img_0504Standing in line for another run at Skyline Queenstown last summer, I got chatting with a fellow rider about his Hunt Wheels kit and the hoops of the same name on his bike. It turned out that he was an ambassador for the fledgling British wheel brand, and after further research I discovered his name was Josh Ibbett, a pretty handy endurance racer who’d won the Trans Continental. Pretty handy indeed. Enjoying the NZ summer and trails, he told me about the company and their objectives in the competitive wheel market.

Months later I received an email from Hamish Paine, Hunt’s Australia/New Zealand rep, and the offer of a test set of wheels was snapped up. But which wheels to choose? Hunt does a full and comprehensive range for road and the growing adventure riding/cyclocross market. With a new gravel bike in my vision, and the new ‘Road Plus’ tyre standard appearing, we decided a set of 650b disc hoops would be an interesting avenue to investigate.

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Hamish told me how “placing an emphasis upon purpose focused wheels means we don’t ‘price point’ any of our products, instead we show our interpretation of the best possible wheelset for its intended usage. This ultimately means in the case of the Adventure Sport 650B Disc, it is not simply a scaled down mountain bike wheel or beefed up road wheel; rather a wheel we have created specifically for the new breed of go anywhere drop bar bicycles.”

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Thru-axles front and rear are of the 12mm variety, but the hubs can be run with all standards by swapping out the end caps.

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Running a Campagnolo EPS groupset on our test bike posed no problems, as Hunt can accommodate all the freehub brand and style options and sent through this alloy bodied unit.

Hamish, Josh and the Hunt crew regularly put their products through some proper real-world testing, and as Hamish explains “as riders we know that our 4Season Gravel Disc hubs will be used in grim conditions, ridden through streams, exposed to pressure washers etc, hence we use double-sealed EZO cartridge bearings along with internal cam skewers. Adaptability is also built-in with the hubs being able to accommodate most typical axle standards.”

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No fancy spoke types here, just simple, reliable, easy-to-source J-bend stainless spokes that you could probably find in Outer Mongolia should the need arise. Hamish says they went with the garden variety spokes “due to them being readily available if replacements are needed. However, we have taken a few measures to prevent this whereby triple butted (2.0-1.6-2.2 and 2.2 at the bend) are used to improve elasticity and reduce fatigue. Attaching the rim to the spoke are 12mm brass nipples. We choose brass due to its corrosion resistance and self-lubricating properties.”

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Centrelock or 6-bolt hub options are available, and the Centrelock models also come with rotor adapters.

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The rims sport a 25/20mm internal/external profile which is suitable for tyres ranging between 25-54mm. The rims are prepped with yellow tape for instant tubeless setup.img_0501

“The rim is slightly deeper than what is more commonly found on mountain bike rims with generally blunt profiles, whereas the Adventure Sport rim is 24mm in depth, and its asymmetrical drilling evens out spoke tension. Spoke count is slightly lower at 28 F/R.”img_0509Hunt founders Tom and Pete Marchment are industry veterans who source their components globally. “Our hubs, spokes, rims, nibbles, bearings, axles/quick-releases are manufactured by leaders in each field and are selected on the basis of how we want a wheelset to ride. The wheels are then hand-built by expert builders.”

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Included with the wheels is this little spares/accessory bundle with everything you need to set them up tubeless, tension the spokes, adapt your rotors, and swap out axles.

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While Hunt are building their wheels in Britain, it’s fairly easy to get your hands on them. “You can buy directly through our website or by asking for your local bicycle store to get in contact with us; ultimately giving choice in how a rider purchases their wheels” says Hamish. “All of our wheels are protected by a 60-day ride and return policy to ensure rider satisfaction. We also offer a pre-order system whereby a cyclist can place a refundable deposit to lock their order into the next shipment date. This allows for a smaller scale production which we use to our advantage, whereby we are able to jump onto the latest developments in wheel technologies and innovations.”

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We’ll be putting these wheels into action over summer on a cyclocross bike and a gravel/road machine in a number of configurations to explore their capabilities in varied conditions. For more information on the full Hunt range go to https://www.huntbikewheels.com/ and keep your eye on ChainSlap for a full review.