With a pair of 29er Boost wheels weighing in at just 1800g (810g front, 990g rear) they’re impressively light for the money. To be precise they’re lighter than every carbon mountain bike wheel we’ve tested of a similar width up to four times the price, and the same weight as DT Swiss’s benchmark EX1501 wheels for two and a half times the cash.
Ride, handling and performance
Double-pawl rapid-engage freehubs connect in just 2.4 degrees for essentially immediate engagement and the rear wheel gets 32-Pillar triple-butted spokes for tight power transfer. That means they light up on the trail significantly faster than any other 30mm internal wheel even close on price and they’re an instant shot in the arm for reactivity compared to most stock wheels. The front wheel gets 28 of the same triple-butted spokes to save weight and give a slightly more compliant, traction-boosting feel. Add a shock-shrugging feel from the shallow 6069 T6 rim and the Hunts are right up there among the best wheels of any price and material in terms of impact damping/traction feedback feel.
H-Lock tubeless tyre fit is simple and secure without being a fight to get off on the trail if you need to tube up. The bearings have proved totally trouble-free over a year of abuse and you get spare spokes and a spoke key included.
While our test sample has shrugged off everything we’ve thrown at them we know from other riders that the relatively thin sidewalls aren’t invulnerable to denting if you properly clatter them on rocky terrain. You’ve got to remember that these are sold as a trail rim though and spending another £10 and sucking up 200g extra weight on the 33mm internal Enduro Wide wheels is going to give you more impact insurance. Either way, unlike carbon, sidewall dents can often be carefully bent back into useable shape with pliers. If you totally write them off Hunt offers 40 per cent off replacement. Alternatively, if you’re a skinny tyre skimmer not a slammer, there are 24 and 25mm wide Race and XC options at a respective 1520g and 1650g.
Selling direct doesn’t just give Hunt a head start on price compared to shop-stocked brands either, its delivery detailing is excellent, too. They come taped for tubeless with valves in the box as standard but you can also have them pre-fitted with a range of Schwalbe or Maxxis rubber. You can even opt for Huck Norris tyre inserts for extra protection if you want. You can choose between standard splined or SRAM XD driver, with Shimano Micro Spline available early 2020. 148mm ‘Boost’, 142mm ‘standard’ (incl QR) or 157mm ‘Super Boost’ and SRAM Torque Cap options are available and you can even order a 29-inch front and a 27.5-inch rear if you’re building a mullet bike. The only downside is that demand means they’re often out of stock so you might have to wait a while for your wheel fix.
- Price: £349
- Weight: 1800g (810g front, 990g rear) 29er with valves fitted
- Freehub: 2.4-degree engagement
- Width: 30mm internal, 34mm external