Flat Tire Defender Review

Foam tire inserts have become more popular over the last year, with new systems introduced from Cush Core, Huck Norris, and Flat Tire Defender. After all this time we are still trying to figure out how to keep air in a bicycle tire! All tires and rims certainly have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of stability, impact resistance, durability, and strength. The Flat Tire Defender tire insert is designed to help protect the rim from sharp impacts and reduce harsh vibrations. In this review, we are going to check out how the Flat Tire Defender foam insert held up on one of the roughest tracks in the world, the Fort William world cup coarse.

Flat Tire Defender - Worldwide Cyclery

Specifications

  • Tires Used: Maxxis Minion DHR II DH 
    • 2.4" width gives the tire a great shape and volume on the 30.5mm rim
    • 1300 gram tire
    • 3C MaxxGrip rubber compound

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We carry a full lineup of Flat Tire Defender Products. Check them out to see exactly what's best suited for your bike!

To learn more about the different offerings from FTD, check out the Flat Tire Defender product overview and see an installation video done by Aaron Gwin's mechanic.

Max Morgan Santa Cruz V10 - Worldwide Cyclery

Santa Cruz V10 with the Flat Tire Defender Installed 

Riding and Performance

Pros

  • The first time I got to try out the Flat Tire Defender was at the Fort William World Cup. If you know anything at all about the track in Fort William, you know it is extremely rough and brutal on equipment, wheels especially. This was a perfect place to use the foam inserts with so many harsh impacts, any extra wheel and rim protection is helpful.
  • Installing the insert is not really any more difficult that setting up a tubeless tire otherwise. Make sure the insert is not twisted, use the same amount of tire sealant and off you go. I started my tire pressures the same as what I would have otherwise keeping in mind tire pressure at Fort William would be higher than at smoother less exposed tracks. 27psi front and 29 psi rear
  • I immediately noticed a difference in how the wheel and tire were absorbing the vibration and impact from the trail. The Flat Tire Defender provided a more damped feel overall and gave me less harsh feedback through the handlebar.
  • Most importantly, the foam insert provided much more impact protection than riding without one. FTD says that using the foam insert allows the tire and wheel combination to handle 20% higher impact force without damage compared to without the insert. I was all the sudden able to push through rough sections without feeling like I was going to smash my rims on big square edge rocks. This feeling is what made me enjoy riding with FTD so much. 

Max Morgan Ft. William World Cup - Worldwide Cyclery

Riding the Flat Tire Defender in Fort William Scotland 

Cons

  • When I first used the Flat Tire Defender, I installed foam inserts in both the front and the rear wheels. It didn't take long to notice the gyro effect happening when turning the front wheel. Because the first time I could get my hands on an FTD was at a race, I didn't have time to get used to how the bike was riding so I decided to remove the insert in the front wheel. 
  • Since then, I have loved riding with only a foam insert in the rear wheel.   

What's The Bottom Line? 

Running the Flat Tire Defender foam insert is a great way to knock down some of the unwanted vibrations when riding. For me, the biggest difference when running the insert was its ability to protect the rim in direct square edge impacts. Keeping the rim from being damaged keeps air in the tire.

This may change soon, but right now I am only running the FTD in the rear wheel and might try the front wheel again to see how it feels on different tracks. Overall, the FTD seems like a big win. 

About Me

Max Morgan is 25 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 7 years, competing in the U.S. Pro GRT series and UCI World Cup series. Check out Max's rider spotlight here! 
Instagram: @mxmorgan77

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October 12, 2017

Flat Tire Defender › Industry Nine › product review › Wheels ›

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