Review: Hunt Aerodynamicist 44 aero road bike wheels

In terms of bang for your buck aero wheels, the Hunt Aerodynamicist line is hard to beat. They’re light, fast, perform well, and the 44mm deep wheelset tested here retails for just $919.

If that doesn’t capture your attention, no worries. But if a sub-thousand dollar wheelset that comes in at a claimed 1,466g is interesting to you, here’s everything you need to know about these carbon disc brake aero road bike wheels…

hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels on a bike

The Hunt Aerodynamicist wheels come in two flavors – ones with carbon spokes that cost about $500 more and are about 110g lighter per wheelset, and these standard models with straight pull, aero butted Pillar spokes.

Both versions are offered in 44mm (tested), and 54mm deep options, and you can order as a 44/54 combo, too. The carbon spoke models also offer a very light 32mm deep rim option. Triathletes can go even deeper with 87/88 combos.

Optimized for 25-28mm tires, the rim’s aero shaping is a bit wider just below the edge, curving inward to meet the tire. Hunt shares all of their wind tunnel data on their website.

closeup details of hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels

The wheels get their Sprint hubs, available with all the axle options, including quick-release skewers if you’re putting these on an older bike.

closeup details of hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels

Rear hubs have a quick-enough 7.5º engagement from three pawls (each with three teeth) ratcheting on a 48-tooth ring. Choose from HG, XDR, Campagnolo, or Campy N3W (for Ekar) freehub bodies.

For a road wheelset, 7.5º is on the quick side, and I appreciate this. There’s less lag when resuming pedaling from a coast, and it gives the wheels a higher-end feel…more polished. But, these particular hubs are loud during coasting. Like, very loud. There’s nothing stealth about coasting with these wheels.

closeup details of hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels

A straight-pull spoke design and external nipples makes truing and repairs easy.

rim profile of hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels

They stick with a hooked bead to maximize tire compatibility. Hunt says they’re compatible with 23mm up to 50mm tires, but are best suited for 25-28mm tubeless-ready tires, with a max tire pressure of 100psi for 25-28mm tires, lower for wider tires. The recommended upper weight limit is 240lbs for rider+gear+bike.

Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist actual weights & measurements

actual weights for hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels

Actual weights with tubeless rim tape installed AND rotor lock ring are 675g (front) and 844g (rear), or 1,519g for the set. Valve stems are 9g for the pair.

That Hunt includes the rotor lock rings is a nice touch. Brake rotors don’t come with them, and many wheelsets do not include those. So it’s nice to be able to pull them out of the box, mount your rotors, and hit the road without having to make a quick run to your local bike shop for stuff you weren’t expecting to buy.

width measurements for hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels

Claimed interior width is 20mm, and ours measured just a hair over that. External width at the bead was 26.71mm, and further down at the widest point was 29.16mm.

The wheels come with extra spokes, valve stems, and stickers.

Before we get into the full review, here’s my only complaint from my time reviewing them: They captured some water on a (very) rainy ride and held onto it for weeks afterward.

It wasn’t until I was swapping tires and had them off the bike that I noticed the sloshing sound both of the wheels. Fortunately, it didn’t get into the tires, it stayed in the rims, and removing the valve stem (once the tire was off) let me pour it out easily.

It’s worth mentioning two things:

  1. This issue isn’t exclusive to Hunt’s wheels, it could happen to others.
  2. Hunt does have a drain hole on their rims, so I’d recommend leaning the bike against a wall with that hole facing straight down after any ride in the rain or if you’ve rolled through deep water.

OK, on to the good stuff…

Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist wheels review

hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels being ridden

This was my first set of Hunt wheels, and I’m impressed. While 1,466g is respectable, they felt even lighter.

Spooling up in a sprint was quick, but the most noticeable characteristic was how light of a touch it took to move the bike side to side or initiate a turn. They moved even lighter than their weight or depth suggested, even compared to some other wheels I’ve ridden lately with similar specs.

hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels being ridden

They felt easy on climbs, without any hesitation to hustle if my legs had it in them. Coming back down the hills at higher speeds felt reassuringly stable.

hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels being ridden

They also felt smooth on a variety of surfaces. We occasionally head off the pavement (sometimes even onto singletrack), so I usually keep my tire pressure around 70-74psi (I’m about 190lb kitted out for a road ride, plus bike and bottle weight), and mostly ride 700×28 tires. Fortunately, these lower pressures were no problem on these rims, and combined to offer great ride quality.

They also seemed to slip through the wind with ease, barely affected by crosswinds or gusts. Personally, a 40-ish millimeter depth is my preference for an all-around wheelset in terms of aerodynamic performance-to-weight, and these are an excellent offering in that category.

hunt 44 aerodynamicist aero road bike wheels on a bike

They also look really good. The matte carbon finish and subtle, minimal graphics blended in perfectly with my matte Exept road bike, and they match an ENVE cockpit quite well, too.

It’s easy to say “they’re great for the price”, because they are. But the Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist wheels hold their own against more expensive offerings, too. And they look great doing it. Throw in a lifetime crash replacement program for the original owner, a three-year warranty against defects, and a 60-day Ride & Return trial program, and it’s kind of hard not to put them on your shortlist.

HuntBikeWheels.com

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Rixter
3 months ago

Very similar to the FFWD Ryott 44 EXP. Any thoughts on comparing the two?

Mic
Mic
3 months ago

Does anyone trust carbon spokes any more??!

Benji
Benji
3 months ago

Good they provide spare spokes as hunt spokes always break.

Dave
Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  Benji

Haven’t broken a spoke yet on my 2 year old Hunts. That said, I did have a tension issue with one spoke on the back wheel. It was very loose from the factory, but the wheel was still true. Got a loose spoke on the front wheel recently and it started making a ticking noise. Went around the wheel until I found the spoke that was a lot looser than the others. Noise is gone now. I’ve been very happy with mine other than the loose spokes. Hit 50 mph down a mountain in the wind and they are amazingly stable.

Eric Blomendale
Eric Blomendale
3 months ago

I’ve been riding these wheels for 18 months now. Though I had issues with the V1 bladed carbon spokes spinning and creating a less than optimal Aerodynamic profile, the company provided excelent customer service and ultimately changed the design and V2 has proven to be pretty much all i’d ask for in a wheelset. They are respectfully light (mine weighed in at 1351g) and roll smooth and very fast. I weigh in at 185lbs and have not been plagued by any carbon fatigue of the spokes so far.

For the money, these have become my go-to wheels. I do love the Enve product but I’d guaranty it would be difficult to discern much of a difference in a blind test against the Hunt 44 UD… and at less than half the price.

Brian
2 months ago

Hi Tyler any news why Luisa Grappone has left ‘Hunt wheels’ aka ‘Fulltech composites RIMS and Fastace Hubs’ ???? Very interesting? Maybe worth a few questions to get to the truth.

Tom Marchment
2 months ago
Reply to  Brian

I hope you’re all well and thank you everyone for your interesting questions and feedback. We at Hunt TheRiderFirm are here to serve riders and open discussion and good questions can only help the rider gain useful information so they can make the best choice. Please see below some information that hopefully helps.

Hi Mic; regards carbon spokes; as you noted we do offer a carbon spoke version of these wheels, using a carbon spoke from the world’s largest rim maker, their carbon spokes can also be seen in other wheel companies who sponsor by World Tour/TdF teams. We tensile strength test the carbon spokes to failure. We test them compared to high-end stainless spokes; mostly the two different brands of market-leading aero oval spokes (both of which are drawn from 1.5mm butted round spokes made from Sandvik stainless). The carbon spokes fail at 450-495 kilograms of force, whereas the two leading stainless spokes break at 275-295 KGF for comparison. Several teams have used this carbon spoke platform at the World Tour level including Team Qhubeka Assos last year and at least one TdF team this year on another wheel brand.

Hi Brian, regards these rims; they are from the same manufacturer that make our carbon spokes, as many people in the industry know, this carbon spoke tech (used by other wheel companies with wheels used at the World Tour/TdF level) is not from FullTech. Not that there is anything wrong with Fulltech, they are highly regarded and I am aware that they do manufacture high spec carbon components for at least one of the ‘big 3’ bike brands.

Regards the hubs; we don’t have any manufacturing of Hunt hubs from FastAce and haven’t previously. Our Hunt Sprint hubs are from a small family-run hub maker in Taiwan, they don’t make for many other well-known wheel brands, but we feel they are excellent at what they do and we have enjoyed a very long-term relationship with them. From the many times we have visited their factory we have a huge amount of respect for their high-end capabilities in machining 6061, 6066, and 7075 alloys for our hubs. We strongly appreciate the investment and skills their family has developed using their five-axis CNC machines over the many decades they have been in business. 

Regards Luisa; Luisa has been a friend of ours since before we founded Hunt and always will be. The bike industry is small and hence mutual respect and integrity are essential to how we all do our best to serve riders, Luisa is a shining example of that. Luisa first approached us in 2016, we were extremely humble to have an engineer with a Masters Degree and incredible experience developing and testing wheels for top world tour teams and top wheel companies wanting to join us. We are also very thankful to Luisa for moving to England to work here at Hunt full-time. After six fun and exciting years working together here at our head office in Sussex, including many successful projects such as the groundbreaking Limitless Aero wheels (of which many competitor wheel brands followed the over 30 mm width), Luisa made the decision to move onto to new challenges and considering a more convenient European based location, in Spring this year. We are incredibly grateful to her and she has done an amazing job leading and preparing our remaining team of three engineers. We know Luisa will have much success in anything she turns her hand to. We would like to say a huge thank you to Luisa from everyone here at Hunt TheRiderFirm.

And finally, thank you to our riders who help us every day to serve them better and for the interesting questions as they help us develop what we do for the rider. Knowing feedback is vital it can only help us make better wheels.

Thank you again and enjoy your riding,
 
Tom Marchment