The guys from Hunt Bike Wheels, brothers Tom and Pete Marchment, visited road.cc earlier in the week to show us their initial range of four aluminium wheelsets – three rim brake models and a disc brake model.
We first told you about Hunt back in January when they revealed that they were building the wheels for Mason Progressive Cycles’ initial two bikes. This Mason x Hunt wheelset is the disc brake model in the range.
“Our wheels are born out of the fact that we and the guys we ride with wanted a certain type of wheel and we couldn’t go out and buy it – not unless you went and did all the custom speccing yourself,” said Tom Marchment.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel – sorry! – but we are bringing together some of the best, well-proven components that are available and putting them together in a great package using a very high-standard wheel builder.
“They’re all handbuilt and signed off individually. They’re all serial number traced which costs us a lot of money but we want to make sure that everything is right.”
The components used include EZO Japan bearings and Pillar PSR (Pillar Spoke Reinforce) spokes with reinforced heads.
“We’ve asked ourselves, what would be our ideal wheel for a particular type of riding? What wheel does the market want? And we’ve developed that product,” says Tom. “We’ve concentrated on designing the right product, we haven’t decided that we need a wheel at a particular price and then just designed whatever we can for that money.”
All of the Hunt wheels have wider than average rims, the lowest internal width being 17mm. Why?
“It opens up the tyre profile,” says Tom. “We’re doing it for the grip, the cornering and the ride feel. Plus, if you are using inner tubes, a wider tyre profile means you’re much less likely to get a pinch flat.”
You don’t need to use tubes if you don’t want to. All of the wheels are tubeless ready, coming with tubeless tape fitted and tubeless valves. Hunt are big on that. You also get quick release skewers – with stainless steel springs to avoid rust – a spare set of spokes and, if your wheels have aero spokes, a spoke holder to keep them straight when you tighten the nipples.
You also get a neat spoke key as part of the package. All of the spoke nipples have hex heads and this tool gives you the option of tightening them from inside the rim as well as from outside.
The alloy freehubs are nine, 10 and 11-speed compatible. Shimano and Campagnolo versions are available, the Shimano versions having a steel spline insert that’s designed to stop sprockets from digging in (Campagnolo splines, being deeper, aren’t as prone to that).
Okay, so that’s the background. Let’s have a look at the four wheelsets.
This is the wheelset designed with Mason’s steel Resolution and aluminium Definition bikes in mind although, of course, it’s suitable for other bikes too. They come with 27mm deep rims with a 17mm internal width and 23mm external width.
They’re centre-lock disc mount with six bolt disc mount adapters included.
The weight is a claimed 1,585g.
This is the most affordable wheelset in the range.
“We’ve used top-of-the-range heavy-gauge spokes Pillar PSRXtra spokes, brass nipples that are better for year-round durability, and high quality bearings,” says Tom.
“It’s a performance wheel that you can use in the most rubbish of weathers, but it’s still a performance lightweight wheel for when you want to go hard on the hills.
The weight is a claimed 1,589g.
These use 28mm deep aluminium rims, lightweight hubs, straight-pull spokes and alloy rather than brass nipples to save some weight.
They’re designed as performance wheels, the claimed weight being just 1,420g. That’s really not much for aluminium wheels at this price.
This is the top wheelset in the range, coming in a 31mm rim depth with an internal width of 19mm and an external width of 24mm. Those rims are heat treated niobium aluminium alloy, the idea being to add strength so that less material can be used and thus weight can be saved.
The extra rim width adds a little weight but these still weigh a claimed 1,480g.
We won’t be able to get our hands on any of these wheels for testing until June, but if you’ve seen enough to whet your appetite you can pre-order now at www.huntbikewheels.com.
Go to the website for much more detail on all of the wheels, including the rationale behind the choice of each individual component.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.