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Hunt launches 32 Aerodynamicist: 1,213g hookless wheelset with carbon spokes for the mountains

Matthew Loveridge
2 Mar 2022

Mega light tubeless-only wheelset with appealing rim specs and a surprisingly reasonable price tag

The Hunt 32 Aerodynamicist UD Carbon Spoke Disc is an all-new wheelset aimed at climbers that’s claimed to weigh just 1,212g for the set. That makes it the lightest production tubeless road wheelset on the market right now.

Priced at £1,199 / $1,549 / €1,619 with deliveries starting late May, the new wheelset marks a return to hookless rims for Hunt, making this a tubeless-only design that must be matched to appropriate tyres.

According to the brand, the 32 Aerodynamicist achieves its remarkably low weight thanks to carbon spokes, weight savings at the hubs and new rims.

A low-profile wheel wouldn’t naturally be the first choice for maximum aero benefit but, as the name implies, aero considerations played a role in the design of the 32 Aerodynamicist, and optimum tyre width is said to be 28mm.

Hunt 32 Aerodynamicist: Key specs

  • Claimed weight: 1,213g
  • Rims: Hookless (tubeless straight side) 25mm external, 21mm internal, 32mm deep
  • Tyre compatibility: Hookless tubeless tyres only, optimised for 28mm
  • Hubs: Sprint SLC, 7.5-degree angle of engagement, multi-point pawls, 48-tooth ratchet, centre-lock disc
  • Freehub: Shimano/SRAM HG-style, SRAM XD/XR, Campagnolo
  • Spokes: UD carbon fibre, claimed 2.7g per spoke
  • Price: £1,199 / $1,519 / €1,379

Hunt 32 Aerodynamicist: Wide-ish rims and carbon spokes

Designed for ‘KOM hunting, hill climb competitions and big days on the steepest gradients’, the 32 Aerodynamicist focusses heavily on weight savings, but in a format that will appeal to riders who don’t want to give up the benefits of road tubeless, and don’t mind giving up the option to run standard clinchers.

The 32 Aerodynamicist’s rims are a modest 32mm deep but feature a typical modern truncated aerofoil profile.

A healthy internal rim width of 21mm means they should be a good match for the 25-28mm tyres many roadies have now adopted. However, at 25mm external they’re not going to be wider than your tyres, which would be desirable for maximum aerodynamic advantage.

Hunt says its use of carbon spokes – something it has considerable experience with previously – offers a combination of weight savings and increased lateral stiffness over conventional steel.

Addressing potential rider concerns over serviceability, Hunt engineer Chris Colenso notes that the brand’s TaperLock spokes are truable and replaceable.

While the spoke itself is made from carbon, the head (hub end) and nipple-equivalent (rim end) are steel, and they’re effectively trapped on the spoke during the manufacturing process, pulling against the tapered ends and making mechanical failure unlikely.

This means the spokes are almost directly equivalent to standard steel ones, in contrast to full-carbon wheelsets such as those from Lightweight where spokes, hubs and rims are a single entity that’s tricky to repair in the event of damage.

For those not convinced by the concept, Hunt has hinted that a steel spoke version of the 32 Aerodynamicist might come later, but declined to put a date on it.

Hunt 32 Aerodynamicist: Why pawls?

The 32 Aerodynamicist features Hunt’s latest Sprint SLC hubs, which are said to weigh around 95g for the front and 220g for the rear. The brand says they offer the same strength and durability as previous versions thanks to the use of cold-forged 7075 aluminium.

While many high-end wheelsets now use DT Swiss-style ratchet freehubs, Hunt is sticking with pawls, citing angle of engagement as a factor in the decision.

‘The issues around ratchet reliability once you go down to smaller angles of engagement are prohibitive at the moment,’ says brand manager Ollie Gray, although he doesn’t rule out using ratchets in the future.

Ratchet freehubs are sometimes claimed to be easier to service than pawl-based designs, but ‘our hubs are exceptionally easy to take apart’, says Gray.

Hunt 32 Aerodynamicist: Tyre compatibility and hookless rims

Hookless rims have been the subject of some controversy in recent years as wheel and tyre standards have failed to keep pace with the changing tech. Riders have been left doing their own homework to ensure they’re using safe combinations of rims and rubber.

Hunt previously dabbled in the tech with its previous 55 Carbon Wide Aero and 30/50 Carbon Aero Disc wheelsets, but pulled back and returned to hooks as standards remained unsettled.

Proponents of hookless including Zipp and Enve cite manufacturing and cost benefits, noting that making hookless carbon rims generates less waste and the process is easier to control precisely, resulting in a better end product that can be cheaper for the consumer to buy.

Hookless rims may also offer a better tyre-to-rim transition which improves aerodynamics. This is a point Hunt picks up on, along with a claimed weight saving versus a comparable hooked rim of 18g, bringing rim weights for the 32 Aerodynamicist down to a claimed 374g and 377g.

The question of tyre compatibility isn’t fully settled, but the situation seems to be improving.

Hunt says its new rim complies with the latest ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) guidelines and describes it as compatible with ‘hookless tubeless tyres only’.

That would have been quite restrictive a couple of years ago, but tyre makers seem to be coming on board, with notable hold-out Continental launching its hookless-compatible Grand Prix 5000 S TR last October.

Hunt 32 Aerodynamicist: Properly light

Whatever the ins and outs on paper, the 32 Aerodynamicist is seriously light for a tubeless wheelset if the figures are accurate, lighter than any of the obvious competition.

Despite this, it still offers respectably wide rims unlike, say, the DT Swiss PRC 1100 Dicut Mon Chasseral (1,266g claimed) which measures 18mm internal.

Hunt’s offering is also tubeless-compatible, a key point of difference from the significantly more expensive Roval Alpinist CLX (1,248g claimed).

While aero may matter more than weight most of the time when it comes to real world speed, weight savings remain tremendously appealing to most riders, and the 32 Aerodynamicist's combination of price and weight is likely to have riders flocking to it.

Photos: Dominique Powers / Hunt

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