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review

Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset

9
£819.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Lightweight, stiff and fast wheelset that delivers heaps of performance for a great price
Very lightweight build that is also robust
Great value for money
Plenty of accessories included
Weight: 
1,472g

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The Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc is a great all-round performance wheelset. They deliver a bit of an aerodynamic boost, they're very low weight and durability seems very good, all for what is a very good price. Their width also makes them compatible with a wide range of tyres.

The 4050 wheelset is based around a 40mm-deep front wheel and a 50mm rear. If your main goal is speed then going deeper gives you better aerodynamics, but the downside can be added weight and twitchy handling in blustery winds. This wheelset provides more of a balance across a load of disciplines. When tyres are fitted, even the 40mm front does enough to cheat the air, but riding past a farm gateway won't see the handlebar snatched out of your hands on windy days.

> Buy these online here

The weight of just 1,472g (including the tubeless tape that they come fitted with straight out of the box) means they are very sprightly when it comes to climbing and acceleration too. Scrubbing too many grams can cause issues, especially if you are a larger or stronger rider. I've ridden plenty of sub-1,500g wheelsets that flex a noticeable amount when I get out of the saddle and really go for it, but the Hunts aren't one of them. Hammering up climbs or away from the lights these give away nothing whatsoever. They offer a comfortable and smooth ride too.

2020 Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset - rim detail .jpg

Durability doesn't look to have been sacrificed to create such a lightweight set of wheels, either. I've been using these for about six weeks on various test bikes and they haven't had an easy life. They've seen a fair few hundred road miles but have also been pressed into a bit of lightweight gravel riding and blasts along canal paths. For peace of mind Hunt offers a three-year guarantee against material and workmanship defects.

The 4050s were true straight out of the box and that hasn't changed. Hunt says that all of its wheels go through some harsh cobbled-rolling-road tests and the only limitations the company has put on these wheels is a 109kg rider weight limit.

Tyre compatibility

Testing the wheels on various terrains means they have also had plenty of different tyres fitted over the course of the review period. Everything from 25mm slick road rubber through to the 38mm Hutchinson Overide for a bit of byway blasting in a mixture of tubed and tubeless fitting.

No matter the width, each tyre went on and seated with ease (well, except the Giant Gavia Fondo 0, but that turned out to be a pain on pretty much every wheel it came into contact with).

The 4050s have a small lip inside the rim which Hunt calls H_LOCK, which sort of kicks the bead up against the sidewall; should you be running low pressures it works to keep the bead in situ when cornering and so on.

2020 Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset - rim bed.jpg

The rims themselves are made from a mixture of Toray T700/800 unidirectional carbon fibre with a 27mm outer width and a 19mm inner. Plenty of brands are going much wider internally – around 24/25mm – which works with larger gravel tyres, but there starts to be a trade-off when it comes to fitting narrower race tyres like 25mm, still a very common choice for road riders.

Inside the 7075-T6 aluminium alloy hubs, Hunt specifies EZO bearings which I find to be smooth rolling and durable. I've ridden thousands of miles on Hunt wheels in all sorts of conditions and I've never had any issues with the hubs or bearings.

2020 Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset - front hub.jpg

One thing I like about the freehub that Hunt uses is how quickly the pawls engage to the 48-tooth ratchet ring. It's most noticeable when trackstanding at the lights or under really quick, hard accelerations – I'm not a fan of any slop found in between the movement of the pedals and the engagement of the freehub. These wheels have just 7.5 degrees of movement before the pawls lock in.

The 4050s have an aluminium freehub body; these can suffer from damage and wear as the cassette shifts and bites into the splines, so to get around this Hunt has used a steel spline insert which reduces damage to just a few small marks.

2020 Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset - rear hub 2.jpg

Freehubs available include Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo, plus SRAM's XD and XDR Driver.

Moving from gears to brakes and it is good to see that Hunt has gone down the Centerlock route, which makes swapping discs over much quicker. Not a big deal if you are only using them on one bike, admittedly, but when you are constantly swapping wheels between test bikes you soon realise what a faff six-bolt systems are.

2020 Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset - rear hub.jpg

If your bike uses six-bolt rotors, though, don't worry as Hunt supplies adaptors in the box along with plenty of other spares like your selected axle adaptors, cassette spacer (to make them compatible with 8/9/10-speed cassettes), tubeless valves and a spare of each spoke length, including nipples.

Value

When it comes to value you really can't fault the £819 price tag when you consider the warranty, the durability and all the spares you are getting.

> Buyer’s Guide: 25 of the best tubeless wheelsets under £1,000

The direct-to-consumer model that Hunt uses does allow it to be very competitive against the larger brands, but there is some tough competition out there from other smaller wheelbuilders.

Scribe continues to deliver quality, lightweight wheels at very good prices. Its Aero Wide 50-D wheelset, for instance, is a touch more expensive at £870, but lighter by a tad at 1,449g.

Just Riding Along (JRA) offers the Mahi Mahi 40, a lightweight wheelset at 1,490g which costs £850. When Matt tested them, he was very impressed with their overall ride quality and durability, which puts them right in the firing line of the Hunts.

Conclusion

Overall, Hunt has delivered a wheelset that works for pretty much every road discipline, but especially for those rides where you want a blend of speed and also a lack of weight for when you take to the hills. The build quality is top notch, and with all of those things taken into account I can't do anything else other than recommend them.

Verdict

Lightweight, stiff and fast wheelset that delivers heaps of performance for a great price

road.cc test report

Make and model: Hunt 4050 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset

Size tested: 700C, 40 & 50mm deep

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, "Pro road races, criteriums, and even time trials, are being won by disc-brake bikes with increasing frequency. The revolution is happening, and to capitalise you will need an aero wheelset that delivers speed in buckets. Introducing the 4050 Carbon Aero Disc."

A very versatile set of wheels that deliver on weight, performance, quality and price.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Hunt lists these features:

Rims | Features disc-specific, unidirectional T700/800 rims, offering 19mm internal and 27mm external width, and a 40/50mm mixed depth U-shape aero profile.

Tyres | Tubeless-ready for lower weight and rolling resistance, featuring H_LOCK technology for easy and secure tubeless installation. Also works excellently with clincher tyres and tubes.

Hubs | Race Season SPRINT straight-pull hubs, boasting an engagement rate of just 7.5 degrees owing to the leaf-sprung, multi-point pawls and 48 ratchets in the hub shell.

Axles | Easily adaptable & we fit them for you. Fit all current axle sizes and are easy to change; Front - QR, Bolt thru 12/9mm, Rear - QR, Bolt thru 12x142, 12x135, 10x135.

Included | Tubeless tape & valves, spare spokes, axle adapters (please fill in the simple form after checkout to select your required size), pair of 6bolt disc adapters.

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

Considering how light they are, their stiffness under load is very impressive and also means that they are responsive, on all types of roads.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
8/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

The wheels remained true throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

A range of tyres from 25mm and 38mm fitted securely and easily.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

There are plenty of spares in the box and they are all good quality.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They are versatile wheels that work both on the flats and the hills.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Lack of weight means they are very responsive.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

I can't find anything that I dislike about the wheels.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Hunt wheels are in the same sort of ballpark for price vs weight as the offerings from Scribe and JRA mentioned in the review. Zipp's 303S wheels are £985 and 1,550g.

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

With near-faultless performance, the Hunt 4050 wheelset delivers everything a carbon wheelset should, but the real clincher is the fact that it is so well priced.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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23 comments

Avatar
mtbtomo | 3 years ago
0 likes

I paid slightly more for some hand built wheels using Bitex hubs and AL-33 rims than I have just paid for some alu wheels from Hunt.

When I bought some of their carbon wheels when they first started they were one of the only places offering carbon tubeless rims at a vaguely reasonable price.

I've been quoted over £400 for Hope hubs, DT Swiss rims, spokes and nipples - just for the parts and I might be wrong but I don't think Hope freehubs have an anti-bite strip on them. I don't believe the Hope and DT Swiss components are any better or worse than what Hunt supply.... Hope and DT Swiss themselves market as more premium brands but are they really more premium???! Plus I'd have to put the components together myself for the kind of price I could have a built set from Hunt.

I think people are a bit deluded if they don't think the majority of successful brands become successful because of good marketing. We all buy in to some kind of image whether we like it or not.

Avatar
Chris Hayes | 3 years ago
2 likes

Damn, 'how to set up your own fake bike wheel company' is funny....You Tube. 

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Dogless replied to Chris Hayes | 3 years ago
0 likes

Someone from Hunt usually appears at some point whenever that video is posted, to clarify that that's absolutely not what the company is (although it may not be now, it's hard to deny that's how it started!)

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Chris Hayes replied to Dogless | 3 years ago
0 likes

Hmmm.... They can whinge as much as they like, but satire is a powerful tool.  I doubt that there is anyone fully employed by Hunt threading spokes and weaving carbon - especially in the UK.   I'd be delighted if they could point to a set of wheels that were made here. 

The 'how to set up your own boutique cycling clothing brand' was excellent too... 

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DaveL75 replied to Chris Hayes | 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm really not bothered about where they're made it's about the performance and support if things do go wrong in my book (eg is every Audi made entirely in Germany with no parts from other factories around the world... I very much doubt it).

I've found the products to be strong, reliable and so far maintenance free.

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quiff replied to Chris Hayes | 3 years ago
2 likes

Ha! Love the bit about adapting audio interconnect reviews 

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tomato | 3 years ago
1 like

I wasn't really happy with them even as my first carbon wheelset. Within two weeks of riding, I was really scared of riding crosswinds and then a spoke broke on the front and I didn't really trust them afterwards so they were returned within the policy.

I was really sceptical about replacing them due to the crosswind issue, but I took the leap of faith on brand label wheels (~ 20% more expensive) and since then I'm experience actual aero gains with minimum crosswind issues. They are heavier, but I'm happy to pay this penalty as I enjoy my rides.

I couldn't recommend these to a friend.

 

Avatar
Prosper0 | 3 years ago
1 like

Be good to know more about who makes the Hunt hubs, I heard that they were pretty cheap.

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Secret_squirrel replied to Prosper0 | 3 years ago
1 like

Best guess from the Internet is Novatech usually make the hubs and kinlin the rims to Hunts design.  Novatech come into the cheap but decent category imo, ymmv.

Hunts customer service is meant to be good though so if you do get a duff set they will probably sort you out. Again havent used hunts customer support except for a couple of queries.   3 sets of hunts here though and happy.  Not a particularly high mileage rider though so again YMMV.

Avatar
Dogless replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
2 likes

Heard good things about customer service too but I guess that's the reason for the price increase over just sourcing the (cheap) parts and getting them built by a LBS. Rims are likely farsports and hubs are bites. For comparison, I've built a set with a similar set of rims with cx ray and hope hubs for £750 recently. It can be done cheaper, and with better components. Hunt is a lot of marketing for some ok wheels.

Avatar
Dicklexic replied to Dogless | 3 years ago
1 like

Dogless wrote:

Heard good things about customer service too but I guess that's the reason for the price increase over just sourcing the (cheap) parts and getting them built by a LBS. Rims are likely farsports and hubs are bites.

No idea where Hunt get their carbon rims manufactured, but AFIK all their hubs are special order versions from Novatec. Certainly on many of their wheels they have centrelock versions of Novatec hubs that were/are only available retail with 6-bolt. Not so sure in this case but I would still suggest Novatec because of the freehub design. I would also not underestimate the added value of the custom aesthetic and branding, and most importantly the customer backup offered by Hunt over a set of self sourced components built up by an LBS. Yes the LBS will have your back from a build poerspective, but you're still relying on the component supplier for their warranty. Obviously everyone has a choice, but I think it is a price worth paying for most people.

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Dogless replied to Dicklexic | 3 years ago
0 likes

Ah, sorry, I thought I'd seen they were bitex somewhere. Much of a muchness, they're all of a similar quality. I've built cyclo-cross wheels with novatec hubs and they've done fine, so there's nothing wrong with them.

It's always going to be a point on which people differ - I refuse to pay for the branding and aesthetic as I don't feel they add value. I learned how to build wheels, and I trust the places I get the parts from. I'd trust Hope to sort out an issue with a hub more than I would Hunt, and if they need anything doing to them I know how to do it myself. I appreciate not everyone has the time or motivation to build their own wheels, but for those people I would still suggest looking at smaller builders who do good work and charge less than Hunt. A lot of their money is being spent on advertising and sponsorship, and I personally don't feel comfortable paying a premium to grow their brand; that's just me though.

I realise they started off as a 'How to make your own fake wheel company' (YouTube it), and have come a long way, but they're still knocking out mass produced, middling quality wheels at a premium, even if it is cheaper than many of the larger companies sourcing their parts from the exact same places.

Each to their own, I just don't like paying someone to do something I can do myself. I realise that's not normal or 'better'!

Avatar
quiff replied to Dogless | 3 years ago
2 likes

I have some Hunt wheels which were fitted as standard on a new bike. I've never had an issue with them, and I quite like the branding. They were therefore one of the first places I looked when I needed new wheels on another bike recently. I also liked that they seem to use 'standard' rather than proprietary parts and are therefore repairable (as opposed to the Mavic Ksyriums I was retiring, which were uneconomic to repair). But when I started looking into it, I realised Hunt's pre-order lead times (possibly COVID-19 related, to be fair) were longer than getting a higher spec, better value pair of bespoke wheels built for me. I understand the appeal of off-the-shelf wheels (although in fact they weren't on the shelf), a recognisable brand and aftersales support, and they are cheaper than the big brands, but a small wheel builder could build the same parts up for less.        

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Dogless replied to quiff | 3 years ago
0 likes

Quite. Everyone has a local wheelbuilder who will build them exactly what they want for a fair price. There's some discount to be had by Hunt by ordering from factories in large quantities, but they're also not using premium parts. I'm sure the wheels are absolutely fine, as 99.9% of wheels from anywhere are. There's not really much that can go wrong if quality control at the factory end is good.

Avatar
quiff replied to Dogless | 3 years ago
2 likes

Dogless wrote:

... There's some discount to be had by Hunt by ordering from factories in large quantities.

I think ultimately that's what grated with me - by rights you might expect them to be cheaper than a local wheelbuilder using the same components because of economies of scale, but it's not the case. Cheaper than the big brands, yes, but still some of your money going into brand and marketing. I wouldn't totally rule them out in future, but if you've always assumed (like me) that a bespoke wheelbuilder is more expensive or only deals in high end products, ask for a quote - you might be pleasantly surprised.     

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kevvjj replied to Dogless | 3 years ago
0 likes

so, why bother reading a review of wheels on the first place? If you're not going to buy them, ever, why comment?

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Dogless replied to kevvjj | 3 years ago
1 like

Found the Hunt owner 😬

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kevvjj replied to Dogless | 3 years ago
2 likes

Nope. Shimano.

if you've never owned a set of Hunt wheels or any other for that matter how can you compare 'potential' service levels with a brand of hub you have purchased? Silly statement. You make sweeping generalisations about 'middling quality' etc but have never owned a set. Perhaps companies like Hunt (JRA etc) are simply pointing out just how much other manufacturers put a premium price on their 'middling quality' gear that in reality is no better. Perhaps you buy Hope gear because of its marketing, no?

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Compact Corned Beef replied to kevvjj | 3 years ago
0 likes

It certainly seems like a few of the bigger brands have realised they're going to need to be more competitive in the space - I wonder if the new Zipp 303s and Vision SC40 wheels are a direct response to the likes of Hunt / Scribe / JRA.

 

Avatar
quiff replied to kevvjj | 3 years ago
0 likes

I know you weren't replying to me but, speaking as someone who does own some Hunt wheels (no issue with them) but just specced Hope hubs for a new wheelset, that decision wasn't based on Hope's own marketing, but on the views of people on forums like this, and wheelbuilders, that they're quality, durable products. Personally that's one of the reasons I value the comments here - isn't it helpful to have constructive alternative views so you can consider your options?      

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kevvjj replied to quiff | 3 years ago
0 likes

Totally agree.

However, would your decision to purchase a product (or not) based on the opinions of those who have never actually owned that product?

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ryuzaki replied to Prosper0 | 3 years ago
0 likes

I think Hunt use Hubsmith hub. Those are similar in Freehub body.

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Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
2 likes

What sound do the Scribe and JRA freehubs make?  That might swing it for those who might want something quieter than Hunts. 

Me - I was "earwashed" at an early age by Hope hubs 

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