These are some of the most rugged aero road wheels ever made. UK brand Hunt Wheels has a new wheelset called the Race Aero SuperDura, rated for riders weighing up to 130kg. Like ex-pro rugby player Will Johnson, who helped develop them… for riding on the cobbles of northern France.
Johnson had already been riding on Hunt’s 4Season Dura wheels, but wanted something more aero and a little lighter. So he got in touch with the Sussex-based firm and asked them to help design his ideal wheelset.
Race Aero SuperDura wheels can support riders up to 130kg Jamie Beach / Immediate Media
So how do these new wheels cope with such extreme demands being placed on them? There’s a spoke count of 28/32, which is higher than many other aero wheelsets on the market. The PSR XTRA spokes are triple-butted to save some weight, and slightly thicker (2.2mm) where they exit the hub to cope with the extra load of a 20-stone rugby player giving it the beans on pavé.
They get lightweight alloy nipples to shave a few grams, which are slightly longer at 14mm to provide extra strength and a long thread connection with the spokes. The nipples also feature square bodies with a hex head (a spoke key is provided with the wheels).
The tubeless-ready rims are made from Niobium T-10 alloy, a proprietary material developed by Hunt’s rim supplier, which uses an advanced heat treatment process to combine low weight with stiffness and durability. The new wheels come 31mm deep and 19mm wide (internal) to create a wider tyre profile that will accommodate tyres up to 45mm wide.
Maybe a little louder
The freehub body has three pawls, each with an independently moving leaf spring, to spread the loads more effectively Jamie Beach / Immediate Media
How about the hubs? Well, they use something clever called multi-point pawl technology, meaning that there are three internal pawls with three teeth each, giving nine points of engagement across 48 splines. Each pawl runs on individual leaf-pawl springs for better redundancy.
The result, says Hunt, is a freehub mechanism that can spread the high torque loads generated by heavy, powerful riders, with a speedy 7.5° range of engagement. Hunt adds that they’re a little louder than usual, thanks to the individual leaf spring pawls.
The freehub bodies also have steel spline insert reinforcements to provide extra durability against the cassette sprocket damage often seen on alloy freehub bodies. The hubs feature large 12mm front and 15mm rear axles for extra load bearing, and feature extra weatherproofing measures like large double-sealed main bearings and extra hub cap sealing, running on a 7075-T6 heat-treated alloy axle with a CNC-machined hub shell.
Pricing and availability
Can you see the tiny indentation in the braking surface? That’s to check for wear Jamie Beach / Immediate Media
Together, the wheels weigh 1,595g, excluding quick-releases, which feature brass cams and stainless steel springs to fend off rust. Each wheelset is built and tensioned by hand.
Pricing is £469 (international pricing TBC), with a lead time of around two months at the moment. Hunt Wheels also offers the option to deliver the wheels fitted with tubeless tyres, like Schwalbe One Pro (£109) or Hutchinson Sector 28 (£TBC).
Strada’s Big Fella wheels are rated for riders up to 100kg Courtesy
The market for aero road wheels that can cope with rugby players and very heavy riders is a small one, but there are a few other options out there. Strada is another UK wheel brand – based close to Hunt Wheels, in fact – which offers something called the Big Fella. It’s rated for riders weighing 100kg+, and hits the scales at 2031g. Price is £379 for the pair (international pricing TBC).
Lightweight Meilensteins weigh an impressive 1,180g and support riders up to 120kg… but cost much, much more than the Hunt wheels Courtesy
If you’re prepared to spend considerably more money, then the Meilensteins from German brand Lightweight can support riders up to 120kg. They tip the scales at an impressive 1,180g for the pair… but will cost you £4,329 (international pricing TBC).