Carbon is inherently related to lower weight, so why not make everything bike-related out of this material? Carbon frames are the go-to option for most cyclists and carbon wheels are usually the first upgrade after getting a new bike, but this material is not widely used for wheel spokes.
Carbon spokes cannot be made in the same way as the default steel ones, because the way they are attached to the rim wall is not as straightforward as one may think. This makes most brands reject the use of this material for this purpose, even if they are aware of its higher stiffness-to-weight ratio.
Then there is Hunt Bike Wheels, who successfully pursued a way to develop wheels with carbon spokes that are as usable as steel ones. We already went through their TaperLock construction method in our HUNT 32 Aerodynamicist UD review, but long story short, all HUNT’s UD Carbon Spokes wheelsets can be trued like any other, and offer a responsiveness-to-weight ratio previously unseen on serviceable wheels. The new 48 Limitless UD and 60 Limitless UD have also adopted this innovation.
It is the first time that the UD Carbon Spokes from Hunt Bike Wheels cross paths with the Limitless Technology that was already used for other models of the brand. If you add the Sprint SLC hubset to the mix, this combination gives as a result an all-around performance.
The Limitless Technology is what allows HUNT to make rims with a particular shape, wider in the external part without adding excessive mass or compromising tire security. Before the adoption of disk brakes, rims had to be flat to achieve good contact from the brake pads, but now there is greater flexibility in rim design because this part of the wheel is no longer the braking surface.
A wider rim would usually mean additional material between the inner and outer rim surface so a heavier wheel overall, but with the polymer used at HUNT they can reduce the mass of the rim while providing additional strength to the structure.
These wheelsets are equipped with the all-new Sprint SLC hubs, which add strength and enhance power transfer. The hub shell is made from cold-forged 7075 aluminum alloy, offering a greater strength-to-weight ratio than other alloys.
The total weight of the wheels is 1.511 grams for the 48 Limitless UD and 1.551 grams for the 60 Limitless UD. In line with the market trends that they partly initiated, these wheelsets are designed and optimized for 28mm tubeless tires. Unlike other models, the 48 and 60 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheelsets are hooked, and of course ETRTO-compliant.
Not only words
Superior aerodynamic efficiency, crosswind stability, enhanced responsiveness and lower weight. It may seem too much to be true, but one of the aspects that we appreciate from Hunt Bike Wheels is that they are very transparent with their test findings, and one can easily check the different studies they conducted to see how their products perform against comparable competitors.
On this occasion, they tested in the wind tunnel the new wheelsets against their own original steel spoke version, as well as their relevant competitive set. Compared to their steel spoke counterparts, both the 48 and 60 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheelsets perform very similarly. “The difference between the two was well within the margin of error for standardized wind tunnel testing, suggesting no discernible aerodynamic penalty for using carbon spokes.”, stated Ollie Gray, Road Brand Manager.
From the publicly available graphs comparing the drag at different yaw angles of the Hunt wheelsets with other wheels in the market, one can see that the HUNT model has a reduced drag force in extreme yaw angles but a slightly higher drag than the competitors for yaw angles close to zero.
Already put to a test
They were first developed to meet the technical requirements of their supported road racing teams. Paraphrasing their feedback, Limitless wheels feel fast like a much deeper wheel in terms of all-out speed, but handle like a much shallower wheel, making them an ideal option for fast, chaotic racing in changing wind conditions.
Now that their benefits have been proven, these wheelsets are available for all riders. The HUNT 48 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke Disc and HUNT 60 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheelsets are available to pre-order now at the brand’s site, and they can be shipped with either CeramicSpeed or EZO bearings.