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Cushcore is already a well-known name in the mountain bike world. Its move into the gravel scene happened in early 2019 with the launch of the Cushcore Gravel tire liner. Like its MTB sibling, the Cushcore Gravel liner improves cornering stability and prevent flats — now on your gravel bike.
The Cushcore Gravel insert sits in the rim’s channel. It extends slightly over the rim wall, which means the tire, when mounted, essentially wraps around the liner. That creates a cushion between the rim and the tire, so when you bottom out, the Cushcore Gravel insert prevents pinch flats. And that’s only the beginning of the insert’s benefits.
Since you’ll have pinch-flat prevention, you’ll be able to lower your tire pressure for better traction and rolling resistance. Further, the Cushcore Gravel insert helps support your tire’s sidewall, adding structure and providing even more stability when cornering. Hypothetically, you should be able to lean into corners harder without fear of the tire collapsing in on itself and breaking grip with the ground.
The Cushcore Gravel inserts are compatible with 19-26mm rim widths and 33-46mm tire widths. That means you can use these inserts with cyclocross tires and rims, too, or go in the opposite direction and run a super-wide tire for your next bikepacking trip or gnarly gravel racecourse.
Setup takes a bit of patience. Pop the Cushcore gravel inserts on the rim by stretching them into place. Then install your tire over the liner. That’s the tricky part, but if you follow Cushcore’s installation instructions, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. From there, toss in some sealant, and rest assured flats aren’t in your future — and corner hard to your heart’s content.
The set comes with two inserts and two valves. Check VeloNews in the coming months for a long-term review.