Nukeproof Horizon Advanced Rim Defence (ARD) Review


Review by Robert Johnston

The rim insert market is ever-growing, with new players producing their own take on the ultimate in rim protection and overall tire performance. Nukeproof have had the ARD in their lineup for the last couple of years, remaining confident that their offering stands up with the best of them. After a long time wondering how they would perform we were stoked to finally get our hands on a set to see how they stack up.

As is becoming the standard for mountain bike tire inserts, the Nukeproof Horizon Advanced Rim Defence (ARD) is constructed from a closed cell foam with Nukeproof’s own take on the ultimate shape and density to provide their desired ride characteristics. The ARD’s were developed with the athletes and staff members of the highest level in their company, providing feedback on the design iterations to create the most protective insert for your tires and rims they could without adding excessive weight. This led to the unique winged profile that presses against the tire sidewalls and prevents any direct impacts to the rim by the terrain, whilst also reducing the likelihood of tire pinch flats in hard compressions and adding some rigidity. This should then allow for a drop in pressure of your tires without them folding too readily, adding to the grip available on trail.

The closed foam cells prevent any tire sealant ingress in use, helping to keep their weight down over time and remove the need to add excess sealant to the system. Special valves that allow for easy inflation and deflation with the insert are included, sporting a unique copper color that lets other riders know your rim defense is advanced…or they just look cool. They are offered in 27.5” and 29” versions and are compatible with rim widths from 19-35mm.The ARD’s have a claimed weight of 144g for the 29” insert with a price of £49.99 for a pair, undercutting many of the options on the market.

Nukeproof Horizon Advanced Rim Defence (ARD) Review

Chucking the 29” onto the scales before fitting, I was a little surprised by their 175g weight each, some 31g (22%) more than the claimed weight. Even at this weight though, their weight is reasonable if they are as protective as claimed. Fitting them ranks on the easier side of the “proper” inserts I have tested, with the bead slipping into place with only slightly increased effort when compared with a tire alone. This relies on a slight tucking motion to ensure the bead sits fully underneath the winged portion of the insert, which is quite intuitive. This was on a 30mm ID rim with a 2.5” tire and would likely be a touch more difficult with some less-kind setups.

Airing up to the normal tire 26psi in the rear with the stiff downhill casing Kenda tire, things did not feel greatly different to before installing the insert, with the already stiff casing resisting most of the flex that is apparent in lesser tires. Throughout testing, pressures were dropped incrementally until the real magic of the ARD’s became apparent. As I worked my way down the tire pressures below 23psi I was expecting havoc with a tire folding at any given opportunity under my 200lb mass, but this did not end up occurring until an impressive 19psi was all that remained. Above this, the ARD did a stellar job at maintaining the integrity of the tire carcass under heavy cornering and g-out loads, leading to an impressive increase in grip and a significant reduction in deflection off rocks and roots on the trail. Once you hit the insert, you do know about it, with it not taking the ultimate sting out of the trail as well as the likes of Cushcore. But the low to mid-level impact protection was very good, avoiding the majority of rim “clungs” and leaving my rear wheel dent free as hard as I tried. The improvement in ride quality is certainly there, it just is not as profoundly muted as some, with the main gains stemming from the reduced tire pressures.

The sealant in my ARD-equipped wheel seemed to dry out a little faster than normal, so I pulled the insert out and chucked it on the scales. After a few months of bashing, weighing the insert after a quick shake-off of sealant revealed an added 20g, which is quite normal. There was some clotting of the Caffelatex sealant I was using after a very short time frame, with a ping pong sized sealant ball rolling in the tire. Swapping this out to the tried and trusted Stans sealant fared better, so perhaps it was the sealant brand that was to blame. After the testing period, during which they were subjected to more than their fair share of abuse, I am amazed by their condition. Save for the sealant residue, it is as if they are entirely unused. They have stretched off a little, but not to the extent that they can be felt rattling in the tire. If this durability continues then their value is nothing short of astounding.

The Wolf’s Last Word

It is not often a wheel related product lasts all that long under the torrent of my abuse, so I am impressed to say the Nukeproof Horizon Advanced Rim Defence inserts have stood up to a couple of months hard charging without flinching. They are not the most heavily damped insert on the market, but they allow for a great reduction in tire pressure by boosting the integrity of the tire carcass and softening the blow of roots and rocks onto the rim. For £50 a pair, you really cannot go wrong.

Price: – £50 /$70
Weight: 175g (29”, actual)

We Dig

Rim ding protection
Tire support

We Don’t

Can clot sealant
Heavier than advertised


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