you show up with tubes in your tires you're on your own. all day. I'm willing to wait 20 minutes before we head out to change you to a tubeless setup--I may even help, beyond letting you use my tools--but if you start pedaling with tubes in your tires, your ride is your own. it's 2021.
  • 2 5
 Funny you say that. I use tannus armour (tubed version), and can survive things that tubeless people cant, including being able to ride out on a flat.
  • 2 0
 @TwoHumanPower: For my customers who are on the fence about inserts vs tubes, I push them toward Tannus, especially on a DH bike. The weight is considerable, but the protection is great.
  • 1 1
 I'm still running tubes. I've tried tubeless, inserts, ProCore, but find tubes work fine. Never had an issue, never slowed me down, and it's a breeze switching tyres especially when racing.
  • 1 0
 @TwoHumanPower: I recently installed Tannus on a wheel I use as spare. Because there is no sealant I'm not worried about keeping it stored and things clogging up. I'm not sure about how good it is actually. Because of the shape (thick in the middle and thinner at the sides) and because the tubes wants to pursue a rounder shape, it pushes the middle out and effectively makes the tire narrower. Which isn't so bad actually, for a rear tire (running 2.35 wide on a 28mm wide rim bed). But it also makes the running surface stiffer. I'm not sure how this affects grip. Does it have more trouble conforming to the terrain or does it actually deform equally well but just provide more damping (as claimed)? Installation itself is probably not too hard but I got myself in a bit of trouble as the rim I used for this built is a Spank Spike with their "OohBah" profile which implies it has a double center channel with a raised middle in between. If you install the Armour in the tire before you install the tube (instead of install the tube in the Armour and then insert them in the tire as instructed) you can still get it done. I have no doubt it does protect the rim though.

@Freakyjon: Obviously ProCore is with tubes Wink . I never ran actual tubeless myself. Currently if it isn't Tannus, I'm running ProCore front and rear (currently still in the front). I actually love it. It is easy to install even with a mini pump, seals the tire bead instantly and it seems impossible to damage the rim as long as the core is inflated over 5bar.
  • 2 0
 For RS suspension *always* start from the rebound (and others probably too). By the way, slow down the rebound to maximum and try to compress the fork. Wtf right? It's because many dampers (both forks and shocks) have simplified construction and during compression some oil gets by the rebound needle (if no check valve is present). So not only rebound affects suppleness in a way described in the article, but it may actually affect compression too!
  • 2 0
 Next time you’re mounting wheels with inserts try mounting up the tire on the wheel first without the insert.
1. Install tire and air up to seat the beads. 2. Remove all air and pull one side of the tire off the rim. 3. Install the insert on the rim. 4 re install the tire bead on the rim, pushing the bead of the tire under the insert while working around the wheel to keep it in the channel of the rim and keep going back around with the lever to push and keep the tire’s bead under the insert. By this point there should be enough slack in the tire to get it mounted on the rim.

By installing the tire first and seating the bead it creates way more space in the channel of the rim to get that second bead of the tire on with the insert installed.
  • 1 0
 I used to run my chain a couple links too long so when/if I broke or twisted a link I'd be able to take it out without it being too short. This was back in 3x and front derailleur days when twisting a chain was (or at least seemed) far more common. Does a slightly too long chain really have that much of a negative impact on shifting performance?
  • 2 1
 I have cushcore installed on both my hardtail and full suspension. I will say I am very bias to cushcore because of riding my hardtail because of the way it makes it feel. I have yet to get a flat tire on either bikes and have been running cushcore for 3 full seasons. I think the weight penalty is definitely worth it IMO (just think how much more beefy your legs will be carrying around another pound!!). The installation process can be a beast first time around but once you learn the tricks it is only slightly more difficult than installing a tire without it.
  • 1 0
 I had a couple of those 2015 Pikes, and the biggest factor for me was how lazy I was with servicing. The recommendation is 50 hours, and that's probably about right. Instant improvement in small-bump compliance after pulling the lowers for a clean-and-lube treatment. Also ran three tokens an a bit lower pressure than recommended sag.
  • 2 0
 same, seem to have to do the old foot-on-the-bridge treatment to extend it to full travel every ~20 hours, and the zip-tie-under-the-air-side-seal trick to release built up air pressure every ~30 hours
  • 1 0
 Cracked a DT Swiss carbon rear wheel earlier this year, just solely running tubeless with a Hellkat Pro tire (very durable).

Three weeks later, DT sent me a new replacement wheel and after immediately slapping a Cushcore insert in there...I haven't looked back (or down) Smile
  • 3 0
 Might help upgrading your 2015 Rockshox Pike with the new debonair sponge only costs $42!
  • 3 1
 I've pressed pins back in on multiple chains (my own bikes) and never had an issue. I'm awful at getting the length correct, and too broke to throw them away each time
  • 4 0
 My friend tried to do this like 15 years ago when we were teenagers and he kept breaking the chain over and over. Such a pain. Not worth risking walking home to save a couple bucks on a quick link or a few cents for a new pin.
  • 5 0
 What speed counts? 11/12s chains designed for 1x drivetrains really need the riveting to maintain their lateral strength.
  • 1 0
 I have also reused pins and had no issues. The problem is the master link only works for the outer link, there is no solution for the inner links. So I kept the chain section i cut off initially and use it to splice in as needed. Eventually the chain gets replaced anyway when it stretches.
  • 1 0
 With the MT7s when they're brand new the seals can be a little stiff on the pistons. Find the steepest, tallest hill and drag your brakes all the way to the bottom to get the brakes hot. It works magic on those seals.
  • 1 0
 Sticky pistons? Here is the best video I know on how to easily address:
  • 3 5
 Gave Cushcore a go on my TR Sentinel. Typical local trails Greens, Blues, Blacks. The weight penalty was unreal! That much unsprung rotating mass was an undeniable impediment to acceleration and pedaling speed. I lowered pressures to see if the “improved dampening” was worth it, but that just increased drag and rolling resistance.

I don’t think they are a worth while trade off for a trail, or light enduro bike… but I can see the benefits if you aren’t pedaling much, or need to run lower pressures on a trail hard tail perhaps.
  • 1 1
 Who cares where is the press release of the new presta valves from santa and the review
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