Hunt has announced the latest addition to its range of road bike wheels: three tubeless-ready carbon rim brake wheelsets designed to maximise speed and aerodynamic efficiency. The deepest option (82mm) is said to offer “class-leading” aero performance.
The Carbon Aerodynamicist wheels borrow engineering knowledge gained from the development of Hunt’s disc-specific 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheels (which Hunt claims are the world’s more aerodynamic wheels under 50mm in depth).
Where the Limitless wheels were designed with wider tyres in mind, the Aerodynamicist wheels aim to optimise the rim profile for aerodynamic performance around 25mm tyres and the width constraints of rim brakes.
Coming in 52, 62 and 82mm depths, each wheelset has a 19mm internal rim width, which Hunt says is “optimised for superior aerodynamic performance with a 25-28mm tubeless tyre, but also works well with 23mm tyres”.
Hunt says the rim bed is compliant with the latest ETRTO tubeless standards. We’ve been eagerly waiting for the arrival of this eminent standard, but have yet to actually receive any official details on it.
Each wheelset is built with CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings (which come with a six year warranty) and 18/24 Pillar aero spokes, front and rear. Hunt also says all modern freehub standards can be accommodated.
Hunt Carbon Aerodynamicist range details, claimed weights and pricing
- Hunt 52CA wheelset: 52mm / 1518g / £1,189 / €1,443.80 / $1,606.81
- Hunt 62CA wheelset: 62mm / 1575g / £1,249 / €1,516.66 / $1,687.90
- Hunt 82CA wheelset: 82mm / 1738g / £1,329 / €1,613.80 / $1,796.01
Hunt has released a white paper detailing the aerodynamic testing it performed to benchmark the new wheels against other comparable options on the market.
Notably, Hunt claims that the 82mm wheelset is “class-leading” in terms of its aerodynamic performance, besting similar wheels from Specialized, Enve, Zipp and DT Swiss.
Though that’s clearly not an exhaustive list of competitors (and curiously the 82mm wheelset and its competitors were tested with 23mm tyres) it’s always refreshing to see a bicycle brand actually release the data behind its claims.
According to Hunt, the rim width should marginally exceed the width of the tyre for optimum aerodynamic performance, especially at higher yaw angles (which Hunt says are more frequently experienced by road racers and riders in “real world conditions”).
Indeed, Hunt’s data shows there is a relatively significant drop off in aerodynamic performance when changing to a 28mm tyre, compared to the difference between 23mm and 25mm tyres.
It would follow that for optimum aerodynamic performance with a 28mm tyre, the rim would need to be at least 29-30mm wide (the rims on Hunt’s 48 Limitless Aero disc wheels are 35mm wide), something that current rim brakes are likely to prevent.
It’s also interesting to note that, in terms of pure aerodynamic performance, Hunt’s testing shows that a 23mm tyre tends to be faster.
The testing doesn’t take into account differences in rolling resistance, so it doesn’t necessarily tell us that narrow tyres are faster overall, but it does serve as a reminder that there are a huge number of factors at play in finding the fastest wheel, tyre, bike and rider combination.
The Hunt Carbon Aerodynamicist wheel range is available to pre-order now, for delivery in late March 2020. Customers will be able to order all wheels in the Carbon Aerodynamicist range as either a set or as single wheels.