With the fast pace of gravel technology hitting the market, there has been a surge of new designs for everything from frames and shoes to handlebars and wheels. The up-and-coming British hoop makers at Hunt have stayed on top of the trends, allowing them to capitalize on a glaring hole in the wheel market—affordable rims that are optimized for the demands of gravel riding.
While we’ve tested Hunt’s carbon offerings previously, this time around we’re starting with a pair of 6066 T6 aluminum hoops with which Hunt expanded upon their design of the 4 Season gravel disc rim to be better suited for wide rubber. The internal rim width of the 4 Season X-Wide is expanded to 25mm with a 29mm outer width, 5mm and 4mm wider than the size of the original 4 Season rim. At 19mm deep, the rim retains compliance-optimized performance with a reduced vertical stiffness, which is harder to achieve with deeper-depth wheels. An asymmetric rim shape is used to better balance spoke tension, while corrosion-resistant, external brass nipples simplify the maintenance as well.
Hunt is using 28-pillar, PSR X-TRA cold-forged, J-bend spokes laced to Hunt’s own CNC’d alloy hubs packed with premium Japanese EZO sealed cartridge bearings. With a focus on durability, the high spoke count is a quality component of Hunt’s 4 Season series.
Hunt ships the 4 Season wheels tubeless-ready with the valves and rim tape pre-installed. To assist the tubeless tire installation process, Hunt uses an ETRTO-certified, angled rim-bed design, which encourages the tire to properly seat in the hooked rim.
Hunt recommends a wide range of tire sizes from 23mm to 50mm. We ran fast-rolling 45mm Bontrager GR2 Team Issue tires that measure 46.5mm when set up tubeless on the 4 Seasons. Our first try with an air compressor saw both tires seat seamlessly. Hunt’s H-lock rim-bed design held up to the claims, and the deep central channel made removal of various tires easy as well. No tire levers were needed, thanks to the utilitarian design.
Where we typically run 33–35 psi on 45mm tires, thanks to the extra-wide rim bed, we were able to go lower and run 28-30 psi. The added pneumatic compliance complements the laterally stiff ride quality of the 4 Seasons. Durability was exceptional throughout our testing, even as we made some questionable line choices and bounced the rims off multiple large rocks. The wheelset held up without a wobble.
Hunt’s 4 Seasons share a ride quality similar to the Alexrims GD24 hoops we rode on the Bianchi Arcadex (RBA, May 2021) in terms of weight and feel, but the wide rim design helps smooth out vibrations from rocks and roots much more efficiently. Based on our experience fixing flats on both rims, we preferred the ease of pulling the tires off the wide rims the 4 Seasons provided.
Some anxiety is relieved in gritty conditions, thanks to the choice of sealed cartridge bearings. The extra protection the bearings received from the sealed system requires significantly less cleaning and maintenance than hubs that use a lighter-weight cup-and-cone design. The relatively low cost of the wheelset allows for even more stress-free riding when rolling through rock gardens and extreme terrain. Add Hunt’s 35-percent-off crash-replacement warranty, and you’ll soon realize growing loyalty to the British brand is easy to understand.
Riders looking to benefit from the enhanced compliance and improved ride quality of wider-rim designs should consider Hunt’s 4 Season X-Wide. The 4 Season X-Wides are blurring the lines between gravel and mountain bike rims.
The engineered, easy tire-change process is a much-appreciated relief to know that there won’t be much thumb wrestling on the side of the road when flats do occur, and that is a benefit for road riders, too. Remember, Hunt endorses skinny 23mm tires on the 4 Season the same as 50mm treads. Keep your bike’s frame restrictions in mind, though, as the wide rim does allow tires to balloon past their claimed width. ν
“X-Wide,” as in a 25mm internal rim width
Durable and easy to maintain
Solid value and build
Weight: 1731 grams