You can get insurance for just about anything these days and tire inserts have become the insurance policy of choice for rowdy riders looking to protect their rims and tires. Over the last several years, companies have been popping up with their version of protection, some of which have been good and others not so good. Tannus Armour has been in the business of tire technology since 2003 and the Armour Tubeless is their latest version of protection for riders looking to keep their wheels safe on the trail.
The Armour Tubeless inserts have a unique flared shape with what Tannus has named “wings”. These wings are made to be flexible to keep up with the rim and tire over various trail conditions and of course when cornering. When compressed, the Tannus insert has 14-millimeters of foam protection between the tire and the rim. Tannus offers these inserts in 27.5 and 29-inch diameters for tire widths of 2.1-2.6. Individual inserts sell for $50 a piece or riders can opt for a bundle that comes with two inserts and aluminum tubeless valves for $110.
The insert itself is made with “Aither Technology” which is essentially a complex mix of materials that come out to resemble a type of foam that is flexible, strong and non-absorbing. The Armour Tubeless inserts are made to sit in the rim bed with the wings sitting against and just above the tire bead. This creates a more secure fit and leverages the tire and rim bead to help the inserts offer more support.
Pulling the inserts out of the box, I was surprised at how light they were. Once on the scales my 29er insert came in at 142 grams each, which was on par with what Tannus claims for the weight. Tire inserts have been hit or miss for me historically when it comes to installation, more misses than hits if I’m being honest. In this case I had a set of RideFast Racing Hotline wheels with an internal rim (hookless) width of 30-millimeters and a set of Maxxis DHF/DHR tires in 2.5 (f) and 2.4(rear). The Tannus inserts were surprisingly easy to install and didn’t have me losing my mind or breaking tire levers. Tannus provides detailed instructions on how to go about installing the inserts which was spot on. I did have to use a tire lever for the last bit of the tire bead, but that’s more of a personal issue opposed product issue.
Setting the tires to my preferred pressures I could immediately feel a difference in the support of the tires sidewalls. I’ve never had any complaints in that department with Maxxis tires, but the inserts did make a noticeable difference. I spent most of my first ride dropping air pressure to find that sweet spot in the traction. At the end of the day I was consistently running tire pressures 7-8 PSI lower than I normally do. With the lower pressures I didn’t get any squirming from the tread and still had all the traction I needed. I have several bottom outs during my testing and the Tubeless Armour did it’s job on all occasions. One section of rocks has claimed a few carbon rims over the last couple years.
The Tannus Tubeless Armour inserts are a good choice for riders looking for tire protection that works. At $50 per insert you could say they’re expensive, double the price of Mynesweepers inserts, which we reviewed a few months back, but they are certainly more affordable than the other options out there. They have a nice finished look, install pretty easily and do what they claim to do, and for that we give them a thumbs up.