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There was a time when alloy seemed like the future of cycling. But then carbon came along and spoiled the show. Alloy was cast aside as a performance material, relegated instead to entry-level bikes. Luckily some brands have invested in alloy, resulting in a bit of a renaissance of the material. We now have several popular, well-regarded frames that out-ride carbon frames at the same price point, or even those costing a little more. But alloy has still been mostly left behind when it comes to wheels. Yes, many entry level and stock-wheel rims are made of the material, but little has been made in the way of serious efforts to make an aerodynamic alloy rim that’s worth upgrading to. Until now.
Hunt is a smaller player in the cycling wheel business, but has been making a name for itself with fast, wind-tunnel tested carbon wheels. With the 34 Aero Wide Disc, Hunt brings aerodynamics to alloy rims in a seriously well-rounded package.
These hoops boast some impressive stats. Even with 34mm-deep rims that measure out 26mm externally/20mm internally, they tip the scales at just 1,550 grams. The low weight comes courtesy of 6069-T6 alloy, which has a high tensile strength allowing less material to be used. But the best part is the price. At just $609, this wheelset leaves plenty in your budget to splurge on other parts.
The 34 Aero Wide Disc is definitely not your average “price point” wheelset. It has some serious aero credit to its name. Hunt took what it learned developing aero carbon rims and applied that knowledge to alloy to develop a rounded “Aerodynamicist” rim profile that tapers from 24mm wide to 26mm wide to guide airflow. In Hunt’s wind tunnel testing, the 34 Aero bests wheels like the DT Swiss ER 1600 Spline 32, the Mavic Cosmic Elite UST Disc and the Zipp 30 Course (all tested with 25mm tires). When set up with 28mm tires, the 34 Aero even beats the Zipp 202 NSW.
These wheels use a traditional hooked rim and come tubeless-ready. And the hubs feature a 7.5-degree engagement angle for quick acceleration as well as steel spline insert re-enforcements for durability. Sealed cartridge bearings provide low rolling resistance.
Hunt has managed to make a set of wheels that are not just good for their price, but good, period. The aerodynamic performance of these wheels is readily noticeable on descents, where they provide that familiar feeling we know from deep section carbon rims of acceleration and effortlessly riding away from anyone in your group using shallow rims. They’re adequately light enough to make a significant difference in the feel of an entry-level bike. And they’re comparable enough in weight to other performance wheelsets to feel at home even on higher end bikes. Plus, they simply look beautiful, especially with a tan sidewall tire. We thought there might be a tradeoff in performance with the hubs, but they too are solid performers, engaging quickly to help you spin up to speed.
One of our few complaints would be that they don’t have the same level of stiffness as a high end carbon race wheelset. But then we are talking about wheels costing three, four, five or more times as much as this $600 wheelset. It’s hard to be upset at value like that.
For the rider looking to upgrade a stock set of wheels, a racer on a budget or anyone looking to upgrade the look of their bike, the Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheels are a no brainer.
More info: us.huntbikewheels.com