e*Thirteen TRS Tires

Tech Tuesday: Cush Core XC Tire Inserts and Maxxis DHF Alternative

As a rider that enjoys a wide variety of terrain (NOT just going down), I frequently toy around with different setups to enable me to enjoy the broad range of riding. Riding a heavy 6″ travel bike just isn’t that fun to me on smooth and fast trails.   I tend to lean towards better rolling and lower weight over max grip and durability.   This tech Tuesday Cush Core XC tire inserts and Maxxis DHF alternative don’t really fall into that camp but are interesting options that I’ve been enjoying!

Cush Core XC Tire Insert | $149 for a set of 2 | 156 grams/tire

My thoughts on Cush Core are starting to change.  The main reasons for being hesitant to use Cushcore were added weight and difficult installation.  After learning the proper technique, installation is not an issue.  It really isn’t much harder to install a tire with the XC Cush Core.

Cush Core XC
Following these instructions carefully is very important. I almost gave up until I watched their video.

I’m currently just running Cush Core in the rear for now.  This enables riding a few psi less (18-20psi) with a slightly smoother ride.  Other than that I can’t honestly notice a huge difference.  I don’t feel like I have better traction or less tire roll like some claim. Without running the insert I’m confident that I would have felt the rim contact rocks and roots riding at this low of pressure.

My thought on using the insert only on the rear is that’s where I’m most likely to bottom out my tire on a rock or root and risk damage.  I don’t find that my front tire rolls (sideways) under heavy cornering or bottoms on the roots and rocks like my rear does. With that in mind, I believe I’m getting the most out of Cush Core in the rear tire.

My normal terrain isn’t the hardest on tires but there’s plenty of rock and root that will find fault in low tires pressures or sloppy riding.  The heavier and more aggressive rider you are, the more you will like these tire inserts. I’ll likely continue to run the insert in the rear only.  Aggressive tire shredders might want to run both front and rear.

If this review was helpful and you’d like to help support what we do, please consider purchasing here: Cush Core at Jenson USA

Maxxis Minion DHF Alternative —> | e*Thirteen TRS | 29×2.35 | 1017 grams

Maxxis does make great tires, but so does e*Thirteen and the prices are a little more reasonable at around $69.  Currently, I’m riding the classic TRS Race on the front and it feels as confident in its abilities as the DHF.  There is an updated version of this tire called the “All-terrain/Gen3 TRS“.  The tread design and casing has been slightly updated but side knobs appear the same.

e*Thirteen TRS Tires

The e*Thirteen TRS is slightly heavier than the Maxxis DHF.  If I want to balance out this slightly heavier front tire I do so with a little lighter and faster rolling rear.  One of my current favorites is the Bontrager XR4 but I’ve also been reasonably happy with the e*Thirteen Semi-Slick.

Why I like e*Thirteen TRS+ Tires:

  • Reasonable cost at $69 retail although the “classic” version shown here can be found for much less – see details at the end.
  • True 2.35 size – this is about the same size as a Maxxis DHF WT 2.5
  • Durable – I’ve had a few sets now and believe they last as well any Maxxis I’ve owned
  • Seems to grip and roll just as well as the popular Maxxis Minion DHF
  • It doesn’t have a big yellow logo. :)

The bottom line is that compared to the DHF I believe the TRS Race offers similar traction and longevity at a little better price.  All else feels very similar even though one company overstates their tire sizes.

e*Thirteen TRS Tires
Can you tell which tire is bigger? Maxxis says theirs is since they call it a 2.5 but e*Thirteen’s “True 2.35” looks every bit as big and my calipers tell me it is!

The TRS model I tested can be found for some great deals at the moment if you’d like to give it a try.  Here’s one place that currently has some great deals: e.thirteen tires at Jenson USA


Please feel free to share your thoughts and let me know if you have any additional questions.  We do get a small percentage from Jenson at no added expense to you.


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. JBS

    The install for CushCore wasn’t the difficult part for me, it was removal. The process they have on their website didn’t work and resulted in a lot of swearing and throwing things. What I found to work was picking a 1/4 segment of the wheel, letting the air out, and flexing the base of the tire in and out along that stretch of tire several times from the opposite side (similar to how you’d unseat the bead on a normal tubeless tire, but you have to grab the insert along with it when you flex it), followed by gently tapping the base of the sidewall with a plastic tire lever and mallet around the bead, which eventually helped the bead break and allow removal of the insert and tire. I have found that when the tire is on the rim for more than a month or so (obviously depending on rim, tire, and tape), it seems to damage the tape if the tire is seated on the edge of the tape. The removal process seems to get easier as the insert stretches some, but I’ve done it 5-6 times and it is still a pain, whereas install takes me less than a few minutes. Personally, I think the complaints around install are from folks that didn’t watch the instructions or have oddly shaped/shallow rim channels.

    I do think you lose the benefit of CushCore running it rear only, though. I’ve tried it rear only, front only, and f/r, I found I got the most benefits by running it only in the front, where it supported the tire more and improved cornering especially with thinner sidewall (EXOish) casings. It improved cornering of the bike very similarly in feel to running a stiffer fork or frame, where the bike seems to hold a line better and not wander as much when it gets chunk. I found very little benefit running it in the rear, my understanding being that CushCore was designed first around feel, with rim protection being secondary, for me the benefit of running it in the back was much smaller outside of protection and I didn’t notice much improvement in the way the bike felt.

    1. Chad Davis

      Great feedback Bow! Taking them out the first time I almost said that it wasn’t worth it and that it was something that I didn’t want to deal with. After rewatching their video I figured out that I just wasn’t pushing the bead of the tire fully into the center on each side (just like the install) before trying to pull the tire off. Once I figured that out it came out very easily – almost as easily as without CC.

      I do plan to give the front a try as well, but I am seriously doubting I’ll keep it in. But who knows….

  2. JBS

    For sure, you have to push it down into the channel to get it off, otherwise it’d be impossible to remove. The issue for me was breaking the bead so I could get it to move down into the rim, in some cases it seemed like the sealant had sealed against the tape and was pulling the tape up as I pressed on the bead to try and break it loose. In others, it was just difficult to get the bead broken from the rim itself since you don’t have the same amount of leverage to pull on the tire and break the bead. Once the bead broke, removal wasn’t much more difficult compared to standard tubeless tires, provided you shove it down into the rim.

    I think the type of tape used may make a difference, also. The Stans tape is a bit smoother and polished on top, being more plastic feeling than tape, whereas the Industry Nine tape is the opposite. I found the I9 tape bunched up pretty badly and seemed to move along with the tire bead until I managed to break it free, where the Stans was a bit easier to break loose (this is with the same tire type) and stayed in place, possibly because it’s more polished and ‘plastic-y’ and allowed the tire to slide easier? I also tried it with WTB, Maxxis, and Specialized tires, removal with the thicker WTB casings was a bit easier, Maxxis was a little more work, but the Specialized tires were a nightmare since so much sealant had worked it’s way around the bead, it was very difficult to break loose. They all removed about the same once the bead was broken, although the Specialized tire more or less fell off, where the others required the more standard removal process you mentioned.

    I suspect it may also have been easier with the narrower XC version, I’m on the standard version that I think is a bit wider. It may be easier to break free with the narrower XC model, since it’s a bit more flexible and you can put more leverage on the bead. I’ve debated on trying the XC version in the rear and the standard up front, haven’t gotten around to it yet though, so we’ll see how that process compares later down the line.

    1. Chad Davis

      You’ve definitely used more tire choices than I have. I was able to break the bead off my I9 Trail 270’s by hand with both Bontrager and Goodyear tires. I also noticed the I9 tubeless tape coming up but that happens without Cush Core and didn’t compromise the seal.

  3. Pingback: Tech Tuesday: Cush Core XC Tire Inserts and Maxxis DHF Alternative – The Weekend Sender

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