Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts

Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts

Test Locations: Washington & Oregon

Duration of Test: ~5 months

Sizes Offered:

  • 27.5” x 2.1–2.6” (Tested)
  • 29” x 2.1–2.6”

Blister’s Measured Weight per insert (27.5 version): 153 and 158 grams

MSRP: $50 per insert

Wheels Used:

Tires used:

Reviewer: 6’ (183 cm), 165 lb (75 kg)

David Golay reviews Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts for Blister
Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Insert (shown installed)
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  Intro //  Design & Installation //  Performance //  Bottom Line


Tubeless tire inserts have grown in popularity in recent years, and with that, the number of options on the market has exploded.

Tannus first got into the insert game with a decidedly unconventional tube-based insert system a few years ago, which we tested with largely positive results. Tannus is now offering a tubeless insert that’s much more in line with most of the other products on the market, and after several months of using it with a wide variety of rims and tires, I’ve found it to be quite impressive.

The Insert

Tannus’ newer Tubeless insert works a lot more like most inserts on the market than their original Tannus Armour, in that it doesn’t use a tube, and the insert fills the lower portion of the tire (i.e., the part nearer to the rim), instead of sitting against the outside of the tire, near the tread and sidewalls. Like most tubeless inserts, the Tannus Armour Tubeless insert is made from a relatively dense, closed-cell foam, which Tannus says won’t absorb tire sealant.

Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts, BLISTER
Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Insert

The claims Tannus makes for their Armour Tubeless are pretty standard for a tire insert. The inserts are meant to cushion impacts that can damage the rim and / or the tire, as well as providing additional sidewall support for better cornering feel and reduced likelihood of “burping” the tire (i.e., losing air pressure due to separating the tire from the rim).

Where the Tannus Armour Tubeless starts to look a bit different from its competitors is in the shape. Unlike, for example, Cush Core, which essentially fills the entire bottom ~40% of the tire, the Armour Tubeless has a hollowed-out center section, leaving just two small tabs (Tannus calls them “wings”) to sit in between the tire beads and keep the insert centered in position. Connecting the two wings is a much thicker band of foam, with extra material located over the rim sidewalls, where impact protection is most needed.

Compared to Cush Core Pro — one of their main competitors, and the one that I have the most experience with — this gives two advantages to Tannus.

First, their Armour Tubeless is easier to install. Now, I know that I said in our Cush Core Pro review that I thought the reports of the horrors of installation are largely overblown, once you get the technique worked out, and I stand by that. Nevertheless, installing the Tannus Armour Tubeless is undoubtedly easier, since the wings fold out of the way more readily, and it doesn’t take as much effort to stuff the tire bead underneath the insert.

Second, the Tannus insert is significantly lighter — my pair of 27.5” Tannus inserts averaged to 156 grams each, compared to 252 grams for a Cush Core Pro insert in the same size.

David Golay reviews Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts for Blister
David Golay riding with Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts.

The open channel in the Tannus insert also means that it doesn’t require special tubeless valves to work properly. Cush Core Pro sits tightly against the top of the valve stem, and therefore plugs up conventional valves, requiring Cush Core’s proprietary valves with a cross-drilled hole to let air in and out. The center of the Tannus Armour Tubeless also has a number of small openings to allow tire sealant to pass through the insert, between the inner and outer portions of the tire.

Tannus also claims that their Armour Tubeless insert greatly reduces vibrations as compared to Cush Core Pro. Their website shows a bunch of their own test data that indicates that both inserts do a fairly similar job of blunting impacts to the rim, and preventing the tire from separating from the rim, as compared to both no insert at all, and a couple of other competitors. But they also say that Cush Core Pro introduces considerably more vibration than running no insert at all, while their Armour Tubeless considerably reduces vibration. Interestingly, Tannus also claims that both their insert and Cush Core Pro slightly reduce rolling resistance as compared to running no insert.

Despite Tannus’ claimed test results, though, I couldn’t help but wonder if the open space between the tire beads would mitigate one of the things that I appreciate most about Cush Core Pro — its ability to provide sidewall support, and reduce the likelihood of burping the tire. But I mounted up the Armour Tubeless and hit the trail, and what I found was surprising.

On The Trail

The immediate first impression of installing Tannus Armour Tubeless is far more subtle than that of Cush Core Pro. With the latter, the tires feel almost wooden in their response to a lot of impacts. Harsh rim strikes are greatly subdued and sidewall support is notably improved, but there’s also a feeling of the tire ramping up much more quickly in firmness as it’s compressed, compared to a tire with no insert. Fellow reviewer Noah Bodman described the sensation as feeling “pingy” in our full review, and while that maybe isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind for me, I do get what he’s talking about. It’s a hard sensation to describe, but the tires do feel and perform significantly differently, even on impacts that wouldn’t induce a rim strike without an insert.

The Tannus Armour Tubeless feels much more “normal” in this regard. The feel is far closer to that of a standard tire without an insert, but with more sidewall support and vastly fewer, more muted rim strikes. It’s almost as if it feels like a normal tire most of the time, but mitigates the occasional instances where that normal tire does something bad — notably, slamming into the rim or rolling over in a corner.

And on that last point, the Armour Tubeless performs far better than I might have guessed. Going in, I thought that opening up the space between the “wings’ of the insert would allow the tire bead to fold in and mitigate the outstanding sidewall support that you get from an insert like Cush Core Pro. What I found, though, is that the thicker upper part of the Tannus insert is substantial enough to hold the sidewalls out, and provide very good support for them. It’s not quite to the level of Cush Core Pro in this regard, but it’s vastly closer than I would have expected and still notably better than without an insert.

David Golay reviews Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts for Blister
David Golay riding with Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts.

All of that adds up to a smoother ride than Cush Core Pro. Tannus Armour Tubeless just does a better job of absorbing medium-size impacts without feeling like it’s ramping up as abruptly. It’s interesting to note, too, that Tannus does not claim that their insert allows riders to run dramatically lower pressure than they would without an insert. Cush Core says that their product lets riders drop their tire pressure by 5 psi or so, but both Noah and I found that to not be our experience. Sure, you might technically be able to drop that much pressure without disaster ensuing in the form of a pinch flat or a burped tire, but it didn’t result in the ride feel that either of us wanted, and we both stuck quite close to our normal tire pressures with Cush Core Pro.

I experimented a bit with tire pressure with the Armour Tubeless inserts in place, but similarly found myself sticking close to what I’d normally run without an insert: roughly 26–32 psi in the back, with a 2.4” Maxxis Minion DHRII and a Double Down casing (depending on if I was on a hardtail or a full-suspension bike), and 23–25 psi up front.

I’ve put a more limited amount of time on a few other tire inserts, including Huck Norris and Vittoria Airliners. While both mitigate rim impacts to an extent, neither does much for sidewall support, which is one of the key benefits of running tire inserts in my book, and is the main reason that Cush Core Pro had proven to be a better option for me.

One area where Cush Core Pro does clearly best the Tannus Armour Tubeless is in terms of run-flat properties. I’ve finished a ride on a totally flat tire with Cush Core Pro before, and while it doesn’t ride very well, and I was riding quite conservatively at that point, it does work, and saved my rim from any damage. The Tannus insert just isn’t bulky enough to fill out the tire very effectively with no air, and the one time I flatted an Armour-Tubeless-equipped tire (due to a sidewall slash that no insert would have prevented) I needed to pull it out and install a tube.

Overall, though, I’m thoroughly impressed by the Tannus Armour Tubeless inserts. I’ve had a bit of a hot-and-cold relationship with Cush Core Pro over the years; the benefits are real, but it comes with certain drawbacks in terms of ride feel that I don’t love. Tannus Armour Tubeless comes closer than anything I’ve tried to date when it comes to delivering the advantages of Cush Core Pro, while significantly reducing its downsides — and does so at a considerably lower weight and cost.

Bottom Line

Tannus Armour Tubeless is, simply put, my favorite tire insert to date. It offers great rim-strike / pinch-flat protection, good tire sidewall support, and does so at a lower weight and with fewer drawbacks when it comes to ride quality than Cush Core Pro.

David Golay reviews Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts for Blister
David Golay riding with Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts.

The added weight (compared to no insert at all) will be overkill for some, and it does make tire installation and removal a little more difficult. But riders interested in adding some pinch-flat resistance and tire sidewall support should give the Tannus Armour Tubeless insert a serious look.

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15 comments on “Tannus Armour Tubeless Tire Inserts”

  1. I’ve been running these tire inserts since they came out, and couldn’t be more stoked. They’re relatively lightweight, offer good bottom out resistance, great vibration damping(which I didn’t feel CushCore offered), sidewall support, and I can install them without levers at all on my tire/rim combo. I don’t buy their rolling resistance claims(maybe because I’m running lower pressure than ever), and have had a few issues getting the bead/rim interface to seal on initial setup with these, but they absolutely make your bike ride better on rough terrain.

  2. I’ve had a wobble with mine I’m still trying to diagnose after installing. Other than that the install is very easy compared to cushcore.

  3. Have to agree on these things being the best of the insert options that I’ve tried. CushCore Pro was great on my downhill bike, but even on that bike it noticeably affected the bike’s eagerness to accelerate. I tried CushCore XC on the rear of my enduro bike, and it honestly didn’t seem to do much, likely requiring a narrower casing tire (hence the XC name, I suppose). Tannus was easier to install, as light as the CushCore XC insert, but with far more protection and tire support.

  4. Hey David.
    I have a question please.
    One of the properties Cushcore promote is better damping. So, for example, more grip on landing and even on roots.
    I have a Pro upfront and it seems to work well in a Magic Mary 29 Snakeskin plus I can run it at 15-16 psi. (So it could be the low pressure I am liking for rude and grip qualities). I realise you don’t perceive an an advantage in reducing pressure.
    Inserts do seem a big plus for those who damage rims for sure
    But what’s your take on damping – with CCPro -v- Tannus tubeless please?
    Does it give the damped feel of a more sturdy casing?
    CC even claim lower rolling resistance which seems to be borne out in roll down tests with a pal.
    2xGeometron, similar tyres, 2xCCPro -v- none. The CC equipped bike rolled away. Not very scientific!

  5. I have been happy with my Tannus tubeless as well. Install was a bit more effort than no insert, but maybe aired up easier, so a bit of a wash.
    Keeps nice supple feel and traction and low rolling resistance of more supple casing, while preventing tire roll and rim damage like a heavy casing tire would.

    Just wish they had more sizes.

  6. You have a harsher ride with Cushcore because you’ve reduced the amount of air volume, but kept the same pressure. It’d be like running a narrower tire and being surprised that it doesn’t ride the same as the wider tire at the same pressure. I don’t notice any negative ride feel after switching to Cushcore on the exact same tire/ wheel setup, but I dropped from 21 psi to 19 in the rear. Traction is awesome, and the tire support is noticeable.

    • I think I’m with you on this!

      I weigh 78-80 kg / 172-176 lbs kitted. On the front wheel, I love the CCPro damping the most, but don’t think I need all the protection.
      In the rear, I love the CCPro protection the most but maybe not the damping. Run CCPro front and rear. I’ve had softer alu rims ding with CCPro but never carbon rims that have wide edges toward the ground.

      Rear: 27.5″ or 29″ 1.3-1.5 bar / 19-22 psi 2.4-2.5 HRII or Assegai DD or DH

      Front: 29″ 1.3-1.4 bar / 19-20 psi Assegai 2.5 Maxxgrip EXO+ or DD. Higher pressure in the dry and lower in the wet.

  7. I’m really happy with the tubeless t/armour inserts I’ve been running front and rear for the past 4 months. I have a slight tyre wobble issue same as others have mentioned (TM & KK). Tried heaps of things to get rid of the wobble but not much luck reducing it. Maybe the Maxxis wobble is playing a part or maybe the tyre was stretched whilst installing, the inserts do make installation a bit of a challenge.

  8. Very hard to install, I have 3 hours trying to install one with no sucess. When I used Cusch Core I spent 30 minutes to install the first one. I see why many people say about a wobble with these inserts and it is because insert never settle into the rim, the idea is that insert settle into the rim but because the design is impossible. I recommend better use Cush Core.

  9. You should compare these to Mynesweepers. Those inserts are more affordable($66/set), and also easier to install than Cush Core. They have more variety in color of valve stems, and they take up more volume in the tire allowing for better performance while totally flat…
    They weigh even less than a Tannus, and come in a wider range of sizes. All the way from gravel to 3” ebike width, 24”-29” diameter.

  10. All of you people complaining about tire wobble should stop pointing the finger at tire insert companies, and ask for better Quality control from MAXXIS. Stop paying top dollar for JUNK tires. They are rushing production to catch up from Covid demands, and quality has vanished.

  11. Could it be that wobble is from not pushing the tyre into the rim well, thus needing to stretch the bead* to get the tyre on (levers should not be much needed, strong thumbs could manage unless it’s a real tight bead tyre – also the insert may not properly fall into the rim well between they tyre beads.
    * yeah I’ve stretched Shorty beads when swapping tyres (no insert) so maybe Maxxis are worse for this?

    I looked at the latest instructions from Tannus’ website for the Tubeless version – as recommended I added dish soap (lightly smeared over BOTH sides of the insert before insertion – wherever it touches the tyre), this apparently makes installation without wobble pretty easy.
    I used a cushcore trick, adding a tight webbing strap to stop the “other” end of the tyre bead coming off whilst being chased around the rim, this helped I’m sure.

    This was my first attempt at fitting (as a clue to my ability, I had previously failed totally with Cushcore DT EX 511/ Magic Mary even with a pal helping), it took 10 minutes-ish, I didn’t even need to remove the 2nd bead (this is a lightly used tyre that was already fitted).
    Fitting was on a 27.5 DT EX471 (inner width 25mm) with a Michelin Enduro rear tyre (I have the Cushsore tyre lever to push the bead down into the well and I did that – it worked, just a little tyre lever action needed.

    – I guess some rim wells are pretty narrow, so it might be a tight squeeze for the parts of the Tannus insert that should fall into the “rim well” with the tyre beads. The Tannus spec says 23mm rim, but I measured the insert plus tyre beads at maybe 25mm – it will compress, of course, but could that be why some have trouble getting rid of the wobble?
    Before inflation I could feel that the insert was laying evenly all around after a bit of a massage.

  12. I weigh 78-80 kg / 172-176 pounds kitted.
    My experience is CCPro provides the protection for me but for someone heavier than me, maybe it doesn’t.

    On the front wheel, I love the CCPro damping the most, but maybe I don’t need all the protection. When I hit something with my front wheel, instead of it bouncing and being deflected possibly putting me off-balance and crashing, CCPro gives more rebound damping and the tire rolls over big hits. This is the most significant feeling I have had and remember to say about them.

    In the rear, I love the CCPro protection the most but maybe not the damping. When bunny-jumping on the trail I could use with some more pop from a faster rebound than what CCPro gives my tire. I still need the protection that CCPro gives me to be able to run the lower tire pressure and not dammage my rims.

    Run CCPro front and rear.
    I’ve had softer alu rims ding and get flat spots with CCPro but never carbon rims that have wide edges toward the ground.
    Rear: 27.5″ or 29″ 1.3-1.5 bar / 19-22 psi 2.4-2.5 HRII or Assegai DD or DH
    Front: 29″ 1.3-1.4 bar / 19-20 psi Assegai 2.5 Maxxgrip EXO+ or DD
    Higher pressure in the dry and lower in the wet.

  13. Would you rather have a trail casing with these Tannus inserts or a gravity casing with no insert??

    Specifically I’m thinking about the Maxxis EXO+ vs DD casings, but I think the question applies generally.
    My main objective is to gain sidewall support (anti-roll/burp/squirm) for the front wheel to run low PSI (like 22) for traction without loosing my shirt in quicker corners.

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