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If you ride a lot on gravel tracks and trails you want a wheelset that can take plenty of abuse, and these Hunt 4 Season Gravel Disc X-Wide wheels fit that bill brilliantly. They're solid, dependable and lovely wheels to ride, and with their wide rim bed they work perfectly with wider gravel tyres.
You might have read Mike's glowing review of the Hunt 35 Carbon Gravel Disc X-Wide wheels and thought, 'I wonder if they do something a bit cheaper to suit my budget?' Well, the wheels you see here are pretty much an aluminium alloy version.
Over the couple of months that I've been testing the 4 Seasons I've had four gravel/adventure bikes to chop and change them between (helped by the fact that Hunt supplied me with a selection of freehub bodies which are very simple to swap over) and they've suited every single one of them, from the sub-grand alloy bike through to the £3.5k titanium mile-muncher.
Each bike benefited from an upgrade in ride quality, and the majority have seen a noticeable weight saving too.
The 4 Seasons have a very solid feel to them, which also gives a sense of comfort. The rim depth is only 19mm, so you don't get any of the harshness sometimes found on deeper section alloy or even carbon rims.
I've got some steep descents on my local gravel tracks where 50mph is achievable, and while they are reasonably hard packed there are some cruel rocks to catch you out as the aggregate blurs past beneath you.
Sometimes the bunny hops aren't quite high enough and I whacked a large stone that was about 8in in diameter at speed. The sound was deafening, and I really thought I'd totalled the rear wheel.
There was dust and a mark on the tyre and a bit of a scratch to the finish of the wheel where the impact had taken place, but everything was still spinning as true as it was when I took them out of the box. I was very impressed.
For the rims Hunt uses 6066-T6 grade alloy, which it says gives 34% more tensile strength than the more usually employed 6061-T6, and with that kind of performance I'm happy to take Hunt's word for it.
The whole build is really stiff laterally, too. Getting out of the saddle to attack a climb, they just surge forward without any feeling of power being wasted.
Over the last couple of years tyre clearance on gravel and adventure bikes has grown. The 35mm limits, like on the early GT Grade, have gone, to be replaced with well over 40mm. These new wheels reflect that with a rim width of 25mm internally and 29mm externally, which makes them most suited to tyres ranging from 35mm to 50mm.
The 38mm Schwalbe G-One Bite Microskin TL Easy tyres I fitted to them came out at just over 40mm, giving a smooth transition between rim and sidewall.
The Schwalbes are tubeless ready and this is something Hunt has focused on since the company's inception. The X-Wides use its H-Lock system – little ramps that sit the bead of the tyre closer to the edge of the rim to aid that first tyre inflation and seating.
I had no issues fitting the tyres at all using the Beto Surge Tubeless Floor Pump and they went straight on and sealed first time. It's worth noting that Hunt has maximum pressure ratings for the various tyre sizes on its website which is worth taking a look at before you get the pump out.
All of Hunt's wheels come fitted with tubeless tape and if you want to avoid the faff off fitting your own tyres you can get Hunt to fit them for you at the time of ordering.
All the Hunt wheels I've owned and tested over the years have lived up to the company's ethos of building to a high standard, using some of the best quality components at a decent price, and that is exactly what you are getting here.
The 4 Season Disc hubs are designed for use in all sorts of conditions and come with extra shielding for the sealed cartridge EZO bearings. Conditions changed from dry and dusty at the start of the test to wet and gritty towards the end, and I have had no issues with the hubs at all. They are still running as smoothly as they were about 700-odd miles ago and just as quiet.
No matter what axle systems your bike is running, the hubs are compatible. Most new bikes are pretty settled on 12mm front and rear thru-axles, but many bikes from a few years ago had 15mm at the front and possibly quick release at the rear. Hunt can supply adaptors at the time of ordering for any of these.
The amount of goodies you actually get with the wheels is pretty good too. I've mentioned the tape is already fitted, but you also get tubeless valves, a spoke key, 6-bolt disc adaptors (Hunt wheels are set up for Centerlock), a spare of each spoke length required, plus nipples.
Spoke-wise Hunt has used Pillar, a brand it has used for a long time, and these J-bend XTRA models are butted with an aero profile which Hunt says provides a greater degree of elasticity to maintain tension and reduce fatigue.
Hunt also offsets the spoke holes in the rim bed away from the centre to reduce the effects of dishing, to provide balanced spoke tensions.
For year-round wheels I'm not a fan of alloy nipples as they can corrode and split, so I'm glad to see Hunt has used brass versions here. They don't corrode and are self-lubricating.
Another piece that needs to be robust is the freehub body. Hard accelerations from a standing start can see the cassette start to bite into the splines of the freehub, especially on alloy versions. Hunt uses its H_CERAMIK coating, which has limited the wear, although the freehub does lack the steel insert that is found on some of its models which really keeps damage at bay.
So, the quality and the performance are there, now let's talk money.
Looking through the road.cc review section hall of fame it's clear we haven't tested that many wide gravel-specific alloy wheels yet, most of them being carbon.
There are the FSA Afterburner AGX wheels: tough and durable, but a fair bit narrower, and just less than £300 more expensive for a similar weight. Yep, £619.95 versus the £329 of the Hunts.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Fulcrum Racing 7 DB wheels. These aren't entirely gravel-specific but a set of wheels that dabble in a bit of road and off-road. I liked them, and at £224.99 they are a good budget choice, but the Hunts are a lot wider, working better with gravel tyre widths, tougher and just an all-round nicer ride.
Overall, I don't think I need to sum up the Hunts really. If you've read all the way to the bottom I think you'll agree that there is very little to dislike if you want a tough set of wheels that have a sensible weight and a great ride. On top of that you've got the price; I'd still be singing their praises at 500 quid.
Perfect rim width to work with gravel tyres, plus they are tough, stiff, great to ride on and a bargain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hunt 4 Season Gravel Disc X-Wide Wheelset
Size tested: 19 DEEP, 29 WIDE
Tell us what the wheel 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?
Hunt says, "The 4 Season Gravel Disc has been a staple in our range from very early on. As a more burly version of the 4 Season Disc (owing to higher spoke count and wider rim) it was a great option for those wanting to hit the path less travelled. Fast-forward a couple of years, and the demands of gravel riding have taken on a whole new dimension, with riders seeking trails and routes you'd formerly only consider a mountain bike for. Enter the X-Wide, the wheelset designed to shine where the boundaries are blurred...
"As you'd come to expect from us, we've invested in high-specification spokes, rims and hubsets, so you don't pay a massive weight penalty for that extra off-road durability. Long-lasting performance both on and off-road. Don't be restricted, grasp your freedom. The extra-wide rim is ideal for properly wide (35 to 50+) gravel tyres, so you can explore, go bike-packing, rip any trails or CX courses you fancy, and do it all with confidence."
Hunt has delivered a quality wheelset that is durable enough for a lot of abuse for a very good price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Hunt gives this overview:
Rims | Super-wide (29mm external, 25mm internal) 6066-T6 (+34% tensile strength vs 6061-T6) Heat treated. Disc specific. Asymmetric for balanced spoke tensions and a highly-durable wheel build. ETRTO 622x25.
Tyres | Tubeless-ready for lower weight & rolling resistance, featuring H_LOCK bead-seat for easy and secure tubeless installation. Also works excellently with clincher tyres and tubes.
Hubs | HUNT 4 Season Disc J-bend spoke hubs with extra bearing shielding. 10 degree FastEngage 4-pawl freehub, with H_CERAMIK coating for enhanced durability. SRAM XD and XDR Driver available. Centre-lock disc mount, 6-bolt disc adaptors included.
Axles | Easily adaptable & we fit them for you. Fit all current axle sizes and are easy to change; Front - QR, Bolt thru 12/15, Rear - QR, Bolt thru 12x142, 12x135, 10x135.
Included | Tubeless tape & valves, spare spokes, spoke key, axle adapters (please fill in the simple form after checkout to select your required size), pair of 6bolt disc adapters.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
No problems whatsoever.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Very easy indeed. Hunt has really focused on making the wheels work well with tubeless tyres without sacrificing tyres and tubes.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
You get quite a bundle of spares and accessories in the box, and it all works spot on.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Will take loads of abuse on the gravel and feel quick too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
The all-round package is just superb for the money.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
There isn't really anything to dislike, unless you and your bike weigh more than 115kg.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For all of the qualities mentioned in the review they are head and shoulders above the rest, especially when you consider they are nearly £300 cheaper than the FSAs I compared them to.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They deliver everything you'd want of a quality gravel wheelset in terms of performance, strength and durability, and for the price they're exceptional.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!