Gravel Tubeless Tire Inserts: Vittoria AirLiner Vs CushCore

Published: 2022-10-07 by Jarno Bierman

Vittoria AirLiner Gravel and CushCore CX.Gravel in packaging

Tubeless tire inserts are a relatively new invention that try to solve some of the shortcomings of tubeless tires. We've already tested the road bike version of the Vittoria AirLiner and found it to be an excellent product that offers many advantages without losing any performance. This time, we're going to look at some of the tubeless tire inserts intended for gravel bikes as they appear to be somewhat different than the Vittoria AirLiner for road bikes.

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While the main advantages of the tire inserts intended for road bikes are easier initial inflation and the ability to keep on going with a flat tire, the main advantage of the off-road tire inserts seems to be rim protection and absorbing big hits. Basically, the tubeless tire inserts allow you to run lower air pressures without worrying about rim damage or sudden air loss.

Our specialty is rolling resistance tests, which will be this article's focus. We've tested both the Vittoria AirLiner Gravel and CushCore CX.Gravel tubeless tire inserts with a Continental Terra Speed on our rolling resistance test machine. We've done tests at 45, 36, 27, 18, and 9 psi, and we'll show you how the tubeless tire inserts will impact the rolling resistance of your tires.

We're not going to go in-depth on all other aspects of these tire inserts as we're not specialized in that field. We're sure many other reviews can be found online that tell you much more about mounting, removal, and how the tire inserts perform under off-road conditions.

Test Set Up and Conditions


  • Continental Terra Speed 40-622

We've used the following gravel tubeless tire inserts:

  • Vittoria AirLiner Gravel (56 grams)
  • CushCore CX.Gravel (122 grams)

All rolling resistance tests were performed with our standard test protocol. This is the same protocol used for nearly all of the rolling resistance data found on this website.

Rolling Resistance Test Conditions

  • Speed of 8 m/s - 28.8 km/h - 18 mph
  • Total wheel load of 42.5 kg / 94 lbs
  • 22.0 mm internal width rim
  • Temperature between 21.5-22.5 °C / 71-72 °F
  • Diamond plate drum surface
  • 77 cm drum diameter

Continental Terra Speed 40-622 Rolling Resistance Test Results

Rolling Resistance at 45 psi / 3.1 barsRR
45 psi
3.1 bar
Rolling Resistance at 36 psi / 2.5 barsRR
36 psi
2.5 bar
Rolling Resistance at 27 psi / 1.9 barsRR
27 psi
1.9 bar
Rolling Resistance at 18 psi / 1.2 barsRR
18 psi
1.2 bar
Rolling Resistance at 9 psi / 0.6 barsRR
9 psi
0.6 bar
Watts Watts Watts Watts Watts
No Liner 16.9 17.9 20.8 27.7 fail
CushCore CX.Gravel 17.0 18.2 21.3 30.3 59.6
Vittoria AirLiner Gravel 17.1 18.6 21.4 29.3 57.2
Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N

Both the Vittoria AirLiner Gravel and CushCore CX.Gravel perform very similarly in the rolling resistance tests. Down to about 27 psi / 1.9 bars, the rolling resistance of both tire inserts seems very close to the results we got without any tire inserts installed. Even with the tire inserts installed, 27 psi / 1.9 bars is probably as low as you'll go on a 40 mm gravel bike tire which means they will have a minimal impact on rolling resistance in most cases.

At the even lower air pressure of 18 psi / 1.2 bars, we see the tire inserts start adding some rolling resistance. We suspect the tire inserts start taking some of the load at this air pressure which results in the increased rolling resistance. We still see both inserts having similar performance, but the Vittoria AirLiner performs slightly better at lower air pressures.

We see rolling resistance skyrocketing at the extremely low air pressure of 9 psi / 0.6 bars. We suspect that the tire inserts are taking nearly all of the load at this low pressure, which results in a much higher rolling resistance.

Without the tire inserts installed, we couldn't complete the test at 9 psi / 0.6 bars as the tire was running on the rim edges, and air was leaking through the beads. Both tire inserts finished the tests without losing any air, which shows that these tire inserts help prevent air loss under extreme conditions.


Vittoria AirLiner Gravel and CushCore CX.Gravel without packaging

In our rolling resistance tests, the Vittoria AirLiner and CushCore CX.Gravel perform very similarly. Both tire inserts perform strongly and show a minimal rolling resistance penalty down to the low air pressure of 27 psi / 1.9 bars. At the even lower air pressures of 18 psi / 1.2 bars, which probably is too low for regular use, the tire inserts start taking a more significant part of the load, and we see rolling resistance go up a bit faster than without a tire insert.

At the extremely low air pressure of 9 psi / 0.6 bars, we see rolling resistance rising sharply, but both tire inserts could complete the test without losing any air. Without a tire insert, the test failed as the tire was leaking air through the beads.

We feel most other tubeless tire inserts will perform similarly, although most will probably perform slightly different depending on the height and stiffness of the particular tire insert.

As you can see in the picture of the unpacked tire inserts above, the Vittoria AirLiner and CushCore products are vastly different. From simply looking at the products, we're quite sure the CushCore will offer much more protection as it's made of a stiffer material that is harder to deform. The downside of the CushCore seems to be its much higher weight and price, as both are roughly double that of the Vittoria AirLiner.

Choosing between the CushCore or Vittoria AirLiner will depend on how much protection is good enough.