First ride on CushCore XC

Official reaction: I don’t know how I will ever ride without them again.

Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0 Medium
Wheels Giant XCR 0 25mm internal width
Maxxis Rekon Race 2.25 front and rear
Live Valve suspension
Rider weight 187lbs/85kg
Bike weight 25.03lbs//11.35kg

Under normal riding conditions I ride my pressure at 21r/20f. The trail was Technical, heavy roots, short rooty climbs, and damp. After a couple test laps I settled on 17/16. The bike felt lively and had plenty of pop, spun up fast. I couldn’t wash the front tire out and I tried. At one point I was riding in what felt like melted snickers bars. In the middle of a peanut butter filled corner I had one of those “we are going down” moments but at the last second the rear tire hooked up, the bike stood up and jumped forward.

It felt like there was a transition in the corners where the bike felt loose for maybe a .15 inch before the bead would grip. This wasn’t really a negative and did not cause a loss of confidence. I attributed this to the Cush Core XC vs Pro differences. I have never rode the Pro version but would definitely put them on a trail bike.


I’m not that skilled of a rider. I put them in a Pivot Mach 4 SL. Ikon rear, forecaster front. I was able to lower from 18/16 pressure to 16/14.

Riding on gravely single track the gravel sensation is dampened. It will lower fatigue on marathon type distances.

Technical stuff, my bike just holds it’s line better. I’m 140 lbs max. Before I could be bounced around on roots and rocks and now even climbing up roots my bike just holds its line better. It adds so much more confidence. I haven’t really started pushing corners hard on them yet, but there’s more confidence there too. It really is like suspension for your tires and improves handling. I thought it would mostly be marketing nonsense and mostly got them to protect expensive rims, but the handling benefits are for real and people who only put them on rear tires are missing out.

Also pondering putting pro on my trail bike or just getting another set of XC for it.


I felt the same thing climbing. The bike just stays glued to the trail.

Thoughts on running these on a gravel bike?

I have a set on my new gravel bike running 700x43 Panaracer Gravelking SK+. The bike came with the regular SK tires but in 700x38 (and I had them set up as tubeless). My very first ride I tore the sidewall beyond the point of a boot repair. So I went with the heavier, slightly wider tires and the cushcores. I haven’t noticed the weight and I find the riding to be more comfortable. Maybe they also helped with the level of confidence in the tires/wheels as I now travel much much faster on the descents.
For better context, I used a different gravel bike last year with tubed, 700x40 tires. I always wanted to go to a lower pressure say around 25-30psi. It felt excellent but I would always get a pinch flat if I left the pressure that low. The gravel here is pretty gnarly and rarely smooth.

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I’m putting them on all my bikes. The feel is just so much more planted. The added “weight” is not noticeable. I think inserts will be perfect for gravel, although their ultimate application may be cyclocross


Thanks for sharing your experience everyone. I’ve never used KC, but have been thinking about trying it.

Can you say more about this? I know you said it didn’t bother you, but my trails have a lot of switchbacks and I would hate to start feeling more sketchy in the corners.

What are people’s thoughts on using cushcore XC in the rear wheel only? This was my bike shop’s recommendation.

How much weight does it add?

Thanks for sharing, riding 16/18-18/20; foam insert would probably be for a peace of mind as I’m not sure I’d like to go much lower than 16/18

That’s what I’ve got set up. It seems to work well. I get all the benefits mentioned above in the rear. Do far I haven’t felt I’ve needed to change the front and am happy to save a tiny bit of weight.

Curious if anyone has ridden both the Cushcore XC and the PTN Pepi’s Tire Noodle. The Cushcore XC are listed around 150gm per insert and the Pepi’s at 100gm (small) each.

Dylan Johnson mentions he uses them in one of his youtube videos, I think it was the dirty kanza one.

The trail I was riding was loaded with switch backs and corners. At the point I would normally loose the wheel or control I could feel, ever so slightly, the bike get loose but it would immediately hook up and power forward. This gave me more confidence. I hope this helps. I definitely feel they are worth the money and you should try them. Your confidence will go up

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I have ordered the PTN’s and have them on the way. So, I should be able to review both at some point. I will say after riding the Cush XC’s I want to try the Cushcore Pro’s. I bough the XC version to save on weight but if all they had was the Pro’s I would definitely ride them.

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XC’s 150 grams per insert

I want to put them on every bike!

I’m out :joy:

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You’ll never notice!