Cushcore offer a rim insert that is designed to not only protect your rim but increase ride quality. Helping absorb trail impacts and also allowing riders to lower their tyre pressure to increase grip and compliance in the tyre. But, in a market filled with different tyre insert options and sitting at the higher end of the price scale, do they have the performance to back it up?
Hayden Wright was our Cushcore test pilot. Having raced BMX, 4X, DH and a constant podium threat in the QLD Enduro series, he has what it takes to put these tyre inserts through their paces on the local Brisbane trails and when overseas pushing his riding.
- Giant Reign Advanced
- DT Swiss E1700 wheelset
- Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5 x 2.5 EXO TR Maxx Grip (Front)
- Maxxis Minion DHRII 27.5 x 2.4 EXO TR Maxx Terra (Rear)
- Approximately 80kg rider weight
Installing Cushcores can be a pain – plain and simple. There are however some tricks and tips to help make the process a little easier. I have completed a few tyre installs myself and no longer have any issues now that I have the correct technique down pat. Cushcore themselves have created a great installation video which is worth following – you can view it here. The ‘tuck and roll’ technique they mention is the most important part, so be sure to follow that one closely otherwise you might be yelling a few four letter words in your garage.
On the trail
At the time of writing this review I have done around 8 months on the Cushcore system, including 3 weeks riding in whistler. During this time I have done my fair share of playing around with pressures, seeing what was possible and trying to push the limits of both the Cushcores and the tyres. My starting pressures were 19Psi in the front and 23Psi in the rear, which is 5psi below my regular settings (as recommended by Cushcore themselves). I did get as low as 15psi in the whistler bike park and despite my best efforts could not get the tyre to roll off the rim or burp – proving the inserts do a great job of keeping the tyre on the rim. I ended up settling on 20psi in the front tyre and 25psi in the rear, which gives me a good mixture of traction and bump absorption while also still providing enough lateral sidewall folding resistance in high speed turns. I also slowed down the rebound on my fork slightly to offset the ‘rebound’ effect I was feeling from the tyre and insert on impacts due to the lower tyre pressure.
Photo by Gerard Lagana
Riding with the Cushcore system has given me a great sense of confidence in my wheels and tyres, knowing that it is near impossible to ding a rim or pinch flat. It’s almost as if you have an extra inch of travel on your bike, and allows you to take lines which would typically not be possible due to the risk flatting or destroying a rim. The increased grip and small bump absorption is also very noticeable, leading to a smoother, more confidence inspiring ride.
The obvious downfall of the Cushcore system is the weight. To negate this I swapped from my trusty double down casing Maxxis rubber back to EXO casing. I was sceptical at first but to my surprise these combination as worked a treat. I now understand why so many professional enduro and downhill racers swear by Cushcores and personally, I won’t be riding a bike without them for the foreseeable future.
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A little raw recap of the first two rounds of the Queensland Enduro Series courtesy of Timmy! Although having him at the races taking videos is pretty cool, I'd rather he be between the tape battling it out with the rest of us! 📽@t.jabbott @fortheridersmtb @nsdynamicsmtb @dtswissaustralia @maxxisbikeau @kwt_imports @joesnoflatsaus
Who is this for?
If you’re a downhill, enduro or aggressive trail rider I would urge you to give Cushcores a go. The marginal weight disadvantage of your wheel and tyre package is easily outweighed by the improved traction and durability you will experience – not to mention their cost with be quickly recuperated in the money you will be saving by not replacing ruined tyres and dinted rims regularly.
Cushcore tyre inserts available here.
Hayden Wright – IG @big.dos