Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset – Review

aigeneratedbikerbikewheelsThis review is for the Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset

A few background details…

I’m writing this right after Black Friday/US Thanksgiving of 2023 and likely sometime in the Spring of 2024 I will add some more advanced testing and evaluation to this post so keep an eye out. Up until a week or so ago, it was very cold here in Northern NY but the roads and trails were clear and fairly dry and there was no snow to contend with. 

After I received my new wheelset this all changed and now we have snow, wet, and snowy roads and trails, so I have a great new set of wheels and was able to do only one quick twenty-mile test.  But at least it will give you an idea of how they are and more to come in the Spring. 

I’m not going to go over the benefits of new wheels or aero wheels, nor any disadvantages – as there are many, many websites, Youtube videos, and such where you can get info and you’re probably not here looking for that anyway.

And you probably don’t need someone to encourage you or to upgrade your wheelset. I’d just say, briefly here – that if you can afford it1fb4b06f-afc6-4005-a07e-4cf84acc8713 and what you already have is mediocre or worn out, then go for it. Life’s too short.

I’d been flip-flopping on upgrading my Cervelo Caledonia’s (see my blog review here) kinda mid-range wheelset – the stock Alexrims Boondooks 5. Cervelo cut a few bucks by making a tremendously nice bike but shaving a bit off the price with these just-okay wheels.

They aren’t bad, they aren’t great, and they worked fine. But I did want something better.

The decision was whether it would be much of a benefit, and also whether I wanted to spend that much money when I had previously bought a brand new nice road bike a few years back – the Cervelo Caledonia – and a gravel bike this Fall – a Pivot Vault.

I looked at a lot of wheelsets; big name well-known brands, lesser-known brands with great ratings (thanks Terance for the suggestion), used and recertified wheelsets, and even considered (only for a minute) el cheapo brands of various types.

Trying not to be too old-school about things; I considered switching to tubeless but decided against it right at the moment. I know, I know – there are a ton of benefits and that seems to be the way that biking is leaning.

So my choices had to be clinchers, which wasn’t a big deal and didn’t limit me very much as many models and brands have many wheelsets that are clinchers and also tubeless-compatible – just in case I want to switch in the future. As the Alexrims Boondooks 5 that were already on the bike were.

I really didn’t have many other huge limitations except I didn’t want to buy overly crazy expensive wheels so I did have a price in mind as well as several minimum specs that anything I was evaluating had to meet.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I found multiple wheelsets from various big brand companies that checked all the boxes when it came to my required specs and were still more or less within my price range. Okay, ‘adjacent to’ my price ranges in some cases.

Hunt Bike Wheels

Hunt Bike Wheels

Brands like Zipp, Roval, Hunt, Bontrager, Enve, FFWD, etc. 

But it wasn’t until the Black Friday sales rolled around that tipped the scale for me and I pulled the trigger with 33% off and a few other incentives; going with the Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset.

Hunt was founded in 2015 in the UK and they have a US office in Boulder, Colorado. They make a point to do their best to support riders as well as being environmentally conscious. If you’re into cycling you likely know someone who has a pair of Hunt wheels.

So below is a quick overview of the specs, most of this is from the Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset product page.

The Aerodynamicist series is not the absolute top-end of Hunt’s line, they are a trickle-down from their Limitless line, specifically their 48 Limitless Aero Disc series, wind tunnel tested (you can check out their abundant charts for the wind tunnel on the product page) and designed with a hook for clinchers but they are also ERTTO-compliant sized tubeless-ready. It is the same carbon aero wheel from the 44 UD Carbon Spike Disc wheelset but I got the one with steel aero spokes for easier maintenance and such – important for me. Straight-pull spokes and external nipples to make it easier for maintenance. They are 14 gauge stainless steel spokes by Sandvik Sweden, with a black anodized finish and a washer on each, with an aero cross-section. 20 front and 24 rear. But carbon spokes are an option for around $500 or so more with a 110g decrease in wheel weight.

Slight aero curvature of the rim

Slight aero curvature of the rim

The wheel rim is 29 mm wide with a 20 mm rim bed, making it optimal for 28 mm tires though compatible with thinner and wider tires. The range is 23mm to 50mm, clincher, tubeless, gravel, and CX tires too. Right before the inner edge on either side the rim curves slightly outward and then inward for more aero effect. Not sure how well you can see this in the photo here.

And of course, they are both 44 mm deep. I originally was going to do with a deeper rear wheel but after a lot of research into performance as well as the effect of wind and cross winds (and my own experience with the heavy crosswinds in this area – of which are increasing from year to year – thanks Global Change!) I decided to go with a more moderate 44 mm deep. The side of the wheels has a light Hunt company name logo at a point opposite from the valve hole and the Aerodynamicist model name on the side where the valve hole is. It’s very understated and not in your face.

It also includes free H Care lifetime crash replacement for the first owner of the wheels, which you have to pay for with some of their other cheaper and/or specialty wheelsets. And you get a three-year material and workmanship defect warranty, and a 60-day ride and return period.

The carbon is T700/T900 with a stronger ratio of T800 (T40) for greater strength-to-weight ratio and 3k weave bed and spoke areas and a drainage hole. Frankly, I had to look up all of this info when I was evaluating carbon aero wheels and you likely will benefit from this also. Remember, Google is your pal… Hunt also tests these in their cobbled-rolling-road simulator and real-world testing cobbled-rolling-road tests.

The hub has 3x treble tooth pawls resulting in just 7.5˚ engagement with a 48-tooth ratchet ring, in other words, when you are going from freewheel to applying power you get a VERY quick engagement. Plus it sounds super cool. Steel spline inserts to protect the cassette body, and there is some other reinforcing.

Bearings are Japanese EZO, dual-sealed with a low-friction sealed internal face for super fast rolling. The hub has the Hunt graphic logo on it.

These are center-lock brake mounts and Hunt does sell a converter if you need it and want to use older brake disc rotors that are not center-lock. I originally was going to try and cheap-out and use converters to reuse my existing six-bolt disc rotors but by the time I would have bought them, I’d have gotten close to the price of just buying new disc rotors.

Max tire pressure is 100 PSI with 25-28mm tires with lesser max pressures for larger tire sizes (you can find this info on the product page). Max weight is 273 pounds (123 kg) but they do recommend that if you are over 233 pounds to check with a bike mechanic regularly when using these and not go over 90 PSI on tires. Of course, it’s really important not to go over their specs so as not to damage the wheels, but I doubt anyone reading this is going to be running super-high pressures like in the old days.

And of course, you probably know that just because a tire is marked a certain width doesn’t mean that it is going to be that exact width when it is mounted on the wheel, depending on the wheel width itself. For example – using a micrometer my Continental UltraSport III 28mm on the front and Continental GatorSkin 28mm on the rear both measure 30 mm when mounted on the 29 mm wide Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset. So I adjusted the pressure accordingly, 60 PSI front and 62 PSI rear – a bit higher than they need to be for comfort but I like them on the very slightly higher side for speed.

As I am sure you know there are plenty of online calculators and charts – from complex to simple – and many differing opinions on exact tire pressures. With those general guides in mind and the fact that the width of the rim also will affect the shape and consequently the width of the tire, you have to do a little trial and error in the pressure department to get optimal pressure for both speed as well as comfort, if you’re 

All of the Hunt wheels are finished by hand and have a full quality inspection (I can confirm there was a quality inspection tag on the pair I ordered).

Weight is a respectable low 1466g (3 pounds 4 ounces). It still amazes me – when picking one up in my hand it seems to have nearly no perceptible weight.

I did weigh each one and they came in just very slightly above this – likely the weight as shown on the site is before the rim tape and disc rotor lock ring is installed.

Included with the wheelset are spare spokes and tubeless valve nipples, a Hunt sticker, and the lockring for the discs (which are on the wheel hub/axle when you receive them).

Check-out on the website was quick and easy, and even with Thanksgiving and Black Friday going on the wheels were shipped fairly quickly. When ordering it asks for your axle info, size, and which gearset you will be using (all your standard gearset flavors and sizes are supported; Shimano, Campagnolo, etc), and they will include spacers as needed for older gearsets. They can also help you with this as needed, by letting them know what bike model you have and they can look it up. I mean, what can be easier than that if you’re not sure? You receive a tracking number when ordering these wheels.

Before ordering I had a quick chat about whether the wheels came with the brake disc lockring and they were very responsive and helpful.

Hunt Wheels shipping box, being carefully inspected by my shipping specialist Sulu.

Hunt Wheels shipping box, being carefully inspected by my shipping specialist Sulu.

The box’s weight was about seven pounds, and this weight is – obviously – mostly the weight of the cardboard that the wheels are packed in. There’s no plastic or anything else that isn’t recyclable and the packing method and how the cardboard was arranged looked to my eye like a very secure protective framework, yet easily opened. It was so origami-like that after I took the wheels out to admire and check them and wanted to set them back in the box temporarily; I had a puzzling time trying to fit the cardboard and wheels back in correctly. Hunt has got down the process of packing to an exact science it seems – like everything else they do.

It’s always amazing to me how incredibly light a carbon wheel can be. With these wheels, it felt like picking up a feather. It surprises me every time.

Hunt Wheels, well-packed and inspected by Sulu

Hunt Wheels, well-packed and inspected by Sulu

The wheels just plain look awesome, I can’t go any further without saying it. They are gorgeous, super high-quality, and meticulously built. A standard boilerplate warning sticker was included, as well as the inspection tag (Thanks Victor!) and a product serial number.

Hunt Wheels, extra spokes and tag

Hunt Wheels, extra spokes and tag

Installation of the brake discs and rear cassette was straightforward as you would expect, totally standard. I bought brand new Shimano brake discs to go on them, the Hunt locking ring is already on the axle (so I didn’t use the one that came with the Shimano brake discs) and it looks nice and fits fine when torqued down to its specifications. Same with the rear cassette (I took the opportunity to disassemble and meticulously clean each and every rear cassette gear and spacer before I put them on the new wheel).

On a side note, I had no idea that there were adapters that converted Thru-Axle hubs to older Quick Release. I was able to reuse the front wheel of my mid-range Alexrims Boondooks 5 wheelset to upgrade the front wheel on my gravel bike very easily, though unfortunately, the rear axle width was not compatible. It seems to work well, though I may get another wheelset for the gravel bike also at some point in the future.

The tires (Continental UltraSport III 28mm on the front, Continental GatorSkin 28mm on the rear) were particularly [not] fun to get on as it is cold here in Northern NY and I probably should have brought the bike inside for twenty-four hours for the tires to warm up before I received the wheels. The tires were cold, the tubes were cold, and the new wheels were cold. I, of course, was nervous about scuffing the new wheelset so there was a lot of extra care put into mounting the wheels and a certain amount of pieces of light cardboard between the tire lever and the wheel when I needed to use them. However, I try to use my hands and fingers as much as possible and eschew using the levers as much as I can – which I highly recommend learning no matter which wheelset you have.

I thought the Continental GatorSkin would be the hardest to get on but the Continental UltraSport III was worse, and one of the hardest tires I’ve ever have put on – including many many years ago having a flat out in some particularly freezing temps of Northern NY. But again – everything was cold so maybe it was not the best evaluation of tire tightness here…

Once everything was mounted the wheelset went directly onto the bike where it was hanging on the Zeny bike stand (see my review of a good bike stand if you need one), as easily as anything. The discs seemed to be perfectly aligned but I did have to tweak the rear cassette shifting slightly.

And well, wow is the only word I have for the look, the feel of the spin of the wheels and the bearings, and the sounds of the freewheel!

Cervelo Caledonia and Hunt wheels

The biggest issue I had at this point was the weather and how was I going to give the wheels a try?

A few weeks have gone by and finally, finally (!) here in Northern NY a few weeks before Xmas we had a day in the low 50s, not a lot of wind, and most importantly – no snow nor rain, and clear somewhat dry roads. So it was time for a ride, after an impatient few weeks and the thought of maybe not trying my new wheels until the Spring.

I put in around 62 pounds of pressure in the rear and 60 in the front. And of course, even though the tires are rated at 28 mm wide, when they are on this 29 mm wide wheelset they actually measure exactly 30 mm wide; according to my micrometer. I could have used a little less pressure fo comfort but I wanted to mess with a little sprinting; just a bit here and there.

It was still very cool, with no sun and somewhat dark conditions (thanks to my Ascher bright front light and rear light as well as the light from my Cycliq Fly6 Rear Camera/Light [my blog review here]), and ten MPH winds with a few gusts. But still a fairly good ride even though my speeds were dismal (even with trying to keep up with fairly intense training via my Saris M2 smart bike trainer).

I got in some sprints, some cross-winds, some moderate hills as well as a medium-length but somewhat steep hill (about a 7% grade or so) for a quick testing of the wheels.

For this short and not terribly fast ride there’s nothing scientific or stat-wise about my evaluation. Likely I will post this review so it doesn’t languish in my draft folder until Spring and then revisit my review when I can ride more and give these a more thorough evaluation.

But for now, well; all I have is personal opinion and ‘feel’, and maybe a little “bias” as I haven’t been able to ride outside for quite a while. So even with the cool temps it still felt good.

Right off the bat, everything felt ‘right’, just putting a little power into the bike the wheels seemed to be super-smooth and very responsive. Everything just felt faster.

Handling on corners at high speed was a super exceptionally stable feeling with no feel of flex or give, even pushing it a bit. Even on the moist road corners with a bit of road dirt scattered across the corners. Yet the wheelset still allowed me to push a bit of power into the turn.

Laying a bit of speed into them during a few hard sprints was similar – a firm feeling with a responsiveness that seems to be significant over the stock Alexrims wheelset. They seemed to be absorbing the power I was putting into them and the bike in general and pushing it into the tires and road with no loss of (my pitiful) power output. 

For regular cruising along they felt just as smooth and fast, with stable handling no matter what I was doing, even with a little simulated evasive maneuvering at speed and such, and absorbing road shocks.

The hub is super silky feeling and downhill coasting seems pretty highly significant over the stock wheels, which would be expected of course.

Engaging power after a coast is fast, no perceptible delay that I could possibly tell – going from freewheeling to power is instantaneous at least as much as my legs can discern. Boom, you’re going from coasting to full power as needed, very nice.

Some people seem to hate or dislike the freewheel sound. After I posted the indoor video below a friend mentioned that they sounded like ‘angry bees’! Of course, this was a super fast spin with my hand of the wheels while up on the bike stand. But I found it not particularly loud under normal conditions, though I don’t mind a nice high-quality freewheel sound in general. You’ll find my videos below that will give you a little sound-level audio both on the bike stand as well as outside in the real world.

And if you are riding on a multiuse trail or coming up behind a slower cyclist on the road then, well, usually all that you need to do is let that freewheel spin out the smooth tone of the clicking freewheel and they’ll probably hear you approaching 😉 I say this in jest but I have been using the sound of a freewheel to alert others ahead of me for years while biking, in various situations. It saves you from having to yell “Coming up behind!” or something.

Clipboard-1Climbing was comparable to my opinions above – power seemed to flow seamlessly from me to the road of the steep climb that I tried. Don’t get me wrong – I still climbed with my normal mediocracy but it did seem just as smooth as the rest of the ride.

Descending the steep hill with some crosswinds was fine – one of the things that concerned me with getting aero wheels and specifically deeper aero wheels is cross-wind gusts and I do ride in a lot of winds. I felt a slight buffeting from the crosswinds but really I couldn’t tell you for sure that it was more than what the stock wheels (which were 25 mm aero’s) would have affected me with.

To sum up for this short ride – for the entire full distance of the ride, the Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset ate up the miles and performed very nicely as far as I could ascertain. Every aspect of riding with the new wheelset felt high performance, smooth and powerful, and very stable. Again, was I biased from not riding inside for a long period – possibly!

A week later I got another ride in, this time it was fairly cool but not bad. But the biggest thing was the extremely high winds and crazy erratic gusts of wind. In other words, a good day to try out the effect of wind on the aero wheels though not the best biking day.

On this ride I rode part of it on a popular multiuse trail here, some city riding including some sprinting to near car traffic speed and through iffy streets and rough pavement, a steep longer hill up to our city park and then down said hill at a good clip with strong crosswinds, and then back on the trail and then onto a nearby island trail with a little light gravel.

On the vast majority of the multiuse trail ride the wheels performed nicely as with the previous ride – fast in general and quick to get up to speed and during a sprint, etc. But I specifically wanted to go on this trail because one part has a large open field where the wind can really roar through. Sure enough, while passing it in the outbound direction the wind gusted randomly and extremely strongly a few times and for the first time I could feel a bit of a push against the aero wheels.

Street riding was just fine, again I could get up to speed nicely and come close to car traffic speeds in no time, and the occasional bad bit of pavement was absorbed well. The winds didn’t affect me in any way, which was expected as buildings of course block anything significant.

Riding up the steep long hill to our local park, which is situated at the top of a plateau, was just fine. No sign of the effects of crosswinds on the wheels even though I could feel them, but of course I was going fairly slow. But I found myself switching between my last three sets of climbing gears and normally I just go to the out ring. So that seemed particularly good.

Coming down was another story. A significant speed can build up and I was flying, enough to pulse the brakes in alternating patterns to slow a bit. The biggest issue was the crosswinds – here I was traveling at a fast speed with the winds high and random and unpredictable in strength and direction. It felt less stable for sure in these crazy crosswinds.

And I was sure glad I didn’t get a deeper aero rim. 

On a side note – my friend Mike M. mentioned testing a pair of 60 mm aero rims from one of our local bike shops, ReCre’s Bike Studio, on a highway where we have a lot of Strava segments. This highway is always somewhat windy and he had such a hard time with the wind pushing on the deep wheels and knocking him around so much so that he gave up and headed back home to take the wheels off and return them.

Trying out a little gravel was pretty good – for the short few miles I barely felt like I was on gravel (and to be fair it was very smooth small gravel and dirt and a lot of this has to do with the tires and pressure) and I knocked out the short distance in a very quick time, in fact I got a second place on one Strava segment for that trail. No matter the surface these seem to suck of any imperfections in the riding surface very well.

For this ride there were definitely a few times when I could feel the gusts of wind giving me a push at wheel level, especially going down the very steep long hill from the higher elevation. There was definitely a decrease in stability at that time. But I want to reiterate here – this was very high winds and gusts and normally I would not be riding in winds as high as this nor conditions with gusts as high, even if it were the middle of Summer. So this ride was an extreme condition ride and not a normal ride. Maybe you ride in conditions like this but I definitely would think twice or skip a ride under wind speeds and gusts as high as that day.

So overall; from the wheelset’s specs, looks, and then ride feel they compare very favorably with more expensive wheels and seem to have some benefits to me performance-wise. They just seem like a great all-around multi-use multi-purpose wheelset.

For now, until Spring comes along for more extensive testing I have to say I am crazy happy with the new Hunt 44 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc Wheelset. And hell they look nice! And sound nice. And feel nice when riding them.




Marc M

I am a web developer and fitness geek, but I have a heck of a lot of differing interests.  Biking, the Internet, technology, movies, fitness, running and walking and hiking, science fiction, photography, graphics, WordPress, flying and aircrafts, pets and animals, history, and much more.  I like to stay very fit but I don’t mind sitting at my computer for work and play either.  I live in upstate New York (that’s far from New York City) in a rural area, yet close to a small city, with my beautiful awesome wife, a bunch of beloved cats and dogs and chickens in a very old multi-century house.

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