Mountain biking has definitely become more gnarly. Advances in bike technology have made it possible for even moderately skilled riders to tackle challenging terrain with a decent level of confidence. But there does come a time when your bike needs a little additional support. The Foamo tyre insert from CSIXX is made to help reduce tyre and rim drama. We tested it to see if that’s indeed the case…

“Hey Bru, run your tyres a bit softer for more traction and speed…” Puncture! Rim ding!

“Hey Bru, run your tyres harder to prevent punctures and rim dings…” Loss of traction, loss of speed!

It’s not easy being an Enduro racer in Gauteng. We have limited gradient and where we do have gradient, we have seriously rocky terrain.

One of our TREAD crew is a competitive Enduro racer and he lost an estimated two minutes on one of his race runs due to whacking his rear wheel on a sharp rock. The rim was fortunately okay and the tyre actually wasn’t too damaged. But the estimated two minutes he lost on that run turned out to be the difference between fifth place and first place in his category.

A cross-section view of how the CSIXX Foamo Insert sits inside the tyre and against the rim.

He was running appropriate tyres and he didn’t feel the pressure was too low, so we figured that with another Enduro event at the same venue a couple of weeks later, it would be a good way to test the CSIXX Foamo Rim and Tyre Protector.

What is it?

It’s a compressed foam layer that you insert into your tyre to help give additional protection in the case of a hard hit on a rock. CSIXX makes different sizes for different types of tyre/wheel – Skinny (1.3-1.8 inch tyres), Wide (1.9-2.4-inch tyres) and Extra Wide (2.5-3.0-inche tyres). It also comes in Single (10mm) or Double (20mm) thickness.

How does it work?

Well, it’s really just a cushion that reduces the risk of a rock or sharp, hard edge from damaging your tyre and/or your rim.

Is it easy to fit?

No! It took three of us to seat the last bit of the tyre bead. THREE! To be fair, only that last part is difficult, the rest is simple. There’s a QR code on the box that you scan and it opens the YouTube video that shows how to fit the Foamo Inserts. They cunningly show just one guy fitting it, but skip the part where he had to call friends to help seat the final bit of bead…

What about sealant?

The Foamo is non-absorbent, so it doesn’t soak up your sealant, but it does displace it differently. It’s perforated with large, evenly spaced holes to keep it light without compromising it’s integrity.

Are the Foamo inserts heavy?

They range between 100g and 165g each, depending on the thickness and width. So not really that heavy. Besides, when you’re smashing over rugged descending terrain, a couple of hundred grams is the last thing you’re worrying about…

Our tester with the CSIXX Foamo Inserts during his Enduro race runs. They didn’t affect the handling, but they did give him a lot more confidence over rocky sections.

We used a Wide Double in the rear wheel and a Wide Single in the front wheel. Yes, it adds a little weight to your wheel, but not anything significant and not that the bike feels any different. It didn’t affect the handling but it did give our test rider more confidence to hit lines he would normally not have hit before he added the Foamo Inserts.

In the second Enduro event, four of the lines were repeated and his times were quicker on all of them in similar weather conditions. Obviously the line that he had the tyre issue on initially was a lot faster and he cruised over that same section where he’d experienced the tyre drama previously. On the other three lines, all of which include rocky sections, he was 4 seconds faster on one and 5 seconds faster on the other two. That’s a big difference on runs ranging from just over 2 minutes to just under 4 minutes in duration. And really, the main difference was his confidence in hitting straighter, more aggressive lines due to having the Foamo Inserts.

One of the great things about CSIXX is that it’s a South African company and the Foamo Inserts are actually made by CSIXX at their facility in Cape Town.

 PRICE: From R385-R549 (depending on width and thickness)

For more information or to order yours online, head over here.