This past April Hunt Bike Wheels released updates to their Enduro Wide and Trail Wide MTB wheel sets, and we received a set of each to test out. The 29″Boost-hubbed Enduro Wide hoops I have been spinning weigh quite close to their reported 2,105g total set heft. That seems a reasonable mass given their stone slappin’ intentions and low €519 ($550USD) price tag.
This wheel system is clearly designed with a particular philosophy in mind. The front wheel is laced three-cross with 24 triple-butted Pillar spokes, while the rear uses the same lacing pattern and spokes with a total of 32 radiating from the hub. This allows them to build a front wheel with a little more flex, both radially and laterally, for better traction and less deflection off obstacles in the trail. All the while that rear wheel maintains a touch more stiffness all around, thanks to those four additional steel bands. The best part is that the spokes haven’t made any noise in hard compressions or under heavy braking. While spoke noise isn’t a major issue, it can be distracting when you’re trying to focus all of your energy on the trail ahead.
Hunt uses 14mm hard alloy nipples on both wheels, which cut a little weight over their brass colleagues and should outlast the life of the rim for most gravity riders. While brass nipples have their longevity benefits, I will certainly destroy and replace these rims long before the nipples begin to corrode.
In addition to the spoke count differentiation, the rim profile and width also varies between the front and rear circles. The front has an internal width of 33mm, which squares my Schwalbe Magic Mary 29×2.4″ tire to a nice 63.32mm (2.49″), while the narrower 31mm rear measures 61.5mm (2.42″) shod with a 29×2.4″ Big betty. Hunt says that the rims are optimized for 2.35 to 2.5″ tires, which is exactly what gravity racers are running these days. The wider front rim allows for a smidge more square tire profile beneath the bars where you want to most grip, and a skosh narrower profile out back for squeaking the rudder between rocks and cutting into the earth for ample braking traction.
The front and rear rims are not only different widths; the rear is braced by some internal armature to help it resist impacts and stand stiffly at attention in rough sections of trail. While the rear wheel doesn’t feel surprisingly stiff, the front wheel does feel more compliant than some similar alloy hoops, which seems like a nice result for the overall system. I’ve been happy with how well the front tire tracks the soil, even when I swapped in a set of tires I had never ridden before. With my usual Mary & Betty duet, these wheels feel as good as alloy sets that cost half-again as much.
The Enduro Wide V2 wheels have followed me while photographing a few rounds of the EWS races this season, and also descended their share of bike park laps. Along the way, I did manage to put some sizable dents in the rear rim that will need to be removed when I replace the tire. The impacts that created these dents would have dented any alloy rim, and one particular stone-slap might have been far worse without the reinforcement inside the rear rim. Given the way I like to ride, rear rims are a consumable component that can be swapped out once they become too deformed to hold air. Speaking of air, this rim ding didn’t noticeably puncture the tire, and it continues to hold air just like when it was new. I couldn’t be happier that we now have rims and tires that can withstand rougher and rockier fun.
At the core of it all is Hunt’s NDRO front hub and 5° RapidEngage rear hub that come in Boost or Super Boost rear axle spacing, and they’re available with HG, Microspline, or XD freehub bodies. You’ll never forget the engagement info, since it’s etched between the pair of mid-height hub flanges. The 5° mark seems to be a rough industry standard for affordable hubs, and I wouldn’t go with drivetrain engagement that’s much more obtuse. The hub kicks in plenty fast when you need to sprint, and while it’s not immediate, I’ve found it plenty accurate for technical climbing.
Like the sturdy rims, these hubs have been abused and treated poorly. We’ve had a wet spring and summer, and this set of circles has splashed through way more puddles than a class of six-year-olds on recess. Fortunately, the sealed cartridge bearings that Hunt chose to press inside are ready for UK-level wetness, and they still feel as smooth as they day I received the wheels. I removed the freehub to swap between Microspline and HG, and then back again, while testing a Micro Shift drivetrain, and everything felt as smooth as one could want it to be. Hunt says that their stiffer 7075-T6 alloy axles have “increased strength and stiffness. Reducing flex in the hub also helps to increase bearing life.” I haven’t broken an axle in a few years, but if a stiffer tube results in longer lasting bearings, I’m all for it.
Setting up tubeless tires on the Enduro Wide V2 is a cinch, as it is with most quality rims today. With the tire and 6-bolt rotor installed, it can take less than twenty minutes to pull the wheels from the box and have them ready to ride. They come with tubeless tape installed, a set of valves, and four spare spokes. There are a lot of wheel options that hover around this price point, and this set is tough enough that it belongs high on the list of considerations.
- Durable and affordable gravity system
- Rim width differences optimize tire profiles
- Enforced rear rim will save some dents
Pros and cons of the Hunt Enduro Wide V2 wheel set.
- The rims will bend with hard enough hits
- May be too heavy for some riders