Hunt's Prototype Carbon XC Wheels Have Bladed Carbon Spokes

Jul 16, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  

The World Cup pits are rife with new and unreleased tech, so it's no surprise that a pair of prototype Hunt wheels have been spotted on Isla Short's bike. Hunt is keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to this new wheelset, but we do know that this will be the UK company’s first carbon XC wheels when they eventually hit the market.

The most recent version of the wheels that Isla Short was testing was rumored to have 26mm internal width rims, 24h and 28h on the front and rear respectively. Brand manager Sam Meegan says there have been several iterations and Hunt has been playing with different rim and spoke combinations until the formula is just right, which explains why we’ve seen a few versions with different graphics. For now, we probably won’t know much more, though the straight-pull bladed carbon spokes are intriguing.


The wheels seem to use a similar spoke system to some of Hunt’s road wheels. Hunt’s TaperLock system – which has so far been limited to road bikes – allows the spokes to be tensioned with a spoke key on a nut at the rim bed, accessible through the spoke holes. This makes the wheels as serviceable as those with standard steel spokes, but with the benefits of carbon. Hunt claims a 30% increase in stiffness over comparable steel spokes and says that the carbon-spoked road wheels have 6% more lateral compliance than comparable steel-spoked ones. For reference, the road spokes weigh 2.7g each. While the mountain bike version is likely not identical, it's been hinted that it will rely heavily on the blueprint of this already-established design.


We don’t know when we’ll see the final version of these wheels, but they seem to have been in development for a while, as Isla Short has been testing them for about a year and actually took 5th place at World Champs on them last fall. There may well be multiple versions on the way, too, as the official line from Hunt is as follows:

bigquotesWe’ve been quietly working on a new range of wheels with racers like Isla, each of them with an exciting new technical development for us. We’re still testing and won’t be signing them off till our athletes are happy. Keep an eye out on social as things develop!Sam Meegan, Hunt brand manager

We'll let you know when we know more.

Isla Short speeding her way to fifth place.
Isla Short rode the prototype wheelset to fifth place at World Champs last year.



70 Comments

  • 101 19
 “We don’t know when we’ll see the final version of these wheels, but they seem to have been in development for a while”……Sign up now as a premium member to be notified of their release date and save 10% on your first order.

Meh.
  • 15 0
 The Ten Best Outdoor Towns to retire to that make Carbon Spokes seem Faux Pas

But seriously I hope some exec at Outdoor is looking at comments. I hope it’s caused a meeting.
  • 8 28
flag JustAnotherRiderHere (Jul 18, 2021 at 13:26) (Below Threshold)
 @usedbikestuff: As a business owner, I can assure you, they do not care what we have to say...there is but one thing...clicks....kinda like the liberal media. facts be damned.
  • 12 0
 @JustAnotherRiderHere: I’m going to just assume by “liberal” media you’re including all media outlets, even conservative ones and their liberal use of facts and science
  • 3 0
 @JustAnotherRiderHere: but in all seriousness, living on the other side of the wall, you’d be surprised how many meetings had a PowerPoint with a pinkbike comments section snippet in it… real helpful for requirements gathering and voice of customer
  • 3 0
 @usedbikestuff: Ha science... Facebook is all the research I need to determine something is a fact
  • 2 0
 @stumphumper92: Soon enough the word "Hypothesis" will be gone...already it is dead...idea and fact are synonyms, right?
  • 54 1
 You could turn the spokes 90 degrees and turn the bike into a wind trainer
  • 31 0
 "Hunt claims a 30% increase in stiffness over comparable steel spokes and says that the carbon-spoked road wheels have 6% more lateral compliance than comparable steel-spoked ones."

Wouldn't vertical compliance and lateral stiffness be more desirable than the reverse? Asking for my own understanding, not as a criticism.
  • 14 1
 yeah the Zipp 3zero moto wheels are advertised in an opposite way to these, more vertical compliance but still retains lateral stiffness, helping you hold your line. Maybe XC peeps are different, I'm just a gravity goon.
  • 13 1
 Yeah, surely no one is chasing a wheel that is flexier laterally?
  • 8 3
 Some movement laterally allows the tire to maintain traction rather than be forced into a skid from the same input
  • 6 1
 @DizzyNinja: Maybe. Kinda sounds like a recipe for inaccurate steering though.
  • 38 1
 Weird flex bro
  • 1 0
 Maybe they put less spokes and a less stiff rim, so the spokes are stiffer, but the wheel isn't.
  • 7 0
 @irck: it all depends how much movement is designed into the wheel. Our brains tend to want more of a “good thing”, when a wheel flops like a soft taco we obviously want a stiffer wheel, then we want more until the ride is ruined. Then Hunt says it’s more compliant than the stiffest wheel we’ve tested and ppl panic that it’s a soft taco again but it isn’t. It’s the right amount of compliance for certain riding conditions. Obviously there’s times you’ll want more lateral stiffness, but you don’t always.
  • 2 0
 @irck: guys have been going back to AL wheels from carbon in enduro for sometime, claiming they track better BECAUSE they are less stiff. There is some merit to this idea, but it's clearly a fine line. Think about a Super Bike chassis. they are designed to have a bit of lateral flex to them so they can absorb bumps in the road when leaned over at 50º. the sus can't really do it's job when it's that far off it's plane of movement(totally vertical). Same is true in MTB, to a lesser degree of course.
  • 3 0
 @swenzowski: I don't know how vertically compliant/horizontally compliant Zipp rims are, but thats not their advertised feature. It is "yaw compliance", or roll. Like rolling your ankle.

Stand with your knees locked. How much your body squishes down is vertical compliance. How much your foot moves from side to side is lateral compliance. Rolling your ankle side to side is yaw compliance. Thats what Zipp is making claims about.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: thanks for clarifying
  • 12 2
 Pointless and expensive.. the Berd polymer spokes are a better solution if you don't want to use normal spokes.. Stronger, lighter, more impact resistant and more compliant reducing vibration and chatter...and although expensive compared to regular spokes, I'm willing to bet they will still be cheaper than these carbon ones. Imagine a large twig getting caught in these carbon spokes, they will snap like match sticks... At least metal and polymer bends, carbon is all or nothing, it may be stronger to a point, but past that point it's game over, spokes are the last place I would use such brittle material.
  • 14 2
 i never broke a Mavic bladed spoke on 6 sets of crossmax sx and sl
  • 6 1
 @madmon: I broke two
  • 83 2
 I like trains
  • 8 0
 @camcoz69: I love the ones that blow smoke out the top, so neat
  • 6 0
 @CousinGunner: oooo ya those are good. How about the ones that go "CHOO CHOOOOO"???
  • 9 1
 I've found hunt wheels awful to work with. The past 2 sets that have come through my workshop have both have the same problem of the spoke tension being far too high and the nipple pulling through the carbon. They also are the most loud obnoxious sounding hubs I've worked on, can't imagine actually owning them
  • 7 0
 @madmon: Broke several bladed spokes and straight pull spokes, but never broke a standard J-bend spoke yet.
  • 7 0
 @camcoz69: I love lamp
  • 2 0
 @felimocl: I made the mistake of buying the Carbon Impact wheels due to price point and availability, and I broke two rims in two weeks. Super weak carbon.

Good customer service though. Maybe they'll figure it out in the future.
  • 2 0
 @camcoz69: die potato
  • 2 0
 @madmon: Ive replaced hundreds as a shop mechanic over the years.
  • 1 0
 @Bentonvillebicycleco: must have been lucky and I am a careful rider mostly and only one bud had a broken blade. I have had J spokes snap by themselves in storage over the summer in Jamaica one year I showed up and there was 14 spokes on the bottom of my iron case from an Easton hoop
  • 1 0
 @camcoz69: How did I get here.

The end
  • 1 0
 @madmon: My buddy did few weeks ago...and those stupid wheels were only like 10 years old on his antiquated S-Works Epic...I have yet to, but, my wheels are only 2 yrs and about 7k mikes.
  • 1 0
 you sound like you are typing this from 1999. carbon is not as brittle as you think.
  • 10 0
 For us non x racers..ex471 350 Competition Brass nipples Fit and forget
  • 1 2
 Everytime lol everything above this is the emperor's New clothes and for outsider subscribers only
  • 21 10
 Top 10 carbon wheels you need this season. *Pinkbike Premium Exclusive*
  • 5 1
 Twice I've tried to buy Hunt wheels, and twice I've been subjected to the ever-lengthening "will ship X week of X" to the point of eventually just cancelling the order. Someday I'd like to actually complete a sale with them, but in my experience they're happy to take your deposit, but loathe to actually fulfill your order. Always sketches me out when a company promises deliveries it can't live up to.
  • 2 0
 I have a set, it was shipped on time
  • 1 0
 Hot tip though - if you do ask to cancel your order, in my experience they offer a free pair of tyres. Following an actual cancellation they offer you £30 off your next order!
  • 8 1
 Finally, the solution to the problem that none of us had....
  • 3 0
 "Hunt claims a 30% increase in stiffness over comparable steel spokes and says that the carbon-spoked road wheels have 6% more lateral compliance than comparable steel-spoked ones. For reference, the road spokes weigh 2.7g each."

Pinkbike editor with Dr. Evil hand gestures "If we cram together enough techbuzz words they won't notice how none of these statements relate to each other heeheeeheehahahah"
  • 1 0
 Someone just thought compliance means the same thing as stiffness?

Hunt claims a 6% increase in stiffness:
us.huntbikewheels.com/blogs/news/lateral-stiffness-testing-steel-vs-carbon-spokes
  • 9 5
 Hunt wheels or Outside subscription? Decisions, Decisions. I think I'll take that bag of Beef Jerky instead.
  • 3 1
 @mr-smashy They can start by putting this advertisement behind the paywall.
  • 5 0
 Dam. I was hoping for the release of the new hunt plywood wheels.
  • 3 1
 Actually, I know quite a lot of people, who have their 4x, pumptrack, or even enduro bikes laced with Sapim CX Ray aero spokes. Very strong wheelsets, but they flex nicely.as well.
  • 1 0
 I think Pinkbike lost the details somewhere in here.

Hunt is clearly claiming a 6% lateral stiffness increase in their own material for their road wheels, despite less weight and fewer spokes:
us.huntbikewheels.com/blogs/news/lateral-stiffness-testing-steel-vs-carbon-spokes
  • 7 2
 Snapadoodledoo
  • 1 0
 Gold
  • 3 1
 One place i cant ever think a small section relatively fragile material is a good idea
  • 4 0
 relatively fragile? says the composite pro? Yikes.
  • 1 0
 Spinnergy......lol...
  • 1 0
 @radrider: bizarre isnt it we can stop a bullet with a 9mm thick plate but spokes even im struggling to see where the fun is going to be in that
  • 4 2
 I would totally buy these, if I wouldn't be saving all my money for when the paywall gets active.
  • 1 0
 Light weight, Great. Lateral stiffness, Great.
Now how about durability in those seemingly endless Arizona rock gardens?
  • 1 0
 It's no SuperWheel, I am out. Long live the SuperWheel and the new Outside overlords.
  • 1 0
 No roadie has ever wanted more lateral compliance in their wheels.
  • 1 1
 Bladed spokes are garbage for mountain bikes look forward to a bunch of broken ones if you buy them.
  • 1 0
 no way
I think were behind the paywall
Like in The f%kn spirit word bro
  • 2 2
 @kk11…k is the eleventh letter of the alphabet
  • 2 2
 Blah, blah, blah….
  • 1 3
 Bladed spokes are the next thing we have to upgrade
  • 1 3
 Beautiful wheels for a beautiful lady
  • 2 5
 It's horrible.... ...those skin-wall tires, get them out of my sight!
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