Carbon Road Bike Wheels

Carbon Road Bike Wheels

The inexpensive stock wheels on my gravel bike were proof positive that heavy wheels aren't automatically tough wheels, with a rather shonky build meaning that they went out of true disappointingly quickly. Fitting the Hunt 30Carbon wheels slashed more than half a kilo of weight from the bike, making an immediate and noticeable improvement to the bike's acceleration, with the bike feeling more lively on the road. The tapering 30mm rim shape has – one assumes – a very slight aero advantage over a standard box-section, but it's likely to be less noticeable.

Carbon Road Wheels Worth It

Hunt wheels have made quite the splash since they were launched only two years ago. Offering a range of keenly priced, well-built wheels, Hunt has sold them by the bucketload and made it onto many riders' upgrade shortlist. Starting with wheels built with aluminium rims, in the second half of last year Hunt made the move into carbon wheels with a series of new models.

The 30Carbon Gravel wheels use a new disc brake-only rim design, developed over the last year with Hunt's rim partner, and currently exclusive to Hunt. They're built from unidirectional T24/30 carbon and are 30mm deep and 26.6mm wide, and notably lighter than most wide aluminium rims at a claimed 370g (compared to 460g for the shallower, narrower Stans ZTR Grail disc rim, for example). Using carbon helps, obviously, but Hunt has also saved weight thanks to the absence of a brake track and bead hooks. Check our Facebook Live video for details on some of the factors behind the choice of carbon and resin grades used.

Hunt Wheels is a big advocate for tubeless, and the 30Carbon Gravel wheels are supplied taped and with valves included. Unlike the majority of road tubeless rims, there are no pronounced bead hooks, the small ridges intended to keep the tyre beads locked in position. Getting the tyre over the bead hooks is normally the fiddly part of inflating a tubeless tyre, and sure enough, fitting tyres to these wheels was – by a country mile – the easiest tubeless inflation I've ever experienced. Using just a track pump, they were sealed within three pump strokes, and needed only a few more strokes to get them fully seated.

Carbon Road Bike Wheels Worth It

Thanks to disc brakes the line between road bikes and cross bikes has been well and truly blurred. Many of us now rightly see bikes as our keys to freedom; the freedom to roam and find undiscovered routes and just have a blast. We want to go fast on road, but often the routes we want to ride also lead off-road.The 30Carbon Gravel Disc wheelset couples our 30Carbon rim with our proven 4 Season Disc hub and a higher 28 spoke count for up to 115kg riders, creating a light-weight strong gravel, CX, bike-packing and heavy-duty road wheelset at well below 1500g! The extra-wide rim is ideal for gravel and cross tyres so you can explore, go bike-packing, rip any trails you fancy and thrash that CX course.

Carbon Road Bike Wheel Decals

As the name suggests, the 30Carbon Gravel Disc wheels are aimed at the fast-growing new gravel/all-road/adventure bike category. Gravel bikes are aimed at riders who want to go quickly on the road, with the freedom to take a turn off the tarmac and explore further into the wild than you could on a traditional road bike. They're typically built tougher than a road bike, and consequently heavier. If you're looking for an upgrade to your gravel bike, wheels may be on your list, and with a weight of less than 1,500g, these are likely to be quite a bit lighter than most stock wheels.

Carbon Road Bike Wheels Gumtree

At over 26mm externally, and 21.3mm internally, these are wide rims, as befits their intended use, and Hunt says they're suitable for use with tyres from 25mm to 50mm, making them an option for a really broad range of riding. Fit some racy 25mm tyres, and you're really giving nothing away against many high-end road setups in terms of weight.

Hunt has taken a grown up approach to styling with its whole range of wheels, with plain black rims and a small, classy logo. It must be said that this makes these wheels quite hard to differentiate visually from others in the range, and a number of people asked me if it was the (rather cheaper) 4Season wheelset. This actually suited me quite well, as I sometimes need to lock my bike up and leave it, and a bling wheelset makes me uncomfortable doing this.

Carbon Road Bike Wheels Zipp

If it were my money, the question I'd be asking myself is: how do these justify the extra cost? So that's the question I put to Tom from Hunt, and his lengthy answer can be summarised thus: the rims are wider, bringing a raft of benefits in terms of tyre shape, increased air volume and hence comfort; they are deeper and yet comfortably lighter than the 4season wheelset; there are upgrades to spokes and bearings, and they're built tougher, with four extra spokes per wheel. Hunt is also bringing out an aluminium 4Season Gravel Disc wheelset with rims that are a bit narrower and shallower, but with the higher spoke count, also priced at £369.

Carbon Road Bike Wheel Comparison

Rims Unidirectional T24/30 with 3K weave re-enforced spoke holes. Disc specific. Tubeless-ready for lower weight & rolling resistance, featuring H-lock bead-seat for easy and secure tubeless installation. 30mm deep, Super-wide 27mm aero U-profile.

The 4-pawl freehub runs sweetly, and reasonably quietly. It's pretty straightforward to open up the hubs when needed (although no attention was required during testing) and getting hold of spares shouldn't be a problem, either direct from Hunt or from a local shop thanks to standard sizes being used for bearings, spokes and nipples. Hunt's business model was initially one of direct sales, but it tells us that it's more than happy to deal via local bike shops (for wheels and spares) for customers who prefer to buy like that.

The 27mm rim width opens out your tyre profile providing exceptional grip and low rolling-resistance as well as providing great support for larger CX and gravel tyres especially at low pressures for killer off-road grip. Our H-lock tubeless steps grab the tyre beads when you're leaning hard into corners. The bladed spokes reduce weight, add strength and respond instantly to your accelerations. The latest breed of tubeless tyres give-up nothing in weight to their clincher counterparts, as well as removing the tube for weight saving and reducing rolling resistance, so tubeless-ready was essential."

Hubs HUNT 4Season Disc J-bend spoke hubs with extra bearing shielding.QR w/adaptable axles; front and rear thru 9, 10, 12, 15. Large double-sealed main bearings, 7075-T6 axle and freehub. Steel spline insert. SRAM XD Driver available.Centre-lock disc mount, 6 bolt disc adaptors included.

Carbon Road Bike Wheels Review

That's impressive, as is the fact that Hunt hasn't cut corners to hit that low weight. A healthy 28 spokes per wheel laced 2-cross front and rear makes for a really strong, stiff build. Hunt gives a rider weight limit of 115kg for these wheels, and they've shrugged off everything I've thrown at them, including bridleways, towpath commuting, and touring with panniers on some pretty appalling roads. Even a nine-hour car journey with the bike lashed to a roof-rack across Cuba didn't result in so much as a bent spoke.