Well, the Hunt 4Season Dura Road wheelset is an excellent all-round choice, and no mistake. These wheels are strong, not over-heavy, tubeless-ready and evenly built. As a first upgrade over heavy stock wheels, or as a good quality winter or all-round option, they're right on the money.
I recently reviewed the Hunt Race Season Aero Wide wheelset which I thought was very good. These 4Seasons take some of the good qualities of those wheels – build quality, tubeless-readiness – and swap out low weight and aerodynamics for solidly built and dependable. They're a 17mm internal width as opposed to 19mm, and they have four extra spokes at each end: 24 at the front, 28 at the back.
> Buy these online here
The overall feel of the wheels is, frankly, not dissimilar. Okay they're over 200g heavier than the Aero wheelset, but they feel tightly built, and a quick check with the spoke tension gauge revealed plenty of tension, evenly distributed.
They never feel ponderous, and I set a fair number of Strava PBs on them after I swapped the lighter wheels out. Okay, some of them might have been wind-assisted... I had to go out in the wind, you see, to check how they behave in blustery conditions. Very well is the answer, not surprisingly for a shallow box rim. They're unfazed by even dramatic sidewind gusts.
Braking performance from the 6000 T6 aluminium alloy rim is very good, too, remaining predictable and reasonably quiet even in some pretty horrific conditions. Over a couple of months of riding the lanes I managed to use most of a set of brake pads, but there wasn't any significant wear to the rims, which bodes well for longevity.
Also good for longevity is the steel insert on the alloy freehub, which stops the splines of the cassette biting into the soft metal and damaging it. It doesn't completely eradicate the notches but it keeps them to a minimum, and meant that a quick tap with the mallet was enough to free the sprockets at the end of testing.
During testing I had no issues with the 4-pawl freehub, nor with the sealed EZO bearings. Everything ran smoothly in spite of being subjected to some biblical conditions. The supplied skewers are an external cam, with a nylon insert instead of the brass one you get on the more expensive Hunt wheels, but they did the job without any fuss.
Tubeless is a big thing right now, and Schwalbe's new Pro One tubeless tyre is one of the new breed that's promising to really boost the profile of road tubeless; Schwalbe's S-One 30mm tyre recently got a rave review and the Pro One is excellent too. A full review is coming, but it's worth touching on the tyres here because Hunt can supply these wheels fitted with the Pro Ones for an extra £100; that's £20 less than the rrp of the tyres and saves you the bother of fitting and sealing them. The wheels come with tubeless rim tape and valves if you fancy sorting them yourselves.
So is it worth getting the Pro Ones? Yes, in a word. They're excellent. They take longer than expected to bed in and they're rather skittish to begin with, but once they've done 100km or so they calm down considerably and you're left with a tyre that has excellent road feel and exceptional grip. They're pretty easy to fit, too: we snapped them off to check the sealant level and refitted them with a Bontrager TLR Flash Charger pump with no issues at all.
The benefits of a tubeless tyre, in case you're not au fait with them, are lower rolling resistance and better puncture resistance, as well as improved comfort because you can run them a bit softer. The main downside is faff, which buying them fitted removes from the equation. At least, the first time...
> Fancy going tubeless? Read more here
The wheels themselves retail for £229, and they're worth it. They're great all-rounders, strong enough for winter, and light enough to use all year round. The £329 wheel-and-tyre package would be a good way to ease yourself into the tubeless world if that's the way you want to go. Certainly for winter riding it makes a great deal of sense.
You can pick up very good, similarly priced wheels from major manufacturers at a fair old discount, around £50 cheaper than these Hunts – think Fulcrum Racing 5 or Shimano RS31 – but the 4Season Dura wheelset does very little wrong, and if you're going tubeless it'll be a sound investment.
Very good tubeless-ready winter wheelset that's good enough to keep on your bike all year
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Make and model: Hunt 4Season Dura Road Wheelset
Size tested: 21mm deep, 23mm wide
Tell us what the wheel is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Hunt says: "Higher spoke count, highly-durable but light spokes, brass nipples, double sealed bearings and a deep grooved rim brake track for extended wear and excellent braking in the wet. A fit and forget tough, durable and weather-proof training and heavy-duty use wheel for your road bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Hunt says: "The specially designed 23mm wide rim gives plenty of tyre volume which will reduce pinch flats as well as significantly increasing comfort and grip. They have a tubeless ready profile and come supplied with tubeless tape and valves. The option to run tubeless enables lower pressures to be used for even better grip and puncture protection in winter conditions. Of course these wheels are designed and tested to work with the best winter clincher tyres and tubes as well as tubeless, so your Continental Gatorskins will work a treat.
"The deeper rim braking track is specifically designed for winter use, the extra material means you get many more miles of use out of them and the CNC machined grooves in the braking track help to move water and dirt away from the pads quickly further reducing wear and improving braking performance, let's face it winter is when you need good braking!
"Weight is still important as you want to perform well all year. Our investment in three key areas achieves both durability and a respectable weight so you can still be at your best when 'The Chase Is On':
"High grade triple butted spokes with PSR re-enforced head are a durable 1.8mm gauge but still save weight.
"Our alloy freehub body is much lighter than the steel freehubs often found at this price point of wheel, but durability remains excellent thanks to the steel spline insert which protects against cassette sprockets damaging the alloy freehub.
"The high-end sleeved rim costs us more to spec, but it significantly reduces weight over other pinned rim options and is just as, if not more, durable.
"A higher 24 front and 28 rear spoke count combined with strong but light 1.8mm triple butted spokes make these wheels tough enough to withstand the roughest of roads. We have also used brass taper-grip nipples to ensure seriously long lasting spoke tension stability and the corrosion resistnce from the brass adds a small amount of weight but protects the wheelset when riding on salt-gritted winter roads. The double sealed EZO bearings with high specification waterproof grease ensure that dirt and grit is kept at bay and the wheels spin smoothly all winter."
Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Very well built, came true with tyres fitted and well sealed. Remained that way throughout testing.
Rate the wheel for performance:
These are great all-round wheels. They're solid, not over-heavy and the braking performance is good.
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
At around 1,700g they're about par given the cost and performance.
Rate the wheel for value:
£229, or £329 including excellent tyres fitted and sealed, is a sound investment either way.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
No issues at all, spoke tension was very even.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
We snapped them off and back on again easily enough with a charger pump.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Rim tape sealed the rims with no issues, skewers are basic but perfectly functional.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
An excellent winter or all-round wheel.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Good value, strong, tubeless-ready.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Age: 43 Height: 189cm Weight: 92kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
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