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Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset review

Hunt’s new 36 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset looks ideal for cost-conscious riders looking for a performance upgrade for a rim braked bike. We've been spending the last few months checking out how they perform.

Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Light, well priced, sweet handling rim brake wheels with a really responsive but not punishing ride feel. They’re not actually that ‘wide’ though and braking can be very snatchy.

For

  • Light weight
  • Excellent price
  • Smooth ride feel
  • Reinforced freehub
  • Brass nipples

Against

  • Savagely snatchy braking
  • Mid width not 'Wide'

Hunt has built up an excellent reputation for cost-effective performance and the 36 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset is the latest addition to its extensive rolling stock portfolio. They’re a real acceleration and responsiveness pep to ‘old skool’ rim brake and QR bikes but brutal braking response takes some getting used to. 

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Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero review

Cro-Mo steel quick release skewers are fitted through anodised aluminium hubs (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero review

Weighing just 1434 grams, the wheels create an obvious increase in responsiveness (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero review

The brake track is coated with a Griptec Basalt Ceramic treating (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero review

On the rear wheel, spokes are laced radially on the non-drive side and two-cross for the drive side (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Hunt 36 Carbon Wide Aero review

The front wheel is laced radially (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Construction

The rims are primarily Toray T700/T800 carbon with 3k cross-ply reinforcing around the rim bed and 20 front, 24 rear spoke holes. While the 27mm external width is relatively broad for a rim brake wheel, the inner bed is only 19mm which is well under what the latest disc wheels from Zipp and others are offering. The hooked beads mean 28mm tyres sit nice and fat though and that’s probably as wide as will fit under most rim brake callipers. All wheels are tubeless taped and you can order them (like we did) with tubeless valves. Hunt will even bundle them with tubeless tyres from Schwalbe, Hutchinson or Maxxis. 

With no disc brake stress to contend with, spoking is fully radial on the front and radial on the offside with two-cross on the drive side at the rear. Spokes themselves are triple-butted Sandvik steel Pillar aero with 14 gauge alloy nipples.

Hubs are polished black anodised with laser-etched graphics and a three-pawl, triple-tooth freehub for 7.5 degrees of engagement. The alloy body is reinforced with steel bars to stop cassette gouging too. The bearings are replaceable cartridge sets with low friction seals for maximum speed. The quick-release spindles are Cro-Mo steel with polymer cam seats and stainless springs. There’s no bolt through option but we can’t remember ever having heard of rim brake bike with bolt through axles. 

Performance

Complete wheel weight with tubeless valves is an impressively light 1,434g so it’s no surprise that these wheels create an instant acceleration and responsiveness boost to the host bike, and there's a 109kg upper rider weight limit, which is in line with much of the competition. More powerful riders will notice a slight softness through the spokes at full power but you’ll also notice less buzz and chatter over rough surfaces. The wider rim bed plumps up tyres noticeably too and running tubeless adds smoothness as well. That means they’re a great choice for bikes that are currently on the sharp side of comfortable or just riders who want maximum limousine feels. The broadly rounded, 36mm deep rims are totally vice free in terms of handling at any speed/angle of attack and again, mildly fattened tubeless tyres give a usefully more confident feel and footprint.

Unfortunately, the only glitch is a big one. The combination of the Griptec Basalt Ceramic brake track on the rims and the HUNT Brakco Griptec pads supplied with the wheels gives shockingly savage braking at first, which makes modulation very difficult and slides very likely. While they’ve calmed down slightly over a few 100km of riding they’re still locking up with little provocation, even on dry days.

Verdict

Obviously powerful braking will be seen as a positive by some more aggressive riders who can rely on decent weather and consistent tyre grip. The snatchy initial braking can be very unsettling though and still needs treating with caution after several months of riding. It’s the only potential black mark on an otherwise excellently responsive and ride-quality-improving wheelset for rim brake bikes. They’re an outstanding price for the performance you get too.    

Tech specs

  • Weight: 1434g (with tubeless valves)
  • Price: £748.99 (with tubeless valves)