Test: Hunt Trail Wide V2 wheels

Hunt is a UK-based brand that focuses on a pragmatic, value-driven approach to bicycle components. That’s not to say they don’t have other projects in the works, however, they’re the same group behind the Privateer bike brand.

They are also trying to establish themselves as a brand that not only offers value, but also true innovation and technical merit. On paper, their Trail Wide wheels seem to strike a good balance between price, weight and features, with the price tag at $459 for the 1872-gram wheelset.

Details of the Hunt Trail Wide V2
• Wheel size: 29 inches
• Intended use: hiking
• Rim material: 6069 T6 alloy
• Rim width: 30 mm (internal)
• Hubs: 5° RapidEngage
• Weight: 863g (front) / 1009g (rear) / 1872g total
• MSRP: $459
• More information: www.huntbikewheels.cc

Design

The wheels were part of Hunt’s redesign of their wheel lineup for more aggressive riding. Its terminology is quite simple too. Trail, Enduro and Large. Pretty simple, really. The Trail Wide and Enduro Wide wheels have had a complete redesign. Although they share a similar design philosophy, they are very different wheels – from rim to hub.

Hunt tried to establish two key thresholds – the force a wheel must withstand before sustaining damage and the force it must withstand before it fails. They built their own jig in their shop and started testing their own rims and those of their competitors. In fact, they were even kind enough to let us use the impact tester during our insertion test last year.

During their testing, they did not show that their wheels were by far the best on the market, but rather tried to demonstrate that rims are often a compromise between stiffness, strength and weight, and that it is difficult to modify or improve any single aspect in isolation.

The 28-hole Trail Wide V2 wheels have an internal width of 30mm front and rear. The front wheel has an actual weight of 863g and the rear 1009g. The wheelset comes pre-taped, with tubeless valves and spare spokes. They also feature Hunt’s RapidEngage freehub, which offers 5 degrees of engagement and double butted spokes. They are available in Boost and Superboost and have a recommended tire width of 2.3″ to 2.5″.

These wheels are available with your choice of freehub body and in Boost and Superboost spacing.

Hunt claims the V2 provided a 20% improvement in crashworthiness over the original version, which puts it in very comparable territory to Stan’s Flow Mk3 and DT XM 481 rims.

The wheels are available with XD, Microspline or HG freehubs, as well as Super Boost spacing.

Test Setup

In testing I used these rims with and without inserts, as well as DD Maxxis DHR2s and Deliums Versatile tires – with and without inserts. For my weight, around 80kg, I tend to run pressures between 21 and 26 psi front and rear depending on how these tires are used. The wheels have been used on everything from 170mm enduro bikes to shorter travel trail bikes that have been slightly firmer.

On the track

The Hunt freehub has a quiet click. Yes, it’s there but it’s not a bother. The commitment is respectable on the technical sheet and on the track, it has never wavered or failed. In fact, after a period of inconsistent wheels and tires on test bikes, it was nice to be able to get back to a set I could rely on.

The wheels blend into the bike in many ways. They don’t offer any extremely obvious features. They’re not incredibly stiff and you can definitely flex them sideways as you go through the corners, but again this is an 1800g alloy wheelset and they were well within tolerance in that respect . Personally, I would normally prefer comfort over stiffness, within reason, as I like to ride softer, more natural trails that are more about maintaining speed and traction rather than hitting berms. With their relatively low rim profile and 28 spokes, the wheels are very comfortable and offer a noticeable reduction in vibration and harshness compared to stiffer wheels.

When reviewing a product that offers significantly better value for money than its competitors, I always come back to the same question: do they have to be better on the trail? Or simply offer similar performance at a lower cost? The Trail Wide V2s are definitely in the second group. Bang for buck, you could do a whole lot worse than these wheels.

Sustainability

I had several big impacts on these wheels, and the rim sang in protest, but no breakdowns or burps. In fact on one occasion I tagged a blind rock on my forehead so hard at the end of a double that my immediate thought from the noise was that it would have inflicted serious damage – but the rim came away with just a cosmetic scar.

Ultimately, as Hunt points out in his testing, a wheel is always a compromise between weight and durability. I think for around 1800g you can’t go too far wrong.

The internals of the hub are well lubricated and have never missed a bit. After a whole winter of riding and many, many jet washes, they still spin freely. The rims always turn straight and they never lost tension. If you need to inspect the freewheel, the axle comes apart without the need for tools, not that I ever needed to perform any maintenance, but that’s a nice feature.

How do they compare?

Of course, Hunt isn’t the only one making value-for-money alloy wheels. Last year I tested these SILT AM Alloy 29″ wheels. In terms of price, size and weight, they are similar, but the two feel very different on the track.

Trail Wides are noticeably more comfortable, and SILTs offer more support in high-load cornering and overall stiffness. Both are good wheelsets, and the difference isn’t a huge chasm, but the way they dampen the trail is noticeable.

What would I choose? Well, for the trails I like to ride and the way I ride them, I would prioritize comfort over stiffness. Then again, I’m not someone who likes to ride hard, fast man-made trails where the SILT is definitely good.


Advantages

+ Good value for money
+ Comfortable

The inconvenients

May not be stiff enough for some


Pinkbike’s take
The latest version of Hunt’s Trail Wide wheels do exactly what they’re supposed to do—they’re decent wheels at a good price that are gimmick-free. Although not the stiffest, they are very comfortable and easy to ride and ride. For me and the trails I ride it has been great and I wouldn’t like them to be stiffer, but those pushing a heavy side load through their bike on a hard pack might find them a bit flexy. Henry Quiney

Wiley C. Thompson