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:
We'll let you know when we know more.