Rimpact kindly supplied a set of inserts in both 27.5- and 29-inch sizes for testing. I mounted them to both my bikes so every ride I’ve had in the last four months has been on a Rimpact-equipped bike. I’ve ridden all over the UK, including the Fort William World Cup track on a trail bike, so needless to say, they’ve seen a whole lot of abuse.
Comparing the Rimpact to what I would consider to be the market-leading insert, CushCore, the Rimpact is “less” in many ways. Compared to the ultra-spongy CushCore, there is a little less cushion and support but they still remove a decent amount of buzz and take some of the sting out of rough terrain. Considering they weigh considerably less; cost a fraction of the price; and are much easier to fit, the Rimpact SendNoodz certainly hold their own in the increasingly competitive insert market.
A potentially contentious positive in the Rimpact’s performance compared to CushCore is that they do give more trail feedback. While the Cushcore can really deaden out a section of trail and mute some of the sensations of speed and roughness, these inserts maintain some feeling, which will be appreciated by some. Much the same as choosing to use a shorter travel bike, choosing to use the Rimpact over a CushCore can maintain some of the trail feedback that gives you that sense of speed and roughness.
The inserts stood up remarkably well to the test of time, with just a few minor cuts in the outer edges, but no notable deformation to the overall shape or any perceivable reduction in stiffness. The “masking tape” at the joint proved to be sufficiently durable, with some visual deterioration over the course of the test but no tearing or performance issues. Rimpact tells us the visual difference is just for aesthetic purposes so they can put their logo on the unit.
Unlike many other insert systems I’ve used in the past, the Rimpacts hold next to none of the sealant, reducing the need to over-fill the tire to compensate, and thus not adding any unnecessary extra weight. This was true for the duration of the testing, even when some cuts began to form in the outer edges. The Rimpact valves performed as advertised too, with no detrimental clogging. Running the inserts with a set of regular tubeless valves doesn’t work quite so well, as the air pathway can be blocked by the insert, so I’d recommend purchasing the inserts with their special valves.
Through the duration of the test, riding some ultra rocky terrain and really trying to punish the wheels, I never suffered from a torn tire. I did manage to add a couple of minor dings to my rims, however there was definitely a noticeable reduction in the severity of these compared to what I expected – running 3 psi lower than normal the rims still looked fresher than usual.
The Rimpacts do also help to keep the tire held tight on the rim as claimed, with a noticeable reduction in tire roll and burping air through hard “cutty” style cornering. That’s not to say they have the locking effect that air-based inserts like Procore have, but they definitely help things in this respect.