HUNT PROVEN RACE XC UD WHEEL REVIEW – CARBON SPOKES BRING THE SPEED AND A FEW SURPRISES

Carbon spokes make for an ultra-lightweight set of wheels that ride smoother than we expected.

HUNT PROVEN RACE XC UD WHEEL REVIEW

Tech features:

Hunt designed its Proven Race XC UD wheels to be their lightest competitive cross country race wheels by making just about everything you can think of out of carbon. The Proven rims have a 30mm internal width, 36mm external width and 22mm rim height. They shaved off excess weight in the carbon by meticulously testing, and choosing resins and playing with constriction methods. They claim to have achieved a front rim weight of 348 grams and a rear weight of 369 grams.

In tandem with these rims, Hunt’s carbon UD spokes, which they claim have a higher tensile strength at 405 kgf, used similar stainless steel options as the other manufacturers. There are 20 spokes in the front and 24 in the rear, each weighing a claimed 2.7 grams per spoke. They’re fully serviceable and replaceable.

 


The hubs are CNC’d alloy hubs that have been gone through with a fine-tooth comb to get as much weight as they could out of them. They feature Hunt’s S_RapidEngage system with a 6×2 double-tooth pawl system that engages a 90t drive ring for a 2-degree engagement angle. They also are only available with a Centerlock disc interface. These hubs use fine-tuned EZO bearings to help the wheels roll as fast as possible.


Field test results:

When climbing, these wheels simply rocket up anything we’re facing with relatively little effort. There were a few climbs we normally extensively suffer on, but with these wheels installed, we felt we could even shift into a higher gear if we wanted to compared to some others. These wheels just feel fast uphill, and that’s such a satisfying feeling knowing all of your power is being used to max efficiency.

 

Descending was a bit of a different story. As these wheels are so light, the bike felt less stable at speed, and we had to get used to the way rider input affected the bike. Like many ultralight XC race wheels, they became twitchy and the front wheel harder to control when oushed too hard, but once we got used to it, we were able to more easily carry speed. All these observations line up with what we expected the wheels to feel like, so none of it came as a surprise. Our biggest concern while riding these wheels was the carbon spokes. We were nervous a loose rock would come up and break a spoke or something, but as most of the riding done on these wheels will be smoother flowing singletrack, we feel this will likely not be a problem to the average cross-country rider.


We expected the  Proven Race XC UD wheels to feel harsh on the trail, but were surprised when we went through an entire ride aboard our XC rig without one wheel-induced jarring. These wheels are surprisingly supple and compliant with the carbon spokes that added a level of damping we weren’t expecting. On certain heavier compressions, we could feel the rear wheel flex a little, but not alarmingly so, and it never made any sort of crazy noise when doing so. We actually felt this helped with grip a bit when it got loose. We would stay away from any sideways landings on these wheels, but they have proven (pun intended) to be tougher than they look.

HITS:

• Super lightweight
• Compliant
• Excellent acceleration

MISSES:

• Vague feeling at high speed

STAR RATING: ★★★★★

Weight: 1,276 grams
Price: $1,700
Contact: http://us.huntbikewheels.com

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