Mountain bikers discovered the joys of tire liners years ago; Cushcore was at the forefront of that development, but Vittoria wasn’t too far behind with the introduction of its Air-Liner, a foam insert that mounts within a tubeless-ready tire to help prevent pinch flats, increase lateral stability, and allow lower tire pressures. Now, the Vittoria Air-Liner Gravel insert has hit the shelves and is appropriate for all the most common gravel tire and wheel sizes.
The Air-Liner Gravel insert fits any wheel up to a 29-inch hoop (or 700c), and it works with rims that have an internal width up to 25mm. Unlike Cushcore inserts, the Air-Liner Gravel inserts are cut to length and then secured using a zip tie. That makes it super easy to install. And the liner is reusable, so if you want to swap between wheels, you can do that. Vittoria says the Air-Liner Gravel insert will last for up to 2,000 hours of normal riding use, or up to 2 hours of riding with your tire completely flat.
The Air-Liner Gravel insert is compatible with any tubeless-ready tire, and it should be used with three-way valves — though Vittoria includes 5-way valves for easy inflating. The insert is also compatible with tubeless sealants, though Vittoria recommends you use a solution that does not contain ammonia.
At just $30 for the one-size-fits-all Air-Liner Gravel insert, you get much beyond just pinch flat protection. The insert also acts as a bead lock, so you’re less likely to burp your tire. And it provides some structure for the sidewall, which means you get better traction and control while cornering.
You get all that, too, at less than half the price of Vittoria’s most popular competitor, Cushcore — which costs $150 for a set of Cushcore Gravel inserts.