Hunt is a wheel and components manufacturer started by a bunch of industry vets who weren’t able to find the products they wanted readily available on the market. This team of buyers, designers and marketers decided that the only way they could get the wheels that they wanted to ride was to source and build them themselves, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The Hunt brand started around designing, sourcing and manufacturing road wheels, but over the past year, they’ve also expanded into the mountain bike market with wheelsets aimed at both Trail and Enduro riding.
Rather than simply buying in products from a catalogue and lacing up the wheels with their own branding, Hunt actually goes as far as speccing its own blend of alloy for its own rims to ensure that they offer a quality ride and good durability at a reasonable price point.
Weight is also an important factor in designing the Trail Wide, and this Boost, 27.5in set weighs in at a confirmed 1790g a pair (980g rear, 810g front).
Our version of the Trail Wide came with 30mm internal, 6066 alloy rims, however since our test we’ve been informed that the wheelset has now been updated to the same 6069 alloy as used on the Enduro Wide wheelset, only with a slightly thinner wall thickness.
Hunt tells us that the 6069 alloy offers an increase in tensile strength, at a slight weight penalty. I have to say that even though I’ve not tried the updated wheel, I have to agree with their move to a slightly stronger alloy for reasons you’ll discover below.
The rims are laced to Hunt’s own hubs via triple butted spokes, 28 of them holding the front wheel together and 32 on the rear. It’s great to see that Hunt hasn’t strayed away from using traditional J bend spokes on their wheels and it means that if you were ever to need to find a spare (and didn’t have the four spares that come in the box handy) you shouldn’t be left stranded.
The hubs themselves are manufactured from 7075-T6 alloy and have a gloss black finish with the same subtle Hunt branding as the rims. While I tested the Boost version of the wheelset, Hunt does offer non-Boost 100/142 hub spacing plus there are adaptors available in case you needed to swap from a bolt through axle to a QR.
High-quality, large double sealed bearings are used front and rear, and you have the option of either SRAM XD or Shimano freehub bodies with Hunt’s own RapidEngage 4.3º engagement for fast power transfer. The 6 MultiPawl design is a little louder than some hubs on the market, but in a quality buzzy way which I quite enjoy.
As mentioned above, Hunt provides a few spare spokes in the box, plus a couple of valves for setting the wheels up tubeless along with a handy Hunt spoke/nipple tool, which I have yet needed to use. All of this costs just £339!
Before hitting the trail I popped on the tubeless valves, a set of Maxxis tyres and a few scoops of Stans’. Tolerances of the rims were spot on with the tyre going on easily while sealing just enough for the tyres to go up and pop into place without any fuss or bother.
As the name suggests, the Trail Wide is a wheelset designed for trail riding rather than all-out enduro racing, but that didn’t stop me from flinging these black hoops down some of the rockiest trails I could while out in Spain in the spring. To be honest, the trails I first tested the wheels on really did take them out of their comfort zone.
These are the same tracks that Greg Minnaar and the rest of the Syndicate test their suspension setups on over the winter, so we’re talking immensely rocky terrain that’s taken at some really silly rates of speed.
Each run on these trails resulted in a wallop and bang from the rims, but not a single puncture, and even now after months of riding, the spokes remain tensioned and the wheels are true. But, that’s not to say they’ve come away unscathed.
It’s the rear wheel that’s taken the brunt of the abuse and these large rim dings and dents show this, but even with this damage the spoke tension is still perfect and the wheel still runs smoothly and true. On top of this, I still haven’t had a puncture or lost pressure as a result, despite the deformation of the rim. That’s pretty impressive.
Being alloy means that with the help of a beer and a set of pliers, the worst of the damage can be removed without much effort.
Other than the buzzing of the rear hub, which I actually like a lot, the only feature that is notable is how easy the Hunt Trail Wide is to get up to speed. The rear wheel transfers power instantly, and the relative lightweight means that both acceleration and deceleration are very impressive.
The fact that the Hunt Trail Wide allowed me to accelerate into rocky sections of terrain, hit lines at speed, and climb at a good rate of knots all without me ever have to think about them is a major compliment. Not once did I worry about compliance or stiffness, they just get on with the job.
For comparison’s sake, earlier in the year I tested a bunch of carbon wheels, back to back with David, and each set of wheels instantly had its own set of characteristics which all affected the ride in some form or another. Some of the wheels were way too stiff and made sticking to your chosen line feel a little like riding in a pinball machine, others were too compliant and dampened the feel of the ride too much. These Hunts manage to offer the perfect balance of comfort and compliance, just what you expect from a quality set of wheels, but at a fraction of the cost of a fancy carbon pair.
Right off the bat, I rode the Hunt Trail Wide in situations that they really shouldn’t have been tested in, and although the rear wheel did get quite badly dinged, it never once let me down. Even with all this abuse, the wheels are still running as good as new, and I’ve not had to take a spoke key to them once.
The Hunt Trail Wide is a lightweight wheelset that is more than happy to get rowdy and smash some really aggressive, world-class trails, and even with the softer 6066 alloy rims, for UK conditions they would be more than enough wheel for all but the most aggressive enduro racers. With the Trail Wide being upgraded to a tougher alloy, and with only a slight increase in weight I believe that they are going to prove to be one of the best sub £400 wheelsets on the market for some time to come. They look classy, the quality is spot on and they keep rolling even when they’ve been battered.
Hunt Trail Wide Specifications
- Lightweight alloy wheelset designed for trail riding
- Available in 27.5in and 29in diameters
- Asymmetric 6069-T6 welded alloy rim w/peened finish
- 29mm internal rim width
- Designed for tyres from 2.35in to 2.5in wide
- Tubeless compatible design w/hookless sidewalls
- Forged and CNC machined 6061-T6 heat treated alloy hub shells
- Boost and non-Boost widths available
- Oversized 7075-T6 aluminium alloy axles
- EZO Japan sealed cartridge bearings
- 6-pawl freehub mechanism with 52 points of engagement
- Available with Shimano or SRAM freehub bodies
- Pillar stainless steel J-bend spokes & hard anodized alloy nipples
- 28x front & 32x rear 3-cross lacing pattern
- Includes: tubeless tape, tubeless valves, 4x spare spokes & nipples, spoke tool
- Confirmed weight: 1790 grams
- RRP: £339
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 4 months|