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…
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.
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.
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.
A straight-pull spoke design and external nipples makes truing and repairs easy.
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 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.
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:
- This issue isn’t exclusive to Hunt’s wheels, it could happen to others.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.