Hunt are a UK-based brand focusing on a no-nonsense and value-minded approach to bike components. That’s not to say they don’t have other projects in the works, though, they’re the same group behind the Privateer bike brand.
They’re also trying to establish themselves as a brand that not only offers value but also genuine innovation and engineering merit. On paper, their Trail Wide wheels look to strike a nice balance between price, weight, and features, with a price tag of $459 for the 1872 gram wheelset.
Hunt Trail Wide V2 Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Intended use: Trail riding
• Rim material: 6069 T6 Alloy
• Rim width: 30mm (internal)
• Hubs: 5° RapidEngage
• Weight: 863 g (front) / 1009 g (rear) / 1872 g total
• MSRP: $459 USD
• More info: www.huntbikewheels.cc
The wheels were part of Hunt’s reworking of their wheel range for more aggressive riding. Its terminology is rather simple too. Trail, Enduro and Wide. Simple enough, really. Both the Trail Wide and the Enduro Wide wheels underwent a complete reworking. Although they share a similar design ethos they’re very different wheels - right from the rim to the hub.
Hunt tried to establish two key thresholds - how much force a wheel should take before sustaining damage, and how much should it sustain before failing. They built their own jig in their workshop and began testing both their own and competitors' rims. In fact, they were even kind enough to let us use the impact tester during our insert test last year.
During their testing, they showed not that their wheels were far out and away the best on the market, but rather tried to demonstrate that rims are often a trade-off between stiffness, strength, and weight, and it’s hard to alter or improve any single aspect in isolation.
The 28-hole Trail Wide V2 wheels have a 30mm internal width front and rear. The front wheel has an actual weight of 863g and the rear 1009g. The wheelset comes pre-taped, with tubeless valves and spare spokes. They also feature Hunt’s RapidEngage freehub, which features 5 degrees of engagement and double-butted spokes. They're available in both Boost and Superboost and have a recommended tire width of 2.3" - 2.5".
These wheels are available with your choice of freehub body and in both Boost and Superboost spacing.
Hunt claims the V2 has provided a 20% improvement in impact resistance compared to the original version, which puts it in very comparable territory to the Stan’s Flow Mk3 and DT’s XM 481 rims.
The wheels are available with either XD, Microspline, or HG freehubs, as well as Super Boost spacing.Test Setup
During testing, I ran these rims with and without inserts, as well as with DD Maxxis DHR2s and Deliums Versatile tires - both with and without inserts. For my weight, of around 80kg, I tend to run pressures between 21 and 26 psi in the front and rear depending on conditions when using these tires. The wheels have been used on everything between 170mm enduro bikes and shorter travel trail bikes that have been sprung slightly firmer.On the Trail
The Hunt freehub has an unobtrusive click. Yes, it’s there but it’s not an annoyance. The engagement is respectable on the tech sheet and out on the trail, it never faltered or failed. In fact, after a period of inconsistent wheels and tires on test bikes, it was nice to be able to come back to a set I could depend upon.
The wheels in many ways just blend into the bike. They don’t offer any overwhelmingly obvious characteristics. They’re not obscenely stiff, and you could definitely get them to flex laterally as you pushed through turns but, then again, they’re an 1800g alloy wheelset and they were well within tolerance in this regard. Personally, I would normally take comfort over stiffness, within reason, since I like to ride looser, more natural trails that are more about maintaining speed and traction rather than hitting berms. With their relatively low rim profile and 28 spoke count the wheels are very comfortable and offer a noticeable reduction in vibration and harshness compared to stiffer wheels.
When reviewing a product that offers distinctly better value than its competitors, I always come back to the same question - do they need to be better on the trail? Or merely offer similar performance at a lower cost? The Trail Wide V2s are definitely part of the second group. Bang for buck, you could do far far worse than these wheels.Durability
I had several large impacts on these wheels, and the rim sang out in protest, but no failures or burps. In fact, on one occasion I tagged an unsighted rock on my front so hard on the run out of a double that my immediate thought from the noise was that it would have inflicted serious damage - but the rim came away with just a cosmetic scar.
Ultimately, as Hunt points out in their testing, a wheel is always a compromise between weight and durability. I think for around 1800g you can’t go too far wrong.
The hub’s internals came well lubricated and never missed a bit. After a whole winter of riding and many, many jet washes they’re still spinning freely, too. The rims are still spinning straight and they never lost any tension. Should you need to inspect the freehub, the axle comes apart without the need of tools, not that I ever need to perform any maintenance, but it is a nice feature.How do They Compare?
Of course, Hunt isn't the only one to make good value alloy wheels. Last year, I reviewed these SILT AM Alloy 29" wheels.
In terms of price, dimensions, and weight these are similar, but both give very different feelings on the trail.
The Trail Wides are noticeably more comfortable, and the SILTs offer more support going through high-load turns and all-round stiffness. Both are good wheelsets, and the difference isn't a massive gulf, but the way they damp the trail is noticeable.
What would I choose? Well, for the trails I like to ride, and the way I ride them, I would take comfort over stiffness. Then again, I'm not somebody who enjoys riding hard and fast man-made trails where the SILT's definitely come good.
Might not be stiff enough for some