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Hunt 4Season Aero Road review

Hunt 4 Season aero
19 Nov 2015
Verdict:

The Hunt 4Season wheels prove that solidity needn’t mean slothfulness, and performance needn’t mean pounds.

Price: 
£279

Ask most riders today and they’ll tell you alloy wheels are for training. That wasn’t always the case of course – alloy wheels like the Mavic Helium were once prized racer’s possessions – but with the advent of carbon hoops, alloy was quickly relegated to the low cost, low performance bracket. Daresay, as winter wheels, even ‘sacrificial’. Yet with some savvy shopping around, there are still some incredibly good alloy wheels to be had that have a lot more to offer than just covering the training miles.

Who are ya?

For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, Hunt is a new outfit founded early this year in Sussex, whose raison d’etre is to supply quality, reasonably priced wheels that stay at the forefront of market trends. That means wide rims, disc hubs, aero profiling and tubeless compatibility. There are carbon rims in the line up too, but the majority of Hunt’s offerings revolve around sensibly built alloy wheels, such as these 4Season Aero Road.

Priced at well under £300 you might be forgiven for thinking the Aero Roads are intended purely as training wheels, and indeed I did. Yet a brief look at the stats and my first trip out, I realised they had a lot more to offer.

As per current thinking, Hunt has designed with a 17mm internal width. That’s not its widest or even the widest (Hunt offers a 19mm rim bed; Bontrager’s Aeolus wheels 19.5mm), but it stills means a set of Schwalbe 25mm Pro One tubeless tyres inflated to over 26mm. The tyres had a nice, rounded profile that didn’t suffer from the ‘light bulb’ effect that plagues fat tyres on narrow rims. And then, yes, there’s the tubeless bit.

Hunt offers a £99 upgrade to these wheels where it will fit a pair of Schwalbe Pro One tyres, including sealant, and have them delivered ready to ride. That’s a saving of around £20 on the RRP (the tyres are £56.99 each, plus the sealant), and for those new to tubeless it takes the fuss out of the equation, although I can assure you the fuss is minimal in reality – the new Pro One’s are a cinch to fit.

Add these two things together and the Aero Roads come into their own.

Hunt hubs

The hubs are laced with quality Pillar spokes – 20 front, 24rear. The spokes are stainless steel too that, though normal for such a wheel, does help in the road-buzz stakes over aluminium spoked wheels, which have a propensity to be stiffer but harsher. The result is a wheel that holds the road and corners exceptionally well, especially on rough terrain.

I’ve ridden a similar set of Hunts without tubeless tyres and I must confess they were not as accomplished. The tyres here make all the difference, but a wheel’s got to hold its own before a tyre can compliment it, and if you want the benefits of tubeless you’re going to need a tubeless rim.

More than just cheap thrills

Whatever your ideas on wheels, you’re never going to escape the question of weight, and it’s here that the Hunt’s suffer – on paper at least. They weighed in at 1,680g for the pair (with tubeless rim tape), which doesn’t sound that light, yet they climbed and accelerated like a much lighter wheel.

at £279 a pair you simply can’t go wrong

I think in part this was down to the lower wheel/tyre weight of the tubeless setup (the Schwalbe Pro Ones weighed just shy of 260g each – good for any clincher, even better considering they aren’t stuffed with 70+ grams of inner tube each), and also down to the lower rolling resistance tubeless inherently offers (one component of rolling resistance is deformation: energy lost through heat created from tyre/inner tube friction as the tyre flexes).

However, despite this there’s no escaping the fact that there are lighter, faster, bling-ier wheels out there that will get you more easily up the hills and faster down the dales. But that’s like comparing apples and pears. The Hunt Aero Roads aren't meant to go head-to-head with such wheels, but rather offer riders a different riding experience, whether that’s as a robust training wheel or a smooth rolling, well handling mile-muncher. Plus, at £279 a pair you simply can’t go wrong.

huntbikewheels.com

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