Havent used them for gravel, but have used them for cross.
I’m not entirely sure I even notice a difference if I’m being honest. But it has removed the paranoia associated with burping tires, and I’ll drop pressure down to 20psi in the mud without thinking twice now.
I’ve been using them and haven’t regretted it, but the main downsides are if you get a badly damaged tire where you need to put in a tube, then you have to pull out the insert and likely carry it with you the rest of the ride.
Just changing tires in the basement, at times it is tough breaking the bead on tires with inserts versus no inserts. It’s likely that I just can’t get as much leverage on it, but it would be super frustrating during a big event to need to pop off a tire and have problems.
I have a pair laying around. I have not put them in because I am worried I will not be able to unseat the tire in the event I need to put a tube in. I have read that this can be quite difficult without extra tools.
I have Cushcore in my gravel wheels and mountain bike wheels. On the mtb, they make a big difference with handling, feel, and rim impacts. I can run really low pressure (less 4-5 psi from normal) and have incredible traction. On the gravel bike, the benefits beyond rim protection are a lot less. I run 2-3 less psi than normal but traction doesn’t really improve much.
I have them on gravel and cross. Did a gravel ride where I had some issues with my rear valve core and was losing pressure. Ended up being able to finish without stopping although end tire pressure on my 40 rear was 6 psi.
I could feel how soft they were though and took it easy on the last part of the course. I think the cores helped out.
Running vittoria air liner gravel inserts on the oem maddux alloy wheels that came as stock on a 2017 superx. Limited to 40mm but very happy with 40mm Conti Terra Trail/Speed. The included vittoria valves are good too.
I ride in a dry and rocky region, and having the inserts has eliminated the frequent worrying “clang” noises when hitting rocks too hard. A friend is running the same in 33mm tyres on his endurance road bike for gravel and we both got through the spicier sections of a recent gravel race with 0 flats, burps or dings.
The big downside is how hard it is to unseat tyres. I’m topping up sealant more than before because I do not want to have to try and put a tube in whilst in the middle of nowhere! I’ll need to change the rear tyre before any races this year and i’m not looking forward to it. Vittoria do make a tool and clips for their road tubeless liners : https://www.vittoria.com/ww/en/tire-inserts/air-liner-tool/road-tubeless-tool-kit
and I have to take the same approach - using wooden pegs to push enough of the bead down to get enough slack to get one side off…
But even with this, I’m completely sold on the benefits and I will not ride offroad without them now.
I’m trying inserts for the first time. One surprise is that they block/seal the valve when inflated. I can completely remove the valve core and the tyre stays inflated at 40 psi (not a sealant issue). I guess I should have swapped the stock Zipp valves for multi-hole valves better suited to inserts? I’m using Tubolight EVO Gravel tyre inserts.
No regrets. Have them in all my wheelsets. Even in MTB wheelsets.
Have saved me from pinch flats as I was prone to them before. However, when slashing a tyre, make sure you rinse the insert and figure-8 it around your shoulders and back after tubing and booting your tyre.