Cush Core tire inserts raise the bar for rim and tire protection

New tire inserts for aggressive trail riders

Move over, Huck Norris. There’s a new rim and tire protector on the market. Cush Core is a closed-cell foam tire insert designed to protect rims from dents, tires from pinch flats, and, unlike its competitors, provides sidewall support while cornering.


Cush Core explained

The inserts also bolster the tire’s sidewalls when cornering
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

Cush Core is quick to tout its product as an “engineered foam insert” meaning it is a purpose-built system, as opposed to several competing products that are constructed from repurposed weather-stripping. 

The Cush Core inserts are injection molded into a shape that mimics the interior of your rim and half of a tire.

The foam is supplied by Extralight. It’s a patented, closed-cell EVA foam used for everything from seats and pillows to shoes and medical equipment.

According to Cush Core, the foam is very durable, able to take repeated impacts, and is tuned with specific rebound characteristics. 

This shock absorbing attribute is a critical difference between Cush Core and its competitors because it acts as a damper inside your tires. Cush Core claims that this allows its inserts to do much more than simply protect rims and tires. According to the company’s tests the inserts reduce vibration, increase traction and reduce rolling resistance. 

The shape of the inserts also allows them to provide sidewall support while cornering, particularly at low pressures.

The inserts take up a substantial amount of volume in the tire. Cush Core recommends running 3-5 lower psi than you typically run in your tubeless tires
Josh Patterson / Immediate Media

According to Cush Core, quite a few high-profile athletes have been running this system, including Enduro World Series racers Jared Graves and Curtis Keene.

Cush Core makes versions for 27.5 and 29in wheels. The claimed weights are 255g and 268g, respectively. The inserts are optimized to work with 2.1 to 2.5in tires.

The company is also working on additional options for plus bikes and cyclocross.

Cush Core isn’t cheap, a pair of inserts retail for $150 / £120 / AU$200. This makes it twice as expensive as Huck Norris, but less costly than the Schwalbe Procore system.


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