Hunt releases “world’s fastest aero disc wheelset” (backed by data)

Hunt’s new Limitless 48 Aero Disc Wheelset is claimed to be the world’s most aerodynamic disc wheelset below 50mm deep and — unlike many other similar wheels — these claims are backed up with a detailed and transparent white paper

They’re also cheaper than most other options out there, at just £1,290.

As Hunt points out, the very best (from an aero performance perspective) rim brake wheels sit at around 27mm to 28mm wide. 

However, Hunt’s testing has shown that even wider wheels can offer significant aero advantages, but traditional caliper rim brakes limit the width of rims to roughly the current maximum. 

With the increasingly widespread adoption of discs for road riding — which don’t have issues around caliper clearance — alongside the increasing popularity of wider (28mm+) road tyres, this led the brand to start developing a disc-specific aero wheel that is claimed to have industry-leading performance.

So just how wide is this wheel?

Hunt has been developing the wheels for the better part of the last two years and, after many months spent in the GST windtunnel in Immenstaad, Germany, has settled on a whopping 34.5mm wide for its limitless wheels. 

To be clear, when we say width, we are referring to the overall width of the wheel. We normally quote internal rim widths, but this figure relates to the ‘wall-to-wall’ width of the main part of the rim.

The very widest rims from other manufacturers typically come in around the 30mm to 32mm range.

Why is a chunky rim more aero?

When combined with a suitable tyre — in this case, a 28mm tubeless tyre, specifically the Schwalbe Pro One — this super-wide profile creates a wind-cheating aerofoil-like shape that reduces drag.

This is an oversimplification of the rationale behind developing a super-wide wheel, but explaining that in detail is best left to Hunt and its white paper detailing the design of the wheels

Isn’t a super-wide rim heavy?

The aero benefits of increasing rim width can be outweighed by two key issues: 

  1. Increasing internal width beyond 25mm reduces tyre compatibility with 23mm- or 25mm-wide tyres (the two most common sizes) 
  2. Adding additional material to the sidewalls to maintain the aero shape while keeping internal width sensible adds weight

Hunt claims to have got around this issue by utilising a novel patented solution that involves moulding the rim in such a way that there is a groove along the outside of the rim. 

This scalloped void is then infilled — or co-moulded, to use the fancy composite-world word — with a super low-density polymer material. 

Forming the rim in this way is claimed to maintain the aerodynamic qualities of the rim without compromising on weight or strength. Hunt also claims that without the use of this technology, each rim would weigh approximately 100g more. 

And, on that note, the complete wheelset is claimed to weigh 1,528g. This is the bare weight for a full wheelset without tape.

Further improving the wheel’s speedy qualities, they are laced with elliptical Wing spokes from Pillar, and the hubs contain CeramicSpeed bearings, decreasing rolling resistance further.

A note on Hunt’s testing

Our colleagues at BikeRadar admit that every other wheel brand out there claims to have developed the most fastest-est wheel with each new generation of aero developments. Where Hunt’s claims differ is in the transparency of its testing. 

In the aforementioned comprehensive white paper, authored by Luisa Grappone, Peter Marchment and Tom Marchment — the designers of the new wheelset — Hunt explains exactly how the wheels were tested and details all of its results. 

We’ll leave you to take a deep dive into the paper if you’re interested, but safe to say it makes for interesting reading. 

We’ve said it before, but transparency is in vogue and Hunt should be applauded for publishing this data.

We want these wheels. Where do we throw our money?

Hunt’s new 48 Limitless aero disc wheelset comes in at £1,289 / €1,495 / $1,685 / AU$2,431 — which is significantly cheaper than pretty much any other comparable aero wheel — and can be pre-ordered directly from Hunt

What do you think of these wheels? Does the thought of the most aero disc wheelset on the market tickle your pickle or is aero a myth that you’re sick of Big Bike trying to sell? As always, leave your thoughts below!