Hunt's Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheelset is sensibly priced not to mention tough, compliant and very competitively priced. There are some drawbacks such as paint durability and bearing life but the rims have managed to fend off everything thrown their way.
Hunt Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheelset - Technical details
Headline numbers are 30mm internal width, in 29-inch, 27.5-inch or mullet configuration and weigh around 1,900g - this sounds promising for a race-ready enduro wheelset.
Starting with the rims, Hunt has specced a different lay-up between the front and rear to strike a balance between strength and compliance. The 30mm internal width is fairly standard for enduro these days and both rims use 28 spokes. The rim bed has also been re-designed to make tyre fitting easier and fend off pinch flats.
Hunt Proven Enduro_7, by Ty Rutherford
The spokes are triple butted and the gauge varies between front and rear wheels, again to aid compliance and strength.
The RapidEngage five-degree rear hub uses two pairs of three pawls for engagement. The rear is built around a beefy internal axle and uses REVO bearings with dual full-contact seals. Hubs are available in boost and super boost spacing with XD, HG and Micro Spline free hubs. RockShox torque caps are also available for the front hub if required.
Hunt Proven Enduro_8, by Ty Rutherford
Included with the wheelset is a small care package - keep an eye out for it as I nearly threw it in the bin. The package includes tubeless valves and four spare spokes with nipples/washers which are handy to keep you going.
Hunt Proven Enduro_4, by Ty Rutherford
Hunt Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheelset - Performance
Before testing could start, the wheels needed to be built. The wheels on test are 29-inch, with Boost spacing with a Micro Spline free hub. These came pre-taped and weighed in at 860g front/1,110g rear - 1,970g, slightly over the claimed weight but impressively close.
Unfortunately, the rim tape started peeling away while in the box - I chose to fit the valve hoping the peeling tape would stop and wouldn’t cause me an issue. Frustratingly the next morning the flat tyre confirmed the tape was at fault. Not a great start having to re-tape both wheels - as a side note, re-taping carbon rims is a frustrating process where the tape does not want to stick. I ended up using a hair drier to encourage the adhesive to hold.
Hunt Proven Enduro_1, by Ty Rutherford
Fitting the tyres was slightly more of a fight than expected. The shallow rim bed doesn’t leave much room for the tyre and using tyre levers risks damaging the newly fitted rim tape. I had no issues seating the tyres using an Airshot inflator but it did take up to 40psi before the tyres finally pinged into place. I don’t run inserts and didn’t have any to test but, dare I say, it would be more of a fight to get tyres and inserts fitted into these rims. The bead bed is noticeably tight compared to other rims which makes de-seating the tyres a little harder - on the plus side, I never burped a tyre whilst testing.
I’ve had these wheels on test for four months, predominately through a British winter with a Trans Madeira race thrown in for thoroughness. The positives for this wheelset are its strength and compliance. It’s clear Hunt has worked hard to tune these wheels to deliver riding characteristics that inspire confidence. I’ve found the front to track well over the rough ground while the rear is reliably strong - even when running tyres on the thinner side. Blind racing on these wheels meant lots of unforgiving rock garden ploughing - several times I hit the rim so hard I was waiting for the dreaded loss of air but it never came. Although these wheels aren’t any lighter than an equivalent alloy wheelset, I’d say the strength that comes from carbon is noticeably higher.
Hunt Proven Enduro_12, by Jacob Gibbons
After much battering, I’ve not had to true or tension this wheelset. It has been fit and forget in that regard.
The hub engagement is plenty fast enough and the buzz from the free hub is audible but certainly not as loud as a Hope hub or as insect-like as an Industry 9. On the downside, the bearings have not lasted so well. The rear hub bearings are toast and need replacing already, I would have expected longer out of a set so will try some high-quality aftermarket replacement to see if that improves life.
The paint of the rims has seen better days, lots of rock strikes have taken their toll and chipped the paint. There are some bigger carbon flakes that have chipped off although the carbon underneath seems unaffected.
Hunt Proven Enduro_9, by Ty Rutherford
Hunt Proven Carbon Race Enduro wheelset - Verdict
Retailing at £999, you’d be hard-pushed to find another carbon wheelset for enduro racing that offers as much value. On top of the pricing, Hunt offers some care packages to keep the wheels turning. A three-year warranty against manufacturing defects and a 60-day ride and return period is just the start. The H-Care package is also included with these wheels which equates to free lifetime crash replacement - any damage through intended use will be repaired or replaced for free by Hunt.
Another wheelset that comes close to this offering is Specialized’s Roval Traverse 29 carbon. With a 30mm internal width, lifetime warranty and coming in slightly lighter than the Proven’s these are worth a look. They will set you back a little more at £1,150.
On the whole, this wheelset is a great offering. It provides a strong and trusty carbon wheelset option at an excellent price. The bearing life, rim tape and paint durability are questionable and, at a comparatively low price, Hunt has done a good job creating a wheelset that is strong, compliant and race ready. With the care package included for free, it is hard to justify spending twice the money on a boutique carbon wheelset.
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