My email just reminded me that it's been exactly a year since I bought the Huck Norris rim protector from Worldwide Cyclery. After a few thousand miles on it, I figure I'm ready to give it an honest review.
I decided it was time for some foam in my tire after I destroyed my second rear wheel trying to keep up with my suspension-endowed buddies on a 29+ hardtail on the rocky trails of the Colorado Front Range. Getting the tire pressure just perfectly right for that setup requires a daily leap of faith, and no matter how careful I am there's still bound to be that terrible CLANG every once in a while that tells me I'll be spending the night with a beer, a truing stand and maybe a pair of pliers if I really blew it. In all honesty, I should have bought one of these things a long time ago.
The Huck Norris is cheap and weighs basically nothing, compared to a few heavier foam rim protectors out there. Unlike those, it doesn't add any sort of tire stabilization or really any benefits other than protecting my rim from the dreaded clang.
I'll admit I was a little nervous installing it because it looked only barely wide enough to actually cover my rims (Sun Ringle Duroc 50) lip-to-lip. So I was hesitant at first, and nervous to drop my tire pressure to that ideal level--but over time I let it go lower and lower until I was rolling right at that perfect low-teens PSI squish-and-grip. I haven't heard the CLANG on my new rim, not once. It's out of true, but that's from hard hits and generally poor maintenance (as is my MO), not rim strikes, and I'll fix it once I dust off the truing stand that Huck rendered mostly obsolete.
The foam strip has proven just wide enough for my rims and 3.0 tires, and there's not a single dent in my new rim. I was particularly happy to have the comfort of the Huck Norris during a remote bikepack in central Utah, where the baby heads, cactus, and ledgy sandstone wanted nothing more than to strand me out there to blow through my spare tubes and drink from a tiny drip in a slot canyon until I ran out of food and had to eat the bamboo fibers in my helmet.
Huck is incredibly easy to install and forget about--and it's given me incredible peace of mind and ability to make poor decisions with greater confidence. I'd prefer the comfort of a few extra millimeters of width for my enormous tires, but that might be more out of caution than actual need. Totally worth the $40 to save a $300 wheel. I'll be putting one in my front tire too as soon as it's time for a new one.
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