Is Hunt's new Proven Carbon Race XC the ultimate lightweight race-tuned MTB wheelset?

Details on the new Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC
The new Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC weighs in at 1254g (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Hunt has introduced their new Proven Carbon Race XC Wheelset that takes inspiration from their race-winning road wheels and is designed for modern XC World Cup racing. The Proven Carbon Race XC wheelset is Hunt's flagship, performance-oriented XC MTB race wheel, and comes on the back of Hunt recently launching an updated version of their XC Wide Alloy wheels and the new Hunt E-Mountain, which is their e-MTB specific wheelset.

I met up with Andi Sykes, MTB Brand and Marketing Manager from Hunt at the Eurobike show and he gave me a hands-on look over their three new wheelsets. Saving the super lightweight Proven Carbon Race XC Wheelset for last, he talked me over the key performance benefits of their feathery new wheels, that weigh in at just 1,254g.

Andi told me that with the Proven Carbon Race XC, the Hunt engineers have taken the Proven platform to the limit and created an incredibly lightweight wheelset developed using computer modeling, laboratory testing and extensive rider input from some of the best XC MTB riders. The Proven Carbon has 30mm internal rims with front and rear-specific layups, paired with UD carbon spokes that are high-strength, low-weight, and an all-new, 2-degree engagement hub system that will achieve nearly instant feeling pick up. 

Rider racing on the new Proven Carbon Race XC

The Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC have been developed with XC rider input (Image credit: Hunt)

Super spokes

Spokes may not be the most exciting feature on any new wheelset but Andi was keen to highlight the extremely low weight of the Proven Carbon Race XCs was achieved by the use of high-strength, low-weight, carbon spokes. The TaperLock UD spokes are 30 percent stronger than a comparable steel racing spoke, and weigh just 2.7g per spoke. This has also allowed Hunt to reduce the spoke count and lightened the system. 

The TaperLock construction method has enabled Hunt's engineers to develop a carbon spoke that is as rider-friendly as steel spoke wheelsets. The rim end of the spoke is fitted with a threaded steel mandrel easily accessed through the spoke holes from within the rim bed, and allows the wheel to be trued using a spoke key.

The rider benefits from the low weight, improved vibration and responsiveness qualities of the carbon spokes, without the drawbacks of unserviceable carbon spoke wheels that use resin or adhesive.

Carbon spoke details on the new Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC

The high-strength carbon spokes weigh just 2.7g each (Image credit: Hunt)

Front and rear purpose built rims 

Hunt has also aimed to minimize the rotational weight and retain impact resistance and agility. The Proven Carbon is hand-built with a redesigned shallow 22mm depth and a modern 30mm internal rim width that most elite racers demand.

As mentioned, the spoke count has also been decreased to just 20 for the front wheel and 24 on the rear. Andi also told me that the front and rear wheels have specific carbon rim layups, with a 21g differential between them, aimed to deliver quality ride performance. The front rim layup is tuned for compliance and traction in corners, while the rear rim is tuned for responsiveness, acceleration, and durability.

Rim details on the new Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC

The Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC rims are front and rear specific (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Instant engagement freehub

Weight shaving wasn't the only consideration when building the Proven Carbon Race XC Wheelset. A high engagement freehub and fast bearings were also required to deliver responsiveness and acceleration attributes to the wheelset. Andi adds that the Hunt engineers completely redesigned the freehub system and have achieved a nearly instant engagement with the all-new S-RapidEngage freehub. It features six pawls with two teeth per pawl, which he says transfers power in an alternating pattern to the new 90-tooth ratchet ring that provides a 2-degree engagement.

The new hubs also have precision EZO bearings, with dual full-contact seals to protect against dirt, mud and water while retaining a low drag action. 

Rear hub details on the new Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC

The S-RapidEngage freehub gives a nearly instant engagement  (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Availability, pricing and specification

The new Proven Carbon Race XC Wheelset is backed by the Hunt-H Care lifetime crash replacement warranty, offered to the original purchaser only and covers against accidents and mishaps. The wheels are shipped pre-taped and with valves for easy out-of-the-box tubeless set-up.

The Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC is available to pre-order now, priced at $1,699 / £1,349 / €1,749, and you can currently save 15 percent on all wheels. Check out the specification details on the Proven Carbon Race XC below and find all the information on these and all the Hunt range at Huntbikewheels.com.

Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC specification

Details on the new Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC

Side view of the Hunt Proven Carbon Race XC wheel (Image credit: Hunt)
  • Rims: 30mm internal width, 22mm depth Front/Rear-specific carbon layups
  • Axles: 15mm 7075 alloy
  • Spokes: Taperlock Carbon UD spokes 20f/24r
  • Nipples: Alloy
  • Front Hub: CNC machined alloy
  • Rear Hub: S-RapidEngage, 6X double-tooth pawls, 90t, 2-degree engagement
  • Bearings: CNC machined alloy EZO dual seal bearings
  • Size: 29-inch 
  • Color: Matt Black
  • Extras: Tubeless-ready with pre-taped with valves
  • Weight: 1254g
  • Price: $1,699 / £1,349 / €1,749
Paul Brett
Staff writer

Based in Edinburgh, Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.


Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm