They're not the fastest to accelerate but once up to the speed the wheels hold their pace and the difference they make to the speed of a ride is dramatic.
Hold their pace superbly
Slow to accelerate
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The sub-£1000 wheel upgrade is a seriously competitive price mark, but the Hunt 50 Carbon Aero Wide wheels are a cut above the competition.
Stiff, fast and tubeless to boot, they’re well deserving of a spot on our Editor’s Choice list this year.
The Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset is the British brand's offering at potentially the most important price point in the market. At a shade under £900 these wheels could be the perfect upgrade for anyone looking to push their riding a step forward.
As the name suggests the rims are 50mm deep, increasing the wheel's stiffness and giving them an aerodynamic advantage over shallower wheels. Being made of carbon they have a stealth black look that helps them match any frame, especially the Specialized Tarmac SL4 Elite I tested them on. Hunt's name is just a minimalist white stamp on the side of the rim.
Setting up the Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset
Being tubeless ready and having a wide internal rim width I had feared that it'd be a total nightmare to get my clincher tyres set up but the Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres slipped right on. I suspect that they'd stretched while on a previous pair of Zipp wheels but I was relieved I didn't have the same ordeal as when fitting clinchers to a tubeless-ready Deda rim I test a few months back.
However, the Hunts did present a new nuisance in that the rim was too wide for my Shimano Ultegra R8000 brake calipers. I've not had this problem before and solved it by removing the spacer behind the brake pad housing – not ideal. Even then, the pads barely lifted off the rim and the modulation of the levers was non-existent. What was more bizarre is I didn't have to go to the same extremes on the rear wheel.
Riding the Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero wheels
Fortunately, once I managed to get the wheels turning that's all they wanted to do, although you're going to have to put some effort in to get them there – these wheels aren't the quickest off the line. The Hunts are tough to accelerate, and not just because I've got spindly legs but because they are 50mm deep and carry more weight in the rim. That depth pays off, though, and when you're up to speed these wheels just love to roll. They pushed my riding pace on the flat up from 30kph and closer to 34kph and at a lower wattage than I'm used to.
It's a big step up and previously when the riding the box aluminium rims that came with the Specialized Elite SL4 I'd found this pace very tough, but with the extra depth of the Hunt Carbon Aero Wide wheels sitting at this pace was now a breeze. When coasting the wheels held their pace excellently, all to the the sound of Hunt's majestic freehub – it's the loudest I've ever heard. Happily, it's not all bark, there's bite too, and the hub's engagement was fast enough for all of my efforts.
Despite the aforementioned issues with the brake caliper opening, the wheels braked very nicely, even if there was a compromise on lever feel. As is expected on carbon rims, the stopping distances increased in the rain but once you adjust it's easy to anticipate, although I haven't been able to do any long Alpine descents recently.
Deep wheels can often feel jarring but the ride quality of the Hunts was fine. I suspect this was partly to do with the superbly supple Vittoria Corsa tyres. The wheels also weren't fazed by blustery cross winds and I didn't feel like I was being thrown across the road.
Tubeless ready out of the box, 50mm deep and made of carbon-fibre all for the price of £899, the Hunt 50 Aero Wides seem like a very good upgrade wheelset. If you're a disc brake user fear not – the brand also makes a disc brake version of the wheel.
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