We were introduced to Adam Krefting, owner of CushCore, by Mike Ferrentino from Bike Magazine. We met Mike on a dirt bike ride a few months ago and he thought it would be good for us to take a look at Adam’s product, the CushCore Tire Suspension System. CushCore, an innovative foam insert for tubeless mountain bike tires, is a product Adam designed to reduce pinch flats, decrease rolling resistance, and provide tire sidewall support. We exchanged emails with Adam and received a pair of inserts for our bike. We ended up installing the inserts prior to the Downieville Classic XC race. This is an awesome course and has a ton of rocks, drops, along with a 15-mile rowdy descent into town. The descent has a lot of famous trails long ridden on the Downieville Downhill and XC classic. We had comparison data from Downieville from prior months of testing. At the last minute, we threw on our system and decided to grab data from the race.
A couple of weeks after the race, we analyzed the before and after data. We threw away the data from the long climb to the top and decided to compare telemetry from the top of the baby head descent all the way to town. This is about one hour of sustained rocky downhill with a couple of logging road reprieves between the third and first Divide trail sections, a great section of trail for an A/B comparison. A substantial difference could be felt on the bike before/after CC inserts, so we knew something was happening but didn’t quite know without analyzing the data.
The results were startling. We track a lot of metrics with our system, vibration, position, velocities, etc. We slice and dice the data several different ways so you get a complete view of the ride. The first thing that grabbed our attention was the fork up and down movement decreased by 15%. This means that for the same run without the CushCore, the fork was doing more work.
The second thing to note is that for the same trail, the overall vibration was reduced by 10%. When we described this to Adam, we said to think of it as taking 10% less punches in a fight. We also tracked compression and rebound strokes in different stroke range buckets. What we discovered is that in every stroke range, the number of compression strokes were reduced, in some cases by 50%! Lastly, the top compression speed we noted was also reduced by 15%.
Besides feeling a difference, we quantified some big changes. We shared this data to Adam, he was really interested. We decided we needed to repeat the test with more riders to see if we had a repeatable hypothesis. So we repeated the test with several riders and we saw the same results across different bikes. We didn’t want to skew the results further by modifying anything related to tire pressure, suspension preload, sag, tokens, or clicker settings. Our travel time down the mountain only changed by 6 seconds for a 1 hour descent. The simple conclusion is that with CushCore, you increase your effective travel by 10 to 15%. This is significant. In essence, you will have an additional suspension margin which means you should be able to push your bike harder to to get an equivalent “max speed” feel on the bike.
We are excited to work with CushCore. It was another demonstration of the enormous work we put into our hardware and software. We were able to turn this data analysis around quickly because we had already done the work building the system. All we did was click a button and compare the results from the different runs and riders. For Adam, it was the first time the benefits of his ingenious product were quantified with hard data.
We plan to do more testing with Adam. Adam also owns KreftMoto, a leading KTM suspension tuner. We will be putting their suspension modifications to the test in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates!