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Verdict: 
An excellent choice to upgrade OEM wheels, or to swap between bikes with different axle/drivetrain setups now or in future
Weight: 
1,593g

Back in 2015 Stu rated the Mason Resolution featuring the first 17mm-internal-width incarnation of the collaboratively designed Mason x Hunt 4 Season Disc wheelset. He found that 'stiffness is high, you can really notice that when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle yet they don't feel harsh in any conditions'. The second incarnation is also a cracking buy.

  • Pros: Future-proof axle system, rim width, rotor adapters included, parts availability, subtle branding
  • Cons: None I can think of

At launch in 2015, the Mason X Hunt 4 Season wheels were £349. The 2019 update brings the width out to 19mm, allowing wider tyres and the multiple benefits thereof, for a price of £329. That's about a £55 reduction allowing for 2015-2019 inflation – not bad for a product that's only improved technically.

> Buy these online here

I was reviewing the Hunt 35 Carbon Gravel Disc X-Wides at the same time as these 4 Seasons, and many of the details are the same, so apologies for some repetition...

Like the X-Wides, out of the box the 4 Seasons look the business – jet black with subtle white branding, and a near-invisible square of Hunt's 'Night safe reflective' that really shows up in car lights when rotating at night.

Hunt Mason X Hunt4 Season Disc Wheelset - rim.jpg

Being a 'tubeless-first' wheelset, the setup was child's play: pop in supplied valve, no taping needed as it's already done, add tyres, inflate using air tank. Fitting my go-to supple rubber – Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass 35mm Extralights – needed fingers only, but when inflated there was a decently loud snap as the tyre bead popped over the rim's internal 'H Lock' shoulder and into place. First time up, no faff, stayed sealed – the way tubeless should be. They measured up at 36.4mm, so do pay attention to tyre choice if you're close to your clearance limit.

Hunt Mason X Hunt4 Season Disc Wheelset - rim bed.jpg

In the box you get a bag of bits including the tubeless valves, three spare spokes/spoke tool if you need to replace or tension them (I didn't), 8-9-10-speed freehub adapter spacers, and the axle endcap adapters. As with the X-Wides, these really are the 4 Seasons' party trick, and the main reason to seriously consider them as your next set of hoops.

The beauty of the Hunt system – and a major reason for investing in its wheels, as I see it – is the plethora of axle setups open to you, now and in future.

According to Hunt, the system will: 'Fit all current axle sizes and are easy to change; Front - QR, Bolt thru 12/15/9mm, Rear - QR, Bolt thru 12x142, 12x135, 10x135.'

Hunt Mason X Hunt4 Season Disc Wheelset - rim detail.jpg

So that's pretty much every possible option on the market today, and for the foreseeable future. And no doubt should a new 'standard' arise, Hunt will make adapters to fit. The adapters are available from Hunt for a tenner, should you need more for different bikes or to lend to a friend.

Setting up

The bikes I used for the review were a mix of QR and 15mm thru-axles. As I said, I was also reviewing the rather excellent Hunt 35 Carbon Gravel Disc X-Wide wheelset at the same time, and swapped tyres between them and the 4 Seasons to test out their on and off-road ability. As the more-gravelly bike uses SRAM Rival 1x11 with the XD driver hub body, I was swapping not only axles and endcaps, but the entire cassette/freehub body too. As I said in that previous review, this was a perfect opportunity to live the life of a customer with multiple wheelsets, possibly multiple bikes, and who liked to mix and match wheels, tyres and drivetrains depending on the riding to hand. As Hunt's hub specifications have evolved over the years, if you are considering running an ecosystem of wheels it would be best to check with Hunt for compatibility between wheelsets.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best gravel and adventure tyres

I would bang on the thinner-tyred, lighter 4 Seasons set for longer tarmac rides up the glens, then swap over to the hugely strong, X-Wides shod with the still-awesome Rene Herse Steilacooms for oodles of chunky, rough drop-bar biking about the Perthshire hilltops. See the review on the X-Wides for more there. This said, the 4 Seasons were perfectly at home on loose gravel, in mud and over rocks.

Swapping out the axle endcaps from the other wheelset took a few seconds. You do need to remove the disc rotors to access the QR and 15mm axle endcaps, but as they are Centerlock rotor holders this is an easy, quick operation – just have a standard Shimano 16-notch bottom bracket tool and 40Nm torque wrench to hand.

Hunt Mason X Hunt4 Season Disc Wheelset - front hub.jpg

As my bikes used different brake pads, I had to swap rotors as well – no major issue as removing the QR and 15mm endcaps requires removing the rotor lockring anyway. My original wheelsets were standard 6-bolt rotor hubs, not one-piece Centerlock rotors, so I had to use the provided 6-bolt adapters to hold the rotors in place. These went together easily, and held the rotors securely. If you want to make swaps really fast and faff-free, the one-piece Shimano Icetech rotor is an option that Hunt has 'extensively tested', although if you're running 15mm front thru-axles, clearance for the tool might be an issue requiring axle removal first. Hunt's UK-based helpline is very good at clarifying exactly what you need.

One issue with swapping hubs and rotors between bikes is the opportunity for miniscule variations in engineering tolerance in the hub, rotor, dropout or calliper to lead to a slight amount of rotor-pad rub, especially if you have a calliper with a minimal amount of pad travel between open and closed. Thus when swapping the wheels onto one bike (SRAM Rival) I had to perform a bit of calliper shenanigans to prevent rotor rub. Not a full re-alignment per se, but as the pads were partly worn the setup needed just a light bit of 'encouragement' with a pad spreader lever for one piston to be a bit more retracted than the other, so as to balance out the centre point they would bite onto.

Literally, remove wheel, press the pad you know is going to rub a bit inwards, squeeze the brake to get the other piston pushed out a bit further (fooling it into thinking the pad had worn more that side) and job done. Of course, you may be running callipers that have enough pad retraction so as not to rub when swapping wheelsets.

Swapping over the freehub body/cassette was similarly easy – pop on some gloves and pull lightly outwards on the cassette – the whole thing coming off the axle without recourse to the locknut. The only thing you need to watch out for is a small red spacer shim that goes between the freehub inner bearing and hub bearing – I'm guessing that's why Hunt made it in red, so it was obvious when missing.

Hunt Mason X Hunt4 Season Disc Wheelset - rear hub.jpg

A benefit not immediately obvious here is that if you break a rear driveside spoke in the middle of nowhere, say on a bikebacking tour, replacement is dead easy – no need for a cassette tool, chain whip and spanner to get the cassette off to thread a new spoke on.

Hunt specifies high-quality Japanese EZO bearings, and supplies replacement sets at £12 per hub. As the axles aren't 'shouldered' so can be removed in seconds, bearing replacement is easy with a basic bearing puller kit – just be aware that Hunt inserts an alloy tube between the bearings, so it will need to be a proper 'lip-free' blind bearing puller.

Performance

On the road over three months – be it gravelly, rocky or tarmac – the Mason X Hunt 4 Season Discs didn't disappoint. They felt solid, with no discernible flex likely to create tyre rub if you're pushing the limits of your frame clearance. Talk of 'stiffness' or 'comfort' is pretty much moot with large, soft tyres – so let's just say that the 4 Seasons felt great, steering was sharp under cornering/braking, and the 4-pawl 10-degree engagement freehub felt snappy when accelerating hard. The ratchets are on the loud side, so if you're after stealth maybe look elsewhere. The freehub body is coated with a special treatment that Hunt says provides 'excellent durability against cassette sprocket damage'. Removing my cassette after a fair bit of riding, I couldn't see any sign of wear at all – so it's obviously working.

The rim's profile is asymmetric to equally distribute the spoke tension load, and the 24mm depth didn't catch the wind – not that they're 'aero' mind, you'd not be buying a wheelset like the 4 Seasons to knock a few seconds off your 10-mile TT. The wheels stayed perfectly true despite a fair bit of off-road bashing, the black finish keeping its good looks with no scratches visible from mud/branches, and only one mark got through to the alloy underneath where it collected a hefty wayward stone.

Hunt Mason X Hunt4 Season Disc Wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

In terms of value, £300-£350 is a price range with a lot of competition for decent OEM-upgrade wheelsets. If you've spent a grand or so (Cycle-To-Work-scheme-friendly) on a Shimano 105-equipped bike then around £300-ish to get better wheels would be a very common upgrade. So how do the 4 Seasons Discs stack up? You can spend less – like the now £239.99 Miches that Stu gave 3.5 stars – but they're half a kilo heavier and don't take QRs. Or spend £6 more for the slightly heavier Fulcrum Racing 5s (now £334.99) – but there are question marks over tubeless compatibility, and you don't get disc rotor adapters or tubeless valves included.

Probably one of the closest comparisons would be with the AlexRims CDX4 set that Dave gave 4.5 stars to – now £339.99, a very similar weight, and also doing the QR-12-15mm axle shuffle. But AlexRims doesn't include the QR skewers, tubeless rim tape or valves in the package, nor do you get Centerlock rotor converters, 10x135 isn't an option, and there's no cassette bite guard on the freehub either.

> 238 tubeless wheelsets from £114 to £2,400

All in all, for £329, I just can't fault version two of the 4 Season Discs – on price, weight, setup, performance, axle compatibility or included accessories. Hunt has evolved what was already a highly regarded budget-friendly upgrade wheelset into a product that, for the weight and price, is seriously competitive – then when you factor in the future-proof hub system, they stand alone for life-long value. Assuming no mishaps, and with all parts readily available, these will be the last wheels you'll need to buy for general road and gravel/byway riding for quite some time.

Verdict

An excellent choice to upgrade OEM wheels, or to swap between bikes with different axle/drivetrain setups now or in future

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Mason X Hunt 4 Season Disc Wheelset

Size tested: 27mm deep, 24mm 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: "Whilst working with Dom Mason to spec his Mason Cycles, we realised that the specification and weights of the few available 700c road/CX disc wheels were not ideal for a performance bike that would be used in all weather conditions.

"We knew we could use our links with suppliers to HUNT for improvements in every detail. We enlisted our love for performance bike parts, applied our industry experience and set about creating Hunt Bike Wheels. A lightweight, durable year-round disc wheelset was one of our first projects, the outcome was the award-winning MASON x HUNT 4 Season Disc wheelset."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

From Hunt:

THE FAST YEAR-ROUND ALLOY DISC WHEELSET

Tyres | Wide 19mm rim bed creates a wide tyre profile. Great with 23 tyres, ideal for 25, 28 and cross tyres up to 45c. Also work excellently with clincher tyres and tubes.

Hubs | HUNT 4 Season Disc J-bend spoke hubs with extra bearing shielding. 10° RapidEngage 4-pawl freehub, with H_CERAMIK coating for enhanced durability. SRAM XDR Driver available. Centre-lock disc mount, 6-bolt disc adaptors included.

Axles | Easily adaptable & we fit them for you. Fit all current axle sizes and are easy to change; Front - QR, Bolt thru 12/15/9mm, Rear - QR, Bolt thru 12x142, 12x135, 10x135.

Included | Tubeless tape & valves, spare spokes, spoke key, axle adapters (please fill in the simple form after checkout to select your required size), pair of 6bolt disc adapters.

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Everything is tight, smooth and high quality.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
10/10

Flawless – faultless hub action, dead smooth bearings.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10

Still looking fabulous and dead straight after three months' use – early days perhaps, but signs are very good.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10

Could you get much below the stated 1,588g without compromising the adaptability and longevity of the wheelset? Highly commendable, I'd say.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
9/10

An rrp of £329 for a 1,500-1,600g alloy wheelset is middle of the road, but adding in the adaptability and ease of swapping/maintenance makes the value better.

Considering the future-proofness, the value is outstanding.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Straight as a die.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Fingers-only. Couldn't be easier.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

Tubeless tape worked perfectly, as did the other hardware.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Can't fault them – a classic just got classic-ier.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The modularity of the hubs and the tight tolerances.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Nothing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

You can spend £90 less for a much heavier, less adaptable set like the Miche Race AXY DX WP Disc wheelset, or about the same for Shimano's AX31 set with, again, less adaptability and a narrower rim bed.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The overall experience using them on different bikes over three months has been flawless, I really can't fault them. And the price is sharp for the spec. Maybe, just maybe, they could be a little lighter... then they'd be a 10.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is: Velocite Selene

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.

11 comments

Avatar
kil0ran [1647 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes

This is a prime example of the value that volume wheel production adds.

Yes, you could get the same thing built for less, with the same adaptability, but you wouldn't necessarily have the warranty backup that Hunt provide. Nor would you get the various adapters that Hunt sell at the price they sell them. Not sure if these are still on Novatec hubs but axle converters/end-caps for those definitely aren't a tenner.

The practical content in this review also gives plenty of food for thought as I'm in the same boat of wheel-swapping as Mike. I hadn't considered the benefit of centrelock over 6-bolt for example, but have experienced the reality of caliper alignment and pad swapping. The "stick a different set of wheels on" option is rarely a quick job.

Likewise, if you've gone tubeless I'd imagine the days of swapping tyres on a single set of rims is gone, even with something like the Milkit system. 

I do begin to wonder sometimes if the gravel rabbit-hole (for UK riders at least) just has a 26" hardtail at the bottom of it  4

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1862 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

So, as ever... what would they have to do to get five stars, then?

Avatar
David9694 [128 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

I’m feeling a bit old- fangled, having read about this product’s features. I haven’t got my head around disc brakes, tubeless, nor yet thru axles. It looks to me like a £50 air tank would repay itself against spend on Inner tubes after 2-3 years.  I run one pair of Hunt rim brake wheels that I’m basically happy with although their early  freehubs  were among the worst for getting gouged. 

It sounds like the maker has thought of lots of variations, but it does all sound like a lot of fiddle and bits that are going to get lost in all that gravel (by the way, let me know where all this gravel actually is in England - I’m near the New Forest, so I’ve got some, but this doesn’t seem sufficient to drive an entire craze).

Two things in the review caught my eye:

“Swapping out the axle endcaps from the other wheelset took a few seconds. You do need to remove the disc rotors to access the QR and 15mm axle endcaps, but as they are Centerlock rotor holders this is an easy, quick operation – just have a standard Shimano 16-notch bottom bracket tool and 40Nm torque wrench to hand.”

This sounds like one of those “swimming the Channel is simple, all you’ve got to do...” sort of sentences, which characterises how tricky it is to swap components around. My posse of bikes are all Shimano 10s and swapping QR wheels requires no gizmos and adjustment of rim brakes is relatively simple. 

“Swapping over the freehub body/cassette was similarly easy – pop on some gloves and pull lightly outwards on the cassette – the whole thing coming off the axle without recourse to the locknut.”

driveside rear spokes are the only ones I’ve ever had break, so this feature could be handy - it sounds like the freehub, complete with cassette, can be pulled off, roadside sans tools. 

 

 

Avatar
DoctorFish [223 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like
David9694 wrote:

(by the way, let me know where all this gravel actually is in England - I’m near the New Forest, so I’ve got some, but this doesn’t seem sufficient to drive an entire craze).

 

Many many miles of canal towpaths, fire break roads through woodlands, bridleways, and just those really narrow poorly maintained country lanes with stuff growing through the broken tarmac.  

The rest of the time they make a great winter bike, or just a road bike that is very nearly as quick as a normal road bike.  For leisure riders like me I'm happy to lose out on a km/h just so that I can answer the question "I wonder what is down that track" when I'm out on a ride.  Occasionally I come across something too rocky or too muddy, then I just get off and walk that section of track.

Don't think of it as a gravel bike, think of it as a do anything bike.  Mine is fitted with a rack and mudguards, adds a bit of weight, but means I can also pop to the shops.

I really like my lighter, slightly faster, carbon bike, but more and more I'm failing to see the point in a road bike over a gravel bike unless you are actually racing.

Avatar
cdean [63 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
David9694 wrote:

It looks to me like a £50 air tank would repay itself against spend on Inner tubes after 2-3 years. 

 

Just on the compressor/tubeless tank point, I bought v1 of these wheels last year. I originally fitted the Schwalbe Duranos that were on the wheels that these replaced and they were an absolute pig to get on, especially bad considering they’d already been fitted to other wheels. I had to use tyre levers and flatted a few inner tubes getting them on. I’ve had two punctures on them and both times getting the tyre back on the rim has been a struggle.

 

In contrast, yesterday I fitted some Hutchinson Fusion 5 tyres as tubeless and got them both on easily and without levers. They sealed first time using my cheapy Lifeline track pump – I didn’t need CO2, a tank, a compressor, any soapy water or anything like that. I inflated them with an inner tube first, then deflated them leaving one bead on, added sealant and then reinflated without a tube. Easy peasy. 

 

There’d definitely be more faff swapping tyres between wheels though as you’d have to clean out the dried on sealant first.

Avatar
IanEdward [326 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Hmm.. sorry to be a cynic, but I don't consider an 'easily removeable' freehub to be a design feature, more of a design flaw, or at least a design oversight!

Yes it can be handy, but for day to day use it's more likely to be a headache, I've had a Hope freehub come off, with cassette, on more than one occassion when I didn't expect it (think cold, wet puncture repairs at the roadside when the chain pulls sideways on the cassette as you remove or refit the wheel). If the pawls on the Hunt freehub are properly captive then it's less of an issue, no desperate scrabbling about in the muck for gritty pawls, but I'd still rather just ride home minus a spoke than have to risk accidentally losing a pawl!

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KiwiMike [1426 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
IanEdward wrote:

If the pawls on the Hunt freehub are properly captive then it's less of an issue, no desperate scrabbling about in the muck for gritty pawls, but I'd still rather just ride home minus a spoke than have to risk accidentally losing a pawl!

 

I can confirm that no such misfortune befell me in several months of removing the freehub quite often.

It also only comes out if you really want it to, such is the precision fit of the parts. No way it's falling off accidentally. 

Avatar
Freddy56 [421 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Thanks for heads up Road.cc. Ive just ordered these for my Kona gravel bike. Is delivery quick from Hunt anyone?

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bike_food [213 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Freddy56 wrote:

Thanks for heads up Road.cc. Ive just ordered these for my Kona gravel bike. Is delivery quick from Hunt anyone?

Yes, next day if ordered by 3 I think.

I replaced the stock wheels on my Whyte wessex with these a few weeks ago.

I also replaced the stock tubes which were 130+ grams with some conti race lights which are around 80.

The changes have transformed the bike, not a huge weight saving from the wheels, the front was actually heavier and the rear around 100 grams lighter but the feel of the bike in general, most notably when accelerating has improved.

The stock wheels were troublesome from the start however with spokes coming undone after most rides so clearly not setup right out of the box.

Avatar
Drinfinity [247 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Ordered Monday at 9pm. Just got a text saying they will arrive at 9.30 - 10.30 am today (Wednesday). So yes, delivery is good.

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alan sherman [36 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

24 spokes front and rear 2 cross?  I wonder how durable they will be, I'd have expected 28 or 32 (the ol' tradsitionalist that I am).  If a spoke goes pop they'll pringle well.

Looking at the hunt website there is a slightly heavier build with 28 spokes per wheel that'd be my preference.  Or even better is the superdura dynamo disc, although I'm trying to work out how they are using an asymetric rim on a dynamo hub, I'd have expected a symetrical rim with disc and electrical connections on the hub being symmetric.