Tire inserts for road bikes: worth it?

I got a severe pinch flat last week with several holes and I found out my spare inner tube was not compatible with my rims. Ugh.

Since my rear tire was quite worn, I decided to order two new tires. I was offered to add inserts, Vittoria Airliners. Now I am having second thoughts. Are they worth it?

1 Like

I added them for piece of mind in case I get a flat while going around a corner. I had that happen a few years ago and went down hard. Hoping this will prevent it.

1 Like

3 weeks ago…

No Airliners and I got screwed. Literally.

Easy install on 32c tires…

1 Like

I’ve used 'em before – I didn’t think they were terribly difficult to install at first, but getting them out when changing tires was a true struggle (and I’ve changed hundreds of tires over a few years of working in bike shops). I wound up having to cut worn tires off of my rims to get the Airliners out.

Overall, I wasn’t sure if they were worth it. They definitely help keep the tire seated on the rim, but in the case of getting a puncture, it still basically felt like riding on a rim to me. They might help prevent damage to the rim, but I wasn’t 100% convinced. Others may have different experiences, though! I ultimately chose to stop using them because of how difficult it was to change tires once the Airliners were installed – and if you get a puncture that can’t be sealed up by sealant/plugs, then that means you’ll have to change the tire and deal with getting the Airliners out (my thumbs and forearms are burning just typing this, lol).

1 Like

Vittoria sells special pliers to install them, which pointed to them being difficult to (un)install. Plus it added up to quite a bit. Instead of 85ish € for a pair of Corsas that were on sale, we were suddenly at 180 € if memory serves.

I’ve only needed the pliers to uninstall. Removing a tire is a pain, because of the insert.

Only tire I’ve ever battled was a Corsa N.EXT. And just 1 tire out of 6 N.EXT tires.

When I got “screwed” with an AirLiner about 2 or 3 years ago, it worked as advertised. No damage to rim and I rode home after the plugs were unable to seal all the holes.

1 Like

The rim has a tiny mark I am no longer able to find. I was going over a really rough mix of cobbles, sand and stones. If I were smart, I would have turned around … instead, I am asking about Airliners :sweat_smile:

Yeah, the pliers being sold separately turned me off of them as well. I’m not into parts requiring proprietary tools for installation/de-installation – especially for something that should be simple, like tires (IMO).

1 Like

iirc I got a kit - pair of airliners, pliers (and the yolks for holding the tyre), and a pair of valves.

I’m yet to uninstall, but gives me confidence racing tubeless, and ride flat really means no spares for racing (my races generally x number of laps of 20-25km loops).

They’ll be going on the gravel bike as soon as I need a tyre change, and will have zero qualms about putting them any new road tubeless bike or wheelset. I was worried about getting stuck, but ultimately if something is too big to plug would a tube really work either? It’s probably event over anyway, and if it happens on “normal” spin I can limp home.

1 Like