The Tour de France mountains have given us a sneak peek at another set of prototype wheels being tested, this time an ultralight set of low-profile Hunt Carbon Spoke, disc brake tubulars. Spotted under Colombian rider Sergio Henao of Qhubeka NextHash, the wheels combine similar lightweight, race-ready tech we’ve seen from the UK wheel company before, with a target of adding a lightweight tubeless version soon as well…
Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke Disc lightweight tubular prototype wheels
We squeezed Hunt for some info on the mystery tubular prototypes, and they let slip the name 36 UD Carbon Spoke Disc… confirming quite a bit of key information, like their 36mm deep rim profile. Hunt already makes a 36 UD Carbon Spoke rim brake wheelset with a filament-wound tubeless rim and a separate 44/54 UD Carbon Spoke Disc brake wheels with Aerodynamicist tubeless rims, both using the same unique carbon spokes.
How light is ultralight with disc brakes?
Hunt shared this photo of the wheels Sergio Henao was riding, on their scale at just 660g for the rear and 509g for the front – a complete weight of 1151g for the 12mm thru-axle, centerlock disc brake wheelset.
Hunt’s TaperLock full UD carbon spokes essentially build up wheels a bit more like conventional spoke or textile spoke wheels with special nipples at both the rim & hub, that allows both truing (from inside the rim bed only) and spoke replacement in the event of external damage. The result is said to be super light and super stiff, allowing very low spoke counts and ultralight complete wheelset weights.
We can see from these photos that the wheels are laced with just 20 rear and only 16 front of the unique, bladed TaperLock UD carbon spokes. The straight-pull spokes are laced with equal numbers on each side (2x in the rear, 1x on the disc side in the front), and require special hubs with threaded flanges/tabs for the inner nipple/mandrel.
Looking closely at the front, these wheels do in fact look to have a new lighter set of disc brake hubs compared to Hunt’s first Carbon Spoke Disc wheels. These look to have a smaller diameter, more cylindrical body that steps down from the bearings inside the radial spokes on the driveside, then back up to the flange on the disc-side.
Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke Disc – Performance benefits, pricing & availability?
Obviously, ultra-lightweight will always draw a number of road cyclists in. But Hunt also claimed the first UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheels increased stiffness by 6%, even with 16% fewer spokes, and were better at absorbing high-frequency road buzz at the same time. Now, having proven themselves a bit in the big mountains of the Tour de France as tubulars, the next step will be to make a tubeless version for consumers. Hunt has even hinted that it might be hookless.
No official timeline or pricing has been released, but Hunt does already list this new depth on their website when describing Sprint hub/axle compatibility – listed as “36/44/50/4454/54 UD Carbon Spoke Disc Wheelset“. Curiously, that also suggests another new deeper Hunt 50 UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheelset that we’ve not seen yet either!
In any case, all of their disc brake, carbon spoke wheelsets hover around the same +/- $1960 / £1380 / 1790€ price tag, so we’d expect the new ultralight 35 UD Carbon Spoke Disc or the deeper 50 UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheels to come in around that same cost.