The best protection against punctures is to just get rid of the inner tube altogether, and run your tyres tubeless, right? Maybe. Sure, you’ll have the luxury of running lower tyre pressures, gaining that all-important traction and grip, of particular benefit when riding fresh-cut, natural, loamy trails. But there is a limit to how low a pressure you can run before your tyre sidewalls start buckling in turns. London-based Tannus have a solution to the problem; Armour.

Tannus Armour puncture protection tyre insert

Tannus-Armour-Mountain-Bike-Tyre-Insert-Puncture-Protection_1
Aither-based Tannus Armour foam tyre insert

Tannus Armour is a foam insert made with Tannus’ patented foam compound called Aither, engineered and manufactured in Korea. Unlike other foam inserts we’ve seen on the mountain bike market, such as Cushcore, Tannus Armour isn’t designed to be inserted into a tubeless tyre set-up. Rather, it is designed to be used in conjunction with an inner tube. Hold on a second. That’s going to add weight. Yes, it certainly is; 310g for 27.5″ and 320g for 29″ wheels, per insert. Tannus, and Scott from Pedal Addiction Cycles who kindly fitted one for me, say that with the additional side-wall protection provided by the Armour, you can now chose to run tyres with a much lighter casing, saving weight there. 

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In practical terms, taking the popular Maxxis Minion DHF tyre as an example, the weight difference between the DH and Enduro casing tyre is over 500 grams. When all weight is considered (tube, sealant, valve, Armour insert), you are around 200 grams lighter running the Armour with a tube than you are running a standard tubeless setup. You now have better grip, improved vibration dampening and near 360° protection. 

Let’s put that to the test with another popular example. Take a 29″ Maxxis Aggressor for example. The Double Down casing option weighs 1170 grams, while the lighter EXO/TR is just 900 grams. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that 100 ml of Stans tyre sealant weighs 10 100 grams, and a standard Continental 29″ tube weighs 225 grams. Running the lighter EXO/TR tyre casing with a tube and a Tannus Armour insert brings the weight of your set-up to 1,445 grams. Running a tubeless set-up with the Double Down-cased tyre brings your set-up to 1,180 1270 grams. OK, the Tannus Armour set-up is considerably heavier with this particular example. But we aren’t lycra-clad road cyclists looking to save on every last gram, we are (and when I say we, I mean me) enduro and downhill mountain bikers who are somewhat interested in weight, but far more interested in downhill performance gains and reliable puncture protection. 

Tannus-Armour-Mountain-Bike-Tyre-Insert-Puncture-Protection

This is where we see the biggest appeal in Tannus Amour. As it sits flush to the inner tube and sidewalls of the tyre, it offers near 360° of puncture protection. Also, it should provide robust sidewall support to prevent the tyre buckling under laterally-applied force in fast corners. This means you can run your tyre pressure considerably lower than you would for a standard tubeless set-up. Racing on the set-up at a British National Enduro Series round at the weekend, I ran a front tyre pressure of just 14 psi. Happy days. There was definitely at least one significant front wheel case that I would not have gotten away with without the Armour insert, whether running a simple tube set-up or tubeless.

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Tannus Armour tester Roger Vieria riding an Armour set-up at the Downhill World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia

Roger Vieria, who rode the Tannus Armour in the recent World Cup in Maribor had a slice in his sidewall that he only noticed when changing tyres. He said “I have no idea how long I had the sidewall tear but with the Armour it doesn’t matter. If I was riding tubeless it would have gone flat straight away”.


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The wings on the sidewall of the Armour are ~2mm thick. They cushion the inner tube upon impact meaning there is never any contact of the tube with the rim, hence no pinch flats. The Armour should also provide additional protection to your rims during super hard hits.

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A 45 gram S-Tubo MTB inner tube from Tubolito

If you were really concerned about the the additional weight, you could always consider forking out on a hardy and lightweight S-Tubo MTB Tubolito inner tube (29″ weighs 45g), bringing your Tannus Armour set-up with the Aggressor tyre down to a much more appealing 1,265 grams, and of an equivalent, if not lighter weight than your traditional tubeless set-up. Now your set-up is more expensive, but perhaps in the long term the initial set-up expense would work out, when you consider that you don’t have to keep topping up your tyres with sealant.

Setting up your tyres with Tannus Armour is pretty simple. After popping one bead of the tyre over the rim, you just insert the Armour into the tyre (with a dusting of baby powder), then insert a lightly inflated tube before popping the other bead of the tyre on. If you have to use tyre levers, you can rest assured that the Armour will prevent you from damaging the inner tube with the edge of the levers.

Pricing and Availability

Retail of the Tannus Armour starts at £29.99 (~$40) and is available in a wide range of sizes, from a 20″ for a folding bike, all the way up to a 29″ x 2.5″.

Tannus.co.uk

17 COMMENTS

  1. No more sealant seeping through the sidewalls, or flats due to neglecting sealant top up (my weekend), very nice. They should work out a deal with Tubolito to include their tubes in each set.

  2. Expect you can also get away with a smaller tube, a 29×2.5 with the armor, would likely only need a 29×1.9 tube?

  3. Inserts are DH/enduro race products being marketed to cyclists as a whole. It is kinda silly because the first question that comes up is how much it weighs. Cycling “jounalists” take the bait, report on the weight, and then state the price. Rarely does it come up on how the ride quality is affected. Improving ride quality is what got us to where 30 lbs mountain bikes are now the norm rather than pinner hard tails.

    Do some real world comparisons to existing products with the same wheels and tires. Communicate ride quality and ease of installation and removal. Track the weight for sure but that should be secondary. Do a lap with a flat tire and report how well it held up. That simulates an actual DH/enduro race run where even with a flat you have to finish. it also provides information on durability.

  4. There have been foam inserts that supplement a tube like this before, I actually have a set of Specialized ones sitting in my garage, still in the packaging. I used them for a little while before tubeless DH tires became a thing. They have pros/cons, but one thing I don’t see addressed here is that most foams will lose their “squish” when placed under a sustained load, which is what the tube air pressure will do. In my case, I eventually got a flat and when I pulled the tire off the rim I found that the flat was caused by the foam insert, which had been compressed down to a thin hard layer, chafing through the tube at the very edge of the foam insert. My understanding is that with motorcycle partial mousse setups it is considered good practice to let the air out of the tube to improve the lifespan of the foam.

  5. I just started using these to test. They are not easy to put on with thicker sidewall tires. Punctured the tube with levers with those tires. Switched over to a lighter tire and while easier to put on still a PIA. My 2018 Instinct BC came to 32lbs/14.5kg. First ride with tubes around 20psi had great traction and seemed to stay planted more. Time will tell how things hold up.

  6. I feel like none of the reviews are calculating real weights or issues that this product solves for enduro or DH racing. I currently use DD and or DH casing tires plus sealant and inserts like Huck Norris or CushCore. Tire = 200-300 grams more than standard + Sealant 100 grams + Inserts 100-200 grams and still can slice or get pinch flats.

    This armor does not add that much total weight and should eliminate slice/puncture flats and most if not all pinch flats.

    I look forward to testing these soon.

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