Review: Is The Hunt Trail Wide The Best Wheelset You Can Buy Under £400?

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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.

hunt wheels tubeless trailwide
Lovely black finish with subtle branding.

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).

Hunt Trail Wide fitted to our Mondraker Foxy test bike.

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 trail wide review
Each set of Hunt wheels comes with spare spokes and a set of valves.

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.

hunt trail wide review
Hunt’s own branded hubs with standard 6 bolt disc pattern.

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.

Our test wheels came with an SRAM XD freehub but a Shimano option is also available.

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!

hunt trail wide review
Guess what the wheel size is.

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.

Not one puncture during testing!

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.

hunt trailwide reivew
Just one of the monster dings achieved while testing

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.

hunt trailwide reivew
Ouch!

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.

I loved the buzz from the rear hub, you may not.

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.

Overall

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.

Even after some hefty hits the Trail Wide still run true.

 

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

Review Info

Brand:Hunt
Product:Trail Wide
From:Huntbikewheels.com
Price:£339
Tested:by Andi Sykes for 4 months

Comments (20)

  1. met the Hunt guys are ard rock, a very nice friendly and confiedent bunch..
    lovely rims too

  2. Where did you ride and test them?

  3. @strike Hi mate. The first week of testing was out in Mijas in Spain. Loads of amazing trails around there including the SRAM test track (you can actually find this on Google Maps). Then around my local trails in the Peaks, around LadyBower, Hope, Castleton. Farmer Johns and Revolution Pike Park plus all the amazing stuff around Hebden Bridge close to the office.

    It was really the rocky stuff in Spain that gave the Hunts the damage shown, UK riding really didn’t bother them at all.

  4. Can you do us a favour and actually try to turn some nipples? On my Hunt gravel wheel there were a fair few that wouldn’t budge.

  5. just out of interest….
    how do you know what the quality of the bearings is?
    what are they like to replace?
    what’s the internal width, weight, and cost of the enduro wheelset mentioned?

  6. @Del Hi, well in 4 months of extremely hard use the bearings haven’t needed to be touched and are showing no signs of wear or wobble 😀 Replacing sealed bearings in any hub is a pretty standard affair, but as I’ve not actually needed to replace them I can’t comment if these are different.

    James Vincent is actually in the process of reviewing the Enduro Wide wheelset now, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, the full specs are here: https://www.huntbikewheels.com/collections/mtb-wheels/products/hunt-endurowide-mtb-wheelset

    FYI: I’ve been chatting to Hunt today and I will be testing the updated version of the Trail Wide with the new 6069 rims once they have a pair to send to me, so watch out for that too.

  7. I would say the answer to the question in the article title is: no.
    £314 for the equivalent of hunts enduro wide on these amazing stans baron wheel. http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/stans-no-tubes-baron-s1-mtb-wheelset/rp-prod163028

  8. @5plusn8 they do look good but are over 200g heavier and that isn’t RRP nor are all options in stock…

  9. 66g heavier than the hunt enduro which is what I matched them too- plus yours might be light but are dented, I’m 15 stone and land like a baby elephant skydiving and I haven’t dinged them yet…
    I’m skeptikal of the “independence” of this review.

  10. “The rims are laced to Hunt’s own hubs via triple butted spokes”

    “Hunt’s own RapidEngage 4.3º engagement for fast power transfer.”

    So are Hunt really making their own hubs now? I doubt it. They’ve always used Novatecs, although of course they go to hyperbolic marketing lengths to persuade us otherwise. MBR certainly seem to think that they’re Novatecs.

    Calls this statement into question imo:

    “Rather than simply buying in products from a catalogue and lacing up the wheels with their own branding,”

    I’m afraid that this whole review reads more like an advert than a review.

    For the record I don’t have a problem with companies building good wheels from the best components available at a price point. I do have a problem with some of the marketing.

  11. @5plus8n ah, compared to the Hunt Enduro Wide then the weight saving is less, but this review is for the Trail Wide and I haven’t ridden either the S1 or the Enduro Wide so cannot compare. I will see if we can get a pair of S1 to test though, perhaps they’ll be even better than the Hunts?

    All reviews are independent, any content that is sponsored is clearly labelled, but reviews are editorial content only and we only publish genuine and honest opinions. If I think something is terrible I’ll say so, I wouldn’t want to recommend a poor product that would leave someone else out of pocket if they chose to purchase it.

    Also, keep in mind that we rode with a group of riders from all over the UK while in Mijas, none of whom are in the cycle industry but all love to ride, and they witnessed the abuse the Hunt wheels took and survived through.

  12. @branes The hubs are Hunts own hubs. They are designed and built to Hunt’s specifications, and I am sure that they use a large Taiwanese brand to partner with for manufacturing.

    This is how manufacturing generally works. Apple products are manufactured by Foxconn in China, but that doesn’t make them Foxconn products. If you can pick up a Novatec catalogue and purchase a set of Hunt branded hubs from them with the same specs and choice of alloy then I’ll happily edit the review to reflect.

    I don’t see how the review reads as an advert at all. They are good wheels, well made and are a low price. Yes, they dented but only when ridden beyond their design parameters.

    I’m more than happy to test other similar priced wheels and if there are better then great. More choice for us.

  13. @Del

    Cheers for raising these points about bearing quality. We have chosen to use large double sealed bearings from our bearing provider EZO. The reason for upgrade to a double sealed bearing is to have them last as long as possible. As Andi mentioned in the review they have survived for 4 months on what seems like some pretty tough riding. However, once it comes time to replace the bearings, it is a relatively simple process and something which we are more than happy to organise for you when it comes the time for a new set (lets face it, being in the UK we don’t have exactly the nicest conditions on our side). As riders ourselves we really do try to go above and beyond for customer service and is something we very much value.

    For the EnduroWide – 33mm internal, 27.5″ = 1994g and 29″ = 2064g and coming in at £359

    Enjoy your riding,

    Hamish (Hunt Bike Wheels)

  14. @branes,

    Thanks for bringing these questions to light as we are by no means wanting to hide “industry secrets” or say something which it is not. You are right – we do source hubs form Novatec as well as several other hub manufactures if you look across our entire wheelset line up. This is something which we are more than happy to admit as we choose to spec hubs which we believe will work. But how we go about working with our suppliers is more than just going to a catalogue, selecting parts and putting it together. However, we have worked with suppliers to provide several updates to the “off the shelf” design and it has since been tested extansively to improve strength and durability. The changes/improvements we have made include speccing double sealed bearings worked on the phasing of the pawls as well as improve how the axle sits in the hub and is retained by the endcap. So the hub does come out to be quite different.

    The philosophy we go into when designing all of our wheels is if we are able to see the benefits it offers to riding, then we will invest in using that particular part. For instance, this is why we use triple butted spokes over double butted, use 6069 alloy over 6066/6061 in our TrailWide and EnduroWide rims and changed the internals of the Hubs. Hence why if you were to look at our entire range, there is no ‘price point’ – what we choose to spec and the price it comes out to be is the price we then make it.

    But cheers for bringing how we market our wheel to our attention. We are out to make wheels for how we ride and will take this on board – we’re not out to trick anyone. If there is any extra info on this you want or anything that might help us then we are always keen to speak. Drop us an email to thechase@huntbikewheels.com and we will be more than happy to help out.

    Enjoy your riding,
    
Hamish (Hunt Bike Wheels)

  15. @5plusn8

    Cheers for raising this. We care about reviews and how honest they are as they are ultimately a reflection of how good (or bad) our wheels are. We can assure you that from our end, when Andi had any questions we gave him answers for the reason why we did this or that.

    Fr the longevity of our rims – we have tested all our MTB wheels under real world conditions. That means more than just one set under one rider. Instead we reached out to local weekend warriors, national level xc and enduro racers, clydesdale riders to get a full understanding on where are wheels can be improved from proto stage to production stage. This is why Andi was reviewing a set of the TrailWide wheels with a 6066 alloy series rim and not the production 6069 equipped variety. We saw that an area we could improve was the toughness of the rim. What does this mean? Well if we were to consider the example of the Stans’ wheelset shown above, it uses a 6061 (290MPa Ultimate Tensile Strength) rim (other higher end Stans use a 6066). The TrailWide is 6069 which is 490MPa UTS. This gives it a higher yield strength which translates into having use less mass to achieve the same comparative strength. Since we have now updated TrailWide to run this stronger rim, we have chosen to not reduce the wall thickness meaning that it is stronger than the set Andi had on review.

    Also, be sure to keep an eye out for a review of the now updated 6069 TrailWide. We are sending Andi on up the updated set real soon to see how he finds this change we have made. If there is any extra info on this you want or anything that might help us then we are always keen to speak – particularly if you want to know more about what the different alloys mean in practice. Drop us an email to thechase@huntbikewheels.com and we will be more than happy to help out.

    Enjoy your riding,
    
Hamish (Hunt Bike Wheels)

  16. I have first hand experience of Hunt Wheels. I run two sets (road) that have been fine. Have had some quality problems with earlier purchases but Hunt’s response was first class and the best customer service experience I have ever had I reckon.

  17. Credit to Andi and Hunt for detailed and unemotional responses to points that probably weren’t intended as such, but must have felt like challenges to their integrity

  18. Aye, not an integrity challenge, just perhaps a spot of over enthusiasm which makes it look a bit too much like an uncritical endorsement. I am almost always guilty of falling in love with a product and ignoring it’s faults so i understand it..
    My skepticism over this article is that it is not particularly objective. It looks like Andi really likes the product and the people, which is fine, but the facts are the wheels are not as cheap as some alternatives, and they got dinged. I’ve ridden all round Mijas Trails like Sram, B-lIne, Godfathers, mamas and Papas, 9/11, leftism etc, are some of the roughest terrain out there. Magazines always end up being subjective and one could easily present these wheels in a wholly different light if the writer was in different mood.

  19. Pump up your damn tires to where they belong and smashing rims will no longer be a problem.

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