Tested: Huck Norris Anti-Flat Tubeless Protection

The answer is … yes, but not every flat.

Popping a Huck Norris in your tyre will decrease the chance of punctures drastically, but it won't eradicate them.
Popping a Huck Norris in your tyre will drastically decrease your chance of punctures, but it won’t eradicate them.

What the hell? How can it ‘sort of’ stop punctures?

Whilst testing the Huck Norris, we did get one puncture, but we would’ve had a whole heap more had we not been running the system.

We did get one puncture, but we would’ve had a whole heap more had we not been running the system.

How do we know we would’ve had more punctures? Well, when we swapped the Huck Norris between wheelsets after one month of use, there were numerous dents, tears and punctures in the strip that indicated the tyre had bottomed out onto the rim, and that the Huck Norris took the blow as opposed the tyre’s bead or sidewall.

Sydney shredder, Marcel Nunes at the EWS Tasmania using Huck Norris – check out the rim!
Double whammy! No flats or wheel damage.
The Huck Norris takes the beating from rocks and roots, instead of your tyres and rims.
Huck Norris takes the beating from rocks and roots instead of your tyres and rims.

The second indicator for us was line choice. With Huck Norris on board, we could just be more reckless. Running our regular pressures with a set of trail tyres, we could take lines that would’ve have almost certainly been rim bending tyre deflators without the system.

With Huck Norris on board, there’s a lot more confidence to attack rocky sections of trail.

So, where did we get a puncture?

The puncture we had was on a rocky downhill track, where we went full whack into some pretty nasty rocks. Keep in mind too, that we were using trail-weight tyres, not downhill tyres.

The one and only puncture occurred with a hole punched through the tread are of the tyre. When we removed the tyre we saw that the puncture had occurred directly above one of the holes in the Huck Norris strip (the strip isn’t solid, there are cutaways). Talk about bad luck!

As we mentioned before, the numerous dents and tears in the Huck Norris when we removed it proved it was doing its job most the time. But it’s not bullet proof flat protection if you hit something hard and it happens to line up with one of the strip’s holes, where there’s not a layer between the tyre and rim.

The holes in the centre of the Huck Norris provide no protection from sharp rocks puncturing your tyre's tread, which happened to us.
The holes in the centre of the Huck Norris provide no protection from sharp rocks puncturing your tyre’s tread, which happened to us.

Did Huck Norris save our rims?

Much like preventing punctures, the Huck Norris does an admirable job of protecting your rims most the time. Running a set of Bontrager Line Elite 29” wheels, there were marks on the Huck Norris that did not correspond with a ding in the rim, indicating that the system has indeed protected the rim from a nasty impact from the trail.

The Huck Norris takes most of the sting out of rim strikes.
Huck Norris takes most of the sting out of rim strikes.

One of the touted benefits of Huck Norris is that you can run lower pressures. This is true, but the lower you go, the more you tempt fate.  Our test trails are very, very rocky, and so we ultimately decided to keep our pressures the same as normal but then relish in the fact that we could ride harder and faster with more confidence.

If you're keen to drop your tyre pressures using the Huck Norris, make sure you go about it slowly.
If you’re keen to drop your tyre pressures using the Huck Norris, make sure you go about it slowly.

During the course of testing, we did get a couple of dents in our rim, but the impacts that caused them were very harsh, and we hate to think what would have happened without Huck Norris installed. At the minimum, we’d be looking at a flat tyre, at worst, a properly dinged up rim.


Does Huck Norris make inflating tubeless tyres easier?

It sure does! We inflated tyres with Huck Norris on five different occasions, and each time they went up with no fuss, including when we used a regular track pump. The pressure the Huck Norris places on the tyre does seem to force the tyre into the bead, and as we take lots of tyres on and off here at Flow, that attribute was greatly appreciated.

Tyre installation with the Huck Norris is a breeze.
Tyre installation with the Huck Norris is a breeze.

Is it easy to swap a Huck Norris between wheels?

Yep! Swapping the Huck Norris between wheels was very simple indeed. We covered the installation process in our First Bite, and the only difference when swapping a used Huck Norris into a new rim is to check for damage to the strip, and making sure you wipe down the strip to remove excess tubeless sealant, especially if you’ll be using a different brand of sealant than you used in the previous wheelset.


If my Huck Norris is damaged, will I need a new one?

Potentially. As you can see from our photos, after a month of regular riding our Huck Norris is already showing signs of wear, and some solid tears are emerging, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out to make sure it hasn’t torn completely, as if it does the system you’ll need a new strip.

We're keen to assess the longevity of the Huck Norris in our Praxis Works C32 Mountain wheels.
We’re keen to assess the longevity of the Huck Norris in our Praxis Works C32 Mountain wheels.

We’ll be running the Huck Norris in our Praxis Works C32 Mountain Wheels – so we’ll keep you updated on their lifespan.


Do you need more sealant than you would with a regular tubeless tyre?

Yes. The strip does absorb some sealant, so it’s probably wise to use about 1.5 times as much sealant as you regularly would.

You'll need to use more sealant than you regularly would with the Huck Norris.
You’ll need to use more sealant than you regularly would with the Huck Norris.

This also means that you’re adding more weight to the system, so for us, the added system weight (with 1.5 times as much sealant and the Huck Norris) was about 280 grams. Not an insignificant amount, but if you’re riding hard, or racing enduro, then it’s an acceptable penalty for some much-needed added security.


So, is Huck Norris worth it?

Huck Norris is sold per wheel or in kits for both wheels. Prices start from around $49 per wheel or $89 for a kit, in both 27.5″ and 29″ size in size small, medium and large depending on rim width.

We think so, it’s not too much to fork out for about $89 for a whole lot of insurance. Despite the product not completely eradicating punctures, it does a pretty good job of stopping more than its fair share of them. Similarly, whilst the Huck Norris doesn’t keep your rims in showroom condition, we’d far prefer the added protection when your expensive rim is about to meet something immovable on the trail, usually at high speed.

Our only complaint about the Huck Norris would be the wear ours is showing already after only a month of use, but we’ve got plenty more riding in store aboard our Praxis Works wheels, so stay tuned for further updates!

Mountain Bikes Direct have Huck Norris in stock right now, have a look here.


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Flow’s First Bite: Huck Norris Anti-Flat Tubeless Protection

Huck Norris is a nifty product that could be a godsend for heavy handed riders.
Huck Norris is a nifty product that could be a godsend for heavy handed riders.

Here at Flow, we’ve got one of these riders who works with us, and he’s an each way bet to get a puncture or damage a rim on every ride.

Dinged rims are no fun.
Dinged rims are no fun.

Other than the annoyance of having to stop, get tubeless sealant on everything and pump a tube up to flat-proof pressures, having a habit like this can be costly, both in terms of lost riding time and the dollars handed over for new rubber and rims.

We like tubeless sealant in bottles and tyres, not all over our riding kit.
We like tubeless sealant in bottles and tyres, not all over our riding kit.
Damaging expensive rims might not be as bad as losing your wallet, but they both have similar outcomes.
Damaging expensive rims might not be as bad as losing your wallet, but they both have similar outcomes.

Where are we going with this?

You’re probably wondering right now if this is a First Bite for a product or an opinion piece about how annoying getting flats is, so let’s jump into what instigated this rant in the first place.

This is one of those ‘why the hell didn’t someone make this earlier?’ kind of products.

Huck Norris is a very exciting product for anyone that runs tubeless and hates flats and dinged rims. Described as an ‘Anti-Flat Tubeless Protection System’, it utilises a closed cell foam insert that goes on the inside of your tyre and acts as a barrier between the tyre and your rim. Sounds pretty simple? It is! This is one of those ‘why the hell didn’t someone make this earlier?’ kind of products.

Huck to Flat anywhere without worries!
Huck2Flat anywhere without worries!

The foam is a fair bit thicker than your average yoga mat, and it springs back into place quickly upon impact- we mucked around whacking and stabbing it using things like forks and hammers before installing it into our tyres and we were pleasantly surprised with how sturdy it is.


What does Huck Norris do inside the tyre?

The benefit to having this additional layer between tyre and rim is when the tyre bottoms out onto the rim (as it tends to in reckless hucking situations, hence the name), the tyre won’t pinch against the rim and cause a flat.

The Huck Norris acts as a shield between tyre and rim.
The Huck Norris acts as a shield between tyre and rim, as well as protection against nasty rim-killers on the trail.

The secondary benefit is that the offending rock, root or piece of usually immovable trail that’s caused your tyre to bottom out won’t ding or destruct your rim. It’s a rim-win situation!


How does the Huck Norris go on the trail?

We’re yet to give the Huck Norris a solid thrashing out on the trail, but if anyone is going to see whether Huck Norris allows you to run lower pressures without the risk of pinch flats and rim demolition, it’s our very own Destruction Dan here at Flow, so stay tuned. 


What wheelsize options does it come in?

All of them! Huck Norris comes packaged in the 29” size, but to adapt the strips to 27.5” or 26” wheelsizes simply cut the inserts at the marked spots and strap them together with the attached Velcro- simple!

We used eight centimetres of velcro to join the strip together.
We used eight centimetres of velcro to join the strip together.
This is the most difficult step of installing the Huck Norris.
This is the most difficult step of installing the Huck Norris.

Huck Norris is also available in three different width sizes for different sized internal rim widths. See below for the available options:

HCKNRRS
Huck Norris comes in three sizes for different internal rim widths.

Size S: 21-28mm internal rim width

Size M: 27-35mm internal rim width

Size L: 34-45mm internal rim width

We're using a Medium Sized Huck Norris for the 28mm internal rim width on our Bontrager Line wheelset.
We’re using a Medium Sized Huck Norris for the 28mm internal rim width on our Bontrager Line wheelset.

As an added bonus, Huck Norris also comes packaged inside of a fender for your fork, a very inventive use of packaging indeed!

The included 'Facekick Fender' is a great use of packaging.
The included ‘Face Kick Fender’ is a great use of packaging.

How do you install the Huck Norris?

The installation of the Huck Norris is pretty simple. If you’re putting the system into an existing wheel/tyre combination, you’ll need to take one side of the tyre off the rim and slip the Huck Norris in (you’ll have to cut it to size if you’re running 27.5” or 26” wheels).

The strips press easily into the carcass of the tyre.
The strips press easily into the carcass of the tyre.

Once the strip is pressed against the inside of the tyre, simply reinstall the tyre, add tubeless sealant (you’ll need to add a little more than usual as the strip will begin to absorb drips and drabs over time) and pump your tyre back up.

The inventors of Huck Norris claim that because the strip pushes the tyre outwards and therefore forces the bead into the side of the rim that only a track pump is required for installation, and in our experience this was the case, with our Bontrager tyres sealing up easily with a floor pump.

All sealed up!
All sealed up!

If you’re still struggling, or you just want to watch Huck Norris’ funky homemade installation tutorial, see below.


How much does it cost?

The Huck Norris retails for $99.95, which might seem a bit steep for what is essentially foam rubber, but if this system saves just one tyre or rim from destruction, it’s paid for itself already. If you’re rolling on an expensive set of carbon hoops, it would seem that Huck Norris is a total no-brainer – $99 seems like a very cheap insurance policy for a $2000 set of wheels!

If Huck Norris saves your rims from an intimate date with a rock, then it's worth every cent.
If Huck Norris saves your rims from an intimate date with a rock, then it’s worth every cent.

Adding to this, Mountain Bikes Direct, who’re the exclusive distributors of Huck Norris in Australia are having a sale on Huck Norris products, making it an even more appealing purchase.


Where to now?

As we said at the outset, we have the perfect person in our team for testing the Huck Norris. He combines an apparent magnetism to solid objects on the trail with a fast riding style, and we’re looking forward to seeing if the system can hold up to the abuse he dishes out, so stay tuned!