CushCore are the pioneers of tire inserts, and their distinctive green tubeless valves are a common sight on modern mountain bikes. It comes as no surprise that the CushCore name is often used to refer to an entire product category. We pitted the famous, grey foam ring against 4 other tire inserts to find out whether the original is better than the rest!
For many, CushCore is the first name that springs to mind when talking about tire inserts. Quite evidently, the American brand knows their value and charges a hefty € 179.95 for a pair of inserts, making CushCore the most expensive option in this test alongside the Technomousse Red Poison Evo. CushCore is made from a firm, closed cell foam, tipping the scales at a hefty 442 g per pair. Needless to say, the denser structure shows its advantages in the lab, where CushCore provides the second highest level of puncture protection, right after the heavyweight champion in this test, the Technomousse. In-keeping with their long experience, the American manufacturer offers a wide range of tire inserts. The Pro version in this test is the heavy-duty variant, which is the one the manufacturer recommends for e-mountain bikes. In addition, there’s a 20 g lighter trail model, a Plus variant for oversized tires (> 2.6”), as well as an XC and a gravel-specific model. All versions are available either individually or as a set and come standard with tubeless valves that let the air move through the valve without being obstructed by the insert.
Installing CushCore PRO inserts
CushCore has a reputation of being stubborn to fit, and lived up to expectations as one of the hardest to install in this test. The firm, dense material is hard to stretch and once the insert is in the rim, you’ll have to wrestle the tire onto the wheel. Only the heavy-duty Technomousse inserts gave us more grief during installation.
The CushCore PRO tire insert on the trail
In a nutshell, the CushCore PRO insert provides a heavily damped ride feeling, effectively absorbing small trail chatter and filtering out small vibrations. Thanks to the insert’s dense structure, you can run lower tire pressures: this allows the tire to deform around roots and rocks rather than bouncing over them, thus ensuring more traction and better grip. While CushCore and Technomousse provide a similar ride feeling, the former offers slightly less puncture protection, meaning that you can’t drop the pressure as low. If you still manage to puncture while out in the forest, CushCore allows you to roll to the car park without worrying too much about your rims.
It’s no coincidence that CushCore PRO is one of the most popular tire inserts out there. It offers excellent puncture protection and allows you to run significantly lower tire pressures, improving grip and riding comfort rather significantly. Once you’ve managed to wrestle the insert onto the wheels, your efforts will be rewarded with extra peace of mind and an overall safer riding experience. Unfortunately, the high additional weight places CushCore behind the lighter competition in this test.
- Damped ride feeling
- Allows for low tire pressures
- High impact protection
- high weight
For more information, visit cushcore.com.
For an overview of the group test: The best tire inserts – 5 variants in review
All inserts in test: Hardware shop Backer rod (Click for review) | CushCore PRO | PTN R-Evolution (Click for review) | Rimpact PRO V2 (Click for review) | Technomousse Red Poison Evo (Click for review)
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Mike Hunger