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Hunt says its 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheels are the fastest disc brake-compatible road wheels up to and including 50mm deep, thanks to its patented Limitless technology. Going wide is the key apparently, and going by the way they perform out in the real world, Hunt could really be on to something. These wheels are quick!
We first covered the 48 Limitless Aeros back in June of last year – if you want the full technical details then Mat has them covered here. Hunt has also released a research white paper too. In a nutshell, though, Hunt has gone wide.
It's not a new thing – we've seen others like Scribe bringing out its Wide+ range, which I have also been testing, and the new Specialized Tarmac SL7 I've been riding is also sporting some rather broad deep-section Roval Rapide CLXs, but Hunt has gone wider than most.
Hunt and many others say that having a rim that's wider than the tyre creates the most effective aerofoil shape when considering the tyre and wheel together.
After countless wind tunnel tests and interpretation of the results, Hunt settled on an external width of 34.5mm when using a 28mm tubeless tyre (Schwalbe Pro One) and a depth of 48mm. Keeping the internal rim width at just 22.5mm, though, means that you don't lose compatibility with thinner 25mm tyres, or even 23s.
With tyres installed (which was an absolute breeze to achieve) and the wheels fitted to the bike, the Limitless make a very noticeable difference to the aerodynamics.
Compared with a lot of 40mm to 50mm-deep wheels I've used, the Hunts make the bike feel like it doesn't need as much power to maintain a given speed, especially when that speed is around 20-25mph.
They roll very nicely, and the rounded profile of the rim doesn't get battered around by crosswinds or when being passed by large vehicles at speed. The only time I got a bit of a twitch was when passing an exposed gateway on a blustery day.
Stiffness levels are impressive too. Hard acceleration and climbing don't give any feeling of flex in the wheels, although it is harder to detect than on a rim-braked version where you can get pad rub.
Considering their size and the amount of material used, the Hunts don't give a harsh ride either, even with the tyres pumped up firm.
The wide profile and deep section of the rims obviously does bring an increase in weight compared with narrower wheels in Hunt's range, which always score well in that regard.
To keep things as light as possible while still being able to pass its cobbled-rolling-road tests, Hunt has used a non-structural, low-density, expanding polymer insert inside a channel carved out of the rim during the pre-preg phase of constructing the rim. It is bonded to the uni-directional carbon fibre during the curing process and Hunt reckons it shaves off about 50g per rim.
The weight for the pair comes in at 1,690g including the factory fitted rim tape. Not as light as something like the Scribe Aero Wide+ 50-D I mentioned earlier, at 1,463g, but taking the aerodynamic advantage into account you'll not notice much difference on any but the steepest of hills.
When it comes to the build Hunt hasn't scrimped on the components.
The rims are constructed from a mixture of uni-directional T24 and T30 grade carbon fibre and include reinforcement around the spoke holes.
As I've mentioned, the rim shape has been optimised for 25-28mm tyres, but you can fit much wider if you so desire as they're compatible with up to 50mm rubber.
Some manufacturers are focusing on tubeless-only rims which do away with the hooked rim altogether. Hunt hasn't, and these rims are also compatible with a clincher tyre and tube if that's the route you want to take.
Tyre pressures are limited to 100psi with 25-28mm tyres, and Hunt has various other limits for wider options on its website.
Another limit is set for weight, at 109kg, which includes rider and luggage.
The spokes are Pillar Wing 20 which have an aero profile. They are laced two-cross, with 20 on the front wheel, and 24 on the rear.
Aerodynamics would often dictate that you hide the nipples inside the wheel rim, but Hunt has taken into account maintenance. The external mounting of the body means that the wheels are easy to tweak if they become out of true – not something that I had an issue with throughout testing.
The hub bodies are forged and then CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminium alloy and are available in a whole range of axle diameters to suit various thru-axle and quick release setups.
It's the same with the freehub bodies, available for every major brand like Shimano/SRAM, Campagnolo and also SRAM's XD and XDR models.
Pick-up from the pawls in the freehub is instantaneous, which removes any slop when you hammer on the pedals from a standing start or when exiting a tight corner that you've freewheeled through.
The freehub body is alloy, which can cause problems with the cassette biting into the splines on Shimano/SRAM options, but Hunt has got around this by fitting steel inserts to stop any unwanted movement. This really cuts down on wear and tear.
The hubs run very smoothly on their bearings, too, CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic in this case. You get a six-year warranty on any bearing issues, while the rest of the wheel gets three years.
Should you crash and be the original owner of the wheels, Hunt's H_Care system gives you access to free replacement parts and labour to get everything fixed. The only thing you have to worry about is postage.
I mentioned earlier that the 48 Limitless wheels cost £1,289 which, while more expensive than many wheelsets in Hunt's line-up, is still very good value for money.
They are more expensive than the Scribe Wide+, a very good set of wheels that cost £870. For me, though, on out and out speed the Hunts feel faster, though by how much in the real world is really difficult to gauge. The Hunts also come with the hybrid ceramic bearings, and while there is much debate over whether they really bring any huge performance gains, they do bring an increase to the price tag.
The Campagnolo Bora WTO 60 Disc wheelset will save you a few grams while also giving some extra millimetres in depth, but they are a cool £1,928.99, and at 26.1mm externally don't offer anywhere near the width for mating with wider tyres.
Overall, the Hunt 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheels bring a noticeable performance boost over many other deep-section wheels and they are very well made.
With a deep section in both directions this is one very fast set of wheels, with stiffness to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hunt 48 Limitless Aero Disc Wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 48mm 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, "The ultimate aerodynamic wheelset. Designed specifically to meet the needs of the modern rider, at the speeds they ride at. We ride at a range of wind yaw angles far greater than previously considered, and so HUNT Limitless is able to deliver aerodynamic supremacy across a wide range of riding and at real-world speeds."
The aerodynamic benefits of the wheels are noticeable out in the real world.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Hunt lists these details:
LIMITLESS Rims: Wind tunnel developed, features disc-specific, unidirectional T24/30 rims, offering 22.5mm internal and 35mm external widths, and a 48mm u-shape aero profile.
Tyres: Aerodynamically optimised for wider 25-28c tyres. Tubeless-ready for lower weight and rolling resistance, featuring H-Lock technology for easy and secure tubeless installation. As with all our current HUNT rims, the LIMITLESS wheels have a normal hooked sidewall and are suitable for all clincher road tyres including Continental.
FastEngage 7.5 Hubs: SPRINT straight-pull centre-lock hubs, boasting an engagement rate of just 7.5° owing to the leaf-sprung, multi-point pawls and 48 ratchets in the hub shell.
CeramicSpeed Bearings: CeramicSpeed clearly need little introduction. We were honoured when they approached us last year to work together for the LIMITLESS project. As you know, CeramicSpeed bearings are renowned for their low rolling resistance, and are chosen by the top international athletes and teams.
Elliptical Wing Spokes: Pillar Wing 20 spokes with aerofoil profile. Tested and proven to provide aerodynamic advantage over flat or bladed options both from Pillar and other competitors.
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, spoke key, axle adapters (please fill in the simple form after checkout to select your required size), pair of 6bolt disc adapters.
Stiffness is great no matter how hard you are riding.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed perfectly true throughout.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Fitting both 25mm and 28mm tyres was very easy.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
All the components are top notch and it's nice to find plenty of spares included in the box. (See above in Hunt's details.)
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This wheelset is designed for speed and it certainly delivers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Impressive aerodynamic gains.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
I found nothing to dislike.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There aren't many wheels this wide in the market place so it's difficult to compare like with like. The Scribe wheelset I mention in the review comes very close in performance while being lighter and cheaper, while Campagnolo's Bora is lighter by a touch but much more money.
Something like the Miche SWR RC 50 DX OLT Disc is slightly heavier and more expensive by nearly £100.
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
A brilliant all-round set of wheels for not a huge amount of money. The aero gains are noticeable, and they are backed up with plenty of stiffness and a quality build.
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!