The Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset is a great-value aero wheelset for fast road riding.
With carbon rim profiles designed and wind-tunnel tested by Hunt’s engineering manager, Luisa Grappone (who previously worked on Boeing’s 787 programme, and at 3T and Campagnolo, before joining Hunt in August 2017), the 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset offer looks and performance to match those from premium brands at a competitive price point.
Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset details
In time-honoured bike tester tradition, I took the 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheels out of the box and put them straight on the scales.
Including tubeless rim tape and lockrings, my test set comes in at 1,580g for the pair.
That’s 56g over the 1,524g claimed weight (which may not account for the tubeless tape or lockrings), but it’s not something that affects performance.
Compared to the competition, that’s competitive if not groundbreaking. Parcours’ Strade wheelset (£1,049), for example, weighs 1,570g.
The latest Zipp 404 Firecrest offers a slightly deeper and wider rim profile, at a marginally lower weight of 1,527g. But it costs almost twice as much at RRP (£1,600 / €1,800 / $1,900) and also uses hookless rims.
Tubeless and clincher tyres setup
The rims feature traditional bead hooks, so you’re free to use pretty much any tyres you like.
Hunt even says gravel tyres up to 700 x 50c can be used (providing your frame has clearance, of course), despite the fact that gravel riding falls slightly outside of this wheelset’s intended usage range.
The 20mm internal rim width creates a nice round shape to the 700 x 28c tyres I used during testing, and the 29mm external width is aerodynamically optimised for 700 x 25-28c tyres, though you can go narrower or wider if you choose to.
I was able to mount both the older Continental GP5000 TL and newer GP5000 S TR tubeless tyres by hand (both in a 700 x 28c size), and the tyre beads of both models seated with just a track pump and valve core removed.
As always, proper technique plays its part here. If you’re struggling with a particular setup, it’s worth checking out our in-depth guides for changing bike tyres and setting up road tubeless tyres, just to double check you’re doing everything correctly.
Since setting the wheels up tubeless a few months ago, the setup has proven completely hassle-free.
Aesthetics and build
The 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset has unidirectional carbon rims with a matt black finish and the logos are thin and white.
Overall, the wheels have understated looks and subtle graphics that make them an easy fit on most modern road bikes, regardless of style or colour.
The gloss black hubs are Hunt’s own, which are fitted with EZO steel cartridge bearings. The front hub uses 6802-2RS bearings, with 6902-2RS bearings in the rear.
Replacements can be sourced directly from Hunt for £5.99 each, but are readily available elsewhere online too (you’ll need two for each hub, plus an additional two 6802-2RS bearings if you want to replace the bearings in the freehub as well).
There’s no ceramic bearing upgrade option with this wheelset, but that’s little surprise on a cost-conscious design such as this, and I’d have personally questioned the value of one anyway.
The hubs are laced to the rims using black, straight pull, Pillar-butted aero spokes (20 front, 24 rear), in a two-cross pattern.
The 16mm spoke nipples are made from black anodised alloy. While not as durable and corrosion resistant as brass nipples, alloy nipples are lighter and their use here reflects this wheelset’s racy aspirations.
If you want a hardier wheelset for year-round riding in all conditions, one specifically designed for that kind of use, such as Hunt’s 4 Season Aero wheelset (which is available in both rim- and disc-brake form), may be a better choice.
As expected, both wheels arrived true out of the box, and have stayed that way ever since (though that’s unsurprising considering I weigh less than 65kg and don’t put an enormous amount of force through bikes and components).
Maximum tyre pressure is capped at 100psi with 25c and 28c tyres, with a downwards sliding scale for larger tyres.
My test wheelset came with a Shimano HG, 8-to-12-speed compatible freehub (with a steel anti-bite guard), but options for SRAM XD/XDR, Campagnolo 9-to-12-speed and Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed can be chosen at no extra cost, at the point of purchase.
Replacement freehubs can also be purchased from Hunt separately (for £29.99), should you change groupset.
Tubeless valves and lockrings, plus spare spokes, nipples and washers, are included in the box, but all can be purchased separately from Hunt if you ever need replacements.
Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset performance
On the bike and out on the road, the 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset feels immediately fast and responsive.
The freehub buzz is, in typical Hunt fashion, fairly loud. However, it does seem to have been toned down a touch compared to older Hunt wheelsets (such as a 2018 set of its Sprint Aero Wide wheels), which is something nervous pedestrians on shared-use paths will appreciate.
The wide, blunted Aerodynamicist rim shape is based on those developed for Hunt’s range of Limitless wheelsets, such as the Hunt 60 Limitless Aero Disc, but in a cheaper and more conservative package.
It also uses more traditional construction methods, as opposed to the radically wide, co-moulded carbon and low-density polymer rims the Limitless wheelsets use (presumably to reduce costs).
Hunt’s own wind-tunnel testing showed the 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset is on par, in terms of aerodynamic performance, with pricier wheelsets such as the DT Swiss Arc 1100 DICUT 48 and Zipp 303 NSW.
Both of these competitor wheelsets have since been updated (with the newer wheelsets naturally claiming to offer improved performance over their predecessors), but it’s nevertheless reassuring to know the Hunt wheels are claimed to be in the right ballpark in terms of aero performance.
Though they’re around 180g heavier than the Giant SLR-1 42 wheelset that came fitted as stock to my Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 Disc (previously a long-term review bike, now just ‘my bike’), the Hunt wheels feel noticeably faster on practically all terrain.
The small amount of extra weight isn’t noticeable or detrimental to performance, even on steep climbs, but you can really tell the difference when pointing the bike downhill.
Like anything aero-optimised, the effects are most noticeable at higher speeds, and any fractions of seconds lost to carrying a few extra grams uphill is usually more than made up for by what you gain going down the other side.
The only obvious downside of the deeper rims is that you inevitably need to pay more attention on windy days, because you’ll feel stronger gusts on the front wheel.
I’m addicted to the speed gains deep-section wheels offer, and happily run a front wheel with an 85mm deep front rim on my time trial bike, so a simple requirement to concentrate a little more when the wind picks up feels like a fair compromise to me.
There’s yet to be a day when I haven’t felt confident in heading out with these wheels.
However, less confident bike handlers, or those who do lots of riding in mountainous regions (where changeable weather conditions and extended periods of high-speed descending are more common), might be better served by the version of this wheelset with 44mm-deep rims, which costs £799.
Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset warranty and aftercare
As well as a 60-day return policy (which allows you to ride the wheels before deciding whether to keep, return or exchange them), all of Hunt’s wheels are backed by a three-year warranty against manufacturing faults.
Wheels in Hunt’s Aerodynamicist Carbon range, such as these, also come with a free lifetime crash replacement policy (called H_Care) for the original owner, however.
Hunt says this cover “extends to any Hunt-branded/made parts of your wheels, and we’ll even cover the reasonable cost of the labour to repair your wheels at a local bike shop or professional bike mechanic, or perform the work free of charge at either our US or UK offices. The only cost you’re eligible for is the shipping to either of our offices.”
Large brands such as Zipp, Roval and Bontrager also offer similar free crash replacement policies (though Roval’s and Bontrager’s policies only offer two years worth of coverage), but it’s less common on wheels at this price point.
Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset bottom line
Hunt has a well-earned reputation for producing top-performing wheelsets at competitive prices, and the 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset only reinforces that.
Though prices for carbon road bike wheelsets have generally come down in recent years, it’s still rare to see a wheelset at this price point that’s backed by WorldTour-proven engineering and performance (Hunt sponsored Team Qhubeka NextHash during the 2021 season), wind-tunnel testing and a generous crash replacement scheme.
If you’re looking for a good-value, aerodynamic wheelset for fast road riding, then the Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset is an option that’s hard to fault.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €1069.00GBP £869.00USD $1179.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 1,580g – Including tubeless rim tape and lockrings, Array, g|
|Year||br_year, 5, 9, Year, 2022|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Hunt bike wheels|
|Brake type||br_brakeTypeSimple, 11, 0, Brake type, Disc|
|Freehub||br_freehub, 11, 0, Freehub, Shimano HG, 8 to 12-speed|
|Hubs||br_hubs, 11, 0, Hubs, Hunt Sprint|
|Rim depth||br_rimDepth, 11, 0, Rim depth, 54mm|
|Rim internal width||br_rimInternalWidth, 11, 0, Rim internal width, 20mm|
|Rim material||br_rimMaterial, 11, 0, Rim material, Carbon|
|Spoke count||br_spokeCountFront, 11, 0, Spoke count, 20 front, 24 rear|
|Spokes||br_spokes, 11, 0, Spokes, Pillar butted aero|
|Tubeless compatibility||br_tubelessCompatibility, 11, 0, Tubeless compatibility, Tubeless ready|
|Tyre type||br_tyreType, 11, 0, Tyre type, Clincher and tubeless|
|Wheel size||br_wheelSize, 11, 0, Wheel size, 29in/700c|