If you’re still running tubes, this Tannus Armour will give you a little more protection on the trail.
Tubes. The thing I always carry on rides, but haven’t had to use in years. I never bothered with tubeless when I lived somewhere flat, with trails made primarily of dirt. Some years ago, after moving to the rocky wastes of West Yorkshire, that lasted about a month before I and all my mountain bikes were permanently converted. This past year, even test bikes have started arriving set up tubeless rather than tubed.
I know you’re out there though: tubeless refuseniks. The Not Tubeless Ready. Hardcore rubber fanatics. You’re out there, running your 40PSI tyres and this Tannus Armour may just open up some options for you to experience the joys of lower pressures and the reduced rolling resistance they can provide off road.
Tannus Armour Specification
- Price: £29.99 per end
- Weight: 312g
“As quick and easy as fitting a regular tire” and “40 seconds”, proclaims the back of the box. In the box, you’ll find just a single piece of foam, for which you’ll need to provide your own inner tube.
The installation steps, helpfully embossed on the side of the insert, are to pump the tube up slightly, put it in the Tannus Armour, put that lot in the tyre, then mount it all on the rim at once. In my case, I also had to dry the rim and scrub sealant residue out of the tyre too.
Depending on your tyre width, you might also need to trim the insert, for which there’s a size chart on the box and cut lines printed on the insert. Kind of like the shoe size printed on some replacement insoles.
Despite the panoply of tricks I’ve learned from testing so many inserts over the past four years, at first I had a deeply terrible time fitting Tannus Armour. It was for one single reason: a 25mm internal width rim. A measurement that goes for a lot of rims and wheelsets from a few years back – while not ultra-modern in a world of 30 – 35mm internal widths, it’s still not that narrow a rim size.
I started out with a fairly burly tyre, but after this much experience fitting inserts, could tell how badly that was going to go and switched to a much more pliable 2.4in Onza Ibex. Even then, it took about 40 minutes, half a dozen zip ties, and some soapy water. Then the tyre went up very inconsistently and needed a ride round the block before the bead would seat uniformly.
Take two: an identical tyre, but with a 35mm internal width rim. Suddenly, it’s all fine and goes together easily. Not quite forty seconds, but a few minutes tops. First ride out, I realised I’d put the tyre on backwards, and not only could I remove the beads by hand, but getting the tyre off, flipping it, and reinstalling with the Tannus Armour took about four minutes, including letting the tube down and pumping it back up.
So, if you’re going to go for Tannus Armour, I’d recommend you have wide rims. Those wide-for-2014-but-not-so-much-now ones are going to be hell to work with. I cannot stress enough how easy this was with a wide rim, and what hand-wrecking nightmare fuel it was with a narrower one.
I fitted and removed this several times during the test. The last time, I tried removing and refitting leaving one tyre bead on, and sure enough, stuffing the tube and insert assembly in one piece at a time worked just as well, if not a bit faster, than fitting it as Tannus advises.
Untrimmed, these inserts came in around 312g, which is very close to their claimed weight of 310g for a 27.5in, 2.1 – 2.5 sized insert. That’s also relatively heavy compared to most tubeless inserts, which on average seem to range from 100-250g. That said, I only noticed the extra wheel weight when picking up a silly-light enduro bike that’s mostly carbon fibre.
Finding the desired pressure to pump it up to took a bit of trial and error, which I sorted out mainly by riding.
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|Price:||£29.99 per end|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 1 month|