barney nukeproof horizon wheels

Review: The Nukeproof Horizon Wheelset Costs Less Than £350 And Is Barney-Proof

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Barney does his level best to destroy Nukeproof’s Horizon wheelset. And, as in so many other things he tries in life, he fails.

Nukeproof is a brand with a long and storied history, the most recent successful iteration of which has to be a certain Mr Sam Hill and his propensity for winning Enduro things aboard his Nukeproof Mega. To capitalise on Mr Hill’s prodigious cycling acumen, Nukeproof has released a range of quality branded peripherals; pedals, bars and so forth, with considerable success.

These Horizon wheels are not Sam Hill branded (he rides Mavic, as it happens). What they are, though, is very good.

nukeproof horizon wheels
The Nukeproof Horizon wheelset costs £349 and is available in 27.5in and 29in diameters.
nukeproof horizon wheels spokes
The spare spokes and nipples is a nice touch – especially for the price.

Opening the box, I was confronted by the wheels, which came ready taped for tubeless and a box containing a couple of tubeless valves and 8 spare spokes and nipples. Nice.

In the middle of each wheel is a hub built by Novatec, anodised in a spangly bronze colour. On the back, there’s also a 6-pawl freehub, which gives you 84 engagement points. Our freehub came in Shimano flavour (with Novatec’s anti-bite guard to protect the splines against naughty, naughty sharp cassette sprockets). SRAM is of course, available, and the whole hub shebang is designed to be easy to tear down and service.

nukeproof horizon wheels hub
Nukeproof has partnered with Novatec for the shiny sealed bearing hubs.

Sandvik double-butted straight pull spokes add stiffness (according to Nukeproof, all interface surfaces including spoke beds are CNC machined for nice tight tolerances and good alignments), and they feed, via some good proper brass nipples, into aluminium rims. These have an internal width of 29mm, which Nukeproof claim is good enough for 2.6in tyres in the 29in flavour, or 2.8in tyres if you roll with 27.5in wheels.

My test wheels are Boost, of course, but if you’re not Boosted yourself, the wheels are also available in non-boosted front and rear, as well as 20x110mm (front) and 12x150mm (rear) options. It says quite a lot about the abuse Nukeproof believes these wheels to be good for that they come in a full DH spacing like that.

nukeproof horizon wheels hub
Inside the rear hub are 6-pawls and 84 engagement points.

The wheel set comes with 28 spokes per wheel, but even so, this is not a light pair of wheels. The combined weight of our 29in set is north of 2100g. This is pretty much as you’d expect for wheels touted as capable of anything from trail riding all the way up to DH racing and other gravity orientated pursuits. Plummeting, in my case.

My tyres of choice (I played around with Kenda, Schwalbe and Maxxis rubber during the test period) slipped on with nary a peep, and everything has sealed admirably. I couldn’t seat the properly with just a track pump, though – I needed to use a tubeless-ready charged compressor pump – but once everything was on and sealed I’ve had no leakage whatsoever. And the tyres have been fine too (arf arf).

barney nukeproof horizon santa cruz hightower
The Nukeproof Horizon wheelset has been punished underneath Barney while strapped to his Santa Cruz Hightower test bike.

On The Trail

Rolling, it’s possible if I really, really concentrate hard to notice the high weight – but it’s equally easy to forget about it. Perhaps the wheels are a trifle more sluggish to accelerate up to speed? Perhaps I need to fight them a minuscule fraction more to get them round corners? Maybe. It also might just be in my mind, though.

But if you’re buying these for their XC finesse, then you’ve bought the wrong wheels – although I certainly didn’t notice any slowness when I was riding with my mates. What you do get for your £349 though, is a totally bombproof package.

nukeproof horizon wheels tyre
29mm internal rim width supports high volume tyres.

I’ve run these wheels on bouncy bikes and hardtails, bike packing with kids and on my local ‘only an idiot would ride that – oh, he has’ loops, and they’ve not missed a beat. I’ve crashed on them; walloped them too hard into corners; run them with not quite enough pressure in when I’ve launched myself over things; not cleared the things I’ve launched myself over, so I landed in them with a sickening feeling; and generally behaved like a massive kid when I’ve been riding them, and they’re still here. Bearings still in good shape. Defiantly circular; defiantly true. They’re barely even marked for goodness’ sake.

barney nukeproof horizon santa cruz hightower
The Horizon wheels have remained defiantly true. Barney has yet again tried, but failed.


So then – easy to service. Spangly hubs. Bombproof construction. Spare spokes included. Ready to tubeless-ify. Slightly portly. But did I mention bombproof?

They’re ace. If you’re in the market for bombproof wheels, and you’ve got £350 to chuck at them, you’d be foolish not to take a long hard look at these things.

Review Info

Brand: Nukeproof
Product: Horizon 29er Wheelset
From: Nukeproof,
Price: £350
Tested: by Barney Marsh for 3 months

Barney Marsh takes the word ‘career’ literally, veering wildly across the road of his life, as thoroughly in control as a goldfish on the dashboard of a motorhome. He’s been, with varying degrees of success, a scientist, teacher, shop assistant, binman and, for one memorable day, a hospital laundry worker. These days, he’s a dad, husband, guitarist, and writer, also with varying degrees of success. He sometimes takes photographs. Some of them are acceptable. Occasionally he rides bikes to cast the rest of his life into sharp relief. Or just to ride through puddles. Sometimes he writes about them. Bikes, not puddles. He is a writer of rongs, a stealer of souls and a polisher of turds. He isn’t nearly as clever or as funny as he thinks he is.

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Comments (4)

    “The wheel set comes with 28 spokes per wheel”… And, you’ve lost me there. Barney, I’m not sure how hard you ride but a back wheel should be 32 spokes minimum to avoid MTB catastrophe – IMHO of course.

    Straight pull spokes are a nightmare to work with in my experience. All good till you need to work on them.

    What kind of bearings are in the hubs & how well sealed are them.
    I need to replace my Shimano ones, and hate the stupid cup & cone bearings with a passion.

    Sounds good but if you don’t need boost you can buy DT Swiss 30mm internal wheels for half that from CRC. E1650.

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