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Wheels are one of the most common upgrades to a stock bike, and at the sub-£500 mark there are a lot of good wheels to choose from. Now there's one more: the Hunt Race Season Aero Wide wheelset, an excellent choice. These wheels are light, stiff and well made.
Tipping the road.cc scales at 1,480g – exactly what the Hunt website claims they should be – the Race Season Aero Wide is a wheelset that's designed to be a good all-rounder for training and racing.
They feature a 31mm section Niobium aluminium alloy-T10 rim which has a 19mm internal width and is tubeless compatible. In theory (according to ISO 5575, anyway) that 19mm width means you shouldn't fit anything narrower than a 28mm tyre to these wheels. In practice the tubeless hook profile and the tighter tolerances of tubeless tyres mean that 25mm tyres – Bontrager R3s in my case – are absolutely fine, and I doubt you'd have any issues with 23s either. In fact, the opposite problem is the one I've experienced: fitting 23mm tyres to a wide-channel rim (21mm Reynolds ATRs) resulted in such a tight fit that I had to cut the tyres off. No danger of them rolling off in a corner, then.
Hunt reckons these wheels will be fine for 'cross tyres too, and the ISO standard suggests anything up to a 47mm tyre should be fine. If you have room for it.
Hunt offers the wheels fitted with Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres in 23mm, 25mm or 28mm widths for an extra £99; that's £20 off RRP and you don't have the faff of fitting them yourselves. If you want to go tubeless, it's a good option. The wheels come with tubeless valves if you want to fit your own.
The rims are deeper than a standard 24-28mm box section and that might – or might not – afford you some aero advantage at speed. Certainly in strong crosswinds you get a bit of feedback, although it's nothing alarming.
The Race Season Aero Wides get up to speed quickly and are happy barrelling along at race pace. I've raced them a couple of times and in the cut and thrust of a bunch they always felt well behaved, with good lateral stiffness when cornering. The lack of tubes means you can be a bit more adventurous over rough surfaces, and also means you can knock a few psi out of your tyres for a bit more comfort if you want it.
The wider rim bed means the tyres fold in on themselves a bit less as they approach the bead, and so the sidewalls are flatter, leading to a bigger profile. My 25mm tyres measured up as more like a 26mm, and most of the time I ran them at 90psi. Once they were sealed they were very well behaved, needing just the occasional top up once or twice a week.
Both the front and rear spokes are straight-pull. There are 20 radial spokes at the front, and 24 at the back laced in a two-cross pattern. The Pillar spokes have a 2.2mm end section for extra strength, and Hunt uses a long nipple that has both a square section for truing on the go and a hex head inside the rim for more precise truing if the wheels are off the bike. I had one spoke loosen on me during about four months of testing, but it was a simple fix to tighten it back up, and it's been well behaved since. You get a Pillar spoke key included with the wheelset.
The hubs the spokes sit in are Hunt branded and they contain good quality EZO bearings front and rear, with uprated seals to reduce friction. The freehub has 4 pawls and 28 teeth, and is nice and clicky without being too loud. These things are important, you know. More importantly, the Shimano/SRAM freehub has a steel spline insert into the alloy body, which stops the sprockets biting into the soft metal over time.
The supplied quick releases are an external cam design with a self-lubricating brass cam insert and stainless springs. They're nicely made and not over-light; QRs aren't a place you want to be saving weight.
The wheel package as a whole is very good. These are well-put-together wheels with quality components. The ride is good too. They're an immediate and noticeable improvement over the sort of stock wheels you'll likely be swapping out. The low weight makes the bike feel a bit more lively when you're out of the saddle, but they don't lack lateral stiffness; I've not had any issues with brake rub in normal use and they never make the bike feel vague when cornering. Whether or not they have any meaningful aero benefit over a standard box rim is difficult to say – I'd expect them to be marginally better but it's not really a reason to buy. More likely you're just looking for some good all-condition wheels for a mix of faster riding, and they're a very good option for that.
Obvious competitors are wheels like Shimano's RS81 C24 or C35, Fulcrum's Racing 3, Campagnolo's Zonda and Stan's Notubes ZTR Alpha 340. Of those, the last three are available in tubeless-ready builds. Only the Stan's are lighter; the RRP is over £100 more but they can be found online for a comparable price to these Hunts. All of those wheels are good buys. The Shimano, Campag and Fulcrum options are a bit heavier but you can find them a good deal cheaper than the Hunts. The Race Season Aero Wides are the only ones with a 19mm internal width, though, and they certainly hold their own in what is a very competitive section of the wheel market. They're a good upgrade and definitely worth a look if you're swapping out stock wheels for something a bit more sprightly.
Very well made racing and training wheels. Light, wide and tubeless-ready
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Make and model: Hunt Race Season Aero Wide wheelset
Size tested: 31mm deep, 24mm wide
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The super-wide, seriously-light, aero-beating 31mm deep road wheelset
Stretch the gaps and burn the legs of your riding compatriots with incredible fast riding performance. You will take the corners faster and tighter than ever before due to the 24mm rim width opening out your tyre profile and providing incredible grip. The super wide rim working with a 25 or 28 tyre will eat up rough roads allowing you to hold your line and carry your speed. The upgraded straight pull hubs and spokes reduce weight, add strength and respond instantly to your accelerations. Float up the climbs too thanks to a sub 1500g bench-mark weight, is this even fair?
Rims | Niobium aluminium alloy-T10 Heat treated. 31mm deep. 19mm internal and 24mm external width, creates excellent tyre profile for wide road tyres and cross tyres up to 45c
Tyres | Designed with a wide 19mm rim bed to create a wider tyre profile. Great with 700x23mm tyres but ideal for 25, 28 and cross tyres. Tyres not included.
Hubs | Race Season straight-pull super-light QR 6061-T6, 7075-T6 axle and freehub. Steel spline insert.
Spokes | 20F/24R Pillar PSRXTRA Aero super-light straight pull
Nipples | 14mm alloy hex-head, square body.
QR | Hunt Race Season super-light with heat-treated alloy/brass cam plate actuation and stainless steel springs.
Weight | 1480g (rims, hubs spokes and nipples)
Schwalbe One Pro Tubeless Road Tyres 23, 25 or 28mm can be fitted for £99. SRP per tyre is £59.99, we fit them and include the sealant saving you the effort and more than £20. If you would like tyres fitting please add a note to your order and we will contact you to confirm.
We've pushed the boundaries here and added even more width and depth for extra grip, low aero drag and low rolling resistance advantage. Yes this is a 24mm wide outer and 31mm deep rounded profile rim made from Niobium enriched alloy that builds into an head-turning sub 1500g wheelset. Niobium aluminium alloy is a proprietary material developed by our rim supplier and uses an advanced T10 heat-treatment process. The process delivers outstanding weight, stiffness and durability meaning rims can be wider for 25 and 28mm tyres, deeper for better aero performance and yet remain super-light for excellent climbing and acceleration.
Precision machined straight pull hubs and spokes add strength and enhance power transfer meaning all your force pushes you forwards.
Spokes are a very important part of the equation and we have gone to town choosing the top-of-the-range Pillar Spoke Re-enforcement (PSR) XTRA models. These butted blade spokes are lighter but also provide a greater degree of elasticity to maintain spoke tensions longer and add fatigue resistance. PSR spokes feature the wider 2.2 width at the spoke head providing more material in this high stress area. To accompany these high-end spokes we selected aluminium anodized nipples which are lightweight and yet are long at 14mm for strength. As well as the standard square body we chose nipples with a hex head so you can achieve precise tensioning. Combining these components well is key and all Hunt wheels are hand-built and then tensioned by craftspeople who work in pairs to check and finish each other's work.
Bearings are the heart of any wheel and investing in them makes huge sense. We use high-grade precision smooth rolling sealed cartridge bearings by Japanese bearing experts EZO and this wheelset even has three of the rear hub bearings upgraded to S&S LU/LB seals which are low-friction sealed on the internal bearing face to further reduce rolling resistance and increase your speed whilst maintaining excellent sealing on the exposed faces. As a result all our freehub bodies have Steel Spline Insert re-enforcements to provide excellent durability against cassette sprocket damage often seen on standard alloy freehub bodies.
At Hunt we enjoy the puncture resistance and grip benefits of tubeless on our every-day rides so we wanted to allow our customers the same option, but of course all our tubeless-ready wheels are also designed to work perfectly with clincher tyres and inner tubes.
The little details matter, the Hunt Race Season quick-release skewers use brass for the cam which has self lubricating properties and we have even have upgraded to stainless steel springs so they don't rust.
The consequence of the fanatic attention to detail is a very low 1480 gram wheelset weight especially for this aero depth and width combination. These wheels deliver your potential and then some,. Go on push even harder, they will reward you.
60 Day Ride & Return Period. We are certain you'll be impressed by the acceleration, low-weight, speed and durability of our wheels. We are cyclists and as such strive to offer class leading service and support. Buy with confidence, if for any reason you wish to return the wheels for a full refund of your order you can do so up to a full 60 days after you received them whether they have been ridden or not. Please note we cannot offer refunds on wheels that have suffered from crash damage but do offer a crash replacement discount.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tubeless-ready – designed to work excellently with normal clincher tyres and tubes or tubeless tyres. Two layers of Hunt Bronze Shield tubeless rim tape fitted.
Niobium – T10 heat-treated aluminium alloy.
24mm outer and 19mm inner width ideal for 23-34mm tyre widths
31mm deep rounded aero section
Precision machined rim brake track
Matt black anodized finish with matt white heated decals for excellent durability
Front: 20 spokes laced radially - Aero triple-butted profile
Butted 2.0-2.0/0.95-2.0 then PSR section is 2.2.
Rear: 24 spokes laced 2 cross.
Asymmetric spoke gauges on rear wheel creates a more stable wheel build.
Drive side - butted 2.0-2.2/0.95-2.0 then PSR section is 2.2.
Non-drive side - butted 2.0-2.0/0.95-2.0 then PSR section is 2.2.
Straight-pull for excellent torsional strength and direct power transfer
Cold drawn from high grade T302 (18/10) stainless steel wire by Sandvik Sweden
Patented Pillar Spoke Re-enforcement, butted again just before the spoke head providing more durability in high stress area.
Black stainless treatment
Alloy square body for external adjustment and hex head for easy internal adjustment/tensioning. Hex/square spoke key included.
14mm length for a strong connection to the spoke.
Black anodized finish
Forged and CNC'd 6061-T6 heat treated aluminium alloy body
7075-T6 aluminium alloy axles
Polished anodized black finish with laser graphics
7075-T6 heat-treated aluminium alloy freehub body
4 pawl, 28 tooth engagement
9/10/11 speed Shimano/SRAM compatible freehub with Steel Spline Insert freehub body re-enforcement provide excellent durability against cassette sprocket damage to the freehub often seen on standard alloy freehub bodies.
or Campagnolo 9/10/11 speed, no Steel Spline Insert required as Campagnolo design has deeper grooves.
High-grade by EZO Japan and S&S
Sealed cartridge replaceable units.
Rear hub upgraded to even faster rolling S&S LU/LB low-friction sealed internal face, dual sealed external face bearings.
Incredibly fast rolling
Hunt Super-light Race Season design, only 33g front and 37g rear
7075-T6 heat-treated alloy lever, head and nut
Brass cam plate actuation.
1000kgf tested high-strength cro-moly spindles
Corrosion resistant stainless steel springs
Polished anodized black finish with laser graphics
Front wheel and Rear Wheels with 2 layers Bronze Shield tubeless tape fitted
Cassette spacer for 8/9/10 speed
Pillar spoke key for hex and square fitment
Hunt aero spoke holder - anti-scuff coated steel
Spare of each spoke plus nipples
Quality control card signed by your wheel builder
Very well put together from quality bits.
Very good all-round wheels suitable for training and racing.
Wearing well. One loose spoke so far but no other issues.
Sub-1500g weight at this price is pretty competitive.
The 19mm rim width allows a wider tyre to be fitted and also increases the size of the chamber of a 23mm or 25mm tyre.
Well priced, but you can get the nearest competitor wheels a bit cheaper online.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. A great set of all-rounders.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Well built, component choice well considered.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Braking can be a bit noisy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Very good overall performance from a quality wheelset.
Age: 43 Height: 189cm Weight: 92kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.