Is the latest version of the Hunt XC Wide the ultimate bombproof alloy XC wheel?

The new Hunt XC Wide Wheelset
(Image credit: Paul Brett)

Hunt has introduced the all-new and redesigned Hunt XC Wide Wheelset with Front and Rear-Specific, FEA-engineered Alloy Rims. The new XC Wide wheels are the latest version of the popular and highly rated Hunt Race XC Wide wheelset that delivered one of the best XC mountain bike wheelsets with a carbon weight at an affordable alloy cost.

Last week at Eurobike I met up with Andi Sykes, MTB Brand and Marketing Manager at Hunt who gave me a hands-on first look at the new Hunt XC Wide Wheelset and he talked me over the key performance benefits of the new wheels.

Close up on the Hunt XC Wide Wheels

The new XC Wide comes with front and rear specific widths (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Andi told me that this was the third version of the Hunt XC Wide wheels and even though the name remains the same, these new versions have been created from scratch.

"These wheels have been developed using cutting-edge FEA modeling techniques and extensive input from some of the best cross-country mountain bike riders. FEA (Finite Element Analysis) capabilities have allowed our designers to refine the rim profile, considering the variables like rim wall and bead thickness, profile radius, and spoke bed reinforcement. The result is a lightweight rim with less material in key areas which achieves the desired weight, ride quality, and durability."

"The team has created front and rear-specific rim profiles that should deliver the ideal performance for each wheel’s specific role. The XC Wide wheelset comes with a 28mm front rim internal width and 26mm rear rim internal width, which optimizes performance for the best XC mountain bike tires. The front rim is designed to offer compliance and a wide tire profile for grip under hard cornering, and the rear rim will handle more of the rider’s weight and be able to take the increased punishment of rock strikes and impacts."

Hub details on the new Hunt XC Wide Wheelset

Hunt's H-Ceramik coating increases hardness and resists cassette gouging on the hub (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Andi also tells me that the Hunt has upgraded the aluminum used on the wheels to 6069-T6 which has a 69 percent greater UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) compared to the 6061-T6 alloy used in many other rims on the market. They also have a 25 percent increase in fatigue and impact strength over the 6066-T6 alloy used in the previous model and deliver what they say is a class-leading impact resistance that has been thoroughly tested in the Hunt UK lab to back up the class-leading claims.

"Our new rims feature a hardened, matte black finish that enhances strength for prolonged life and all-season reliability. The graphics won’t peel, crack, or fade over time either as they are laser-etched.

Hunt says the heart of the XC Wide wheelset is the RapidEngage freehub, which has a 6-pawl, 3X2 alternating system engaging with a 36-tooth drive ring, providing a rapid 5-degree engagement angle. Hunt's own durable H-Ceramik coating is claimed to increase hardness and resists cassette gouging. They also have both boost and standard hub spacing options.

The wheels are hand laced with high-quality J-bend spokes. Both front and rear wheels use 28 Pillar Spokes made from Sandvik T302 stainless steel and are triple-butted which should provide a long lifespan. Anodized alloy nipples help to reduce the overall weight and stress-free maintenance when needed.

The result of the all-new and redesigned wheel, Hunt says is a modern XC wheelset that is lightweight and comes in at a claimed 1,693 grams. Hunt also adds they will provide all the strength and durability necessary for XC racing, big mountain adventures, or long-distance epics.

Spoke details on Hunt XC Wide Wheelset

The wheels are hand laced with Sandvik T302 stainless steel spokes (Image credit: Hunt)

Availability, pricing and specification

As with all Hunt wheels, the new XC Wide is backed by a 3-year warranty, 60-day ride and return policy. The wheels are shipped pre-taped and with valves for easy out-of-the-box tubeless set-up.

The Hunt Race XC Wide wheelset is available from Hunt now priced at $479 / £379 / €499, and you can currently save 15% on all wheels. Check out the specification details on the new XC Wide wheels below and find all the information on these and all the Hunt range at Huntbikewheels.com.

Hunt Race XC Wide (V3) spec

Side on view of the Hunt XC Wide Wheelset

(Image credit: Hunt )
  • Rims: 28mm internal width front, 26mm internal width rear. 6069 T6 alloy, Tubeless-ready includes rim tape and valves. Matt black
  • Axles: Boost: 148x12mm (Rear) with 110x15mm (Front). 141x9mm (Rear) QR with 110x9mm (Front) QR adapters and Rock Shox Torque Caps available.
  • Spokes: J-bend, 28 spoke F/R, Sandvik T302, Triple butted, Black stainless treatment
  • Nipples: Anodised alloy, Square body, hex head, 14mm thread
  • Front Hub: CNC machined 6066-T6 alloy hub body, 7075-T6 series alloy axles
  • Rear Hub: CNC machined 6066-T6 alloy hub body. 148x12mm or 142x12mm spacing. H-Ceramik freehub coating, 6 pawl, 3x2, 36 tooth RapidEngage freehub, 5-degree engagement
  • Bearings: Sealed replaceable cartridge bearings 
  • Tire Width: Between 1.6-inch and 2.6-inch, optimized for tires between 2.2-inch and 2.4-inch
  • Size: 29-inch 
  • Weight: 1693g
  • Price: $479 / £379 / €499
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