BIKE TIRE LINERS
A relatively new product category in the world of mountain biking, bike tire liners (or inserts as they’re often called) serve the dual purpose of lessening the chance of pinch flats, punctures and rim damage, while also enhancing ride quality by acting as a tire suspension system, reducing vibration, minimizing deflection off obstacles, and stabilizing the tire’s sidewall to prevent unwanted roll and squirm when running extremely low air pressure.
Bike tire inserts replace air volume in the tire, and that reduced tire pressure allows the tire to compress and rebound in a more controlled manner compared to standard tubeless systems. Think of them as protection — and suspension — for your tires that are designed to give you a faster, smoother ride, without fear of pinch flats. That’s why they’ve become all but indispensable at the highest levels of the pro enduro and downhill racing arenas, where tire punctures can wreck your day.
Typically made from closed-cell foam (so as not to soak up liquid tire sealant), bike tire inserts are mounted inside your mountain bike front and rear tires, dividing the inner volume of the tire in half, with air residing between the insert and your tire’s tread, while the foam insert rests next to the rim bed, protecting it from hard hits.
Bike tire insert systems from brands like CushCore system are designed to be used with tubeless-ready or tubeless converted mountain bike rims and tires and are compatible with liquid tubeless tire sealants, which add yet another element of flat protection. Some bike tire liners also come with specially designed tubeless valves that allow air to move through the valve without becoming obstructed by the bike tire liners. Other tire liner systems are designed to be used with tube-type tires. Unlike the CushCore insert, these tire liners go in between the tire and the inner tube and act as an extra layer of protection to prevent small punctures from things like thorns, staples, and small pieces of glass. While they might add a little extra weight to the tire, they will not affect rolling resistance.
When choosing among the various bike tire liners, make sure you’re getting the right size for your bike’s tires. Models such as the Vittoria Air-Liner come in small, medium, large, and extra-large widths, and then can be trimmed to fit 29, 27.5, or 26-inch diameter wheels. CushCore and RhinoDillos are wheel size specific.
If you have questions about bike tire liners, grab your phone and call one of our JensonUSA Gear Advisors. They can help you decide if these puncture protection ride enhancers are right for you. You can email, chat, or call them at 951-234-7554.