Are the $780 Hunt All Mountain H_Impact Carbon Wheels Too Good to be True?
Carbon wheels are often the pinnacle of upgrading a mountain bike. They are usually lighter, stiffer, and transfer power more efficiently, which makes for a transformative experience switching from alloy hoops, especially a heavy, flexy OEM alloy wheelset. For years, the carbon mountain bike wheel space was dominated by a small handful of brands, and they were often unattainable for many because of their price. After already spending a few thousand bucks on a mountain bike, who wants to go drop two or three-thousand more on a wheelset?
But every year, we have seen more and more affordable wheels for the average everyday trail rider, to make their bike lighter and improve the ride quality. UK-based Hunt Bike Wheels has been around for a little while, but their wheel distribution is fairly new to the US. Last year when I was in Sun Valley, Idaho for an event, I was introduced to the folks behind Hunt, and they gave me a look at their new All Mountain Carbon H_Impact wheelset. Since then, they have been getting more and more wheels to the West, and are setting up a North American shop in Boulder, Colorado
Last year, I mounted these wheels up on a GT Sensor that came in for testing. As I noted in that review, the ride quality changed tremendously when I put the Hunt wheels on. Stiffer and more responsive? Check. Lighter with quicker acceleration? Check. Not too harsh? Check, check, check.
After a few months hiatus, testing resumed seamlessly on the Hunt wheels. My first ride back on the wheels, I went to a local trail, consisting almost entirely of square-edged rocks. I kept the pressure in my tires low, inviting conflict between rock and rim. At 175-ish pounds of riding weight, I’m not the heaviest rider out there, but considering I’m coming off a winter full of beer and brownies, I’m not the lightest either.
I can’t say there have been any weird pops or pings from the spokes, nor has there been anything else weird to report from the wheels. They still strike an excellent ride quality that is compliant where they can be and not overly stiff, with decisive responsiveness, quick acceleration, and confident handling.
For riders upgrading with a budget in mind, the Hunt All-Mountain H_Impact carbon wheels are hard to beat, if not impossible. They are a fraction of the cost of other carbon wheelsets, but don’t sacrifice the same amount of performance. The Hunt carbon wheels have a spot-on feel and quality to them and with a lifetime crash replacement program in place, the H_Impacts seem like an obvious choice for riders who want to up their wheel game.