The Hunt 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheel is the first of the British brand’s new Limitless Research range to break cover – and it has also broken the record for the fastest time on Strava for the Trouée d’Arenberg segment, the most notorious cobbled sector of Paris-Roubaix.
Hunt says the new range follows 18 months of wind tunnel testing and real-world development.
Hunt brought on board engineer Luisa Grappone for the project, saying it was “seeking to push the boundaries of what is possible even further than we have done before.”
The 48 Limitless Aero Disc is a disc-specific carbon wheelset Grappone and Hunt developed with Schwalbe engineers that has a profile optimised for a 28c Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyre and is Hunt’s exclusive closed-mould design.
As part of the development process, the Hunt team headed to the Trouée d’Arenberg, the most notorious and hardest of the cobbled sectors of Paris-Roubaix.
Hunt worked with Dark Sky Media to film its time in the Arenberg Forest, which will release on Hunt’s YouTube channel on Friday April 12, two days before the Paris-Roubaix race itself. In the meantime, here’s the trailer.
The aim was to find out not only if the wheels would be able to withstand the battering of the 2.5km stretch, but more importantly if they’d be the fastest ever to complete it. Canyon dhb’s Alex Paton subsequently took 10 seconds off the 1.4-mile segment averaging 29.7mph on the new wheels.
Although the 48 Limitless Aero Disc has a profile optimised for a 28c Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyre, Hunt says it found in its most recent round of testing that the new wheel was on a par with the top competitors even with a narrower 25c Schwalbe Pro One.
Hunt’s aim was to develop the fastest wheels in the world when optimised for for the Pro One 28c. The reason for this, it says, is that there is not enough importance placed by many brands in the industry on the global system comprised of both the rim and the tyre. Only when you consider the choice of tyre and wheel, can you start to form real conclusions about aerodynamic performance.
Hunt says it has managed to achieve the impressively low weight (sub 1,600g, exact weight as yet undisclosed) with these dimensions through the adoption of an innovative, patented construction method.
A 22.5mm rim bed optimised for a 28c tyre (with specific design optimised for a 28c Schwalbe Pro One but compatible with any tubeless/clincher tyres from 23c upwards), paired with a 34.5mm external width would usually result in fairly thick carbon sidewalls. So Hunt used a (non-structural) low-density expanding polymer insert inside a channel carved out during pre-preg, which is bonded to the carbon during the curing process resulting in an exceptionally strong bond.
The density of carbon is 1.6g per cubic centimetre, whereas the polymer insert weighs just 0.6g per cubic centimetre, resulting in a (rotational) mass loss of just over 50g per rim. According to Hunt, this technology enabled it to consider the limits of material properties and smash right past them.
The wheels are still undergoing final wind tunnel testing, with full details to be released when the wheels launch mid-June. This will include wind tunnel data and full specs.