This is why I love Cushcore | MTB Tire insert review

What I like and dislike about the CushCore MTB tire insert. Cushcore is a foam tire insert that prevents flat tires. While it does offer flat tire protection it also acts an inner tire suspension system. Foam tire inserts are a new mountain bike product category, so I really wanted to take my time and get a good feel for how this tire insert behaved on the trail and share tricks on how to install cushcore on your bike.

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Set up tips:
When installing the tire push the bead into the well of the rim. Repeat that several times, because there’s probably more slack to get out. Also, I work my way from the opposite side of the valve towards the valve. That because the valve will take up unnecessary slack. It’s helpful to have something to set the wheel on when doing this. I found that an old car tire works wonder but isn’t 100% necessary.

Use wider rim tape. When pushing the bead into the center of the well, it likes to catch the rim tape. This will damage the rim tape over time, but it will also make it harder to work out extra slack from the tire to install. I ended up using 32mm rim tape on my wheel that measure 31mm internally. With wider rim tape, when you install the tire, it should already be on the rim tape and won’t have a lip to catch on.

Longer Valves. When I initially got Cushcore the valves where not long enough for my rims. I was able to use the stock valves but could not check my tire pressure amongst other things. Sometime this winter they released longer ones that made it possible for me to gauge my tire pressure as well as inflate the tire easier.

You will need to break the bead again. This is where wider rim tape helped out quite a bit. Again, go over the tire multiple times to work out all the slack. Also, I broke down and finally bought metal tire levers (with a rubber coating). I’ve never had an issue uninstalling even the hardest of tires with standard plastic levers and I was able to get the insert remove time to time with plastic levers. However, the park tool levers made my life much easier.

On the trail
For east coast riding, I like to run the lowest tire pressure I can without damaging my rim, flatting, or rolling my tire. This helps me reduce arm pump and gives me a little more comfort while on the trail I found that I was able to go down ~3-5 psi when riding aggressively and up to ~10psi if I just wanted to chill. Side note: I rode with 9spi just to prove a point, it’s not what I would actually run on a regular basis, normally I run 22-24 psi.

The biggest benefit of cushcore is that I could blast through everything without a worry. i wasn’t worried about sniper rocks, or having to slow down and pick my line carefully. I could focus on the ride. When I went back to even a downhill casing tire, I had to either run a PSI that was a bit harder than I would like to avoid pinch flatting, or running a comfortable psi and having to be careful. Also, the insert really help dampen harsh vibrations of the trail.

The verdict
I don’t think this product is for most people. It has a bit of learning curve to install, and the benefits will be most noticeable for people who like to ride really aggressively. Huck norris would be a good alternative for people who just don’t want to flat and don’t want to deal with the install. That being said I think there’s plenty of refinements to be made in this category of product. Personally I will be continuing to run Cushcore on any bike I plan to ride aggressively.

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Troxxxin says:


Shiloh Kendrick says:

What trail is this?


Got a chance to try the GUP out this works a treat !
I got a small nick in a Rock Razor SG sidewall.

I was back riding in around 3 minute’s. Very Impressed.
My Cushcore are arriving any day..have you been tempted to try one in the front yet ?

Bikes n' Brews says:

Is it impossible to flat while running it? Assuming your tire isn’t slashed I mean.

Gavin Wiggin says:

what happend to the pump track from your videos back in 2014

TheBoss Lane says:

his intro sounds like good mythical morning

david whipple says:

it’s called a closed cell polyethylene foam… I love your videos an i love your bike i want that as my new bike even if its used!!

Outdoor Productions says:

its so easy to forget how incredibly gnarly the rock gardens are and just how fast phill is somtimes

0bloodshot0 says:

try the topeak shuttle 1.2 tire levers. really high amount of glass fibers in them

James Koenig says:

I run the ghetto-core (2″ backer rod cut almost in 1/2) I then sealed it, by spraying 5 coats of flex seal, to keep it from soaking up sealant. total invested $20, it is about 1/2 the density of cushcore. biggest issue being the backer rod comes on 6′ lengths so i used some rubber cement to glue the additional foot needed, and to make a full circle.

That said, I know i’m not going to run crazy low PSI, but I can get away with 18psi and bomb my favorite wheel-killing trail “Landmine Loop” without any rim contact or pinch-flats.

lkjyuiop says:

I have 2 junk bikes it’s cheeper to buy. New junk bike than to get a junk bike fixed What is a good junk bike to buy next ?

Broc Bolin says:

How do you like that Fly Racing Freestone helmet?

The Ball says:

Dude…get a bigger fork

JakesNew Jump22 says:

Wait Phil you like the Cush crow because you can roll over rocks nice

Jonas L says:

Thanks for putting in the numbers in bar

Jeffrey Walker says:

I wonder if the trick I’ve used for mounting my own motorcycle tires for the last couple of years would work to help you mounting and dismounting the tire: using around 8 or so zip ties around the tire evenly spaced, cinch the ties around the tire to pinch the tire beads together. Getting the two beads pinched together all around the tire really allows the tire to easily fit into the rims drop center and gives way more slack. I’m thinking it might be possible for you thread the zip ties between the cushcore and the rim and around the tire. For motorcycle street tires, this technique has been a real game changer for both mounting and dismounting my tires to where I hardly need to use my tire levers anymore.

Wyly MTB says:

150 dollars? id rather walk back home……

Dad can fix It! says:

Hey Phil, another great vid bro! I love your incite. I just purchased some Enve Wheels with the rim strip. I am a heavy guy and am always concerned about my tires and wheels. Would Cuscore work for my rear on this wheel set (M90)? I wanted to have it installed but thought it might be overkill. Would love to know your thoughts.

Alejandro Lujan says:


Katie Healey says:

Thank you for signing Tristan’s hat

One Imaginary Boy says:

do you find that the inserts have a damping effect too, and reduce trail chatter at all? or are they just an anti-flat solution?

Russ Wittmann says:

Thanks for this video, I was able to install front and rear both in under 45 minutes, and I’m a total noob!

dannyfag1 says:

Great review, just got back from my fave rocky trails and on my new bike the maxxis plus tyre on the rear suffered numerous snakebites, on a tuebless set up. Going to order the kushcore, as not loving flats!

Measuring Instruments Reviews says:

Invest 500usd into Canon EOS 200D, it is cheap but will keep your face in focus…

traillife says:

Hey Phil, How long do these things last? I tried pipe insulation a while back as a proof of concept and It was great at preserving my tires and rims but the pipe insulation would only last a couple rides before it was so cut up from rim pinches it was useless and I got tired of replacing it.

I don’t mind paying for the CushCore if it holds up for a couple seasons but $160 adds up if it is another consumable like tires.

brianschlotsky says:

What trail is this!? Looks fun!

thibaut noah says:

Considering how many tubeless tyres i pinched i’m thinking i am the person for this product 😀

creek hed says:

That product has one hell of a profit margin!

John Cardin says:

So it’s like a bump stop in a car suspension?

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