At a claimed 1994g for the 27.5 wheelset, the Endurowides slot in at the burlier end of the spectrum. Their large, rounded profile rims have a lot to do with this, often being mistaken for carbon rims out on the trail due to their large volume. But the ride feel of the Endurowides manages to disguise their weight reasonably well, with snappier acceleration than expected. The hubs feel very solid, and the freehub noise is a solid “clack”, loud enough to be useful for alerting other trail users of your presence. This clack doesn’t create a great deal of resistance, with the hubs spinning fast and smooth throughout the duration of the five month test period.
The wide 33mm internal rims provide a nicely spread tire profile on 2.5” tires, with narrower casings beginning to square off a little more than ideal. The H-lock bead profile performed as advertised, with only one tire requiring a compressor to force it to seat, and the others going up with a normal track pump.
The wheels were fitted to my Santa Cruz Nomad, which sees a whole host of different ride scenarios from mile crunching enduro rides up to lift assisted downhill runs in the Alps. Throughout the test period the Endurowides endured more than their fair share of abuse – I’m not a light footed rider, and it’s a rare occurrence that a wheelset will remain straight and ding free for more than a few rides beneath me.
Under hard cornering, the wheels feel reassuringly stiff and precise, with no sign of excessive flex that can plague some alloy rimmed wheels. Comparing the Endurowides back to back with the Dt Swiss E1900 wheelset they replaced, there is a reduction in vibrations transmitted through the bike – this is likely due to the wider spread of the tire carcass due to the greater internal width – which results in less fatigue on extended descents.
In one of the first rides on the wheels, a misleading description of a blind jump led to a substantial case, which straight away put the Endurowides’ strength to the test. In an impact that could have easily written off a lesser wheel, the Hunt wheels rolled out the other side, though not unscathed. A hefty dent in the rim sidewall served as a reminder that riding blind tracks is often a bad idea, but still the Endurowides trucked on, holding tires tubeless for the rest of the testing period and not suffering from any loss in spoke tension as a result. The remainder of the test saw some minor dents being added to the rim sidewalls, but nothing which raised concerns for the overall strength. It is important to consider that a rim denting can save the tire in a harsh impact – especially useful for racers trying to finish a stage.
After around a month of abuse, the spokes did eventually loosen off, though this is a common occurrence for a wheelset being put through the wringer under my control. It was only once these spokes had loosened that the wheel deviated from running straight and true, but some love with the spoke key returned them back to their original state. Once re-tensioned, it took a couple of months until the spoke key was required again, following a week long lift-assisted pummeling of the wheelset in the bikeparks surrounding Morzine in the French Alps.
After a stray log wedged itself in the wheel, a spoke snapped at it’s thin mid-section, which resulted in the rim tape being punctured and the tire pressure instantly escaping. This can’t really be held against the Endurowides though, since it’s fair to assume this would have occurred with any wheelset, and thankfully Hunt’s inclusion of spare spokes and a spoke key mean you need not visit the local bike shop to purchase a replacement.
Pulling the rear hub apart after five months of abuse without being serviced, the internals were surprisingly clean and still covered in a thin layer of grease, which is great praise for the sealing qualities of the freehub. Clearly, abuse in the sloppy UK winters was considered when Hunt were designing these hubs.
Though not a flawless performance by the Hunt Endurowide wheels, they performed admirably under a barrage of abuse. Their weight keeps them on the burlier end of the Enduro wheel market, but given their reasonable price and snappier than expected feeling, the Hunt Endurowides are a great option for those looking for a good wheelset on a budget. I did manage to put quite a few little dents in the rim, which is expected for my weight and riding style, and I am sure it saved more than a few tires. Riders in very rocky or rooty terrain may also put some dents in these wheels as they’re slightly softer than some. Nevertheless, they held shape and I was able to continue running tubeless tires during the entire test period.
Look out for a follow up review of their new 60 points of engagement Rapid Engage rear hub, which is currently being tested, and see if this also stands up to the test of time. Looking at the updated internals, we can see no reason why this upgraded model should have any durability issues. Overall I’d say that Hunt’s wheels are a very competitive option for riders looking at a wide, budget-minded wheelset that performs well.