UK wheelmaker Hunt Bike Wheels’ latest creation gets an extra dose of carbon to push the boundaries of what might be considered affordable. With full carbon TaperLock bladed spokes on top of a filament-wound tubeless-ready carbon rim, the 36 UD Carbon Spoke road wheels are the priciest they sell. But they also become Hunt’s stiffest, most responsive road wheels, and the new race weapon for the Canyon DHB British UCI Conti team.

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke lightweight carbon road wheels

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race

With a relatively shallow 36mm deep blunt-nosed profile and a light 1295g claimed weight, Hunt’s new 36 UD Carbon Spoke wheels are built as all-rounders – a second generation of their Carbon Wide Aero road wheels. Light weight was of course one goal, but the unique bladed carbon spoke construction was actually developed to create a more responsive race wheel. Hunt says that using the mechanically secured carbon spokes (no bonding), the new wheels are 31% stiffer than an “equivalent steel spoked wheelset”. And all of that come in a wheelset that can be trued, maintained, or even have spokes replaced like a conventional wheel.

TaperLock carbon spokes

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race

The trick to Hunt’s stiff wheel, are strong spokes – greater than 450kgf max tensile strength, or about 50% more than conventional stainless spokes. But those bladed carbon spokes are also unique in that they are not bonded with a conventional resin to either the rim, hub, or nipples.

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race

Instead they are molded & cured with a taper/wedge at either end that is mechanically locked into the nipples. At the hub, it is an alloy nipple (or mandrel using Hunt’s term) that is pulled against the carbon taper. And at the rim, a square-sided steel nipple with threads is locked on, which is then tensioned (or trued, as needed) from a nut inside the rim bed.

Filament wound, tubeless carbon rim

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race

Not to be overlooked because of the new spoke tech, the carbon rims themselves feature some new tech for Hunt, too. Hunt adapted a filament winding manufacturing process on top of more conventional hand layups to create the new rim which allows for more careful placement of fibers across the rim. It also allows the use of more continuous fibers leading away from the spoke holes where forces are transferred. It requires less extra material to account for more accurate carbon placement. Hunt also used this more precise layup technique to vary the amount of carbon across the rim, specifically to add spoke hole reinforcement while reducing material between the spokes to save weight without reducing strength or durability.

Tech details

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race

The new 36 UD Carbon Spoke road wheels are rim brake only with a Griptec basalt-ceramic brake track (hopefully just for now?) and feature a blunt-nosed, semi-aero wide profile. Rim internal width is 19mm (26mm external, 36mm deep). They are tubeless-ready, and come with tape installed for easy use with or without tubes.

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race

The wheels feature Hunt’s alloy Sprint hubs, adapted for the unique TaperLock spokes. The forged, then CNC-machined 6061-T6 hubs spin on oversized 7075 axles, with the rear hub featuring 3 triple toothed pawls for fast 7.5° engagement and steel freehub spline reinforcement. Shimano/SRAM, Campy, XD & XDR bodies are available.

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race
c. Hunt

They also include CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings standard for smooth, long-lasting rolling. The rim brake wheels are Quick Release, and include Hunt’s smooth, external brass cam QRs, plus tubeless valves, brake pads, and apparently even spare carbon spokes.

Pricing & availability

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race
c. Hunt

Like most Hunt wheels, the 36 UD Carbon Spoke wheelset is available now for pre-order for £1379 ($1765 / 1606€) for delivery in mid-November 2019. You can either pay now, or put down a refundable £99 deposit to claim one of the first retail sets. Why they are launching now is that after being tested in training and the odd race by Canyon DHB riders, they be raced more openly this coming week at the Elite Men’s World Championships Road Race in Yorkshire.

HuntBikeWheels.com

43 COMMENTS

  1. How are the spokes when it comes to impact resistance? Mavic had the R-Sys wheels which were carbon tubed spokes. They were great until a skewer or a pedal from another rider got in there and then all spokes imploded. There were some pretty dramatic crashes that occured (just search Mavic R sys failures). The thing with steel spokes is when one breaks, rarely do other spokes fail at the same time. Would that be the same with these carbon spokes?

    • Both spoke design and wheel design is very different. R-sys are made from tubular carbon fiber, the R-Sys spokes are used in tension and compression. Most wheels primarily use only tension — the spokes pull the rim and hub together. The R-Sys design relies on the pushing force of compression, too, as a wagon wheel does with wooden spokes. This design is structurally sound so long as the piece being pushed on maintains its integrity.

    • Props on the top heckle :-). You’re right these are more rim brake climber focused. 21 internal disc brake, 45 and 54 deep options already in the works just the hubs have taken us longer as they needed a re-engineer for the 2 cross larger diameter carbon spokes, watch this space. We’re keeping hooked but with new ETRTO road tubeless std (as yet unpublished) compatible so they have max tyre compatibility, rather than being limited on tyres by hookless. Big thanks for the feedback, great heckle and enjoy your riding, Tom Marchment HUNT WHEELS

    • Since these rims are built for both tubeless and clincher tires, they have to be built with bead hooks. I don’t think anyone is making road clincher rims that don’t have bead hooks. As for the rim width, 19mm is decent, and it means that the market for those rims can be larger and include more older bikes than perhaps wider rims could.

    • Hi Dkrenik, that’s absolutely right – generally tension doesn’t affect wheel stiffness until it is so low that spokes become slack. Carbon fibre has a higher specific stiffness than stainless steel used in conventional spokes – ie the same weight of material is significantly stiffer – which means the whole wheel ends up both stiffer and lighter than it would be with steel spokes. For lateral stiffness the improvement is 31% – thanks to the material change rather than the spoke tension.

    • That is correct, and one of the great misconceptions of people regarding wheel stiffness. There is no statement claiming anything like that in this article though, and spoke stiffness greatly affects wheel stiffness.

  2. Hooks are a great idea, good on Hunt for keeping them. Just because a certain well known wheel maker doesn’t like to mold in hooks you shouldn’t fall for their spiel (they also like to blame the tire makers, by the way, when the true issue is that they are too lazy to finish their rims properly).
    As with press-fit bottom brackets, manufacturing convenience doesn’t necessarily translate into value to the user or owner.

    • Hookless are lighter as well, so if you want to phase out tubulars, it’s probably the better way to go. The only downside is, you’ll have to use tubeless tires, regardless if you want to run it tubeless or tubed.

  3. If the ERD is accurate, hooks are not needed. My truck tires have well over 100 psi in them, with tons of weight on them, hookless rims too! My tires are low cost ebay commercial tires. Obviously the Chinese engineers can control the tolerances even if they are competing at the bottom of the margin range, too bad some of the bicycle tire factory engineers cannot. I have never bought ENVE rims, but have many hookless road/CX and mtb styles and brands in the family garage. Not one has ever blown off. There are Maxxis, Schwalbe, WTB, Hutchinson and they all fit correctly. Only tubeless tires I have ever lost were in the early days before TLR designations. My fault for expecting tube type tires to stay on without a tube and a sloppy fit, and those rims had hooks!

    • so can you install/remove said tires with your bare hands, hmm i doubt it, and if you could i doubt you would be here to tell the story. bicycle tires are the only ones on the etrto list that allow for hand fitting

    • Your truck tire does not come of the rim because it is heavily reinforced with steel wires. There are now plenty of examples showing that hookless is anything but save for road use, especially with rim brakes. There is at least one recall caused by this.

    • @Dustytires – You probably mean ETRTO instead of ERD 😉
      Like Jonas mentions about the car tires, correct hookless-compatible tires have reinforced beads (Kevlar mostly). Problems with hookless occur when you use simple/normal tires. They stretch at the bead section. So, it is a choice of the wheel/rim maker to make a rim compatible for a selection of tires or all.
      Personally, from an engineering point of view, to make something hold air, I would prefer a U-shape (rim & tire bead that match) over an L-shape (hookless) where it might be possible that the bead moves a bit along the non-hook.

  4. Lets see how fast they melt and fail catastrophicly in Tour’s stress test and how misserably they fail in Hambini’s areo test.

    hail the world of marketing

      • @Ronald, well either you don’t understand Hambini’s work or still have bad-taste-in-mouth after realizing your wheels are not worth what you paid for?
        His work, despite some possible critics, is by far more accurate than the ideal world presented by the brands.

        • (deleted). As an engineer, some of the testing methods and protocols he uses are appear to be guess work. Plus, using solidworks to run CFD simulations is laughable. Simulation can be characterised by “shit in, shit out”. On the other hand, the opinion of (very well informed) aerospace friends of mine is that Solidworks will always give you shit.

          Hambini’s background in aerospace may be somewhat applicable, but he has no real experience in cycle testing, just a lot of opinions. No field testing. Although, I think he is right about Zipp’s dimples – the science there is quite sound. They are bollocks. Doesn’t mean the shape of the rim is bad – they are probably still worth buying.

          By the way I have never bought or owned a pair of carbon wheels, but would not hesitate to buy a pair of wheels that performed well in a Tour test and badly in a Hambini “test”. Trust Tour reviews and take Hambini’s infalmatory words with a pinch of salt. Some of it is true, a lot is guess work and poor protocols.

    • Hi Morten, Thank you for your 2nd comment on this topic on two different websites. As devoted bike riders ourselves, here at HUNT we always appreciate the opportunity to learn more and make better wheels all the time. We all want to see independent testing that pushes this forwards. To provide some other sides of the balance regards the Tour Magazine results is also important to make the best of the independent testing process. My brother Peter is somewhat of a physics geek (having Graduated Science at Cambridge with a speciality in materials) and oversees, along with Luisa (Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering, HUNT Engineering Manager), all our internal testing procedures. Pete would have liked to learn a lot more about the Tour test protocols, but from the limited information they share we identified there did not appear to be an adaptation in their testing to take into account differing levels of friction at the brake surface and the resulting differing heat transfer to each rim. So, a low friction brake pad = a much higher likelihood of passing their test. Our email to Tour magazine enquiring about these details remains unanswered (it was definitely friendly and polite, our Mother brought us up proper 😉 .) We of course have tested our braking surface extensively and the wheels tested by Tour have been in use around the world by many thousands of riders, including our sponsored Canyon DHB Continental team who have been racing on the wheels for three years. We have never witnessed the kind of failure that Tour managed to generate in their lab test.

      Some replies from a rider and a journalists to your previous comment:


      @ThatBrainiac “Tour Magazine… I love those guys for their dedication to objective testing, and I wish there was more of it in the industry…but sometimes their results don’t seem to square with real world reports. For example, they are the only source I have ever seen of a melted Shimano Ice-Tech disc rotor, which caused them to rate Shimano disc brakes quite low due to the complete failure in their test. Undoubtedly, a braking system failure is serious business, and we’d all do well to steer clear of putting ourselves at risk of one, but those rotors seem to hold up fine in the real world under riders of all weights, on even the most serious of alpine descents (both on and off road). It is also frustrating how often German companies soundly win their tests, when, in the real world, ride reports of the same products are considerably more average. Maybe German companies like Magura, Schwalbe, and Conti are just using similar tests to what Tour uses, so their products have been designed to excel in those conditions, but the results could also be an indication of nationalistic bias, which really sucks, as the whole promise of objective testing is to avoid biases (of all sorts).”

      Dave Rome Mod (Technical Writer for Cycling Tips) ThatBrainiac • 3 months ago • edited
      “I’ll take it a step further than that. I know on good authority that a number of bike brands were previously (5-10 years ago) designing bikes specifically to excel in Tour’s former stiffness-to-weight frame tests. The outcome was terribly stiff riding bikes that would chatter you to pieces and quickly break traction – but a winning score in Tour mag would produce sales within the world’s largest cycling market.”

      We definitely see the need for more independent testing and want to congratulate Tour for trying to push these things forwards and all bike components will benefit from this. We are all bike geeks here at HUNT, so we really do want to keep pushing bike parts forwards and so we would love to hear from anyone who can help or wants to chat bike.

      Kindest Regards and enjoy your riding,

      Tom Marchment – HUNT Wheels.

  5. Hunt is looking more and more like the best value wheels available. Maybe even the best wheels, period. I’d like to see more independent testing, but I’m definitely buying a set of their aluminum disc wheels.

      • I ran their Mason X CX wheels through a busy, muddy ‘cross season last year. They were bomb proof and still spin nice and smooth in this year’s early season races.

      • Apparently Novatec hubs (the correct range of course), are quite favoured among the wheel builder community for their durability, so if you get the right one, they’re definitely not sh**ty.

    • Value-for-money, I would totally recommend the Mason X Hunt wheels. A couple of seasons on mine as “bashing” wheels for CX and rough-road events in bad weather. The only issue I had with them was an unscrewing front wheel cap that required a small amount of loctite to stay in place. Easy to set up tubeless with Schwalbe Pro One, X-One and Maxxis Speed Terrane using a charger pump, none of them horrid to remove.

      Loose cap was not a safety concern (the adaptor was safely compressed by the thru-axle) while riding, just an annoying rattle; like I said these wheels were used mostly in bad roads. Very happy with them, would say they are as good as wheels $300-$400 dollars more expensive.

  6. Hi Tom, Pete,
    That’s quite an interesting wheel you offer there! What number of stiffness (N/mm) are we looking after with this model? that’s really where I expect a gain, carbon-fiber Young-Modulus in pure traction application should do quite a difference!
    Thanks

  7. Once they come in a 45 Deep and with Disc Brake compatible I will seriously consider them. Until then, kudos for the great tech. Wonder when other manufacturers will catch on.

  8. Why do the carbon spokes look like they are broken/pitted/heavily scoured in the photos? They also look like they have been sanded down? What’s going on there?

  9. I recently received a set of these wheels and have had the opportunity to do some local riding around Boulder, CO on them. I find they’re extremely responsive and noticeably stiff climbing out of saddle. Braking is on par with the best in the industry and *quiet*! I haven’t had the opportunity to test wet braking yet however. Overall, just like their alloy Aero Race Wide wheels, they appear to be an incredible value. The only knock is a very noticeable pulsation during braking that I have to wonder may be due to the filament wound construction. It is most apparent at slower speeds, but noticeably present across a range of speeds. My concern is that even a small amount of pulsation could cause a break in traction when trimming speed going into a fast corner. I’ve sent a message to their customer service but have not heard back. Perhaps they’ll respond here.

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