Mountain Bike Action Product Test: Hunt All-Mountain Carbon H_Impact Carbon Wheels
Hunt All-Mountain Carbon H_Impact Carbon Wheels
Hunt is a UK company founded by a pair of riders who wanted wheels that offered superior technology without the high price tag. They quickly found out that no such wheels existed, so they built their own. The new company started to produce handbuilt wheels made with all the practical technologies available from other leading wheel brands but offered them direct to the rider at HuntBikeWheels.cc. Hunt’s wheels offer excellent specs, low weight and longterm durability. You can also add a lifetime crash-replacement policy and direct access to a real person on Hunt’s customer service line to handle any issues you might have.
Above all, Hunt wants to create wheels and provide service you can depend on. When the H_Impact wheels landed on our desk, we secretly thought there would be no way a bargain set of carbon wheels could make us happy, but we bolted a pair of these on to one of our longterm test steeds to find out for sure.
The H_Impact Carbon 29er wheels use a 28-spoke wheel with a lighter and more compliant carbon layup up front and a 32-spoke rim with greater impact strength and stiffness in the rear. Both wheels use triple-butted Pillar steel spokes laced to sealed cartridge bearing hubs with a super-fast 3-degree engagement, thanks to the six-pawl free hub that’s compatible with any Shimano or SRAM drivetrain. The H_Impact sports a 28mm internal rim width that’s designed for tires in the 2.3–2.5-inch-wide range and comes set up with tubeless tape and valves installed. Our set of Boost-compatible wheels tipped the scales at 899 (front) and 1031 (rear) grams for a total weight of 1930 grams or 4.25 pounds. They retail for $781 and can be ordered directly from huntbikewheels.cc
Field test results:
Out of the box, the H_Impact wheels prove Hunt’s attention to detail. The wheels are taped perfectly, which makes setting up tubeless tires a breeze. Our Maxxis Minion tires had several hundred miles on them already, but seated and snapped into place using only our floor pump. You can feel the care and precision of the wheel builder’s hand as soon as your weight hits the spokes, as the wheels accelerate smoothly without any of the pinging and popping you hear with machine-built wheels. The hubs are snappy and have a recognizably sharp buzz as the six pawls engage 120 times per wheel revolution. These hubs provide quick and reliable engagement that nearly eliminates the “dead spot” that lesser wheels have when ratcheting the pedals back for a quick burst of power.
On the trail, the H-Impact wheels feel lightweight and fast. They’re stiffer and more robust-feeling than a dedicated cross-country race wheel, yet softer than some carbon enduro wheels we’ve tried. While flex in a wheelset may seem like a negative, the Hunt wheels deliver a tuned feel that’s stiff enough to transfer power effectively but not so harsh they transmit unwanted vibrations. Some aggressive riders would prefer more lateral stiffness. Hunt makes its burlier Enduro Wide rim for those riders’ needs. The H_Impact keeps things lighter and is more suited for the all-around trail rider. That said, though, we put these wheels through the wringer on some of our most aggressive trails. After several hundred miles of tough terrain, we’re happy to report the spokes are still evenly tensioned, the rims are still true, and the hookless rim beads kept our tires seated without any sealant burps or other issues.
Hunt delivers an impressive package with the H-Impact Carbon wheels, one that’s nearly half the price we’d expect from looking at the spec sheet. They are lightweight and buttery smooth. While there are lighter, stiffer and more race-ready options out there, you’d be hard-pressed to find another option that can hang with Hunt when it comes to value.
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET
MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.
Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.