Product Review: Rugged Ridge XHD Wheels

**UPDATED 9/2015** I have had these wheels and rings for a while now and the wheels are still in perfect condition, save a trip down the Rubicon, A week in Moab, and even a run on Crushers here at home.  While the rock rings are really torn up (that’s their job!) I will be replacing them soon.  They have kept the wheels in flawless shape.

Bent, battered, and torn - but did their job!
Bent, battered, and torn – but did their job!

I have had quite a few wheels on my Jeeps over the years.  My TJ had factory, my first JK had American Racing, and my 2012 Rubicon had MTBs.  All of these rims had one fatal flaw in my opinion – although they looked good, they were scratch and damage magnets when on the trail.

My old TJ, wheelin in Colorado with stock Jeep wheels.

I started looking at beadlocks, because I really wanted a replaceable rock ring (and of course other benefits).  The biggest downside to beadlocks for me was price and legality (many beadlocks are not approved for on road use).

So when I first saw Rugged Ridge’s XHD wheels at Jeep Beach, I was really excited.  These wheels feature an optional, replaceable rock ring that does an awesome job protecting the rim.  And the price is a lot cheaper than beadlocks.

The wheels look amazing and feature replaceable (and paintable) rock rings that protect the wheel.

I had Discount Tire mate the XHDs to a set of 37 inch Nitto Trail Grapplers for my 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

The first thing about these wheels you will notice is the striking design.  There are a lot of wheels on the market, and most of them look very similar. Rugged Ridge did a great job on the design (the Drakon wheels are also cool looking).

The second impressive bit is the quality.  The finish is smooth and consistent with zero defects or blemishes.  They mounted and balanced with no problems.

A composite image overlaying the rock ring and a standard XHD wheel.

The rock rings are heavy and very well made.  I will eventually have them painted to match my Summer 2015 decal scheme.  When installing, it is very easy to add the rings.  My only advice is to closely follow the torque specs.  I did not do this, and actually broke two of the bolts off inside the rim.  I need to get these removed and replaced.  This is not a defect, but advice on the install.

On a recent wheeling trip in Tillamook State Forest, I put these wheels to the test.  Unlike when running other wheels, I really didn’t worry about scraping the XHDs on Firebreak 5 or the Rock Garden. I knew they were well protected.

My wheel scraping hard on a rock in the Rock Garden.

While the rock rings are scraped and scratched, the wheels themselves are in perfect shape after a long day on the trails.  Eventually, I will simply replace the rock rings when they get too beat up.

If you are looking for a great looking, well made wheel with the added protection and customizability of a rock ring, be sure to check out the Rugged Ridge XHD wheels!

**FULL DISCLOSURE: Rugged Ridge provided a full set of wheels for the purpose of this review.  It did not influence, in any way the outcome of this review.

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