Vittoria’s Air-Liner is billed as a revolutionary performance insert for tubeless mountain bike tyres. The company claims that Air-Liner increases cornering grip, braking traction, and lateral stability, while eliminating rim-strike impacts and bead-burping.
A release from Vittoria notes that ‘It used to be that riders had to choose between high-speed tyre stability, and ultimate grip… The reason was, the air pressure inside the tyre was the only thing preventing the tyre from bottoming out on the rim. While riders wanted this stability and protection, they also wanted traction and grip, which meant the tyre needed to be soft enough to deform to the terrain.’
Through casing and compound advancements, Vittoria adds that across the industry huge gains in stability and grip have been made; however, it notes that one thing has remained the same… the air in the tyre. According to the company, ‘the Air-Liner destroys the traditional compromise of stability vs. grip, and allows your tyres to remain stable, grippy, and controlled.’
The secret is the exclusive shape of the insert, and the proprietary low-density super-durable polymer material. ‘These factors work together to bring tubeless mountain bike tyre performance to the next level.’
The Air-Liner insert replaces air volume in the tyre, and when combined with the shape, provides a ‘fully tunable system that gives a progressive feel’. First, the insert replaces a portion of the air volume within the tyre. Vittoria claims that this reduced air volume allows the tyre to compress and rebound in a more controlled manner compared to standard tubeless systems.
‘Gone are the days of bottoming your rim on a sharp hit in the trail, only to have your tyre rebound uncontrollably.’
Because the insert is working with the remaining air in the tyre, impacts are absorbed and damped, much like in a suspension system. This protects both the tyre and wheel, which traditional suspension does not.
Second, by using a round cross section with V-channels, the Air-Liner insert provides a progressive feel that can be tuned. The top V-channel provides room for the tunable air chamber that sits directly beneath the tyre tread. Upon impact, the corner edges of the V-channel flex first, and progressively build to the thicker portion, as the tyre is compressed. This allows the tread to remain flexible, which increases traction, without sacrificing impact resistance.
The bottom V-channel allows for fine-tuning of the air chamber, and allows for full compatibility of all valve core styles. The round cross-section shape mimics the natural shape of the tyre, and supports a greater contact area within the sidewalls of the tyre casing. Side-to-side tyre stability is increased, yet the tread remains soft and grippy. This improves cornering, climbing, and braking performance.
‘In other words, the Air-Liner design places the material where you need it most, which is critical in decreasing bead-burps, and improving lateral stability in cornering.’
The Air-Liner is available in 4 sizes, to suit the needs of XC, Enduro, Trail and Plus bike tyre volumes, and is compatible with all makes and models of tyres.
Air-Liner is made from a proprietary high-density super-durable polymer material, specifically designed to increase the performance of mountain bike tyres and wheels. This polymer material has been tested to a projected life of 2000 hours under normal riding, or 1 full hour of run-flat downhill use under a typical rider.
Air-Liner is waterproof, and does not absorb tyre sealant. It will be available in June 2018. The insert comes in 4 widths (Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large) with an MSRP ranging from €69.00 to €75.00.