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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
- Good ride feel
- Decent weight for purpose
- Durability so far
- Cost (for decent carbon wheels!)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Product:||Proven Carbon Race Enduro Wheelset|
|From:||Hunt Bike Wheels|
|Tested:||by Ross for 3 months|