Hard to argue with a wheelset for under £350 that rides this well
MBR Editor’s Choice 2019: Hunt Wheels TrailWide wheelset, £349
The days of carbon wheels offering significant weight savings are over. Case in point, these Hunt TrailWide wheels only a few grams heavier than most of the carbon wheels we tested in the February issue, and yet they only cost a third of the price. Yes, it’s true that carbon wheels can offer other beenfits that alloy wheels can’t – namely a much higher strength to weight ratio – but the Hunt TrailWides are built from super-tough 6069 alloy, boasting a claimed 70 per cent greater tensile strength than common 6061 rims. They survived our testing with flying colours, and the one in the photo here actually dropped four feet off that that pipe onto a concrete slab without suffering so much as a scratch. With a rapid-engagement hub, quality bearings and spare spokes, a spoke key and valve stems in the box, the Hunt Trailwides are a quality upgrade at a bargain price.
Hunt Wheels TrailWide wheelset review
UK brand Hunt offers three different MTB options, with this Hunt Wheels TrailWide package aimed at heavy-duty XC through to all-mountain riding
The rim is 30mm inside; on-trend and properly supportive for the latest wider, grippier and comfier tyres. The rim is join-welded for strength and uses a custom 6069 T6 alloy blend that draws from the family firm’s background in the metal industry. This has a claimed 69% greater tensile strength over (more common) 6061-series aluminium and should shrug off dents and dings better.
The attention to detail extends to selling wheelsets tubeless ready with rim tape pre-installed and including spare spokes, spoke key and valve stems, all of which will also save you more money. The overall quality and finish on rims and hubs is good too.
Hunt delved deep into spoke count and specification – the front uses 28 to save weight and improve compliance, with the rear four extra for greater strength and better resistance to twisting. More expensive triple-butted Pillar spokes are used throughout. The Novatec hubs have been tweaked with added seals and special grease to improve UK durability too, and use a rapid-engaging 4.3-degree design, making them one of the fastest to pick up in this test, at any price. We’ve used this hub repeatedly on other wheelsets too and had minimal issues.
Lighter than most carbon wheels on test, the TrailWides feel fast on the trail, and change direction rapidly. They also spin well with smooth, quality bearings and accelerate crisply under power. The rear wheel’s super fast engagement (with a noisy whirr if that’s your thing) reacts as soon as you turn on the power at the crank, which is a real advantage for technical, stop-start climbing as well.
Ignoring Hunt’s package being ridiculously good value, these wheels offer a superior ride experience to plenty pricier and heavier popular alternatives like Hope wheelsets. The TrailWides don’t quite have the comfort, zing and float of the brilliant DT Swiss XM1501s, but it’d be tough to convince anyone struggling to justify the extra £500-ish quid those wheels are more than twice as good.
Totally sorted then, these TrailWides would make an excellent upgrade over cheap stock wheels any day of the week.