Hunt has released its range-topping wheelset for 2024 in the shape of the new SUB50 Limitless Aero Disc. Available in two variations, the new wheels are attached to some pretty big claims regarding aerodynamic efficiency and weight.
Hunt says the carbon spoked wheels weigh just 1380 grams for a pair, and will hit shelves at $2,789/£2,289 - certainly a premium wheelset, so let's have a look at how Hunt has managed to save 240 grams over its previous halo wheelset.
Hunt says its engineering team set out to create the fastest all-round road race wheelset up to and including 50mm in depth. More interestingly though, is that this goal relates to optimization around 28 and 30mm tyres.
The new wheels drop a substantial 240 grams when compared to the outgoing 48 Limitless hoops, and Hunt claims they are more efficient as well - albeit by 1.4 watts - thanks to a new rim profile that is the culmination of three years of development.
They will be available in two setups, the top of the range model featuring Hunt's UD Carbon spoke technology, and the other utilizing normal steel spokes. As well as weighing just 2.7 grams per spoke, Hunt says that the carbon spokes offer 6% greater lateral responsiveness compared to steel equivalents, which allows for a reduced number of spokes in the wheel system.
The British brand followed a now common development process for the new wheels, racking up 2500hrs of computational fluid dynamic analysis (CFD), before testing three front and 4 rear rim profiles as 3D prototypes in the wind tunnel, totaling 90 separate runs.
The rims themselves measure in at 49.5mm deep front and rear, with a super wide external rim width of 34.5mm up front where aerodynamics matters most, and a narrower 30.0mm external rim width on the rear. Hunt claims this is an easy win when it comes to weight saving, as the rear wheel encounters already turbulent airflow, and therefore a wider rim makes less difference.
As well as improving aerodynamics, Hunt says the wider rims allow for a superior tyre shape, which aims to improve grip and comfort.
When plotting aerodynamic drag against yaw angle (crosswind angle), the new Hunts are right on the money with competing wheels of similar depth, and supposedly outperform some of the more expensive competition at higher yaw angles.
As for weight, as previously mentioned the SUB50 Limitless Aero Disc wheels are said to tip the scales at 1380 grams for the pair. This significantly beats more aerodynamic counterparts such as the Roval Rapide CLX II wheelset (1520g claimed), but is beaten by both the Zipp 454 NSW (1358g) and Princeton Peak 4550 (1280g claimed).
The rims feature an internal rim width of 23mm and are hookless. They adhere to 2023 ETRTO standards and are recommended for use with 28mm and wider tyres. Hunt says the hookless design allows for a slight weight reduction, improves manufacturing consistency, and improves the tyre to rim interface.
The choice to opt for a starting tyre width of 28mm, Hunt says, was down to a growing number of professional riders opting for wider rubber, to take advantage of lower rolling resistance, cornering traction, and aerodynamic advantages.
For the hubs, Hunt says it has worked with its trusted industry-leading supplier to develop a ratchet drive hub system with 40 teeth. The floating ratchet rings are contained as a cassette, which means they won't pop out during routine servicing. 40 teeth means a 9 degree engagement, which isn't as much as offerings from DT-Swiss, but we think is plenty to handle the higher gearing seen on road bikes.
Hub shells are made using 6066 aluminium alloy, while a stronger 7075-T6 alloy is used for the axle and freehub body to improve strength and durability. Wheelsets will also have the option to be fitted with CeramicSpeed bearings, which feature lower rolling resistance.
You may be wondering where the slight weight discrepancy between the UD carbon spoke and steel spoke models comes from - and so were we.
We asked Hunt, who explained "Our Carbon spokes have a t-head flang to make sure that they stay firmly locked in place (as the carbon spokes behave in a slightly different way when not under load) and this means the blocks around the spoke head have to be slightly larger for the UD spoke, both a little wider and taller. And over all 38 spoke blocks this leads to a slightly heavier overall hubset. Most of the form is very similar and the internals are identical. But it does lead to a slightly heavier hub."
They should be durable too - Hunt say that supported rider Boru McCullagh has already completed 25,000km of fully loaded round the world riding on early test samples of the new hubs.
The SUB50 Limitless Aero Disc wheelset are available for pre-order today in limited quantites on Hunt's website, with most stock arriving to riders in late February, and CeramicSpeed wheelsets arriving in late April 2024.
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