The world of mountain biking continues to change, although a few technologies remain the same. We put air in our tyres, and turn our expensive drivetrains with a chain. These systems are pretty old, and they have been refined quite a lot. Pneumatic tyres aren't just suscpetibale to piercing and cuts to cause a puncture, but also a bottoming out puncture or pinch flat. Even with a tubeless system without a tube to pinch, it's a sure fire way to cut a tyre and damage a rim.

Tyre liners or rim inserts are not new. The likes of CushCore, Rimpact, Tannus Armour and many more have been around for a little while. Some swear by them, a few swear at them. What hasn't been as available is really, really light options for cross-country and marathon racing.

The world's top riders frequently use inserts for major races, letting them get their tyre pressures dialled in just right, while using an insert to offer support and protection. Even Nino Schurter uses inserts at events like the Cape Epic.

So when we heard that Ride Panzer had a 65g 29er XC insert, we were keen to try it out!

What's in the box

There's not a bunch in there, no special valve or anything, just the insert and a special sealant.

The insert is a reasonably firm foam, although not as compact as CushCore. It has a V-shape, and is more of a rim protector than tyre liner, as it does need to fit into the rim bed, as opposed to floating in the tyre like the Tannus Armour recently tested.

Of note is the special sealant. You cannot use another sealant, and you have to have clean tyres and rims. A brand new set of 30mm internal, low profile XC wheels were used for this setup, along with new Maxxis 2.4" WT Rekon Race and Aspen tyres.

 

Fitting the Panzer EVO XC 29" inserts

When there's instructions all over the box to watch the video... you watch the video.

Anyone in one of these videos is chosen as they make it look easy. That said, it wasn't that difficult, just not overly pleasant.

You fit the tyre on the rim first, just on one side. Then put the Panzer liner in. Of course, it needs to cinch into the rim so it's tricky to do that while the tyre is flopping around. But not hard, just annoying.

Next up, you make sure it's all centred, so the one bead and the liner are all central in the rim bed, then put the second bead in. Easy as pie. Until the last bit.

 

One one wheel it was simple enough, the other broke two tyre levers and involved swearing and sweating through a t-shirt.

Once all done, you pump up the tyre to let everything bead and sit in place. The Panzer does occlude to the valve, so you need to remove the core and poke it back into place. Air should rush out. That's fine, now you need to put the special sealant in via the valve core.

With that done, inflate to your desired pressures and get tinkering. You might be able to run even lower once you find where the limits of the Panzer are.


First thoughts

A few things before riding them - it's great these are available as single wheel options. And at $125.40 from KWT that's a good price as well, considering it includes sealant. It's probably the sealant that has me concerned.

What if you can't find more stock of it? And does it work with the NoTubes DART like Stan's and other sealants? If you do get a flat in a marathon, where does the liner go? Having a good plug kit that seals with the sealant (like the DART) means fitting a tube isn't ever really something you need to do unless you destroy a tyre.

Still, this is a light system and relatively easy to fit. We'll see what the ride feedback is like and have a review in a coming issue.

RRP: $125.30

From: KWT Imports