British wheel brand Hunt has given its Limitless race wheels the gravel treatment, claiming that the new 42 Limitless Gravel Disc wheelset offers the “lowest aerodynamic drag among tested gravel-specific wheelsets under 50mm depth, offering the rider up to 16.8 watt savings over non-aero gravel wheels.”
Aero has been growing in importance for both road and off-road riders over the past few years, and Hunt has been making its gravel wheels ever deeper. The new 42 Limitless wheelset features a 42mm-deep and 36mm-wide rim that has been “exclusively engineered and wind tunnel tested for 38-42mm tyres”, according to Hunt.
Hunt says it has wind tunnel data that shows the 42 Limitless to be the fastest sub-50mm deep gravel wheelset on the market. The brand's paper can be found here, but the headline claim is a power saving of 0.05w over Zipp’s 303 NSW wheelset at 32km/h. Hunt says that this equates to a saving of 5.57s over 321km (obviously, any two wheels at 32km/h would cover the ground in exactly the same time; Hunt is saying that at the same power, its wheel would be marginally quicker). This increases to a 13.07s saving when compared to Enve’s 3.4 AR SES wheelset.
Hunt says that the saving is thanks to the “extremely wide rim profile with a truncated edge (blunted spoke bed)” that helps “airflow remain attached to the system, while maintaining low overall weight and providing day-in and day-out performance and durability on the harshest gravel roads."
That construction sees the 42 Limitless rims use “patented Limitless Technology [that] utilises co-moulded low-density polymer (density of 0.7g/cm3 vs. carbon fibre pre-preg of 1.6g/cm3) in the outer rim construction” which, Hunt says, is “designed to keep the overall rim weight low whilst allowing for extra width in the rim profile.”
Not content with just providing aero data, Hunt also says that its “Limitless Technology delivers industry-leading crosswind stability verified by smooth steering moment data proven in wind tunnel testing.”
Hunt says that the above graph suggests that on “unsheltered roads, the rider will likely spend less energy fighting against crosswinds, leading to a faster, more comfortable, and more efficient ride.”
Inside the aluminium hub shells, you’ll find CeramicSpeed bearings that Hunts says have been “designed for off-road use” with new coated bearings that are “75% tougher than their standard hardened steel races”. This apparently results in “an average lifetime seven and a half times longer than other non-coated solutions.”
“In addition to increased longevity, the even and smooth surface of CeramicSpeed coated bearings dramatically reduces friction, contributing to a faster overall system”, says Hunt.
The hubs also feature Hunt’s FastEngage system, that provides an engagement rate of 7.5º thanks to multi-point pawls and 48 ratchets in the hub shell.
While some wheel manufacturers are moving to hookless designs, Hunt’s 42 Limitless wheels feature a “hooked ETRTO-compliant tubeless-ready rim design”, that gives you full clincher and tubeless tyre compatibility.
The wheels come with Hunt’s H_Care lifetime crash replacement included for first owners. While Hunt says that the rims are optimised for 38-42mm gravel tyres, you’re able to fit anything up to a 54mm tyre should you wish.
The 42 Limitless wheels cost £1,289 and are available to pre-order with delivery pencilled in for February 2021.