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Shootout: Tire Inserts Tested by Independent Lab 34

Wheel Energy, an independent tire testing laboratory in Finland, recently evaluated eight different MTB tire inserts.

Shootout: Tire Inserts Tested by Independent Lab

Wheel Energy, an independent tire testing laboratory in Finland, recently evaluated eight different MTB tire inserts.  Each insert was tested for durability, impact force absorption, 30 degree pinch test, and 90 degree pinch test. CushCore outperformed all other inserts by a wide margin in all four tests.  Results are below.

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About Wheel Energy

  • Based in Finland, Wheel Energy was founded in 2003.
  • Wheel Energy provides tire and wheel testing services to the auto, bicycle, motorcycle, ATV and UTV industries.
  • Wheel Energy is a privately owned, self-employed and totally independent company.
  • Wheel Energy testing procedures simulate authentic situations (real world cases) in a controlled laboratory environment.
  • All measurements are repeatable and the laboratory environment is known and stable.
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CushCore CushCore 6/21/2019 1:10 PM

34 comments newest first

You will actually never get 1300impacts on one spot! I’m super happy with Pepsi Tire noodles! I’m using mine since two seasons and is still in great shape!

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With a marketing major and MS GSCM in statistics and data. It is very easy to skew data to present it in your favor. They do it with public senses' all the time.

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Every competitors product tested EXCEPT Procore and Nukeproof ARD... I DARE Cushcore to release that data.

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This article needs an explanation of the tests and what the numbers actually measure. It is just a set of random pictures with some bad English explanation.

Even though CushCore has published this content, I trust that they have not tailored the test to their advantage, though.

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I've tried a number of inserts and CushCore is really (really) hard to beat compared to the competition. Yeah, its pricey for what it is, but its also saved so many rides, helped reduce arm/finger fatigue and ultimately kept me upright more than any one upgrade I've made to my bike in 5 years. Through that lens its really money well spent. We spend more on tires that wear out in a month, right?

Just cause we are talking about it, two thoughts...

1) I bought a system in '17, I don't run it full time (I have two sets of wheels, one with DH tires, one trail tires + cush core), and the inserts have stretched out immensely. I'd like to see the "stretch" be mitigated to some extent as the inserts still have plenty of life otherwise.

2) Whoever says they are hard to install has clearly never tried to change a dirt bike tire. These really aren't bad at all. DH tires can be a bit of a chore, but most people here are on some form of trail casing. It literally takes me an extra 3 minutes per tire to have cushcore in the picture.

More often than not I run them these days. They are too good, and save too many rides.

...so yeah, doubt the data (or not) but through my subjective lens if you are going to stuff something into your tires, this is the best thing going.

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You cant compare this to changing a dirtbike tire, its apples to oranges. Realisticly and relative to changing bicycle tires including tubes, all foam inserts and Procore, Cushcore is a most difficult and real pain by all honest accounts.

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If you follow their instructions it really isn't that difficult. I can do a new CushCore that has not been stretched in about 5 minutes total including sealant etc. Reinstalling after they have stretched is less than that and sometimes I can do it by hand.

If you want to pick on them, the valve stems they sell are complete garbage. I have had multiple sets and all of them break at the threads below the core. Every single one...

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Same thing happened to me with one of the Cush core valves. I was sure they were garbage until I realized that I might have snapped it while doing the install.
When i have wheel laying on trash can, the valve stem will bump the cans edge. Especially if im pushing hard to fit tire on. It didn’t fully break until on a ride when a stick flipped up into valve stem

My 2 cents on that issue. Or maybe they do just break easy???

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IME it wasn't too hard. Watch the CC video. Follow their tips and its no more difficult than DH tires.

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Actually you can compare the two. In fact, you can compare apples and oranges, its one of the great parts of being a human. wink

My big point here is there is an entire culture of bike lovers who have it MUCH more difficult when it comes to changing tires, and they don't seem to whine about it, and from what I've seen, they change tires just as frequently as we do.

I really question what people's technique is, or maybe I'm just lucky and all the cushcore applications I've installed work awesome and literally take 3-5 minutes extra to install.

Maybe I should do a video to prove my point? Maybe people need to grab some soapy water and make sure the tire is still dropping into the center of the rim when installing them?

They are hard for you, cool, I feel strongly that isn't the case for everyone...

If you are considering Cushcore and scared of the install, not everyone has a tough time with it...

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We're not riding dirt bikes and not using 18" steel levers to change tires, either. I don't think installing cushcore is that challenging but changing tires is a beeyotch. Tires wear out and unsealable punctures still happen. So be prepared for a fight when you need to swap a tire.

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I hear you but I still don't agree. We may not have 18" tire levers, but I'd still MUCH rather change 2-3 mountain bike tires + cushcore than one dirt bike tire (and nobody bitches in the dirt bike world).

The irony to the second part of your statement is yes, things happen ,but not nearly as often with an insert installed. So yeah, maybe its 3-5 minutes longer per tire, but you probably won't be changing it due to a pinched sidewall or ruined rim nearly as often.

I'm seriously curious as to what rim/tire combo people are struggling with. I've never had an issue.

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Started racing moto enduro when I was 14...yep, dirt bike tires are a chore, done plenty on the tailgate of the truck in the parking lot. But mtn bike tires aren't motorcycle tires and I still don't see what dirt bikes have to do with anything. Cushcore is probably easier than changing lawn mower tires too. I do run cushcore on my race bike and yes, the advantages are worth the fuss for me also.

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...then we are saying the same thing. They are a hair harder than normal but the juice is worth the squeeze. I actually have had bigger problems getting some pesky tires to inflate tubeless, but I don't hear the world saying "lets all go back to tubes" as a result.

Just funny how we complain about certain things, and not others...that's all.

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100% this, an independent test lab...who funded the test? Who told them what to test then who released the info into the public domain....it’s like those reports that say ‘red meat gives you cancer’ funded by the Vegan society or whatever!

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I was hoping to see a comparison against ARD! I use Cusecore for more DH oriented days and ARD when I'll be climbing a bit as it weighs half as much.
Maybe they were tested but the results where chosen not to be shown.

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Super interesting. I just replaced a rear tire that had ran the Rimpact insert. 450 miles of smashing rocks, etc in steeps and all over. I even had one really low pressure incident which had me using it as a "run-flat" for a few miles. Because of that expecting it to be fairly cut up and damaged (which is backed by this test), but it was surprisingly whole with no discernible issues. Maybe I am not as rad as I thought??

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It’s a real shame that they did not test schwalbe procore. You cant claim to be the champion if you haven’t defeated the best!

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it's possible they didn't include it as procore is a fundamentally different system (dual air chambers vs foam insert) so it would have been difficult to make the kind of head to head comparison based on the test methodologies used here

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Procore is the OG tire insert, for the same use, same benifits, that can be tested the exact same way; so i’m not sure why your making excuses for it’s exclusion from the test!

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it's more a matter of the difference in failure modes. yes they're intended to accomplish the same things and provide the same benefits, but do so with a different design. the foam inserts evaluated here rely on elastic deformation of the material. procore utilizes an air bladder.

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Durr! But the same load and failure test could be applied and would be a totoally relatable comparison. Foam is failed and downgraded if its compressed badly or split, procore is failed if tube deflated, pinched or casing breaks/cuts. Either is degraded if it fails to protect rim or tire. Both can be weighed comparitively.

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This is awesome.

Another benefit to inserts is the damping they have on the ride. I would like to see another test added that measures vibration damping.

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This is the kind of stuff I like to see, that gives me more confidence in my choices! Sadly, I doubt having data like this will do much to beat the prevailing wisdom (sarcasm), such as "it's just foam" or "it weighs less and is half the cost." Those who didn't pick CushCore will likely defend their choice, convincing themselves that "it works just fine" and "I haven't had any problems". "This many people [without CushCore] can't be wrong." Or they may resort to picking out the cases where CushCore didn't protect the rider from failure, even unrelated failures that any insert can't do anything about...

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The data is the data but that doesn't mean that the conclusion is "you should all run cushcore." Cushcore is demonstrably better along the metrics analyzed here but there is more than just these metrics that factor in a persons decision regarding which insert to purchase. Like price, cushcore costs 2x what some competitors charge and doesn't deliver 2x increase in protection relative to them along all metrics. Or ease of install and removal which Cushcore is notoriously hard to install and remove. Or weight. etc etc.

TLDR Climd down from your high horse

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I'm saying that if I were to buy a foam insert, I'd be more confident in my choice if it were based on comparison data like this, as opposed to just deciding based on weight, price, putting trust in my imagination/belief that it's "just foam", and from putting relatively blind trust in other peoples' opinions.

My comment was encouragement for doing such comparison tests. I also was making a joke about my shopping habits that I reluctantly do in absence of such data. Just thought it'd be unfortunate if this kind of stuff got so much negative feedback, to the point that companies would be reluctant to do more of it.

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