At a Glance
While the world may have gone tubeless, Tannus aim to convince us that it may not be the only way to get reliable puncture protection in your wheels. Working with inner tubes, the Tannus inserts wrap around the tube giving a thick layer of foam at the top, thinning as they wrap around towards the rim of the wheel.Buy Tyres on
They aim to prevent flats, both pinch and otherwise by providing padding when the tube is pressed between the rim and the tyre in an impact. The thicker foam under the tyre tread also prevents punctures from sharp objects and can be stabbed, putting a hole in the tyre without damaging the tube. The insert also absorbs bumps and vibrations from the trail leading to a smoother ride and being able to run lower pressures can increase grip.
On the Trail
Installation is easy to understand, and relatively straightforward to execute. The inserts can be trimmed down for lower volume tyres and then installed into the tyre with the tube. The only difficulty is getting the last bit of tyre on to the bead, but using a smaller sized tube is the answer here as the foam reduces the volume available. The beauty of the system is that It doesn't need any fluid or valves, and inflation is certainly easy with a tube!
In terms of puncture resistance, I have to agree with Tannus that they are pretty bombproof. When an ebike arrived without taped rims, It was an ideal opportunity to get the inserts in rather than faff with tape and sealant. I then went on to expect the usual from an ebike with thin tyres and get a puncture fairly quick, but the Tannus has made the wheel seemingly impervious to punctures, which is impressive.
I haven't gone as far as stabbing the tyres in the name of testing, but I did get a chance to do just that at a trade show earlier this year and the foam is very resistant to slicing and stabs, even if your tyre is not. If your tyre does get a hole in it, the tube should be protected and then the whole system still works.
It's not all perfect, and adding weight to the wheel of an ebike or a downhill bike may well be acceptable, or maybe beneficial, but the weight increase on other styles of bikes may be a step too far. A standard 29er tube and Tannus insert weigh 565g together, and this is where riders may have an issue. Talking to Tom from Tannus however he recommended running a smaller tube, and some rides have been using the Tubolito super-light tubes which would seriously reduce the weight of the system. Given the protection offered by Tannus, I imagine running a super-thin tube would be a good choice. Essentially, if you can run a trail tyre with Tannus and tube for a comparable weight to a DH tyre and tubeless setup.
As for the feel, I find it hard to see how the foam would absorb bumps and feedback better than air which would deform more easily to the terrain. In use, I didn't notice a huge difference, but I did need to run lower pressures to get the same feel and they felt a little overdamped in lower volume tyres. In a higher volume enduro tyre, this wasn't an issue, leading me to conclude that bigger tyres will have a better feel with the ratio of air to foam in the tyre.
Given how well they performed on my ebike, it'd be great to see a large volume insert of 2.6 and above, this is something that Tannus informs me is in the works for later this year.
Lastly, over time the foam has become compressed in the tyre, and on removal after a couple of months, it's visibly thinner than a fresh one. Tannus have tested them in their thinner state and found them to provide equal or even better puncture protection than when new. however, the latest versions of the inserts are more resistant to compression than the ones I've tested.
A simple solution to punctures that give bombproof reliability to your tyres. Best suited for higher volume and aggressive riding, where weight is less of an issue.
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.