Hunt Trail Wide MTB Review
Cons: Slower freehub engagement, a little flexy under load
Manufacturer: Hunt Bike Wheels
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Hunt Trail Wide MTB
|Price||$449 List||$679.99 at Evo|
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$1,299 at Backcountry
|$975.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Inexpensive, stable, compliant, reasonably light weight,||3-degree freehub engagement, 2-year no fault guarantee, Vault hubs, lightweight||Lightweight, affordable for carbon, 35mm rim width, outrageous traction||Industry-leading 0.52-degree freehub engagement, less expensive than carbon, great ride quality||Quick, efficient, precise, durable|
|Cons||Slower freehub engagement, a little flexy under load||Decals peel easily, not sold as a pair, you need to purchase both the front and rear wheels||10-degree freehub engagement||Expensive for alloy, heavier than carbon||Stiff for lighter riders, expensive for alloy|
|Bottom Line||A great set of alloy wheels with a comfortable ride quality and well-rounded performance at a very reasonable price||These wheels had the best performance and ride quality of any we tested||This is a lightweight carbon wheelset with a nicely damped ride quality and excellent traction||The best alloy wheelset we've ever tested||A hi-tech, precise handling wheelset with a focus on efficiency and performance|
|Rating Categories||Hunt Trail Wide MTB||RaceFace Next R31 C...||Ibis S35 Logo Carbo...||Industry Nine Endur...||Stan's Flow MK4|
|Ride Quality (35%)|
|Freehub Engagement (20%)|
|Specs||Hunt Trail Wide MTB||RaceFace Next R31 C...||Ibis S35 Logo Carbo...||Industry Nine Endur...||Stan's Flow MK4|
|Weight Per Wheelset||1869g||1,776g||1,744g||1,895g||1919g|
|Available Wheel Sizes||27.5", 29"||27.5", 29"||27.5", 29"||27.5", 29"||27.5", 29"|
|Available Axle Spacing||Boost, Super Boost||Boost, Super-Boost||Boost||Boost, non-Boost, Super Boost 157||12 x 142, Boost, Super Boost|
|Available Freehub Body Options||Shimano HG, Shimano Micrspline, SRAM XD||Shimano HG, SRAM XD, MicroSpline||Shimano HG, SRAM XD, MicroSpline||Shimano HG, SRAM XD, MicroSpline||Shimano HG, Shimano Micrspline, SRAM XD|
|Rim Inner Dimension||30mm||31mm||35mm||30.5mm||30mm|
|Rim Outer Dimension||34.5mm||37mm||41mm||34.1mm||33.6mm|
|Brake Rotor Attachment||6-bolt, Center Lock||6-bolt||6-bolt||6-bolt||6-bolt, Center Lock|
|Warranty Policy||3-years against material or workmanship defects||Lifetime||7-year, no fault on rims, 2-year on hubs||2-year||5-year hub, 3-year rim, and 1-year crash replacement|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hunt Trail Wide wheelset brings us just about everything we want in an alloy wheelset at a very attractive price point. They're lightweight, compliant, well-balanced, and provide engagement that doesn't disappoint. Hunt managed to pack in all the features and options for these wheels while keeping the price lower than any other wheels we've tested. Can a wheelset at this price point really impress with its performance?
The Hunt Trail Wide V2 is built with a 6069 T6 alloy rim with a welded seam, shot-peened finish, and laser-etched graphics. Like the rest of the wheels in this test, the inner rim width measures 30mm but due to the shape of their bead, they measure 34.5mm externally. 28 spoke holes are centered in these rims with no offset and laced up with triple-butted spokes and alloy nipples. The hubs are fairly standard in many respects with 7075 T-6 axles and 6-bolt or center-lock rotor compatibility. The rear hub shell is extruded and machined while the front is forged and machined, a practice that makes that front hub a bit stronger. Hunt offers Shimano HG, MicroSpline, and Sram XD freehubs with a unique "CERAMIK_H" hardened coating that prevents damage from the cassette. Freehub engagement comes from a traditional pawl system at a modest 5 degrees.
The wheels ship with tubeless tape and valves installed, Torque caps can be had at no extra cost if you specify when ordering. The wheels arrived with extra spokes and clever valve covers that work as valve stem wrenches. Hunt recommends tires in the 2.25 to 2.8 width range but they're optimized for 2.3 to 2.5 tread widths.
The Hunt Trail Wide V2 wheels have a lightweight and slightly dampened feel. They accelerate quickly and feel nimble while not being overly stiff or flexy. We found these wheels impressive not because they were the best at anything but because they had so few faults.
Pushed hard into a chunky corner they could feel a little vague but that could also be construed as comfort. They often felt invisible, producing no issues worth commenting on. Freehub engagement, at 5 degrees isn't great on paper but on the bike, it didn't feel like an issue worth complaining about. The hubs produced little friction while the sound of the pawls on the ratchet ring was soft and subtle. The tire profile was exactly what we're looking for on a modern trail wheelset and traction felt above average. While they didn't accelerate as fast as the Stan's Flow MK4, they seemed to make up for it with a little more compliance. The components of these wheels come together to produce a ride quality far beyond what we expected for the price.
The freehub body hosts a fairly standard 6-pawl mechanism that engages 3 pawls alternatively with a 36-tooth drive ring to produce 5 degrees of engagement. While the freehub didn't seem to offer a noticeable amount of friction, 5 degrees isn't terribly impressive compared to some of the faster options. We didn't experience any chain drag and the wheels felt quick and light on the trail. Lagging compared to the Stan's Flow MK4 hubs or Industry Nine Hydra, the Hunt wheels never felt like our performance was suffering from the slower mechanism.
From a testing perspective, we really appreciate fast engagement but not every rider will experience a huge boost in performance from it. Those who are fast on the pedals and quick to accelerate will reap the benefits of a fancier mechanism but a vast number of riders are going to be perfectly happy with 4-5 degrees of engagement. If you're a powerful, technically savvy rider who is annoyed by the occasional slack or clunk in the drivetrain, shop the faster-engaging freehubs. If that doesn't sound like you or you've never noticed the free play between coasting and acceleration, you'll likely be satisfied by a less complex freehub like that found on the Trail Wide wheels.
The Trail Wide V2 wheels weighed in at 1869 grams with tubeless tape and valves installed. The relative light weight of these wheels is apparent in the ride, they feel quick and they spin uphill with ease. The triple-butted spokes contribute to the light weight and likely more compliance in the ride. Besting the Stan's Flow MK4 wheelset by 50 grams, they don't feel quite as fast or accurate but are considerably more compliant. The overall consensus on these wheels was that they nailed a sweet spot of weight, comfort, performance, and undeniably, price.
Hunt's "H lock bead seat" rim profile dealt with our abuse quite well, we never took it easy on them and they finished testing in good shape. Hunt assigns them a weight limit of 264 lbs but adds that riders over 240 lbs might want to have them checked more frequently by a mechanic. They are not endorsed for e-bike use.
Our testing included plenty of high-speed rock gardens, some considerable drops to flat, and no shortage of rowdy side hits. We rode them with abandon through the Sierras, the high desert, and some nasty days on "trails in progress". They were mounted with Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR Tires at 23 and 25 psi respectively. Our main tester weighs 175 lbs with gear and felt this pressure was ideal for traction and footprint and just low enough that the rims still found the trail on occasion.
As testing wrapped up, we pulled the tires and put them in the truing stand to find that they had done remarkably well. The wheels were mostly true, the bead surface wasn't dented and the spoke tension needed only mild correction. Notably, the wheels look great, owing partially to the laser-etched graphics and work-hardened and shot-peened finish.
The Hunt hubs endured our testing without issue. We found no evidence of dirt intrusion in the bearings or beyond the seal of the freehub. The bearings still feel great and we found no uneven wear in the end caps or moving parts. The wheels carry a 3-year factory warranty to the original owner and Hunt offers crash replacements at a 35 percent discount. Hunt is so sure of the wheels that they offer a 60-day ride and return program. If you don't love them, you can return them for a full refund.
At their retail price, these wheels feel like an insanely good value. We don't have a strong complaint about any aspect of their performance and found the ride quality much better than the price would suggest. Aspects of the wheels, like the forged front hub, triple butted spokes, hardened freehub body and laser etched graphics made them feel far upmarket of their bargain price. If we could pay a bit more for slightly faster engagement we might find that attractive, but as-is, these are the best value wheels we've tested.
The Hunt Trail Wide V2 is a value-oriented, no-nonsense, high-quality wheelset that manages to check the right boxes without a glaring defect. We'd recommend these as an upgrade to many OEM trail bike wheelsets, especially those with narrower rim profiles. We felt the compliance in these wheels was an asset, riders over 190lbs might find it a detriment, but there's little risk in trying a pair with the 60-day ride and return program. If you're looking for a stiff, responsive racing wheel, there are obviously better options, but if all-mountain performance and value are at the top of your list, grab yourself a set of these!
— Joshua Hutchens, Jeremy Benson
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