Tuesday, July 26

I did a thing I said I do

Okay... okay...

I did say remind me to "review" the Tubolight EVO SL tire insert I put in my rear tire back in... holy shit, May.  At least I can say my review will be relatively thorough.

Check out that packaging!
Advertised at 58 grams VS my previous CushCore XC's 150 grams...

Close enough.

Installation went as expected.  Watch an install video before ordering in anticipation of its arrival.  Forget 90% of what I saw as soon as I open the bag.  Take an educated stab at it, watch the video again, and voila.

Photo from my pre-voila moment.

I chose to dump sealant directly into the tire as I always do.  They suggest that anyways.

"At first installation, we suggest not to put sealant from the valve."

Honestly, I'm dumbfounded as to how it would get into the area at the tread and sidewall (where flat's happen) if you shot it heroine-style into your vein... I mean valve.  Then again, how am I gonna know what happens inside my tire?  Does the light stay on in the fridge if a tree falls in the forest?

Notice the odd shape of this insert that certainly differentiates it from just about every other tire insert out there.  Here's their science and/or marketing spiel:

"The air channel between insert and rim acts like a valve. During a shock, part of air molecules inside the tire move from the outer portion of the insert into the channel, causing a difference in pressure. As the insert is very tight on the rim, those molecules gets trapped and take a fraction of time longer to re-establish even pressure between the outer and inner portion.

That means, in the real world, rolling resistance and tire rebound are reduced. These two features combined give what every rider is looking for: EFFICIENCY."

It doesn't come with a special tire insert-specific valve, and I'm guessing it doesn't need it.  I've installed it with two different types of normal'ish valves (Industry nine and Mynesweeper) and had zero issues.

Enough of that, right?  How did it go?

I've ridden Trans-Sylvania Epic, five days of "East Coast Rocks," and three days of the Tour de Burg.  That's about 270 miles give or take (I did some walking next to my bike and carrying it). I've suffered at least three flats at the former and two at the latter in the past, so I'd say they're pretty good testing grounds.  Throw in mebbe some other ride or two that wasn't Gram'able or worthy of bloggage.  Zero flats... but also zero bear attacks, so credit either the Tubolight or the Springfield Bear Patrol.

I rode at each event as I tend to do on my 140mm forked hard tail with an insert in the rear tire, like a bag of hammers doing a choreographed dance with a sack of anvils.  With the CushCore installed, I would experience the once every other ride ♫DONG♫ noise that would tighten my sphincter as I continued down the trail wondering if I'd either flatted the tire, cracked a rim, or both.  

Member?  I member.  

That was a tire not equipped with an insert on a non-Industry Nine rim FYI.

Eight days of what I would consider some pretty rough riding on demanding trails, and I never heard the ♫DONG♫.  Not once.  I'm running the same pressure I always do with an insert on a tire with similar width as I'm accustomed to riding.  Lemme repeat that.  I never heard the tire bottom out once.

Referring back to the information on their site:

"Studying how pinch flats occur and how tire inserts interact with the tire and the rim, we moved material right where it needs to be, over and outside of the rim bead. The portion over the rim bead is increased by 30% to 60% depending on rim width, and together with an harder compound, rim hits are drastically reduced."  

How 'bout that?

I'm a fan.  I still have the CushCore... hanging in my tire humidor... waiting for who knows what or why.  This barely weighs enough to notice it, versus the CC which I can really feel on the climbs.  That said, I'm not putting either on my Epic EVO, because it has 116mm of tire-saving monkey motion.  I'm also not putting one on my Vertigo Meatplow V.7, mostly because I'm cheap, and also because I'm going to be riding with 75% more finesse on a bike with 0-100mm of front travel.

One more thing.  Don't confuse Tubolight with the company that makes the garbage orange tubes that weight weenies like to carry (but don't like to use because they're usually pre-flatted when you actually need them).  If you're into online reviews, there's not a lot out there to read about the Tubolight inserts (they have a range of products), so the website is just about all you get.  Well, that and the reassurance that some big teams with some HUGE names use their stuff.

I did do a tire swap after TSE from an Apsen 2.4 to a Forekaster 2.35.  Said tire swap did come with an all new learning curve of how to remove the tire from the rim with the insert installed.  At first, I was ready to light everything on fire, stomp on the ashes, sweep them up, throw them into stagnant puddle, sop the puddle up with a greasy towel, and then light that on fire.  After fifteen minutes of anger and reddened fingers, I realized how I could leverage my weight against the tire and break the bead... and I hope I don't forget that if I ever get a flat which needs more than a plug to fix...

Which has only happened once since I started using plugs?!?!

And zero flats since I started riding with any kinda tire liner in the rear?!?

Ain't it a great time to be alive?

I know I haven't dug it out in awhile, but here you go.  I'm going to give the Tubolight EVO SL tire insert my...


Why semi?  I guess without the addition of a cool ano'ed valve stem, no flat-brimmer is checking out my green bit and asking me, "bro, you got CushCore?"  Ummmm... I guess just like any tire insert, if you get a really bad flat (like a torn sidewall), you're going to have to figure out how to carry your misshapen pool noodle outta the woods.  That said (like I said), I've had zero flats while running an insert, so knock on woody.

What are you waiting for?  


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