After reading a multitude of reviews on the CushCore and of talking briefly with epic descender TM I decided to give it a go. The 2.3 Aggressor on my Yeti 5.5 was worn and I was feeling rear slide out in the turns so I thought I'd switch the whole rear wheel traction factory. I'll pop a picture below but to be clear, this amount of tire wear is very noticeable.
Why CushCore? The short answer is a trusted reference from a friend who has tried it all. Simply put, he liked it better than the Huck Norris. The longer answer is that I looked into it and the physics made sense to me. The CushCore (CC) mounts at the contact point of the tire and the rim, preventing rim hits and adding lateral support. I had been opting for thicker casing to accomplish this but I'm hoping that the CC gives even more support and protection without slowing the roll appreciably.
I purchased the CushCore from Backcountry for $154.96 with taxes and shipping. Minus the 4% promised eBates discount I may or may not see. It hit the doorstep in 2 days as promised.
I decided to do only the rear as that's where I have the most hits and I'm fairly comfortable with the limits of my front Minion DHF right now. I may be back doing the front after a few rides which is exactly what TM did.
Baseline stats: Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 DoubleDown casing with unknown/unmeasured volume of sealant on my stock DT Swiss XM 481 wheels with a XO1 Eagle cassette yielding a baseline weight of 6.0 lbs.
After reading multiple posts on MTBR and online reviews regarding the "pleasant" mounting experience I started with a nice cold beer on the couch. I opened the box and the heavy plastic-like smell of something synthetic filled the room. On the inside of the packaging was a sticker that essentially said read or watch the instructions before attempting.
Onto the youtube video. I'm fairly versed in mounting tubeless tires and there were no surprises here. I've done maybe 20-30 or so in my life. The video made it seem simple but my online "research" said otherwise. This was going to be a project. I saw that some people took hours to mount the CushCore. For me, the process had just begun.
I grabbed another beer, headed to the garage, and cued up Nelly. A digression: I'd been singing
"Grillz"all evening after talking to a group of biker chicks (of the MTB flavor) and they were discussing the fake front teeth they had, one of which was from a recent bike crash making a heroic attempt on the Horsethief Bench Entry. Yeah, she's bada$$.
Back to the topic. Nelly was blaring and I knew I was goin' Gangsta on this wheel. After measuring the baseline stats on my present wheel setup (above). I took the tire off, wiped off the sealant and pitched it. I then measured the "empty" wheel weight.
It was time to get to business. Nelly blaring, safety glasses on, I mounted the included valve and then stood on a cardboard tube to keep the wheel on the ground as I wrapped the CushCore on. It took 2 tries but it came nicely. I then squirted the whole inside of the tire with a very dilute soap solution. The wheel/CC system went in the middle and I worked the first bead. I was able to hand mount it except for the last 15% or so. As the instructions suggested, I used my plastic tire lever to push the bead to the middle under the CC. I then used the plastic lever to mount the rest. Money! One side done. Nelly is on song #3.
This time I put the tire on top of a garbage can. It was very helpful. The second side went much like the first but I put a lot more soapy water on the bead. That seemed to help, especially at the end. Again, plastic Pedro's tire lever pushing the bead to the center and then on the bead itself to get it all the way on.
Once the beads were set I used a compressor with the valve core removed to mount the tire. The beads snapped in place with no apparent leak immediately. I disconnected the compressor, let the air whoosh out and used an injector to put in 3 oz of Orange Seal, replaced the core, and reinflated it to 40 PSI. By the time the wheel was on the scale, Nelly was on song #5.
I mounted the tire on the bike and gave it an air spin. No wobble. This was nowhere near as as bad as I anticipated and I wasn't even tired of Nelly yet.
Time: 5 Nelly songs
Personal damage: None. Knuckes intact, no blood, no splatter.
--Maxxis 2.3 DoubleDown Aggressor on wheel with (unmeasurable) old sealant: 6.00 lbs
--Empty wheel (no tire/sealant): 3.36 lbs
--Maxxis 2.5 Exo Casing with 3 oz sealant: 6.34 lbs
--> Summary penalty moving from a DD 2.3 to an EXO 2.5 with CC: 0.34 lbs (154g)
I moved from a 2.3 to 2.5 Aggressor with an exchange from DD to Exo casing for a total weight penalty of 154g assuming my sealant was equivalent. My gut says there is more sealant in the new build but tough to quantify.