James gives us his review on the Hunt Enduro Wide wheels after 9 months of punishment
What do you do when you can’t find a wheelset with the exact specification that you’re after?
Most of us would either compromise or go down the custom route, buying separate hubs, spokes and rims to suit our requirements. But not Peter and Tom Marchment. Oh no.
Not satisfied with the wheels available to them off the shelf, they put their years of industry experience to good use and set about designing and speccing their own. Kicking things off with road wheels, the Hunt range now covers road, CX, gravel, wheels with inbuilt dynamos, and of course, mountain bike wheels.
Andi put some time into the Trail Wide wheels last year and came away raving about them. But what if you need something a bit tougher? Enter stage left, the Hunt Enduro Wide.
Hunt Enduro Wide MTB Wheel Specs
- Hard hitting alloy wheelset designed for the most unforgiving trails
- Available in 27.5in and 29in diameters
- Asymmetric 6069-T6 welded alloy rim w/peened finish
- 33mm internal rim width
- Optimised for tyres from 2.35in to 2.6in wide
- Tubeless compatible design w/hookless sidewalls
- Forged and CNC machined 6061-T6 heat treated alloy hub shells
- Boost and non-Boost hub 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
- 32x front & 36x rear 3-cross lacing pattern
- Includes: tubeless tape, tubeless valves, 4x spare spokes & nipples, spoke tool
- Confirmed weight: 2013 grams (27.5in)
- RRP: £359
Building on the Trail Wide model, the Enduro Wide rims use the same 6069 T6 alloy, but are wider (33mm internal), and feature thicker sidewalls and more spokes for an altogether beefier proposition.
Contrary to popular opinion, less does not equal more when it comes to spoke count, and as per their Trail Wide wheelset, Hunt have chosen to spec a mismatched spoke count on the Enduro Wide, this time with 32 triple butted J-bend spokes up front, and 36 out back. They may not be as flash as a custom shaped, unobtanium alloy spoke, but there’s a heck of a lot to be said for the wide availability of a bog standard J-bend spoke in getting you out of a tight spot in the middle of nowhere.
I spent a good deal of time chatting with Tom at ‘ArdRock last summer, and it was good to hear the design rationale direct from the horse’s mouth. Contrary to popular belief, 36 spokes are no longer the sole preserve of the cheap and cheerful as a cover up for poor build quality or materials. Remember, these are quality triple butted spokes from Sandvik. More spokes = greater cost, but also greater strength.
The shiny black anodized hubs are the same as those found on the Trail Wide wheelset, made from durable heat treated 6061-T6 alloy bodies with 7075-T6 axles and large double sealed cartridge bearings within.
In this great axle size transition period we find ourselves in, Hunt allow you to pic ‘n’ mix between boost or regular axle widths, both front and rear at the point of ordering, with RockShox Torque Caps available too. I tested the XD driver freehub, but naturally a Shimano version is available too. At the time of writing though, Hunt doesn’t offer a Shimano Micro Spline freehub.
The freewheel has a rapid 4.3° pickup, and is reassuringly noisey, but tuned to a different timbre to Hope.
Setting Up The Hunt Enduro Wide Wheels
Packaged up alongside the wheels in the padded wheel bag, is a branded spoke key (that I’ve yet to use), a handful of spare spokes (that I’ve yet to use), and the prerequisite tubeless valves (which I have used). The wheels came ready taped (yet another nice touch), so all that was required was for me to fit the valves, choose some tyres, add some sealant and pump the tyres up.
I fitted the wheels to my Cotic BFe, and proceeded to ride them hard all over the north lakes for the last nine months, and they’ve been practically perfect in every way. A range of tyres have popped up on the rims without fuss, and the H Lock rim profile has helped keep all the tyres well seated. A noted improvement on the Trail Wide wheels that Andi reviewed last year, is that the rims are almost ding free (but more on that later) – a testament to the upgraded 6069 alloy Hunt are now using.
When it comes to the ride quality, I’ve never been one to notice the nuances of a stiff wheel over a more flexible wheel as my riding style is a little agricultural and lacking finesse. David mentioned in his carbon wheel group test last year, you have to be doing back to back runs on the same day before you really start to notice a difference in wheel stiffness.
Ultimately, the wheels felt great – very similar to the Spank Oozy 345s I had on previously. Slightly stiffer maybe, but not by much.
Up front, the everything felt very direct, with the bike going where I wanted it and not getting knocked off line. As for the 36 spokes out back? Common sense would tell you you’re in for a rough time, but it’s nowhere near as harsh as you’d expect.
The only issue I’ve had with these wheels, was when I fitted a set of relatively lightweight (950g) 2.6in wide tyres to them and had one of those impacts that leaves you scratching your head as to what went wrong. Getting my timing completely out of whack, I managed to put two sizeable holes in the rear tyre along with a tasty ding in the wheel all the way to the rim bed while cruising along a relatively innocuous section of trail.
Although I had to fit a tube in order to get home, once back in the workshop I attacked the damaged rim with a set of pliers and straightened it all out in no time. Even after this impact the wheel is still true, my rudimentary repair is still holding air perfectly well, and the spokes barely needed touching. I’m impressed.
There has been no play develop in the bearings, and the freehub is still spinning as freely and noisily as the day I fitted it.
I’m looking at treating myself to a new bike later this year, and these Hunt Enduro Wides are at the top of my shopping list for me to spend my own hard earned cash on. Aside from a rogue impact that I’m willing to shoulder all responsibility for, they’ve been bomb proof throughout the last six months, soaking up all the north Lakes can throw at them.
If you’re trails aren’t quite so demanding then it might be worth checking out the Hunt Trail Wides and saving 200g, especially now they’ve upped the alloy specification on the rims. But for ultimate durability, it’s hard to look past these sub-£400 wheels.
|Brand:||Hunt Bike Wheels|
|Tested:||by James Vincent for 9 months|