Mynesweeper Tire Insert Review
Words by Drew Rohde
There’s no shortage of mountain bike tire insert systems these days, and for good reason. Not many people enjoy fixing flats and we’re pretty sure nobody likes breaking wheels. After destroying two carbon wheels in back-to-back weekends, Mynesweeper founder Brian Parker had had enough. Mynesweepers was born in Brian’s garage as a way to affordably protect expensive wheels while also offering improved ride feel on the trail. Although we were quite skeptical when Brian rolled up with his installation kit and foam inserts, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
As we said, when we first held the Mynsweeper inserts in our hands they didn’t look all that special. Logically it made sense that if you fill the void in your tire with a foam then it would surely offer protection against rim strikes, but what made these different than insulation foam or pool noodles? We even asked Brian, “What’s to stop people from seeing these and just going to Home Depot to make their own?” As Brian stuffed one of his inserts into a tire he looked up and replied, “You certainly could, and some of my early prototypes to prove the concept weren’t too far off from that. However, I’ve learned a bit over time and to find the right density foam and one that uses closed-cell construction to avoid sealant absorption takes a little bit more effort.”
Mynesweepers Tire Inserts are made from a lightweight, closed-cell foam with latex tubing running through the center of the foam, tied together to give the inserts their elliptical shape. Where the ends of the foam meet, they are shaved down to form an exaggerated “V” cut, this is meant to help with air flow from the valve stem. The closed-cell foam construction offers plenty of support to get off the mountain without damaging a wheel in the event of a flat derived from larger tears.
Mynesweepers Tire Inserts come in at a fraction of the cost compared to their competition at $49.99 per set. The tire inserts are available for 26-, 27.5- and 29-inch wheel sizes with with three different tire width options ranging from 2.2-inches up to 3.0-inches.
Our first ride out on the inserts was a local one that we’d done a thousand times over the last two decades. I grew up in Thousand Oaks, California and it has fostered the love of big, loose rocks and embedded stone. Needless to say the high speeds and countless rocks have taught me the value of proper air pressure and sidewall selection.
Brian installed two sets of inserts into our test bikes, a Specialized Kenevo eMTB and a Kona Remote 160. Both are aggressive all mountain ebikes that love going downhill. If there was ever a category of bikes that needed tire inserts, I’d argue that ebikes are them! Right from the get-go I was impressed. I’d ridden the familiar test loops the last three days in a row aboard both of the bikes it was time to see how they’d perform with the inserts.
Immediately I noticed a quieter, more stable ride. The impact absorption, damping properties were very real. I tried entering corners late, sliding over loose boulders into catch berms and even rammed the bikes into large sharp rocks I normally try to avoid. The change in ride quality was big. They smooth out chatter, cushion big hits and keep the tire from folding as easily under hard loading corners.
When it comes to ride quality and value, I’m sold!
Now to address the downsides. Installation is a little bit of a pain however if you get the technique down it gets a bit easier. Plus, most people aren’t changing tires as regularly as we are. If a tire lasts you more than a month, it’s probably not a big enough pain to be a deal breaker. Brian suggests buying a large outdoor planting pot, like you’d find at Home Depot. They’re usually under $10 and you can have a large flat surface to lay your wheel on while you press onto the tire. Of course, then you have to store an empty pot somewhere between tire changes, not ideal.
Another downside and a larger one, is air removal and tire removal. There is a cutout that Brian claims aids in the airflow, however we installed a lot of these inserts into our test bikes and found that most all of them did not allow for easy airing down when it came time to let the air out for tire swapping. If you pull the valve core it helps slightly, but you’ll have to compress and wiggle the tire around to get them aired down. Then comes the battle of removing the tire itself.
Because the nature of the insert is to fill the tire, compressing the deflated tire enough to unhook the bead can be a fight. We’d suggest slightly under-sizing the insert to give yourself a little extra wiggle room. For example, if you’re running a 2.5 tire, get the 2.2-2.4” insert instead of the 2.5-2.7” version. Once again, if you’re not changing tires regularly, this issue is on par with just about every other insert on the market.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Mynesweeper mountain bike tire inserts are without a doubt one of the best performance to value inserts we’ve ever used. The performance gains aren’t without sacrifice however, and anyone who’s tried using inserts knows the struggles of installation and removal. If you’re not regularly changing tires, want improved bump damping performance, the ability to charge rocky or chundery terrain without fear and are in the market for inserts, these are definitely worth a look. We noticed a major change in the damping effect of our tires, stability in rocks and berms, and loved the ability to send it deep into the nastiest sections of trail we could. Now we’re just hoping these Schwalbe Eddy Current knobs don’t wear out quickly so we can enjoy the ride without having to work on our hand strengthening routine.
Weight: 240 grams
Damping on Rocky Trails
Small, Rider-Owned Company
Tire Removal with Insert Installed
Hard to Let Air Out of Tires
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