We were very impressed with Hunt’s rim-braked Aerodynamicist wheelset which we reviewed in Nov. 2020, but, as the bike industry shifts more and more to disc-braked options, it was time to check out the latest disc-friendly version of the speedy wheels which you can purchase for about half the price of their more expensive competition.
You can find out more, and order wheels, here.
With speed in mind, our review wheels were the deepest offerings the company has, with an 83 mm front and an 87 mm rear. The front and rear rims feature different designs in order to maximize speed and minimize handling issues in cross winds. Hunt has definitely nailed the speed end of things – while we didn’t test the wheels in a wind tunnel (Hunt has and published a white paper with their results that found the wheels to be competitive with its much more expensive rivals), the wheels rolled as fast or faster than any other wheelset we’ve tried (barring a disc). That’s even without the Ceramic Speed bearings that are an option, but more on that later.
We’re not the only ones who have found the Aerodynamicist wheels to be very quick – Great Britain’s Ruth Astle (pictured above on her way to a 14th-place finish in Kona) rode a set to her fifth-place finish (with the fourth-fastest bike split) at the Ironman World Championship St. George in May.
The one downside to all that speed, though, is that with the 83 mm front rim, you do feel some buffeting in crosswind situations – more than you’d feel with, say, Zipp’s 858. For those who are heavy enough, or have the bike handling skills, to power through those situations, that won’t be a big deal. If you’re lighter, or a bit more concerned about holding a line as the wind picks up, you might want to look at going with the 73 mm option that Hunt also offers.
The other thing you’ll notice on a closer inspection of this wheelset is the difference in the width between the front and rear wheels. Since the front wheel is cutting through the wind, it’s wider – Hunt’s testing showed that since the rear wheel is blocked by the frame, it can be narrower to maintain optimal aerodynamics. The wheels are designed to take 25 to 28 mm-wide tubeless tires for optimal aero performance and comfort. (And, yes, you really don’t need to crank the tire pressure up to 100 lbs for maximal performance.)
Like the rim-braked version of the Aerodynamicist that we were big fans of, the disc version of the Aerodynamicist is super stiff laterally, providing excellent performance whether you’re climbing or stomping on the pedals on a flat, fast triathlon leg. You get all that performance while also enjoying an extremely comfortable ride. The wheels are nice and light, too, weighing in at just 1,796 g. You’ll save 20 g with the 73 mm front. We found the rim-braked versions were perfect for bikes with “hidden” brakes under the bottom bracket with really limited adjustment options because they’re stiff enough not to rub on the brakes as you climb or push hard, but still remain extremely comfortable to ride. The disc-brake Aerodynamicist feels very much the same.
The version we tested came with Hunt’s Sprint SL 7.5 Hubs with Hunt’s EZO bearings. To be honest, they were so fast and smooth that we actually had to check back with Hunt after a few rides to see if they’d accidently sent a set with Ceramic Speed hubs, which are an option. If you’re looking for the ultimate in performance, you’ll want to pay the extra for the upgrade, but if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, stick with the Sprint SL 7.5 Hubs.
The Hunt Aerodynamicist wheelset is an extremely durable and fast wheelset that will do you well both for training and racing. Most people will probably want to go with the shallower 73 mm front rim option for a bit more comfort in cross winds, but if speed is your thing, it’s hard to do much better than this wheelset, especially for the price.
MSRP (7387 EZO): $2,114
MSRP (8387 EZO): $2,193
MSRP (7387 CeramicSpeed): $2,584
MSRP (8387 CeramicSpeed): $2,663
Prices as per the company’s website at time of publishing
DIMENSIONS: Front: 73mm Deep (34mm ext. 20mm int.) / 83mm Deep (34mm ext. 20mm int.) Rear: 87mm Deep (30mm ext. 20mm int)
WEIGHT: Front 73: 795g / Front 83: 815g / Rear 87: 981g
HUBS: Sprint SL 7.5 Hub, with an engagement rate of 7.5°. Multi-point pawls, with 48 ratchets within the hub shell. Centre-Lock Disc.
BEARINGS: CeramicSpeed and EZO bearing options
SPOKES: Pillar Spoke Re-enforcement PSR XTRA
TYRE COMPATIBILITY: Clincher and Tubeless tyres, optimised for 25-28mm
FREEHUB OPTIONS: Shimano/SRAM 8/9/10/11 speed, SRAM XD/XDR, Campagnolo 8/9/10/11/12 speed