Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure wheelset review – racey aero gravel wheel with a burlier build

Hunt’s 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure wheelset combines aero properties with a durable build to tackle to hardest and fastest ultra-endurance adventures and races

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure review
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure wheel's deep and wide profile gives them a capable yet aero-slippery profile for fast adventure and ultra endurance riding.

Pros

  • +

    Efficiently gets up to speed and holds pace well

  • +

    Comfortable on rougher gravel

  • +

    Wide internal rim width is compatible with wide tires

  • +

    Hooked rims and J-bend spokes simplify mid-ride repairs

  • +

    Easy setup and all freehub options

Cons

  • -

    42mm depth adds weight

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Hunt’s 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure wheelset has been developed with the help of their Hunt Beyond supported athletes including Sofiane Sehili to take on the most demanding ultra-endurance races. To be successful in races measured in days not hours, the wheels must not only be fast but durable. For the 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure wheelset Hunt has taken their top-of-the-range aero 42 Limitless Gravel Aero race rim and bolsters the reliability by building them up with different spokes and hubs. 

Combining potential aero benefits with added durability and keen pricing could make the Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel wheelset one of the best gravel wheelsets for traveling long and fast, I have been putting in the miles to find out if they have what it takes to go the distance.  

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure rim side detail

Hunt has put the 42mm Limitless rim through wind tunnel testing (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and specifications

If aerodynamics matter over a 200km gravel race, then the advantages can really start stacking up over a 2,000km ultra-endurance race The 42mm rims used for these wheels are the same shape as Hunt’s 42 Limitless race wheels and have a stout profile with a 36mm outer diameter. Hunt says that the shape has been developed using wind tunnel testing and although wind tunnel comparison results should always be taken with a big pinch of salt, the claimed 16.8 Watt savings at 32kph over a set of “non-aero gravel wheels” is potentially an impressive saving – if you're upgrading from a bog standard set of wheels. It's not just the outer rim shape that has been influenced by this testing either, the wide 24.5mm inner width also contributes to the wheel's slipperyness and Hunt recommends fitting 38mm to 42mm tires for the aerodynamically fastest setup. Although 40mm is the optimal tire size, Hunt says it's safe to run tire widths between 29mm and 64mm. The rims are hooked, rather than hookless, so if you’re in the middle of nowhere and in desperate need of a new tire you don’t need to source a tubeless-specific tire.  

To increase durability, Hunt has increased the rear spoke count to 28h while the front still uses 24h and is built with Pillar Wing Aerofoil spokes. The spokes are J-bend rather than straight pull too, so if you do need to source some replacements on the go, it should be easier to find one that will fit.

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure rear hub detail

The new rear hub features a tougher H_Ratchet 40t ratchet ring and spoke count has been upped to 28 (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

The hubs are also beefed up too. They use a H_Ratchet 40t ratchet ring (rather than the leaf-sprung pawls for the 42 Limitless or RapidEngage freehub on other hunt wheels), giving nine degrees of engagement and use an H_Ceramik freehub body to resist the cassette biting into the freehub body. Hunt spec Revo bearings, but there is no ceramic option for those looking for the smoothest spinning experience. The hubs are available with all freehub standards but are only available with centerlock rotor fitment.

As with all of Hunt’s wheels, they come set up with tape from the box and include valves and centerlock lockrings so all you need to do is add some gravel tires, sealant, cassette, and rotors. Hunt also includes a couple of spare spokes should you need them in the future. The preinstalled tape on my review wheels had come a little unstuck but it was just a case of resticking and isn’t something I have seen on previous sets of Hunt wheels I have tested. Fitting tires was a breeze, with the tires popping into place and forming a really solid airtight seal.

Should anything go wrong, the Limitless wheels are covered by Hunt’s free H_Care lifetime crash replacement for the first owners, so if you damage them when riding Hunt has you covered. 

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure rear hub detail

25mm inner rim fives the wheels wide tire compatibility, although they are optimised for 40mm (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

Given Bike Perfect has yet to invest in a wind tunnel, I can only offer anecdotal experience regarding the aerodynamic performance during testing. I never felt like the Crankbrothers Synthesis Gravel wheels I was previously testing felt all that slow, however, going from those shallow rims to these considerably deeper 42 Limitless rims I was surprised at how much of a noticeable difference there was. When traveling 28kph and above there is a comparative easing in effort to sustain speed and sections of freewheeling felt prolonged. Whether that equates to the claimed 16.8 Watt saving is impossible to say, however, they are definitely doing something.  

The focus for these wheels is aerodynamics and over an ultra-endurance event, saving watts is going to be far more beneficial than trimming a few grams. That said the Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure just exceeds the 1,600g threshold after which I deem performance gravel wheels to be on the heavier end of the spectrum. If you aren’t tackling huge climbs, you aren’t going to notice the extra weight though, especially on a loaded bike, and it's something you could potentially make up on faster sections. 

Although a tough slower, in practice, the nine-degree freehub isn't that much of an issue either. It's fast enough should you need to inject some extra speed but considering most riding during an ultra-endurance race will be long steady efforts the slightly slower engagement is not noticeable. The fact Hunt has specced a ratchet ring should also boost freehub durability, something which is far more important when you're riding across a desert or through countries like Kyrgyzstan.

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure inner rim detail

Hooked rim design means the wheels are compatible with more tires (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

They may have the aero advantage but the deep rims aren’t going to be as compliant as shallower rims. The 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure still does a great job of filtering out vibrations and the wide 25mm gives tires a nice profile and ensures predictable handling

If you aren’t used to deeper gravel wheels, it is worth remembering to keep your wits about you as aerodynamics can occasionally work against you in cross-winds. Unless the weather report is using phrases like gale force, the 42 Limitless Gravel Adventures felt very stable giving me the confidence that I wouldn’t get blown off line.

Visually, I think these a great-looking set of wheels, the oversized rim shape looks purposeful and although the matte black finish and minimal logos are understated, the bold white 'criss-cross' line design just reminds everyone that these are Hunt’s flagship wheels without shouting about it.

Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure rim graphics detail

The wheels have an understated but bold black and white design (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

Aero adds up over long distances so if you’re looking to chew up miles and miles of gravel riding the Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure is a really solid option. When on the move they feel fast and efficient when up to speed, particularly if you are coming from a shallow sectioned rim. At 1,664g with nine degrees of engagement, these wheels are never going to be the snappiest but they still get up to speed quickly. Wide inner rim diameter gives the recommended 40mm tire a good shape, boosting traction and comfort levels, especially considering the deeper rim depth. Over the 1,000km of testing, they have been faultless too, although I will continue riding these wheels and report back should there be any developments. 

Most 40mm section wheels like Zipp 303 Firecrest, Reserve 40|44, and Enve SES 3.4 AR are more orientated to one-day racing and potentially less durable due to lower spoke counts, not to mention considerably more expensive. Something like Crankbrothers Synthesis Gravel or Zipp 101 has proved very durable and comfortable, however, you won't be reaping any aero benefits with their shallow rim profiles.

I can’t recall any other brand that offers a durable and aero adventure-specific gravel wheel, resulting in the Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure carving out its own niche. When you consider that the Hunts feel competitive with alternative gravel race wheels, particularly when you begin mixing in rougher terrain, and are considerably cheaper than the alternative aero gravel wheels, these wheels are a no-brainer for fast adventurers. 

For more details head over to Huntbikewheels.com

Tech specs: Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Adventure wheelset

  • Price: $1,649 / £1,299 / €1,649
  • Sizes: 700c
  • Inner rim diameter: 25mm
  • Depth: 42mm
  • Freehub options: XD, HG, MicroSpline 
  • Weight: Front - 771g / Rear - 893g = 1664g 
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg