British wheel brand Hunt has redesigned its Limitless aero wheels with unidirectional carbon instead of steel spokes. The new wheels are lighter and stiffer and, Hunt claims, supply a riding experience like no other: “Complete, all-around performance; superior aerodynamic efficiency and crosswind stability with added responsiveness and lower system weight.”
Despite the futuristic spoke tech, the internal rim width of the Limitless wheels is not as wide as other brands such as Zipp are now offering: The 48 UD has a 22.5mm internal width while the 60 is narrower at 21mm. Interestingly, both are tubeless but not hookless, with Hunt saying the wheels "maintain rim hooks for secure fitment."
The wheels that get the new carbon spokes are the Limitless 48 and the Limitless 60 - with 48mm and 60mm rims respectively - and it has allowed them to drop over 100g compared to the previous steel-spoked versions, with the 48s now weighing a claimed 1,511g and the 60s 1,551g per set.
The Limitless 48 UD will cost £1,449/$1,669 with steel EZO bearings or £1,799/$2019 with CeramicSpeed bearings while the Limitless 60 UK is priced at £1499/$1729 with EZO bearings or £ £1849/$2069 with CeramicSpeed. That’s £300 more per wheelset than for the steel-spoked version (EZO bearing versions).
When you consider that the best road bike wheels with carbon spokes such as the Cadex 65 cost over £1,000 per wheel and the 'cheapest' wheelset from Lightweight, the Meilenstein, costs £3,999, it sounds pretty reasonable.
This isn’t the first time Hunt has used carbon spokes: it launched its first UD wheels in 2019 - the rim-brake 36 and disc-brake 44/54 using the same TaperLock technology that feature in these two new wheelsets.
TaperLock means that the carbon spokes aren’t bonded directly to the rim, as is the case with many carbon-spoked wheels. Instead, it says, the carbon spokes are as usable as steel ones. The tapered ends of spokes are fitted into metal mandrels (aluminium at the hub and steel threaded at the rim) so that they can be trued or replaced as necessary - and like Hunt’s wheels, the spokes come with a three-year warranty.
As for stiffness, Hunt claims that through its own deflection testing it has found a wheel with carbon spokes is 6% stiffer than one with steel spokes, even though the 44 UD wheel it tested against the standard 44 wheel had four spokes fewer.
The 48 UD and 60 UD are built onto Hunt’s Sprint SLC hubset, which it says has allowed it to drop a significant amount of weight from while retaining the same durability and strength of the original Sprint hubs. Claimed weights are around 95g for the front hub, and 220g for the rear.
The Limitless rim has a patented technology whereby a low density polymer (density only 0.7g/cm3 vs carbon fibre prepreg of 1.6g/cm3) is added that is claimed to keep the weight low whilst allowing a wide aerodynamic profile. This is co-cured to the carbon during the curing process, resulting in a strong and uniform bond that Hunt says is so strong the Limitless wheels can be taken onto the paths less travelled [ie gravel] as the rims are just as strong as any others.
According to Hunt, the technology means it can save around 50-55g of rotational mass per rim ending up with, in Hunt’s words, “the world’s fastest aero shape but also impressively low weight.”
And finally - do the carbon spokes slice through the air as cleanly as steel ones?
Hunt says it has wind tunnel tested the new 48 and 60 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke wheelsets against the original steel spoke version. Compared to their steel spoke counterparts, Hunt found both performed very similarly (within the margin of error for standardised wind tunnel testing), suggesting there is no material aerodynamic penalty associated with the bladed UD carbon spokes.
The 48 and 60 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke Disc with EZO bearings are available from October, while the CeramicSpeed versions will land in March/April 2023.
Check out Hunt's website (opens in new tab) for more details and full specs.
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