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review

Mason X Hunt 650b Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset

9
£349.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Well-priced and very capable wheelset backed by great parts, warranty and service
QR or thru-axle options
Spare spokes included
Tool-free cassette swapping
Three-year warranty
Tubeless ready
Weigh a smidge more than advertised
Could be wider still
Weight: 
1,653g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

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The Mason X Hunt 650b Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset is a great choice for adding tyre volume and go-anywhere capability to your bike. With multiple axle and freehub options, a great build backed by a three-year warranty and decent parts supply, they earn their slight premium over the competition.

A few years back I reviewed the Mason X Hunt 4 Season Disc Wheelset, a 700c, 19mm internal-width alloy winner. Here we have the 650b update with a big-tyre friendly 25mm internal width.

> Buy now: Mason X Hunt 650b Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset from Hunt for £349

The 650b part tells you what these wheels are for – rough surfaces and running fat tyres at low pressures. Knobbly or slick, either work well. Let's be clear here – 650b isn't a trend or fad – it's a return to a sensible wheelsize that was very common in the 1950s on long-distance touring bikes. Fat, supple tyres at low pressures roll well over rough roads. If you've got a frame and fork that can take the extra tyre width, 650b makes a lot of sense for people who like comfort, grip and puncture resistance.

Hunt has again delivered a package I can only fault for being a smidge (that's a metric smidge, or 59g) heavier than advertised at 1,653g including rotor lockrings. That weight for the price and durability is pretty good these days.

The rim is a standard hooked design with a drilled and taped rim bed. Hunt says not to exceed 50psi on 35mm tyres, 45psi on 45mm tyres and 40psi on anything larger. I rode the René Herse Umtanum Ridge 55mm tyre at 25-30psi and found they were plenty stable and grippy into corners.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset- rim profile.jpg

You're unlikely to want to exceed those limits unless you're bikepacking and have a prop-forward level of weight, in which case you might want to look at other options. Hunt says 115kg is the upper limit for rider weight, so there you go.

Spokes are triple-butted stainless steel J-bend, going from 1.6mm in the middle to 2.2mm at the corrosion-resistant brass nipple for extra strength. The rims are asymmetrically drilled, so the spoke tension is closer to the same on both sides. I say closer, because checking with a tension meter the tension side to side is not balanced, as Hunt claim.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset - valve.jpg

The hubs are Centre Lock disc format, and Hunt will sell you a set of 6-bolt adapters for £20. I've used these adapters for years and they work just fine.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset- rear hub disc side.jpg

After about a 1,000km of mostly gravelly off-roading (and powerwashing after every ride), I slid off the freehub to see nice fresh grease still coating the freehub pawls. Clearly the sealing is good, and maintenance – cleaning and greasing – is a quick, tool-free job.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset - freehub pawls.jpg

The Hunt axle design is shoulderless, meaning the endcaps can be removed and the axle slid out without tools or [shudders] unseating a bearing. This makes for the interesting option of swapping cassettes without tools – leave it fixed to the freehub, and swap the entire assembly in seconds.

> road.cc's Best Cycling Wheels of the Year 2020/21

So you could swap a wheelset between Shimano and SRAM-equipped bikes tool-free. You could have a 'hilly' or 'bikepacking' cassette with a mega-range large cog, and another closer-range 'roadie' cassette for faster, flatter rides. So long as your rear mech can handle the tooth ranges required, swapping wheels or cassettes becomes the work of a minute or so.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset - rear hub internal.jpg

These are 100% round wheels, didn't get less round during the test, and they stayed true and silent. They did the job without complaint or concern. The hub, with its four-pawl, 10-degree engagement always felt snappy when putting the power down, and the tubeless, pre-taped rim bed profile held different tyres just fine, even at low pressures. The included tubeless valves worked just fine too, and I was able to inject Orange Seal without any clogging.

> Buyer's guide to tubeless tyres – find out all about new technology rubber

With such bouncy rubber onboard it's a fruitless exercise blethering on about wheel stiffness or harshness; suffice to say I finished multiple long days feeling much happier than I would on 700c hoops at higher pressures.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset - front wheel.jpg

Hunt offers a three-year warranty including free returns, and a 60-day right-of-return even if you've ridden them, so confident are they. They also do a 35% off crash-replacement policy if you stack it.

For me, Hunt has pretty much owned the 'second wheelset' market the last few years, and a key reason is its axle options. If you have older frames with QR axles, or a mix of QR at the back and thru-axle at the front, you can spec the necessary endcap or axle when you order. At £9.99 for an axle and the same for a set of endcaps, you can convert your wheels again later, should you need to, for under £20. Sets of QR skewers are £29.99.

2022 Mason X Hunt 650B Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset - QR skewers.jpg

Hunt also supplies all relevant bearings at £5.99 a pop, and the webshop makes ordering the right ones a breeze. There's not another wheel brand I know of making it so easy to source spares.

Value

Looking at the competition, Stu really liked the Mavic Allroad SL wheelset at £589.99 and there's a non-'SL' version (1,840g), the Allroad 650b Disc Wheelset for £275. My personal caveat there, though, is that Mavic parts have been challenging to source at times.

There's a 650b option of the Fulcrum Rapid Red 5 wheelset that Stu also liked for £389.99, though that's roughly 100g heavier at 1,760g. Both the Mavics and Fulcrums use proprietary straight-pull spokes though, and in the case of the Mavics, proprietary captive nipples that can't be removed if damaged as the rim bed isn't drilled.

Overall

For me, Hunt has hit the sweet spot in the middle of the 650b wheelset Venn diagram covering price, support and performance. Unless you're looking for the lowest possible weight, or deeper rims for 'aero' reasons (and why bother, with rubber that fat?), I can't see why you'd go past the Adventure Sports.

Verdict

Well-priced and very capable wheelset backed by great parts, warranty and service

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Mason X Hunt 650b Adventure Sport Disc Wheelset

Size tested: 650b

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 second MASON x HUNT collaboration, bringing go-anywhere capabilities to bikes like the fast, fun and highly-versatile MasonCycles.cc Bokeh. The new breed of Adventure Sport focused bikes have the ability and attitude for those fun trail thrashes and bike-packing adventures, whilst not compromising anything for fast-far road days.

"The wheels are also designed to work excellently with clincher tyres and tubes."

These wheels are for people wanting a futureproof, easily-swapped off-road wheelset, backed by great parts and support.

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

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 584x25.

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.

Axles | Easily adaptable & we fit them for you. Fit all current axle sizes and are easy to change; Front - QR, Bolt thru 12/15/9mm, Rear - QR, Bolt thru 12x142, 12x135, 10x135.

Included | Tubeless tape & valves, spare spokes, axle adapters.

Weight | 1594g

Please note: If you require a 6 bolt adaptor you can purchase separately

WARRANTY, HUNT ROLLING ROAD TESTS & WEIGHT LIMITS

A full 3 years from purchase date warranty is offered to the original purchaser only on all Hunt bike wheels against material or workmanship defects.

All HUNT wheels models have to pass our harsh cobbled-rolling-road tests for rider weight limits, please see here for more details. 115kgs is the upper recommended rider weight limit for these wheels. Please include the weight of any luggage in your total rider weight when choosing the correct wheels. If a rider is over 105Kgs then an experienced bike mechanic should check the wheel regularly and it is advisable to use minimum 30mm tyres at max 70psi as this will reduce the fatigue on the wheelset.

60 Day Ride & Return Period. 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 receive them whether they have been ridden or not.

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made; materials and finish are excellent.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

On a tyre that fat it's hard to gauge lateral stiffness, but they certainly feel plenty strong.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10

Stayed true and silent, with no water ingress.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10

About middle of the road, but you aren't paying for super-light.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

For the price, with options and support, they are fab value.

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

Yes true as a die, no issues with spokes.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Tyres went on fine, popped on first time.

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

Rim tape was sealed from the start, the axles, endcaps and valves all worked fine.

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

Can't fault them.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

As with all Hunt wheels it's hard to single out an individual aspect, the package is so well-rounded. But probably the ease of freehub swapping.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

I'd like more internal width. 27-28mm would play better with the 50mm+ tyre widths now common.

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

Some of the big manufacturers - Mavic, Fulcrum (Campagnolo) - offer cheaper 650b wheelsets.

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

These are well-built, well-specced wheels with multiple axle and freehub options, and they're backed by a three-year warranty. On price they're about equal to or more expensive than other 650b sets, but on every other aspect they win. They're excellent.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

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