Hunt, the direct to consumer wheel brand, is releasing updated versions of their alloy Trail and Enduro Wide wheelsets. The wheels have undergone a complete overhaul with new rims, hubs and spoke configurations.
Initially, Hunt focused on the development of the Enduro Wide rim. They wanted to explore the potential benefit of running a slightly narrower rear rim, which could help the rider benefit from an improved tire profile. They also saw this as an opportunity, as the reduced material needed to make a narrow rim meant they could further strengthen the rim for the same overall weight. All in all, they wanted to improve the strength-to-weight ratio of the rim by optimising the profile.
When beginning to develop the rim, they set out two key criteria when benchmarking the damage resistance of the rim: first damage energy, consider this to be a strike to the rim that would deform or dent it, and failure damage energy, which is the amount of impact energy resulting in rim failure.
The rim profile changes, when combined with new hubs and spoke configurations, mean that Hunt can keep similar overall weights but increase the impact resistance of their wheels.
Hunt feel that while the UCI impact tests are good for ensuring safe wheels they fail to fully represent real world demands. For instance, if you've ever dinged a rim, you probably noticed that one side will often be damaged more than the other. To replicate this, Hunt mounted the wheel at an angle in their jig to benchmark wheels in a more realistic manner and hopefully better replicated the endless rocks, roots or any number of other things you might come across when you ride your bike. After experimenting with different shapes, they found a round-edged impactor to be the most suitable.
Hunt present data to show the results of their lab testing, and how their new models compare to the outgoing version as well as other popular choices. During testing, they would control variables such as the choice of tire, pressure, hub, and spokes.
Hunt included a caveat for their tests that "as impact energy levels increased, the damage was not isolated to rim dings but also compromised the integrity of the wheel with spoke de-tensioning and loss of trueness. For all wheels reaching 160J, the damage to the overall wheel system was severe enough that as riders and engineers, our experience told us that these wheels would require mechanical attention beyond that of a ‘normal’ trailside repair."
The new EW V2 (right) profile reduces the stresses transferred from the hook, to the tire-bed and rim sidewall, which means under the same load/impact the rim experiences less deformation (dinging).
Created from the concept that focuses on using a reduced 31mm internal width and an internal I-beam structure, The Enduro Wide V2 is Hunt's all-out hardest-hitting wheelset. Designed with the Enduro World Series riding in mind.
The wheels use extra thick 17mm 7075-T6 hub axles to increased both strength and stiffness. This also carries the benefit of increasing bearing life.
Enduro Wide V2
• Weight: 27.5" - 2041g / 29" - 2105g
• Internal Width: 33mm front / 31mm rear
• Spokes: 28 front / 32 rear
• Price: £399 / €509 / $549 USD
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The bearings themselves are double sealed cartridge bearings and the hubs are Rock Shox Torque caps compatible. The rear hub uses a 5 degree RapidEngage rear hub and is available in Boost and SuperBoost (157mm) spacing.
The wheels are optimised for 2.35" - 2.6" tubeless tires, but show also work well with 2.25" - 2.8".
The Trail Wide shares many similar characteristics as its enduro counterpart but is several hundred grams lighter. The rims use uniform width and spoke count front and rear. They also move away from the 17mm axles you'll find in the hubs of the Enduro Wide wheels, but they still benefit from the same 5 degree RapidEngage freehub. They're available in both Boost and Superboost and have a recommended tire width of 2.3" - 2.5".
Trail Wide V2
• Weight: 27.5" - 1761g / 29" - 1831g
• Internal Width: 30mm front & rear
• Spokes: 28 front & rear
• Price: £369 / €469 / $509 USD
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Hunt applied some of the same design tweaks that were a result of their testing to optimise material distribution to increase the strength-to-weight of the rim. It looks very similar to its predecessor yet, Hunt claim it provides a 20% improvement in impact resistance.
Both sets of new wheels also use triple-butted spokes and are available with your choice of freehub. They come with tubeless tape and valves and will be available from the first week of May.