Reviewed: Hunt 4Season Gravel Disc Wheels
- Brand: Hunt
- Model: 4Season Gravel Disc Road/Bike-Pack/CX
- From: Hunt Bike Wheels, www.huntbikewheels.com
- Price: £369
- Tested By: Wil
- Test Duration: 10 months
Designed as a versatile do-it-all wheelset that’s ready for anything from cyclocross racing through to gravel riding and wet-weather road training, the Hunt 4Season Gravel wheels have proven to be both durable and exceptionally low-fuss in our time with them. And all at a very impressive price point too.
It’s nearly been a year since we first received our test set of Hunt 4Season Gravel wheels (we’re finding it hard to believe too…), and that’s provided plenty of opportunity to test out the wheels on multiple bikes with different tyres wrapped to them. Initially strapped to my Cotic Roadrat commuter bike, the 4Season Gravel wheels were then thrown into cyclocross racing duty aboard a Whyte Gisburn, where they were hammered with mud, grit and all the leaves that several Yorkshire CX races could throw at them. Since then, I’ve fitted a set of WTB Exposure 34c tyres and used them for longer distance road and gravel riding.
For all the spec information on the Hunt 4Season Gravel Disc wheels, including confirmed weights and a look at what comes in the box, make sure you check out the comprehensive First Look article here.
While Hunt offers a wide range of tubeless road wheels with both alloy and carbon rim options, the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels elect for 6061-T6 heat treated alloy rims from a cost, durability and comfort standpoint. The rims measure 20mm internally, and Hunt states they’ll fit tyres up to 50mm (2in) wide.
Coming pre-taped for tubeless setup, the 4Season Gravel rims were an absolute cinch to setup tubeless with every tubeless tyre we used. Most of those were WTB tyres, which all aired up with just a floor pump – no compressor needed.
The rims are around 24mm deep, and have a fairly rounded profile that’s effective at evading crosswinds. Given it’s almost always windy up on the top of the moors around Calder Valley where I regularly ride, I was most appreciative that I wasn’t getting blown away constantly. However, if you’re doing more gravel riding exclusively and you’re concerned about aerodynamics, Hunt offer a carbon Gravel Disc wheelset that gets 30mm deep rims for a little more wind-cutting performance.
As I’ve found though, the shallow rim depth also means the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels won’t shake your teeth out on rockier trail surfaces. Having a high volume tubeless tyre helps of course, but there were fewer vibrations coming through the bike’s contact points with these wheels compared to some of the stiffer carbon wheels I’ve also ridden.
As for rim width, the 20mm internal width is spot on for the the 32c Exposure tyres I’ve been using these with lately, and Hunt states you can go down to as narrow as 25c. Although I’ve had zero issues at all running a set of 45c WTB Riddlers, a wider rim would provide more low-pressure support with bigger bagged tyres. Currently these are about as wide as Hunt have gone with a 700c wheelset, though the 30Carbon Gravel Disc wheels do measure a little bigger with a 21mm internal width.
At the centre of the wheels you’ll find Hunt’s own-branded hubs that are built by Novatec. Having used and abused many Novatec hubs over the years, I can confirm that this is a very good thing. They’re packed with quality Japanese EZO cartridge bearings, which so far, are still spinning as smooth as the day they turned up. Likewise, the freehub mechanism has been pop and trouble-free, though it’s exceptionally easy to pull apart and service if needed.
I’m also a fan of the Centrelock rotor standard, as it makes installing and removing disc rotors super easy. Hunt includes 6-Bolt adapters in the box with the wheels, so they cover all bases.
Speaking of adaptability, we sourced a SRAM XD freehub body and some thru-axle end caps to setup the 4Season Gravel wheels on the Whyte Gisburn, which uses a 1×11 SRAM Force drivetrain along with a 15x100mm front axle and a 142x12mm for the rear. Hub disassembly is pretty straight forward, though I did run into a clearance issue with the centrelock adapter and the bulky carbon fork blades on the Gisburn. A quick email exchange with Hunt resulted in a slimline Centrelock lockring being sent out to us, which offered more clearance and had the wheels on the bike in no time.
Although the rims and hubs are no doubt good quality items, my favourite aspect of the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels is the fact that they’re handbuilt with a traditional lacing pattern. No proprietary spokes. No annoying straight-pull design that makes them a pain in the arse to true. And no hidden nipples that mean you need to replace the rim tape every time you want to check spoke tension.
Instead, the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels run 28 spokes front and rear in a 2x lacing pattern. The spokes are Pillar PSR are stainless steel and triple-butted, and they use a regular J-bend profile that makes them easy to source if you ever need a replacement. However, Hunt does supply the wheels with a few spares in the box anyway, which is a really nice touch.
Likewise, nipples are made of brass for longterm durability. Alloy nipples might save weight, but they’re more prone to corrosion and rounding out.
Longterm Test Notes
Throughout the 10 months of testing, we’ve had zero hassles with the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels. In fact, I’d say they’ve been quite a boring wheelset – in the good sense. The freehub mechanism isn’t particularly obnoxious, and the smooth-riding nature of the alloy rims combined with high volume tubeless tyres has meant they’ve been suitably comfortable too.
We’re also yet to break any spokes or wear out any bearings, and while I did have to run a spoke key over a couple of the nipples after an untoward encounter with one of Calderdale’s finest road surfaces, there was no damage to the rim itself, and the front wheel has remained wobble-free since.
Strength and rigidity wise, the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels have performed as expected. They’re not as razor-sharp as a set of stiffer carbon wheels or deeper alloy wheels, but thanks to the taut build, they’ve been plenty responsive under both acceleration and steering inputs. There’s been no visible frame or fork rubbing under hard cornering, though at my 68kg riding weight, I hardly expected to encounter any.
On that note, Hunt recommends a maximum riding weight of 115kg for these wheels.
Very early on, I knew I was going to dig the 4Season Gravel Disc wheels. The inner-mechanic in me appreciates the use of standard J-bend spokes and external brass nipples, and the fact that the wheels are handbuilt too. And having installed a number of tubeless tyres without issue, as well as pulling the hubs apart to adapt them for different axle and freehub setups, I’ve also got two thumbs up for the crew at Hunt.
Yes there are lighter and more aero wheels available (Hunt makes those too), but there are very few wheels that can touch the 4Season Gravel Disc when it comes to value and serviceability, and 1683g for a complete alloy wheelset is pretty darn good in my book.