Tannus Armour Tire Insert Comparison
Recently released on Kickstarter, this article takes a quick look at the new Tannus Armour foam bike insert and compares it to popular competitors.
About the Tannus Armour Insert
Whether you ride a mountain, city, cruiser, electric, or gravel bike, the Tannus Armour insert fits between your inner tube and tire and promises to deliver reinforced sidewall and underside protection that eliminates 90% of all punctures.
The company advertises the insert also offers increased vibration dampening and minimized rolling resistance for a smoother, more comfortable, and more enjoyable ride. You can run your tires at lower pressures as well, which they advertise can help increase grip in wet conditions and on loose rock.
In fact, Tannus tells us that even if you do get a flat tire, Armour allows you to keep riding for a limited period. It’s also maintenance-free and installs as quickly and easily as a regular tire and tube combo.
Together, they call Armour the “ultimate in tire protection and performance for all levels and styles of riding.”
But, does that necessarily mean it’s the right insert for you? Here, we’ll take a look at its pricing and competition, as well as how you can choose the best option—starting with functionality.
How the Tannus Armour Tire Insert Works
The Armour insert is constructed from the same proprietary multi-cell foam compound as Tannus’s solid tires, except that it’s designed to fit over your inner tube and underneath your tire.
Related: Tannus Tire Review
This way, it provides 15mm of puncture protection at the apex (top) of the insert, along with 2mm of sidewall protection from sharp objects and rocks, which also acts to stabilize and strengthen your tire. Despite this added protection, they only weigh 260 to 320 grams each (about as much as two D batteries).
Although Tannus designed Armour to run at lower air pressures (15-20 PSI), they advertise it offers several advantages over traditional tubeless setups.
First, unlike a tubeless system, Armour’s bead-to-bead structure allows the tire to maintain its regular shape while flexing as one structure, even when subjected to extreme forces. They say this increased structural support also makes it easier for riders stick to their lines while braking less.
And “if you do get off-line,” they say, “the additional grip enables you to get back on-line again much quicker, resulting in an overall faster time.”
Similarly, they point at that you’ll exit berms “with maximum energy as your tire doesn’t deform under pressure.”
Furthermore, the Aither foam absorbs ground vibration and dissipates energy evenly from rock strikes, which could deliver a smoother, quieter, more comfortable, and more compliant ride.
How Do You Install the Tannus Armour Insert?
Currently, Armour is available in six different sizes, based on the tires you’re running:
- 700 x 35 – 40C
- 26 x 1.6 – 1.9
- 700 x 42 – 47C
- 26 x 1.95 – 2.5
- 27.5 x 1.95 – 2.5
- 29 x 1.95 – 2.5
Note: If your tires are smaller than 700 x 35C they recommend going with one of their solid tires. Also, keep in mind that when switching over to Armour inserts, Tannus recommends using a smaller tube than what you’d normally ride with.
The chart below provides examples:
Regardless of size, though, all Armour inserts install using the same method:
- Place one of your tire’s beads over the rim.
- Inspect Armour for debris and sprinkle with baby powder for easier installation.
- Insert Armour inside your tire, while maintaining enough space to insert your inner tube.
- Lightly inflate your inner tube, place it inside the Armour liner, and push the liner until it’s flush with the rim.
- Seat the remaining bead (if you use tire levers, make sure that you don’t accidentally pinch the tube)
- Pump to the desired pressure.
How Much Does Tannus Armour Cost?
Armour is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which ends April 1. There, you can buy two inserts in the size of your choice at an Early Bird price of $50, which will increase to $60 once all of these are claimed.
Shipping is currently expected during April 2019. All Armour inserts come with a 7,000 km (4,350 mi) warranty.
Are There Other Tire Inserts Competing With Tannus Armour?
Foam tire inserts have been around for years, so there are several options available in the marketplace. Here are some of the most popular, along with how they compare:
|Tannus Armour||$60 per pair||260 – 320 g each||6 sizes, accommodates 700 x 35 – 47C, 26 x 1.6” – 2.5”, 27.5 x 1.95” – 2.5”, and 29 x 1.95” – 2.5”. U-shaped design, works with inner tube|
|Vittoria Air-Liner||$55 – $75 each||100 – 380 g each||4 sizes, accommodates 1.9” – 4″ tires, h-shaped design, completely replaces the inner tube|
|Huck Norris||$70 each||70 – 85 g each||3 sizes, can accommodate 21 – 45 mm internal rim widths, a cross-linked design that you can cut to fit any tire size, packaging includes ‘face-kick’ fender, works with traditional tubeless setups|
|Stop-A-Flat||$18 – $35 each||N/A||15 sizes to accommodate 12″, 16″, 20″, 24″, and 26″ rims. Completely replaces the inner tube|
|CushCore||$149 for the complete kit; $76 per single piece||250 – 290 g each||2 sizes can accommodate 26”, 27.5”, and 29” tires between 2.1” and 3” wide. Fits internal rim widths between 22mm and 45 mm. Works with traditional tubeless setups, designed to add ‘suspension’ to tires—not necessarily boost flat protection|
|Flat Tire Defender||$118.50 – $123.50 for two-piece kits; $64.50 – $67.50 per single piece||89 g each||3 versions to accommodate 22 – 40 mm internal rim width and tires 2” – 2.8”. Works in conjunction with a tubeless setup|
|PTN Pepi’s Tire Noodle||$55 per pair||100 – 180 g each||3 sizes, works with traditional tubeless setups|
|Air Fom||$100 per pair||240 – 280 g||3-part system that can accommodate 700 x 35C – 42C and 27.5 x 2.35” – 3″ tires. Replaces the inner tube.|
Based on the details in this table, we can see that while Tannus’s Armour might appear similar to many other foam tire inserts, its combination of features could deliver some meaningful differences, depending on your needs.
For example, except for Armour, Air Fom, and Stop-A-Flat, all of these options are geared solely toward mountain bike riders. So, if you ride skinnier tires, whether urban, gravel, or commuting, your available options shrink considerably.
And although their $60 per-pair price tag makes them the second least expensive option, Armour’s largest size also weighs more than all of the competitors above except for Vittoria, which might be a concern for some.
Speaking of which, the Vittoria system can accommodate tire widths up to 4”, whereas Armour reaches its limit at 2.5”, which could present an issue if you ride a plus-size or ‘fat’ bike.
On the other hand, the Huck Norris inserts might meet your needs better if you ride very aggressive terrain (downhill, enduro, etc.) and merely want to beef up your existing tubeless setup.
Let’s pull all of these details and wrap everything up in the next section.
Coming to a Conclusion About the Tannus Armour Foam Insert
We didn’t test Tannus’s Armour firsthand. But, based on what we learned from their website and comparing it to other popular foam inserts already on the market, it appears to offer a unique combination of features.
It’s the only option that retains the use of your inner tube, which allows you to customize air pressure as needed. Granted, this will still leave you exposed to flats if anything penetrates Armour’s Aither foam. But, when it comes to all-foam systems, you’re stuck with what ya’ got.
The system also works with everything from mountain and gravel bikes to urban and e-bike models, as long as you have at least 700 x 35C tires.
Together, the Armour insert from Tannus seems like one of the more versatile foam options available, as well as one of the least expensive. The company also appears to have a mostly positive online customer reputation, and they stand behind their solid tires with a 30-day refund policy.
Be sure to bookmark this article, and we’ll provide updates as rider feedback starts rolling in.
Keep rolling: How Tubeless Bike Tires Prevent Flats