Biking is a humorous outdated sport actually. It exists on this Goldilocks zone the place the real top-end, race-ready gear continues to be comparatively accessible when seen within the context of different sports activities like crusing or motorsport. For below £2k, you possibly can improve your bike with a number of the finest highway bike wheels from the bleeding fringe of the aerodynamic frontier, the equal, I presume, to slapping the entrance wing of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 automotive to your VW Golf (are you able to inform I’m not a motorsport fan?). The marginally wordy Hunt 48 Limitless UD Carbon Spoke Discs, hereby abbreviated to the Limitless 48 UD, occupy the highest shelf of the model’s mid-depth wheels. At 48mm deep they’re trying to fulfill a extra all spherical position, with the deeper 60 Limitless UD catering extra to the crit unique crowd.
I’ve had these on the go for the reason that finish of final 12 months. They’ve include me on my Canyon Final, and when that went again to Koblenz they had been swiftly swapped over to my new long-termer, a Fairlight Strael. I’ve blasted round on blue sky days and braved some ferocious Cornish crosswinds too, and I am lastly able to cross judgement.
Design and aesthetics
I first set eyes on these over a beer at Eurobike final 12 months. A ragtag bunch from Hunt, devoid of a stand, had been roaming the frankly bewildering halls of the convention centre with some wheel baggage. The factor that struck me in regards to the 48 Limitless UDs then was the identical factor that struck me when the field arrived at my house final 12 months: “Bloody hell, these are huge!”.
A 22.5mm inside width is huge, even by the more and more increasing trendy sensibilities. The obvious characteristic isn’t the interior width although, it’s the exterior width. At 34.5mm huge these are noticeably wider than anything I’ve seen, ridden, or anything in the marketplace I’d wager. The widest level isn’t even on the tyre-rim interface, however 10mm or so decrease down, that means that with a 28c tyre, the entire system neatly expands out after which contracts to the apex, which is a totally trendy U-shape, although given the width it’s a extra pronounced, bulbous look than the rivals.
The width does imply that the rim is noticeably wider than the tyre. Wanting down at your entrance wheel lifeless on whereas driving and seeing the rim is definitely novel, and whereas it claims aero benefits (which we’ll get to shortly) it has an unintended aspect impact. Leaning your bike up towards a wall usually means the rim, somewhat than the tyre, makes contact with one thing exhausting and abrasive. These are costly wheels objectively, whatever the competitor costs, and due to their form, they are going to want you to stay extra vigilant towards knocks and scrapes. I’m a slipshod man, and fact be instructed my privileged place means I’m most likely extra careless with posh gear than I’d be had I purchased it with my very own cash, however regardless I did decide up extra dings on these than I’ve with different rims. One other enjoyable consideration is the rim, somewhat than tyre, clearance. On my Strael, with its closely formed chainstays, the rim is extraordinarily near the body. On extra versatile rims this is able to trigger me concern, however as I’ll get into it’s not a fear right here.
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Dings apart, I actually love how these wheels look. I are inclined to keep away from out-and-out aero bikes in favour of all-rounders, however becoming these to the spindly frames of each the Final and the Strael brings a muscularity to the visible bundle that, whereas may very well be achieved by a rim of comparable depth, isn’t fairly so efficient with a rim of narrower stature. In brief, they give the impression of being cool. The branding is sufficiently subtle to be stylish, however not so refined that the wheels turn into one other doughnut of matte black anonymity. I believe when you’re spending this a lot on a pair of wheels you’re most likely inside your rights to need folks to know what they’re.
These wheels exist in one other, reasonably much less premium kind too. The ‘UD’ within the prolonged nomenclature denotes that these wheels characteristic unidirectional carbon spokes. The opposite possibility is for metal spokes. Carbon spokes have a popularity for being exhausting to work with, however these ones have a conventional spoke head inserted over the tapered physique of the spoke, that means they are often trued as simply as any metal spoked wheel in the event that they ever do exit of true; regardless of my finest efforts with some gravelly excursions, I couldn’t make them achieve this.
When it comes to on-paper efficiency, Hunt claims these are the quickest sub-50mm wheel in the marketplace. Whereas producer claims are hardly standardised, I’ve no purpose to doubt the claims, and the truth that the 60mm deep rim got here out second in our personal wind tunnel testing definitely signifies that the form is quick. The factor that pursuits me greater than the form is the spokes although; the UD model is seemingly 30% stiffer than its metal sibling, with no aero penalty. Is that this a great factor? Nicely, on paper sure, however in the true world as ever there’s that pesky nuance to cope with.
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As we’ve seen in our wind tunnel testing, the distinction between essentially the most aero wheels is genuinely very small in wattage phrases. The identical presumably is true for mid-depth equivalents, although after all, we have not examined this. On how these wheels really feel I’m not going to dispute in any respect the claims of rapidity towards the competitors; these are quick, race-appropriate wheels purely by way of aerodynamics. What I’d prefer to concentrate on as an alternative is the dealing with, which is what you’ll discover much more than 5 watts right here or there.
These are an extremely stiff wheelset. The huge set rim profile together with the carbon spokes means that there’s that directness of really feel that so many people covet. Immediacy of energy switch, no palpable flex in a dash (no, the rim didn’t rub the body), but additionally a corresponding lower in consolation. Having examined these again to again towards the new Hyperon Ultras, they’re very completely different feeling wheels. The Ultras really feel like a shallow part wheel, however are deeper, whereas the Limitless 48 UD’s really feel like a deeper wheel, however are shallower.
They really feel slower to spin up than the Hyperons for instance, however when on the transfer they’ve a way more planted really feel. Much less jittery, extra self assured. Within the corners, they don’t have that agility that you simply’d anticipate from a shallow set, however what they provide as an alternative is an assurance when you’ve picked your line that they’re going to trace completely. The muscularity of the visible bundle is genuinely mirrored within the trip, not in that they really feel hefty or sluggish (removed from it), however extra in that they really feel robust and unyielding even below heavy hundreds. The huge inside width definitely comes into play right here, supporting the tyre sidewalls and plumping a modest 28c tyre out to a fulsome quantity; extra grip and subsequently higher dealing with isn’t simply all the way down to the tyres, however the rim profile too.
They really feel each bit the race wheel, and maybe that’s their essential disadvantage too. As cyclists, we would like race tech, however usually we’re not doing the driving suited to the very pointy finish of race tech. I believe the rim profile is genuinely a stellar all rounder, however I believe the carbon spokes are seemingly a marginal acquire too far for normal driving. The rise in stiffness will help you within the corners of a crit, however on a Sunday membership trip chances are you’ll really feel extra fatigued, however with out again to again testing towards the metal spoked model it’s unimaginable to say; I’m simply occurring my assumptions right here. They had been definitely much less comfy than the DT Swiss set that got here on my Final, however with a correct setup with 28c tyres I might fortunately tick off 180km rides with none points, even over the roughest Cornish tarmac. Might I be comfier? Sure, however then I’d be house later. They had been extra comfortable than the Hyperons too, a wheel over twice the worth.
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As a generalist they climb properly, however as we all know by now when you’re going over 15 kmh then aerodynamics are the largest issue and so an aero wheelset will climb sooner. On tremendous steep Cornish lanes I’d somewhat have one thing shallower, however averaged out over a complete trip I’d have these.
One factor that’s additionally commendable is how they cope with wind. There is a descent again house that I take advantage of as a check mattress usually. It’s enclosed totally by stable Cornish hedges for its complete size, however on the base, once you’re at terminal velocity, lies a farm gate via which robust crosswinds all the time emanate. For some wheels and complete bikes within the case of the Ribble Extremely SL, this can be a part I dread. Whereas these wheels didn’t fairly enable me to sail previous unscathed, contemplating their depth they did extraordinarily properly. What’s so usually akin to a violent bodily shove in direction of the oncoming lane was on this case extra of a playful tug. One thing that may be braced towards and managed with out having to decelerate.
One real bugbear I’ve with these wheels is the noise. I detest a loud freehub, and I pour scorn over anybody who covets being adopted by an offended buzz, however these persons are on the market… if it’s you then you definitely’re going to like these hubs. They’re monumentally noisy. They’re so loud that I’ve scared wildlife, made canine run away, and on one memorable event even induced a toddler to burst into tears. I assume it’s an incentive to maintain pedalling. As a PSA, hub noise is a surefire approach to spook horses, so soft-pedalling previous them is all the time finest apply, whether or not you are armed with a sonic grenade for a hub or not.
Usually talking, Hunt wheels pack a punch for the worth that’s exhausting to poke any holes in. In case you’re searching for absolutely the pack beating benefit then it’s most likely going to be exhausting to beat these as a normal use race wheelset. They’re quick, mild, and cheaper than the competitors in addition to providing actual world reparability with regular spoke truing.
In case you’re not a racer then that worth proposition diminishes a smidge when in comparison with the metal spoked, cheaper various of the identical wheel. If I needed to decide certainly one of these to make use of for simply racing I’d have the UD possibility, however for normal use AND racing the metal bundle gives higher worth; identical aero beneficial properties, however a bit extra comfortable for somewhat weight penalty.
That being mentioned, these are marketed as a race wheel and I’ll rating them as such; I believe you’d be hard-pressed to discover a set of wheels pretty much as good as this for cheaper, and when you use them for quick membership runs too then you definitely’ll get extra in your cash. The true winner right here is that these are completely quick sufficient for racing over roughly any parcours, however not so deep that you’ll wish to save them for race days solely. Extra makes use of = higher worth, that is simply primary maths.
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I very a lot loved my time with these wheels. They had been on the borderline of feeling overkill on a non-aero bike however simply erred on the within of that line, which signifies that they’d be proper at house on a full aero setup too. What they lack within the responsivity of dealing with that superlight wheels supply they greater than make up for in cornering functionality, flat out velocity, and I’d wager appears too.
The width takes some getting used to from a driving viewpoint, and also you’ll have to be cautious to not ding ’em on the cafe, however if you need a very genuinely quick set of race wheels however don’t wish to go for one thing within the area of 60mm deep then these ought to positively be in your shortlist, particularly given the worth. In case you’re solely racing get the carbon spokes, however I’d counsel the remainder of us could be completely tremendous utilizing the metal model.
|Design and aesthetics||The width makes for a brash bundle, however I believe they are a good trying set of wheels||9/10|
|Efficiency||As a set of race wheels at this depth means they’re exhausting to beat. The one efficiency disadvantage is within the consolation stakes||9/10|
|Weight||At 1511g they’re greater than aggressive at this depth||9/10|
|Hubs||They don’t seem to be market leaders, however they’re completely satisfactory. Engagement is sound, however my gosh are they loud!||8/10|
|Worth||These are very race particular, and for the efficiency they provide they are a good worth prospect. The metal spoked bundle is extra so although, I might wager||8/10|
|Total||Row 5 – Cell 1||84%|