We tested Vittoria's new Air-Liner Light insert suitable for light XC or trail use. One of the main features that catches the eye is that it is teetotaler (does not drink latex) and has a truly record weight of only 50gr (100gr per pair). The fact of not drinking latex is given by an impermeable plastic film which prevents the absorption of the sealant.
The Air-Liner Light packaging contains an insert and a 40 mm long Vittoria Multiway Tubeless Valve.
But what is an insert for? If we are still with this question, the road is uphill, but we have the article for you (READ MORE). Summarizing, the 3 main functions are: anti-bead breaking, rim protection and run flat (support in the event of a puncture).
Starting from the success of the Air-Liner MTB inserts, Vittoria has created a new generation of MTB inserts whose advantages go far beyond puncture protection. Through close collaboration on the field with the athletes and mechanics of the BMC MTB Racing, Santa Cruz FSA and KTM-Vittoria teams, the Air-Liner Light has been developed to provide lightness, speed, protection and extreme run-flat capability.
The shape of the insert is designed to perfectly fit rims with an internal width from 25mm to 30mm. Thanks to its shape, the Air-Liner Light is always close to the rim – it is not an extra rotating mass inside the tyre. Compared to the old models, it has a closed circumference so we don't have to close it with zip ties.
The Vittoria Air-liner Light insert is sold with a Presta valve equipped with the classic side holes which are essential for inflating the tire without problems of obstruction by the insert itself. The material is a foam made with open cells capable of retaining the air inside them at a constant pressure; pressure that is released when the tire suffers an air loss. In this way, Air-Liner Light increases its original size and offers extraordinary support to the wheel-tyre system, allowing for run-flat pedaling.
VICTORY Universal Tire Levers
Brief excursus – it was also an opportunity to try out Vittoria's new tire lever: it certainly deserves a mention given its excellent build quality and some additional features.
Technical specifications Air-Liner Light
Air-Liner Light is presented as a super light ring (only 50g) thermo welded and colored in the iconic fluorescent green of Vittoria's Air-Liner inserts. It is compatible with mtb tires of size 29”x2.1” up to 29”x2.4”, with rim channels from 25mm to 30mm wide and with any type of sealing liquid. Air-Liner light must only be used with tubeless-ready tires and with multi-way tubeless valves.
RESPONSE OF THE TEST
We were able to try it for a long time since the first contact took place months ago before the definitive launch of the product. Assembly was easy: used to enduro inserts, I had anticipated to my friends that I would be in the garage for 2 days but instead, thanks to the softness of the insert, it only went on with a few curses. With a minimum of dexterity it is possible to do the assembly independently, often not so in the inserts intended for gravity. Excellent start.
The test was carried out with Vittoria Syerra 29″x2.4 tyres, specific for Down Country and therefore excellent for extreme XC use. The tires weigh just over 800gr (READ THE TEST OF VITTORIA SYERRA 29X2.4). I started the test with the standard pressure with which I rode without insert, ie 1.5 at the front and 1.7 at the rear (weight 75kg). With the inserts I went down to 1.3 front and 1.5 rear with better driving sensations deriving from the use of a lower pressure.
Naturally the pressure depends on your driving style, body weight and the tires used: these data that I have just provided can give you more or less an idea of the pressure range where you need to rotate. But I didn't feel the perception that I was using an insert inside it: surely this is a very different functioning compared to the old version of the Air-Liner, very dense with a crisp response.
Of course, be careful not to overdo it with the low pressure otherwise the drift effect is around the corner: the Vittoria Air-Liner Light is in any case a light product with a support that cannot get to be like other inserts that weigh 3 times more .
SITUATION AFTER 6 MONTHS
After having consumed a train of tires on technical dirt roads (about 900km), the product has maintained its solidity on a structural level even if it shows clear signs of wear in the center. The rear Air-Liner (see photo) on the side is almost intact, just a small cut, while in the center it is marked right in the middle with a groove of about half a centimeter on the surface. The front air-liner has fewer marks but the same type of deterioration in the center of the product, albeit to a lesser extent.
If your goal is absolute grip using very low pressures, there are better inserts that do it for this purpose, if instead you are a competitor who wants to use approximately the same pressure, lowering just a little, but being sure not to throwing away the race in case of mistakes or very technical sections at high speed, this is your product.
The problem with the old inserts, which is why I didn't like them initially, was the fact that you felt so much weight inside and they drank latex. Then on the gravity side (Enduro/DH) came light products that didn't drink latex and so I started using them in the competitive arena (perceiving many advantages in terms of performance and comfort). This Vittoria Air-Liner Light does not drink latex and is light: so I was satisfied! A must for the competitive athlete looking for an insert that goes straight to the point, protecting from big impacts and that doesn't weigh down the structure too much.
The disadvantages to mention, typical of the inserts, are 2: the price and the maintenance. The price, because we still have an extra component to insert and a tire change plus insert change, should not be underestimated. Another disadvantage to mention is the maintenance in case of extreme situations, such as punctures away from home. In fact, the inserts should not be seen as anti-puncture systems: there is practically the same probability of puncturing as on a tubeless (for further information, visit this link).
The Air-Liner Light, as mentioned, is a very technical product developed for competition and these are the users who will perceive the greatest advantages.
|ADVANTAGES||Solid structure compared to ultra-light weight. Drink little latex even in case of clean cuts of the carcass. Not round but square shape.|
|DEFECTS||Like most inserts, it requires a minimum of maintenance.|
More information at OFFICIAL SITE.
Price of an insert: €59.95