Sure the bulk of modern wheel development we see now is around disc brakes, but the vast majority of road, time trial & triathlon bikes actually being raced in competition are still sporting rim brakes. So Hunt Wheels sent their Aerodynamicist design engineers back to the wind tunnel to create a range of faster carbon rim brake wheels that won’t break the bank.
Hunt Aerodynamicist aero carbon rim brake road wheels
As Hunt themselves put it, the aero rim brake wheel market is already pretty saturated, and they are kind of coming late to the party after devoting some much development on disc brakes and multi-surface wheels. But even from the start of their Limitless “world’s fastest road disc” project, Hunt’s small design team was looking to up their aero game for rim brakes, too. Admittedly, gains weren’t as easy with the rim brake track in the way, but Hunt is happy with the three new deep aero carbon rim profiles that in-house engineering team manager Luisa Grappone developed.
And in classic Hunt Aerodynamicist fashion, they’ve matched or outperformed the premium competition at 52, 62 & 82mm deep, released the real drag data to back it up, and have done all that at a price level more affordable than pretty much everyone at that top aero level.
How did Hunt do it?
Hunt’s Aerodynamicist concept essentially can be boiled down to “widening profiles below the edge of the rim to improve performance and stability across multiple yaw angles”… think wide curved shapes with blunt nose.
That was easier without brakes to consider. But working with a 27mm wide, parallel brake track and hooked, tubeless-ready beads with a 19-19.5mm internal width, Hunt took advantage of all the space available.
The result is these three rim profiles, 28.1-29.5mm wide at their widest and 52mm, 62mm & 82mm deep. Hunt’s data shows the 82 wheel to be the fastest against everything they tested, while the 52 & 62 are competitive with the best of the other great wheels on the market.
The full detailed testing protocols and results of Hunt’s rim brake aero development is available for those who want to dive into the process or learn more about their findings in detail. Read the White Paper Research Report here.
Hunt Carbon Aerodynamicist, in the details
All three rims were developed entirely in-house & are Hunt specific, built up from a mix of Toray T700 & T800 fibers to balance a high strength:weight ratio. UD carbon is used for the most part, with 3K weave fiber reinforcing the rim bed & spoke areas, and Hunt’s Griptec basalt ceramic fiber brake track for high-performance all-weather stopping and long-term durability. Their internal width is designed & aerodynamics optimized for 25-28mm tubeless tires, but still narrow enough to safely run a 23c tire for bike with tighter clearances.
The wheels are laced to Hunt’s lightweight Race Season Sprint hubs with straight pull, four-sided Pillar Wing spokes for less drag than aerofoil spokes in wide-ranging wind conditions. Oh, and external alloy nipples for real world serviceability. The 6061-T6 forged & CNC-machined QR-ready hubs spin big 15mm alloy axles on industry benchmark CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings, get fast 7.5° engagement, and are available with alloy Shimano, Campagnolo & SRAM XD/XDR freehub bodies with steel spline protection.
Complete wheelset pair range from 1518g for the 52mm wheels, 1575g for the 62mm set, up to 1738g for the deepest 82mm pair.
Rim Brake Aerodynamicist – Pricing & availability
Hunt Carbon Aerodynamicist wheels are sold in pairs, but you can use Hunt’s drop-down menus to mix & match rim depths to get your ideal setup. Wheelsets include external brass cam QRs, carbon-specific brake pads, tubeless tape & tubeless valves already installed, plus spare spokes & spoke tools.
Wheelset pricing increases as the rims get deeper, as it does when you pick a deeper rear wheel. Matched 52 wheelsets sell for £1189 / $1606. A 62 set sells for £1249 / $1687. And the deepest and most expensive 82 wheelset sells for £1329 / $1795. Single wheels are also available separately, especially helpful to pair with a solid disc wheel (something Hunt has teased, but not made available yet.)
As is pretty standard for newly introduced Hunt direct-to-consumer wheels, pay a refundable £99 deposit now to reserve a set of the Carbon Aerodynamicist wheels ahead of their late March 2020 delivery date.