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How do you remove the insert from a presta valve?

Having problems with fine needle punctures from either gorse and maybe chestnut shells. With the dry weather the spines are easily strong enough to pierce a tyre if you catch them at the wrong angle. Had three slows in as many days, all miniscule but inconvenient.

Idea is to whack some slime in the tube but that means removing the valve insert.

On same tack, see lots of recommendations for Armadillo but can't find one suited for rugged off-road riding. Some of it can get pretty muddy in winter so need something with a heavy(ish)tread on rear. Presently on 2.1 x 26 Panaracer FireXC Pro.

Any suggestions for gorse-proof tyre? Don't want to use those inserts - they are a sod to put back in place on a dark winter evening when it's p*ss*ng down. Been there, done that!

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