Aero carbon may be fast, but Hunt says alloy can be too! Their newest 34 Aero Wide Disc aluminum road bike wheelset may be the first modern alloy road wheel optimized for aerodynamic performance. And Hunt have proven it – wind tunnel testing the new alloy wheels faster than everything in their class, even lower drag than some premium carbon wheels – all that at about a third the cost of even the most affordable carbon options…

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc aerodynamic alloy road bike wheels

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

With all of the modern crop of mid to deep section aero carbon wheels with blunt-nosed rim profiles, you would be excused for thinking the only way to lower drag is to open up your wallet. But even after developing what they call the “world’s fastest” road disc brake wheels, Hunt are back with the “world’s fastest aero tested alloy disc-brake wheelset”.

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

They call this an extension of their Aerodynamicist developed wheels.

What does that mean?

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset
riding & wind tunnel images c. Hunt

After the lessons learned developing their 48 Limitless project over the last couple of years, Hunt’s aero engineer Luisa Grappone set about reshaping some affordable aluminum rim shapes as well.

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

The result is a new 34mm deep alloy rim shape that is wide (20mm internal, max 26mm external) and tubeless-ready for a fast everyday wheelset. The overall shape is quite similar to the deeper carbon 48 Limitless wheels for smooth airflow from rim to tire & across the spoke connection for a wide range of wind yaw angles.

Wind Tunnel Tested alloy

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

Not a lot of attention has been put to properly testing the aerodynamic performance of aluminum wheels in recent years (as the aero wheel has taken off.) But most riders probably are going to keep riding alloy wheels day-to-day because of cost concerns, because of the generally high price of carbon. So, Hunt figured since they were in the wind tunnel developing & testing their latest carbon, it made sense to improve in alloy too. And the result is that you can see the new Hunt AWD (red line, above) has a drag graph shaped much more like a modern aero carbon wheel, with lower drag at crossing wind angles.

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

Another interesting takeaway from testing… carbon isn’t always faster than aluminum. Hunt had been testing their new carbon wheels against other carbon wheels with 25 & 28mm tires. The new aluminum AWD wheels were being tested with 25mm tires. They put a set of premium carbon Zipp wheels in the mix just for comparison and they were slightly quicker than the AWD with 25mm tires. But… when they put 28mm tires on both the AWD & Zipps, the new affordable AWD is actually faster than the $3200, 1475g, 32mm deep carbon Zipp 202 NSW.

That’s just a reminder that sometimes paying more for a set of wheels doesn’t guarantee less drag. Read the full Hunt 34 AWD wind tunnel test report to learn more…

Tech details

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

Not quite as wide as their new aero carbon wheels, the new 34 Aero Wide Disc (AWD) balances weight & width for a happy medium that will produce the lowest drag around a 25mm tire, for all conditions riding. The weight comes in at just 1548g (actually lighter than most aero carbon, albeit deeper wheels) thanks to a high-strength 6069-T6 alloy.

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

Beyond the new rim, the new AWD wheels feature the same diamond, elliptical Pillar PSR Wing aero spokes as the 48 Limitless wheels, which have better drag performance than conventional aero spokes in cross winds (20 front, 24 rear laced 2x). And the wheels are built on Hunt’s Race Season Disc straight pull, centerlock 6061-alloy hubs with Sprint series 7.5°, 48 points of engagement freehubs. The hubs are 12mm thru-axle, and available also with other axle adapters & any standard road free hub body.

Pricing & availability

Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels, wind tunnel tested, aerodynamic aluminum alloy disc brake road bike wheelset

The new 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels are available for pre-order now for £479 / $549, with delivery scheduled for the middle of September 2019. Worldwide shipping is free, and Hunt offers both a 60-day ‘ride & return’ trial period & a three-year warranty on the wheels. They’ll also fit them with tubeless tires & sealant when you order, to eliminate the mess & hassle of road tubeless altogether.

HuntBikeWheels.com

15 COMMENTS

  1. Not a bad weight, for a disc wheelset. Better than all those carbon clincher options out there, much better. Shame on those long nipples though. I would still go full custom aluminium clincher, but these seem great.

    • External nipples are a great “concession” as they allow easy truing of the wheel. It’s also not been definitively shown that external nipples are a huge even significant aero penalty.

      • Indeed, that is why I noted the length of the nipple, not their internal or external position. I say they are too long, because I have built a few dozen wheels myself, and good wheelbuilders use short 12mm nipples, cause they are lighter and just as strong. Cheap commercial wheels use longer and uglier nipples, like these one. They might be 14 or 16mm. An aesthetic concern really, and a free quality mark. I apologise for knowing about what I’m talking about, sorry for that.

        • Aren’t you effectively replacing spoke with nipple at some point? I think that the dt calculator adjusts spoke length based on nipple size.

        • I’ve built a few thousand wheels myself, and if you think there’s an appreciable difference in weight between 12 and 14mm alloy nipples you’re kidding yourself. It’s an aesthetic choice, with many people preferring the longer nipples on deeper rims.

          DT nipples begin their threads earlier as the nipples get longer, which is why their calculator corrects for nipple length. Not all brands do this. I apologize for knowing about what I’m talking about, sorry for that.

          • long nipples put undue stress on the first thread of the spoke as they cant have as straight of a shot towards the hub. sorry you didn’t figure that out before you built thousands of wheels.

  2. Does the rim profile meet the upcoming ETRTO / ISO 5775 specs?
    As for the hub, what size bearings and how many? Are the freehub bearing fully sealed as well as the axle bearings? Which brand of bearings are used?
    I see the nipples are aluminum.

    • The word from Hunt is that yes, the rims are designed to meet the new standard.

      Bearings are 2x 6802s up front, then another 2x 6902s in the rear axle with a further 2x 6802s in the freehub body for a total of 4 in the rear. All 6 bearings in the wheelset are double-sealed (2RS). EZO brand.

      The graphics are not removable.

  3. The blue line for the DT Swiss ER1600 is just about straight – which means that drag is much the same from all angles. This matches my experience with them being really easy to ride in gusty and unpredictable wind conditions: there’s no nasty feeling of suddenly ‘catching’ the wind with the front wheel.

    • Just because a wheel doesn’t lower its drag numbers in yaw doesn’t mean it exhibits no torque at the steering axis. Deep V-section wheels of yore weren’t very aero in yaw, yet blew you around in crosswinds.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.