Hunt’s original Trail Wides turned the best mountain bike wheels market upside down by shaming options many times their price in performance, features, options, and customer care. As our test reported, they did dent easily and that’s exactly what’s seemingly been sorted out in the second iteration pictured here.
We've been thoroughly testing the Hunt Trail Wide V2 wheels, in a variety of settings to unearth any glaring flaws. Scroll down to read what we think.
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Wheel construction and build
While they certainly weren’t disastrously soft, Hunt has spent the past three years trying different ways to toughen up the impact strength of its Trail and Enduro rims. While the Enduro rims now use a different rim extrusion front and rear, the Trail Wide's share the same hoop on both ends. While the 6069 T6 alloy and 30mm internal width hasn’t been changed, the rim shape has undergone a tweak. There’s more metal in the most vulnerable areas, but the new shape also disperses the impact force through the rim, so it rolls with the punches rather than taking it all on the chin. It’s still a non-asymmetric rim with pre-fitted tubeless tape and valves, including neat barrel caps with a core remover cut out.
Brass nipples to resist wear are another nice longevity-boosting touch, and the wheels are threaded together with Pilar triple-butted (different thicknesses at either end and center) bladed spokes. They’re J bend in execution rather than a straight-pull design for easier spares sourcing (Hunt gives you some spares in the box), although that does make them slightly harder to replace (you’ll have to remove the cassette if you damage an outside drive side spoke).
Freehubs are H_Ceramik coated to resist spline damage, and all current mountain bike freehub standards are supported. The hubs spin on oversized 7075 T6 alloy axles for extra strength with double-sealed bearings to keep the weather out. They can be ordered with old-school QR, 100x142 bolt through, 110 x 148mm Boost or even 157mm rear SuperBoost hub widths/end caps as well as oversized Torque Caps upfront for a stiffer connection to RockShox forks. You can also order a Mullet 29/27.5in setup which is becoming increasingly popular. You get a spoke key, spare spokes and stickers included, and you can even get pre-fitted tubeless tires if you want to save yourself a sticky mess. The only variables not offered are 26in or Centerlock disc versions, but you can order adaptor rings.
Performance and riding experience
More metal in the rims (we weighed the V1s at 1,800g) means the V2s are slightly slower off the mark than the older wheels, and there’s a slightly more lag in terms of pick-up, but, compared to their obvious competition, the DT Swiss XM1900 (and even the XM1700), they’re significantly lighter with a faster 5-degree pick-up.
Despite getting a tougher rim, there’s no noticeable increase in rim harshness either. In fact, if anything, the changes Hunt has made to dissipate the impacts in terms of ride feel so the V2s feel smoother and more connected when things get really rocky and rough. That means they’re not quite as bright and accurate (they feel like you’re running the tires maybe 2-3 psi lower) as the older wheels, but the connection and control are even better when ridden back-to-back with the same tires/pressures. They’re still super-easy to establish a seal on the rim when fitting tires, although you will have to overpressure on some brands to get them to pop fully into place over the ‘H-Lock’ rim step. That does make them super-secure and burp resistant even at teen pressures with relatively lightweight tires. Because the hubs are axle-width specific, you get all the increased triangulation, lateral stiffness benefits of setups such as SuperBoost rather than the same width spoke flanges as Boost but longer, flexier end caps which defeats the whole point of a broader rear stance.
Most importantly given all the work Hunt has put in, the new rims do seem to be a lot more dent resistant. We’ve certainly given them a serious battering over black runs with an unhealthy appetite for destroying wheels of any material or reputation, and there’s no trace of a wobble, kinked lip or even stress marks. The rim design and increased shock dissipation seem to boost tire sidewall survival rates too, as even when we were running deliberately light carcasses early in testing they didn’t get destroyed immediately. If you do manage to crash damage them without obviously exceeding their riding remit, Hunt offers a 35 percent off replacement price deal.
The Hunt Trail Wide V2s are slightly heavier and fractionally slower in freehub engagement but they're hardier than their predecessor. What’s definitely tangible though is a smoother, slightly more connected ride feel and the ability to plow through pointy geology in a more reckless way without coming out the far side dented or wobbly. Add all the different options when you order, plus solid, burp-resistant wider tire support, included spares and premium touches such as the hard-anodized freehub and core removal caps at an economy price, and the Trail Wide V2 is definitely back in the affordable upgrade wheelset hot seat. They shame a lot of wheels 3-4 times their price in the process.
Obviously, we’ll continue to keep battering them and we’ll update the review if anything changes but, for now, the already great-value Trail Wides are an even better wheel for all-round riding with boosted strength increasing their absolute bargain appeal even more.
Tech Specs: Hunt Trail Wide V2 wheels
- Price: $529 / £369
- Weight: 860g front, 1,020g rear = 1,880g (29er Boost with valves and tapes fitted)
- Sizes: 27.5in, 29er and Mullet. QR, 142, Boost and SuperBoost
- Freehubs: XD, HG, Shimano MicroSpline
- Rotors: Six bolt only (Centrelock adaptors available)