While so many brands are turning to disc wheels of late, those in the hunt (pardon the pun) for a set of aerodynamic rim-brake wheels would do well to check out these speedy rims from British company Hunt. The 52 mm-deep version we reviewed are more of an all-around offering than the 62 or 82 versions that are also available, but remained impressively speedy. They’d make a great racing option for those who are wary of too deep a wheel in case of stiff cross winds (lightweight speedsters heading to Kona) or for those, like me, who want a light wheel that will perform well regardless of the challenge I’m throwing at them.
Most Canadians won’t be familiar with Hunt, but the small British firm has quickly become a force in the insanely competitive wheel market, offering extremely aerodynamic products at a very competitive price point. Peter and Tom Marchmant started Hunt a little over five years ago. In 2017 they hired Italy’s Luisa Grappone to develop aero wheels. Grappone, who had worked for 3T and Campagnolo before Hunt enticed her to move to the UK, is a competitive cyclist with a masters in aerospace engineering. She worked in the aviation industry before turning her sites on her passion.
I got to meet Grappone in Kona last year, where she showed me the first versions of the Aerodynamicist wheels. Mine was the last meeting of an insanely long Kona week, and she still nearly bowled me over with the enthusiasm she has for the new wheels.
The Aerodynamicist wheels are an extension of Grappone’s first project with Hunt – the disc-brake-only Limitless line, which feature a wide profile below the edge of the rim that ensures both aerodynamics and stability in a variety of wind conditions. The Aerodynamicist wheels we reviewed are designed for bikes with rim brakes.
There are three different rim depths available: 52, 62 and 82 mm. According to Hunt’s own testing, the 82 mm version with a 23 mm tire tests faster than Zipp’s 808 NSW wheelset, Enve’s SES 7.8 and the DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut 80, all for less than $2,300. (The wheels we reviewed retail for $1,989.) The company ships internationally, so if you check out the Hunt website, it will provide Canadian pricing.
I used the Hunt Aerodynamicist extensively through a strength phase I was doing with my training group, which meant they got more than their fair share of testing on as many long and steep climbs as I could find. The lightweight wheels (1,548 g) performed incredibly well – even standing in way too hard a gear, I couldn’t get the wheels to flex enough to rub the brakes, something many of us triathletes have had to get used to with other aero brands. It assured me that all my energy was going into moving the bike forward.
When it came to powering away on a flat, the Aerodynamicist performed every bit as well. While you can feel that they’re not as fast as a deeper-rimmed wheel might be, they are quick enough, for sure. On high-speed descents you might give up a bit of top-end speed with the shallower rim, but you will appreciate the 52-mm depth if you’re dealing with stiff crosswinds.
The Aerodynamicist wheels offer impressive stopping power. The wheels use a special ceramic fibre brake track that allows for smooth and precise braking. While the wheels are tubeless ready, we used regular tires and tubes and were very happy with the feel and the performance.
The hubs are an impressive component of this wheelset, too. Equipped with Ceramic Speed bearings, they are really stiff and light, providing instant engagement so you really feel that you are driving forward, especially when you really stomp on the pedals to accelerate or during a climb.
Based on the impressive performance they offer, it’s hard to believe that this wheelset retails for just under $2,000. For those looking for an all-around training and racing wheel, the Aerodynamicist 52 is well worth a look. As much as we enjoyed the ride of the 52, though, for those looking for an all-out triathlon racer, we’d suggest going with either the 62 or 82 models to ensure you’re getting the best of both worlds – lots of performance and an aerodynamic advantage.
- Rims | Aerodynamicist rim-profiles, developed from the ground up. Toray T700/T800 carbon-fibre with a higher ratio of T800 (T40) fibres to achieve greater strength-to-weight ratio. Unidirectional sidewalls with 3K weave bed and spoke areas, Griptec basalt ceramic fibre brake-track for excellent braking and durability. Tubeless-ready for lower weight, rolling resistance and better puncture protection.
- Tires | 19 mm rim bed optimised for superior aerodynamic performance with a 25-28c tubeless tire, but also very capable with a 23c. Tubeless-Ready.
- Hubs | Race Season Sprint straight-pull super-light, 15mm diameter 7075-T6 axle. Circular dropout interface steps for added stiffness. 3x treble tooth pawls resulting in just 7.5˚ of engagement for instant acceleration. Steel spline insert to protect the cassette body.
- QR | Hunt Race Season super-light with heat-treated alloy/brass cam plate actuation and stainless steel springs.
- Included | QRs, Pads, Tubeless tape & valves, spokes w/key & aero spoke holder
- Weights | 1,518g (52) | 1,575g (62) | 1,738g (82)