Hunt Proven Carbon Race Enduro Wheelset Review – UPDATED (Cracked!)

by 33

UPDATE: 12/06/23 – Front Rim Cracked

In the three months leading up to writing this review, the Proven Race Enduro wheels had given me zero issues. They were running true and the bearings were spinning as free as day one.

They’d been ridden through some pretty wet weather and been smashed through some pretty hefty rocks and shrugged it all off with just a muted ‘thud’ which had resulted in nothing more than the odd mark and scratch on the rims but nothing more than to be expected.

Unfortunately since this review first went live things have changed somewhat and the front rim has failed. Over the past few weeks, and the constant dry weather, trails have gotten faster and more blown out and at some point I’ve hit something hard enough to crack the front rim. The crack is right on a spoke hole and is on the rim wall through to the rim bed.

I’ll happily hold my hand up, and own up to this not being the first carbon rim I’ve cracked, but in the past there has been a pretty definite impact and corresponding noise that has made me stop and check the rim to see. That wasn’t the case this time. Yeah, there’s been some hard impacts recently but nothing that has made me anchor on to check things over. It was only in a car park pre-ride that the crack was noticed. The tyre had also stayed intact and amazingly the wheel held pressure until I stripped it so there were no obvious indicators there that anything was wrong. Obviously, without knowing when the failure originally occurred I had been riding on the damaged rim without any obvious issues. After noticing the crack, I completed the ride during which time the crack appeared to stay the same before stripping the wheel for full inspection.

Up until the failure I’d had zero complaints about the Proven wheels. They had felt great and the hubs at least are still going strong. Thankfully they come with Hunts H Care programme where they offer lifetime crash replacement for the original owner which gives some peace if mind in this sort of situation, but the bigger issue is them failing in the first place. As an enduro race wheel I’d have hoped for a bit more durability.

Statement from Hunt Wheels:

“We’re very surprised to see this happen. We’ve seen great success for the Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheelset during the past 2 seasons of the EWS, plus both rounds of the 2023 EDR so far, and we’ve had excellent feedback from our customers who have been riding these wheels since their launch in 2022. More importantly, though, we’re happy to hear that Ross wasn’t injured and that the wheel remained intact and offered enough strength for him to safely complete his ride.

As with all HUNT wheels, the Proven Carbon Race Enduro has undergone rigorous real-world testing, along with our own in-house lab testing, where the wheelset performed exceptionally well against similar wheelsets from other brands. Under our in-house testing, published at launch, Proven Carbon Race Enduro’s first failure point was recorded at 160 joules making it a very strong wheelset indeed.

Of course, if a customer’s wheelset was to see similar damage, we would replace the wheelset free of charge through our H_Care replacement program, which offers free lifetime replacement on Proven carbon wheelsets to the original owner” – Hunt Wheels

Original review as follows…

The Hunt Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheels are the top end, hard hitting carbon wheels from UK wheel specialist. Priced at £949, they’re designed to be tough enough for EWS race tracks (and tested by their EWS riders) yet also offer an improved ride feel over their previous carbon wheels.

  • Brand: Hunt
  • Product: Proven Carbon Race Enduro Wheelset
  • From: Hunt Bike Wheels
  • Price: £949
  • Tested: by Ross for 3 months

Pros

  • Good ride feel
  • Decent weight for purpose
  • Durability so far
  • Cost (for decent carbon wheels!)

Cons

  • Not the easiest to check / grease / work on hubs due to 12mm hex
  • Beads didn’t like pre-fitted tyres
  • Cost (it’s still the best of £1,000!)

The rims feature different carbon layups for the front and rear so that Hunt can tune the ride characteristics of each one. The front is designed for comfort and accuracy while the rear has been designed for strength and durability to shrug off big impacts. 

Both ends use 28 triple butted J bend spokes and to further enhance the tuned ride feel,different gauge spokes are used for front and rear. The front uses a 1.6mm centre section while the rear is 1.8mm for added durability. The internal rim width is 30mm which seems to be about the ‘standard’ for enduro/aggro tyres these days and the rim depth is 23mm for increased strength. 

The rims are laced to Hunts own large body Enduro hubs and the rear uses their 5° RapidEngage freehub. This test set is Boost 148 spaced but they are also available in SuperBoost 157 if that’s what you need. 

The hubs run on Revo bearings which use dual full-contact seals and long-lasting, heat-resistant grease to help keep water and muck out and keep things spinning smoother for longer. The axles are extra thick 17mm 7075-T6 which is designed for added stiffness, and in turn prolong the life of the bearings. Unlike some freehubs where the end caps just pull off for removing the freehub, the Proven’s are threaded and you’ll need a 12mm hex key and 17mm spanner to get it off.

The wheels come pre-taped and are supplied with Hunt’s own tubeless valves along with a few spare spokes should you manage to break one. System weight limit for them is 135kg and they come with a lifetime crash replacement policy for the original owner. Weights on my trusty kitchen scales are 860g for the front and 1076g for the rear.

Setting up

Given that the wheels were being fitted while the trails were still in their mid-winter finery of mud, water and grease, my tyre choice was my usual winter choice of Maxxis Shorty Gen 2 on the front and a Maxxis Minion DHR II on  the rear. The tyres were fitted to my previous wheelset and were by no means new, which caused a few problems. 

Getting the tyres on the rim wasn’t too bad. The rims are fairly wide so things got a bit tight for the last part, but nothing that a tyre lever couldn’t sort. Inflating the tyres was a bit more of an issue though As thentyres weren’t new they had some sealant on the bead and even after wiping, scraping and picking as much off this off as I could I just couldn’t get the beads to seat – this was with a standard track pump that I use on all my tyres.

Fortunately I had a brand new Double Down casing Shorty that I’d been wanting to try and a Michelin Wild AM2 that would go on the rear, and with new tyres and un-gunked beads, the tyres went up first time with a track pump and have held air since. So just something to bear in mind. The wheels have been fitted to a Deviate Claymore for the duration of the test and the tyres have been run at 22 – 24 psi on the front and 25 – 27 psi on the rear depending on the conditions.

Performance

I originally had a few hours riding the Proven Carbon Race Enduro back in September just before they launched. I was impressed enough from that first ride to want to spend some more time on them and see if they lived up to my initial thoughts and expectations. I’ve now been riding them for three months and to cut a long story short, they have. 

The Proven Carbon Race Enduro offer a great combination of stiffness and ride feel without any of the ‘wooden’ feeling that you can sometimes get with overly stiff carbon. Spinning them up is fast and easy, with the decent engagement helping to get the power down with no real dead spots. This helps on techy climbs where you might be putting odd half pedal strokes in to get over obstacles, helping keep you moving.

They track well through rough sections and off camber roots, and let you hold a line without being pinged around or deflected. I’d been running a set of aluminium ‘trail’ wheels before swapping to the Proven’s and once fitted, they added a sharpness to the bike. In rough sections the Proven carbon wheels feel direct and stiff in a good way. You point them where you want to go and they do – yet they have a definite compliance that helps to mute some of the trail feedback making them more forgiving and easier to ride in really rough terrain.

They’re by no means flexy though and you can rail berms and slap them into ruts and they stay supportive and track without any noticeable flop or flexing. 

Durability

In the three months I’ve been running them, the Proven Race Enduro wheels have given me zero issues. So far they are still running true and the bearings are spinning as free as day one. They’ve been ridden through some pretty wet weather and been smashed through some pretty hefty rocks and shrugged it all off with just a muted ‘thud’. There’s the odd mark and scratch on the rims but nothing more than to be expected and the general finish on the wheels and hubs is still good.

Overall

From a ride point of view it’s difficult to fault the Hunt Proven Carbon Enduro Race wheels (that’s a hell of a long name!). They offer a great ride feel with the direct and and precise feel of carbon, yet with some of the compliance, comfort and forgiveness of alloy. Best of both worlds if you like. They’re also well priced for Carbon hoops with a good replacement scheme, although a grand is still a good chunk of cash, but price is subjective so that’s up to you. If you’re after some hard hitting, reasonably light carbon wheels then the Hunt Proven Carbon Enduro Race wheels are well worth a look.

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Review Info

Brand: Hunt
Product: Proven Carbon Race Enduro Wheelset
From: Hunt Bike Wheels
Price: £949
Tested: by Ross for 3 months
Author Profile Picture
Ross Demain

Ad Sales Manager

Ross pairs his childlike excitement for bikes with a complete disregard for the wellbeing of his ribs, or his rims. Best known for riding cheeky trails, his time is also spent trail building in his local woods, drinking beer, eating pies and entertaining his two children.

More posts from Ross

Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)
  • Hunt Proven Carbon Race Enduro Wheelset Review – UPDATED (Cracked!)
  • spot1978
    Free Member

    I bought a pair of these as an incentive to get back on the bike after an accident. Absolutely love them; such a beautiful wheel set.

    I’ve been riding them for 4 months on local tails in the south and now the trails are dry it’s just epic.

    big_scot_nanny
    Full Member

    And pinkbike now reporting that their rear rim failed. Damn, sorry Hunt!

    SirHC
    Full Member

    I can have a set of DT Swiss 240’s on EX471’s for less money.

    -Stronger and more impact resistant
    -Same weight
    -More compliant (carbon wheels are far too stiff for me)

    I have a pair of 481’s on hopes that have completed over 6000miles and 1,000,000ft of descending. No cracks, no dents, a few broken spokes.

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    OK, before we go any further let’s just get this out in the open and state that the following is a helluva lot better than DTSwiss will offer on their wheels…..

    Of course, if a customer’s wheelset was to see similar damage, we would replace the wheelset free of charge through our H_Care replacement program, which offers free lifetime replacement on Proven carbon wheelsets to the original owner” – Hunt Wheels

    That is pretty impressive.

    DTSwiss’ response to me was a magnificent…

    you’ve been unlucky and caught the edge of something (rock or stump etc) firm. As you know with carbon its not the strongest ……..
    will be £260 for rim replacement

    matlockmeat
    Free Member

    Why does anyone buy Hunt wheels? I can’t stand them. Having inspected their products I think they are sh1te.

    There are so many better brands out there. Hope vs Hunt isn’t even an argument, it’s Hope everytime

    mashr
    Full Member

    Having inspected their products I think they are sh1te.

    other than being shite, what did your inspections show up?

    davidmoyesismydad
    Free Member

    I’m with matlockmeat

    Poor wheel tensioning from new

    Poor quality bearings that don’t last

    Rims made of cheese

    That’s nearly all the components covered

    Even there rim tape comes like it’s been fitted by a kangawhikst hopping

     

    andeh
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t buy a new set of wheels from Hunt, but, for balance…

    My Enduro Wides are still rolling after 4 years, with standard Rimpacts. Been living in an unfriendly wheel environment for the last 18 months and they’re still solid. I was skeptical after I trashed my Trail Wides in a month, but these replacements are alright. Factory bearings are shite though.

    scc999
    Full Member

    Whereas my Hunt V2 wheels have taken a bit of a bttering and the rims, spoke tension etc etc are fine.
    The V1s I had on a prev bike definitely had softer rims.

    Weirdly I’d not touch Hope rims – just ne example of people saying they are soft:

    Hope rims – Fortus 35 vs 30 single cavity

    All that being said I’ not bother with carbon rims and if I were looking to upgrade it would be DT Swiss all day long.

    noeffsgiven
    Free Member

    They can’t be that surprised or very surprised as they claim, pinkbike cracked there’s at the spoke hole too.

    tall_martin
    Full Member

    My hunt xc wheels have been fine for the last 2000 miles/ 3 years .

    Except a spoke pulled through the rim- replaced under warranty.

    And the free hub smashed- replaced under warranty.

    Price was fair, warranty support was prompt.

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    We’ve seen great success for the Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheelset during the past 2 seasons of the EWS, plus both rounds of the 2023 EDR so far,

    This would impress me if they had a limited number of wheels per year, and a time penalty for a wheel/rim change during an event.

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    Bearings on my mates’  Hunt wheels gravel offering are shiiite squared. Ohh and there’s something totally amiss with the free hub too.

    Hope all the way for me.  Whilst I hear the Hunt customer service is good, I prefer stuff that doesn’t fail in the 1st place, so I don’t have to dixk about claiming, returning, having to pull a wheelie for a week if I want to ride still, etc.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    The V1s I had on a prev bike definitely had softer rims.

    Were early Hunts Kinlin rims? I saw it suggested but never confirmed. I have Kinlin on my gravel bike and picked up a massive ding out of nowhere that I’ve never quite managed to straighten, previous rims survived worse I’m sure 🙄

    weeksy
    Full Member

    The boy has been riding his Hunt alu wheels that come on the Privateer 141 for the last 5 months now, including Dyfi, BPW, Enduros, DHs etc. massive gap jumps and probably a few rubbish landings.

    We have needed to have it re-trued a few times and a few loose spokes, but that’s not unusal with how he rides. So we’re in the “yeah they’re pretty good” camp.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Wheels and rim in particular are weird when it comes to how people experience them. Wheels that have no issues just get used, “Yeah, no issues, had to tension the spokes last winter” is dull compared to the rear Roval I cracked. My list goes:

    Mavic rim (remember them) not round or flat when I built them, although the end product was fine

    Early Stans, no spoke hole reinforcement, “loads” of folks reported that they cracked on forums , mine never did.

    The aforementioned Roval. – which was replaced and rebuilt under warranty.

    I’m pretty sure there’s probably hundreds of v happy Hunt (and Hope) customers.

    jonba
    Free Member

    I know people look at this stuff but I’m not convinced by carbon wheels for mountain biking. You can probably make it work if the benefits are there for you but the payoff is high in terms of cost and failure risk.

    Good hubs and hand built would be my preference.  My hunts that came on a second hand xc bike are ok. Little flexy (which I rarely notice on any bike) but ok. At the lower price point, not sure what else is available and good.

    DrP
    Full Member

    My 2ps worth on wheels…Hunt included…

    I was gifted a set of XC wides to race on the – this had been either a Rigid SS and now currently with 100mm forks… i’m REALLY impressed with them..they are light and do appear to be strong… I clatter through all sorts of gubbins, and sometimes ride the SS like a hardcore HT! No issues from them… THey’re only about 160gm heavier than the XC proven carbon I think..

    However…i bought myself a set of the trailwides (V1s) which were covered in dings and dents after the first ride (really!) on a 150mm full sus…. Had to straighten the rim out with a wrench… Lost faith in them, and bought Reserve 30mm carbons… (yeah, pricey..but lifetime warranty)..

    I will say that I LOVE the reserve carbons… I love a stiff wheel – tracks really well..and light and strong too… Yeah, they were like 5 times the price…. but the Hunts, dying after 1 ride, simply weren’t good value.

    I leant the wheelset to a mate – he’s a proper XC light weight boi… the rear actually eventually cracked with him.
    Hunt have offered to rebuild back onto another V1 rimset. I can’t be bothered TBH…

    DrP

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Hunt Endurowide here. Came fitted to a 141 Ohlins edition. I don’t ride as much as I used to but they’ve been battered almost exclusively in the rocky jank of Wharncliffe and they’re still fine.

    Trailwides recently bought in the sale for very, very cheap. Build quality seems fine. These will be my long distance, big day out wheels and they’ve got fast 2.6 tyres on. I’m happy for now.

    I wouldn’t buy these carbon Proven wheels though. Heavy, expensive and fragile. Now everyone knows that while the brag about seasons of EWS abuse they can be blown up by bike journos. It’s a manufacturers nightmare but I’d rather have these honest reviews out there.

    ehrob
    Full Member

    Shame to hear about the hunts. They look nice.

    However, for me they’re a solution to a problem I don’t have.

    Dt swiss alloy rims. Pick the appropriate one for your application. Have used a mix of 471, 481 and 511 rims down the years, all have been excellent.

    Pick the hub in your price range. 350 are great. 240 are nicer but in reality are pretty much the same.

    Done.

    wheelsonfire1
    Full Member

    Carbon fibre – not all it’s cracked up to be?

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Carbon fibre – not all it’s cracked up to be?

    I’d agree with that. I think it’s the wrong material for almost all parts of an MTB apart from maybe headset spacers. Incredibly strong and lightweight in lab conditions. Prone to unforeseen, catastrophic failure when ridden, crashed and generally manhandled in the real world.

    I honestly believe it’s main purpose is to provide manufacturers with something exotic to sell for twice the price of boring old aluminium alloys.

    ped
    Full Member

    My 2¢: My XC Wide are noodly as ‘owt on anything remotely tussocky let alone rocky but do the job on easier trails. My Trail Wide are far more confidence inspiring and have remained ding-free to date.

    For their price I don’t have any problems with either but, and this is petty: I wish they’d take the care to line up hub logos with valve holes when they built them. Wheel building 101 innit?

     

    whatyadoinsucka
    Free Member

    foam inserts make a massive difference to rims for me, carbon sixth element on 2 bikes and dtswiss on another.

    my sixth element are scraped to shit but never needed truing,  dt swiss, dented the rim in 3rd ride, had planned to fit a rimpact that week, but didnt have the time :0(

    cant beat hope or dt swiss hubs for reasonable money imho.

    just got ribble carbon £255 on gravel bike having smashed my sonder alpha wheelset.

    they’ve definately quickened the bike and feel superb, so light and so far strong.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    just got ribble carbon £255 on gravel bike

    Have you used inserts with them?

    I’ve still not got round to trying mine yet.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    I have the Vel carbon rims on my Topstone and definitely notice the weight difference. Seems they spin up much quicker. I’ve not considered inserts yet but might do.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I still can’t escape the feeling that inserts affect the feel of narrower gravel tyres. I’ve fitted Rimpact and now Vittoria into my 40mm Terreno Dry tyres, and with both I’ve noticed cornering feels far more tentative and have had rear wheels spitting out when I’ve not expected it.

    Am going to experiment (if I can be bothered with the mess and faff of taking them out again) with running no inserts at e.g. 45psi or with inserts at 40psi.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    Am going to experiment (if I can be bothered with the mess and faff of taking them out again) with running no inserts at e.g. 45psi or with inserts at 40psi.

    FWIW I run 30psi on my gravel bike, without inserts and (obviously) tubeless.

    desperatebicycle
    Full Member

    DTSwiss’ response to me was a magnificent…

    At least you got a reply! My son’s Nukeproof Horizon V2 “Enduro” (arf!) lasted 2 rides. 26th April we asked for help with a replacement. Still waiting.

    nickfrog
    Free Member

    Why does anyone buy Hunt wheels? I can’t stand them. Having inspected their products I think they are sh1te.

    There are so many better brands out there. Hope vs Hunt isn’t even an argument, it’s Hope everytime

    I really like Hope stuff but I prefer Hunt wheels. Trail V2s are so strong, comfy, cheap and light, plus easily serviceable, plus the Torque caps are £10.

    I can see why someone would prefer Hunt.

    whatyadoinsucka
    Free Member

    @chakaping, yep rimpact 650b gravel inserts went in easily, although as i’ve always found the gravelking sk tyres tend to be very slack, so had to insert a tube to seat one side, then changed valve, inflated to seat both, then break one side put in the insert then swear a little to get it to inflate again,

    deflated a few times in the first week, but not had to add air for the last few weeks now.

    i ran rimpact on my topstone 700c 38 gravelking sk’d usually circa 35-40psi was a fast bike and handled well, unless it was rough. prefer 650b on my sonder camino

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    FWIW I run 30psi on my gravel bike, without inserts and (obviously) tubeless.

    Wow! I’m 90kg (first time I’ve typed that, have been clinging to ’88kg’ for so long 😭) with 40mm tyres. I think I tried 35psi once and pinch flatted the tyre without even noticing how. That said it’s mainly dinged rims which are driving me to inserts and higher pressures, which is why I’m interested in chat about soft rims.

    fatbikeandcoffee
    Free Member

    Just to add a little balance into the carbon wheel bashing, all puns intended, I ride a pair of the DT Swiss ones, luckily picked up cheap(er) from fleabay and they’ve been ace.

    But go back to summer last year and a bad set of coincidences had me hitting the side of a moving farmers pick up at about 20mph both him and me.

    Yeah, I was fine, but my first thought after turning off all the alarms to not call Mrs was OMG my carbon front wheel! No worth noting I had it square on at speed, dented the wing of the pickup, but wheel was fine.

    I don’t do jumps but do do lots of miles, rocks, etc and it’s only on a 120mm bike and yes the odd scrape but nothing catastrophic (yet) so perhaps there is something in it or I am just plain lucky.

    For my two pence I love the honest reviews, I love that the customer service is ace, but it just feels like a version one type issue, great idea but got a few issues / bugs in it and everyone seems to have them (yes Hope cheese rims were version 1, version 2 so much better) so pays your money makes your choice perhaps?

    James

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