Are tire inserts safe? All you need to know about foam inserts for tubeless systems

What are tire inserts, how do they work and are they safe?

Vittoria tire inserts
(Image credit: Vittoria)

Cycling cognoscenti love a debate, and lately, the hooked vs. hookless rim discussion has been getting a lot of airtime. Not so long ago, the debate was between tubeless tires vs. tubulars, but it didn’t take long for tubeless to emerge as the victor in that battle, so we’ve collectively moved on to what may seem like yet another exercise in splitting ever-finer hairs. Corollary to this discussion is the complication introduced via the use of tire inserts, yet another factor in the air, rubber, carbon, foam and sealant mix keeping riders upright and headed in the right direction. 

Having trouble making sense of it all? Let’s take a step back.

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Tyler Boucher
Freelance Writer

Tyler Boucher is a former (and occasionally still) bike racer across several disciplines. These days, he spends most of his time in the saddle piloting his children around in a cargo bike. His writing has appeared in magazines published in Europe, the UK and North America. He lives in Seattle, Washington.