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There are a lot of reasons not to run tire inserts. They’re not light, they’re not cheap, and maybe they’re not even totally necessary for where and how you ride. But once you spend some time with them, you’d find they do more than just prevent pinch flats. Like volume spacers for your tires, inserts offer some progressivity that allows for adequate support without limiting the rubber’s ability to wrap around roots and rocks. Unfortunately, there’s another, even more compelling aspect that often keeps people from even giving inserts a try: They’re not easy to install. Once you get the hang of it, they’re not that tough … but they are tough. If only someone else could handle installation!
So, in a move that none of us saw coming, Rocky Mountain will be speccing Cush Core tire inserts on a few of its models for 2022. A first for any major brand, Rocky started with three models if its recently updated e-bike lineup, as well as the top-end Carbon 90 Rally Edition of their enduro race bike, the Altitude. For the e-bike lineup, it makes sense. There’s a lot of weight driving those rims into the dirt, so the flat protection and progressivity makes sense. And on the Altitude Carbon 90, it reflects the bike’s race-focused intentions. A pinch flat is an inconvenience on a Saturday afternoon spin, but it’s a disaster on a Sunday morning race segment. For now, Cush Cores are only included on that specific model Altitude, as well as the Altitude Powerplay’s Alloy 70, Carbon 70, and Carbon 90 Rally Edition models, but who knows. This may be an experiment in transforming an elective component into a stock one the same way we did tubeless tires and dropper posts. We won’t know until we try!