aero wheel wisdom

glueing%20wheels%201.jpg I’d like to share just a few thoughts about wheels…because too few of you are asking me. People get the most nonsensical ideas about high performance wheels, and I can only surmise that this results from hearsay, undigested marketing propaganda, and a weak understanding of science. So here follows some general guidelines for choosing high performace aero wheels…

gluing%20wheels%202.jpg 1) The low-profile “aero” rim- if the rim is anything less than 30mm deep, it ain’t all that “aero”. With a tire on the 25mm deep rim, the cross section is at best 48mm deep and 20-23mm wide. That’s just too blunt a shape to smooth out the rupture in the air made by the tire’s leading edge. Also, low profile rims usually require more spokes, which also churn up the air. Why then do so many manufacturers make short, “teardrop”-shaped rims? Because the triangular cross-section is an efficient structure for a spoke-tensioned hoop…and they look cool. Are these rims any more aerodynamic than a box-section like a Mavic Open Pro? Probably…but probably not by a meaningful margin.

2) Front vs rear wheels- Surely you’ve noticed in time trials that most Pro-Tour riders use a carbon disc wheel on the back and a really deep section (or maybe carbon tri-sopke) aero wheel up front. You’d be right to think that a disc is the more aerodynamic wheel but wrong to think a disc was choosen as the rear wheel because the rear position is aerodynamically more important. Not true. Time trialists on the road rarely use a disc up front because a disc’s large side area makes it too sensitive to crosswinds. A disc in the rear position won’t affect steering like it would in the front. But here’s a fact that most people don’t understand: the front is the more important position. The front wheel is your leading edge into the undisturbed airstream; the rear wheel lives in the “dirty” air churned up by the front wheel, fork, frame, and your very unaerodynamic, spinning legs. The most aerodynamic wheel in the world can only do so much to smooth that airflow. What does this mean? Well, unless Zipp is sponsoring you, you likely have a limited budget for time trial wheels. You want bang-for-the-buck? Just buy a front with a deep-profile (like 50mm or more). But you ask, “What do I do if I’m a lightweight rider and there are strong crosswinds?” Well, Skippy, I guess you’re gonna have to suck it up. If it’s survival conditions on the course, just run a standard wheel up front. If you can ask me if you should buy a moderate-profile wheelset for high winds and a deep-profile set for good conditions, then I guess Zipp is sponsoring you…

3) “climbing wheels”- If you want to know if a set of chi-chi “climbing” wheels is right for you, ask yourself these questions: Is the joy of a smooth riding bike more important than a competitive edge? If you do compete, do you spend the majority of the race going uphill at less than 17mph? Does your bike spend a significant amount of time on a gram scale? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then go out and buy those climbing wheels now! The facts are that a real aerodynamic advantage will beat a weight advantage at any speed above a crawl but a deep-profile aero wheel is going to ride harsher. Climbing wheels are also for the vanity of people who need the lightest bike their money can buy, and personally I am so over gram-counters. Yesterday at work, some tosser interrogated me about the weights of the inner tubes we had in stock. You can go ahead with your delusions that saving 15 grams on an inner tube would have you flying like Pantani on the cols, but buy yourself a gram scale and leave me out of it. (Besides, Pantani would have never gotten rid of a few grams.)

Is light weight a good thing? Yes. Is it better than aerodynamics? Usually not. Do I have to choose between weight and aerodynamics? With the latest carbon deep-profile wheels on the market, no…you can have both…you just won’t have money left to buy food or pay rent.

Everything I just said has to do with performance with the merest mention of cost effectiveness and ease of use, but not aesthetics, service-ability, durability or any of those others issues. You want to tell me how your best friend heard from some pro that such and such brand wheel is like…the fastest? Oh yeah, anecdotal evidence has so much value. You want to know exactly which wheel is the fastest? Hire some scientists, build some test fixutres, and buy some windtunnnel time…that’s an expensive question, and one that becomes very specific to conditions of the race course. But stray not far from my wisdom and you will do no wrong.

glueing%20wheels%203.jpg







…looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing tubular glue.



36 Comments

Damn straight. 
pretty much boils down what I tell customers all the time. 
I happen to work for a company that has built some fixtures, bought a lot of wind tunnel time, and borrowed some really smart scientists. 

and be careful with that tube, otherwise you’re like to glue your nostril shut. 
-Andy (I work at Hed wheels)

Mark,
Well stated commentary. My only addition to your comments is that our Hed Stinger 60 and 90 provide a rather plush ride because of the bulged aero sidewalls.  The Stinger 50 is really quite vertically stiff as it does not have the built in suspension of the deeper stingers.
Dino, Hed Cycling Products

....I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.

just a disclaimer:  neither I nor my team is sponsored by Hed, nor do I currently own Hed products. But I do like Hed wheels as well as those from some other manufacturers.  The Hed wheels I’m gluing in the photos belong to Byron, Hugger in Chief; I’m just in it for the cheap high.

Hey that’s where my new race wheels are! I’ve been wondering after I dropped them off at the shop a loooong time ago. I’ll talk more about Hed’s wheels in a forthcoming post. My 07 race bike will roll with the [Stinger 50](http://www.hedcycling.com/wheels/stinger50.php) for crits and hillier races (like the 2 of those I do a season) and the [Jet 60](http://www.hedcycling.com/wheels/jet60.php) for the circuits courses with rollers.

Check [this article](http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/techctr/windtunnel.html) on Hed’s wind-tunnel studies for more on aerodynamics and the results of their findings.  And some of [Hed’s knowledge](http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/product2007/wheels/wheelshed.html) is trickling out in [a new tire](http://www.bontrager.com/Road/Wheelworks/Tires/21239.php) from Bontrager that has a wedge to “blend” the tire/rim interface, a significant source of turbulence.

Also,  a little-known fact is that those high-zoot Bontrager wheels Discovery rides are Hed’s patented rim shape with Rolf influenced twin-paired spoke design and hubs.

For the past few years, I raced on Hed Alps and what liked most about them is how they just rolled. My totally unscientific test of an aero wheel is to spin it in the bike stand, go upstairs, make an espresso, and come back. If that wheel is still spinning, imagine what it’‘ll do in a paceline.

The [weight weenies](http://weightweenies.starbike.com/) will debate endlessly on spinning up a wheel v flying through the air with it. What I know is if a wheel feels fast, then it’s fast. I’ve ridden “light” wheels that “plunged” into corners and felt like I was pedaling in sand.

I’d much rather be on a wheel that’s heavier, rolls like a dynamo, and can take a pounding.

Why does a deep profile rim ride harsher? I haven’t found any “science” that can support that claim but I havent turned every rock, yet. =)

Rikard,

The stiffness of the rim, with more structure in the deep V; however, as Dino notes above that depends on how the rim is made.

here’s two rim profiles at opposite ends of the spectrum to illustrate the difference. one is a Hed Stinger 50 and the other is an old Mavic GL330 (about 13mm deep), both tubular rims.  a low profile rim like the GL330 has more give because it can elastically deform out of round in response to road impacts.  you can actually see how flexible the rim is when it’s not laced up.  as a laced wheel, it’s still more flexible since the spokes will deform elastically as well.  a rim that is 50mm deep is a lot more rigid whether it is aluminium or carbon. and affecting it to a lesser extent, the spokes are shorter in length and thus must have less total elastic deformation. my mathmatical knowledge of moment of inertia of round hoops is a bit dodgy, but you can imagine a plastic ruler.  the ruler will bend easily in the direction perpendicular to the broad face, but it will hardy bend at all perpendicular to the edge.  the GL330 is like the ruler on its face and the Stinger 50 is the ruler on its edge.  there are of course other factors, but these would be the main ones.
that said, ride quality is by definition subjective, is a lot harder to measure quantitatively, and probably isn’t worth the money of the testing process anyways.  look at two extreme examples like this and most riders could probably detect some difference.  would it be significant?  depends on the rider.  life is about sacrificing for your goals.  you want fast race wheels?  the choice isn’t hidden.

Ok, so the deep rim is less comfortable than a really soft rim when ridden in a straight line on rough surface. =)

I have an MSc in engineering so I got the stiffnes part. But, when you compare two modern high quality wheels with differently deep rims, the difference in deformation due to road roughness is extremely small. The difference in lateral stiffness can easily be felt though and my opinion is that the deep (and stiff) wheel would be the comfortable one, thus my original question.

But it is really a question of semantics. =)

I think lateral stiffness might be another issue, one that I would suspect would have more to due with control and (perhaps perceived) responsiveness.  Lateral deflection can be easily measured provided that one has the proper fixture, but there isn’t a whole lot of data out there.  I do remember seeing an article a number of years ago (perhaps Zinn in Velonews?) where a number of wheels were tested.  My memory is pretty good for these kind of things, and I seem to remember that rim depth was not only significant factor, and it may not have been the most significant.  Spoke number and tension had a big role.  Front wheels were laterally stiffer than rears (except for composite spoked wheels, since they are identical except for the hub) and almost all rear wheels were assymetrical (deflected more to the left).  I can tell you without a doubt that there definitely are cases were lateral stiffness does not correlate to perceived comfort.  I used to race with a front Spinergy Rev-X for the aerodynamic benefits (those old Rev-Xs might not compare very well to todays aero wheels, but they beat the hell out of a 32-spoke standard wheel).  I owned the matching rear, but I rarely used it in races.  It was a first generation model, which was notoriously flexy laterally.  I could make it rub the pads in a sprint, but they didn’t seem comfortable to me.  However, my Corima C+ track disc IS laterally stiff, yet neither does it impress me with comfort. (It does, however, sound BAD-ASS on the banking.)
Another thought: though the Rev-X was a tensioned spoked wheel, it was also a a composite spoked wheel in that it didn’t have metal wire spokes like the vast majority of bicycle wheels.  All other composite spoked wheels resist vertical deformation mainly through compression.  Yet for deformation due to road roughness, you would say that the difference between these composite spoked wheels and standard wheels is “extremely small.”  But you will have difficulty finding people who will say that a composite spoked wheel has the same perceived compliance as a wire-spoked wheel.  It’s highly likely that I’m missing something when trying to explain ride quality, but I haven’t seen anyone else with a better explanation. The opinion of deep wheels riding harsher (apologies to Hed) is far too widespread for me to disregard its existence. And Pro-Tour teams seemingly have money and access to stuff we plebes can only dream of.  If they wanted to run deep wheels for Paris-Roubaix, they certainly could, but I haven’t seen it yet.  Oddly, Magnus Backstedt won P-R in 2004 on a set of “climbing wheels”, which just goes to show that P-R is an anamoly in today’s races.  Deep wheels are almost the universal preference for short or long races except mountain stages.

Compression spoke wheels and tensioned wheels are two different behemoths. I was comparing wheels with different rim depths and “normal” spokes.

There is a paper on wheel stiffness by HP Gavin. Its often misquoted but if one understands the math its a really good read. In summary lateral stiffness depends linearly on rim depth and rim material. For tensioned wheels it also depends on the total cross section of the spokes (number of spokes times spoke gauge and modulus of material). Tension has however very little to do with stiffness. At least if its high enough not to let any spokes go slack.

Lateral stiffness is easy since it is well defined and can be measured easily. =)

I however do not think that there is any essence in the myth that high profile rims ride harsher. It just a self propagating myth that is based on a few first generation wheels and a lot of rumours.

Personally I prefer my wheels super stiff in al directions and let the tires do the comfort. =)

here’s the article that Rikard is talking about
http://www.duke.edu/~hpgavin/papers/HPGavin-Wheel-Paper.pdf

do note that rim depth and spoke count are constants in the actual tests.  spoke pattern and gauge were the variables.


and here’s an interesting article that takes a strictly empirical approach and tests several different designs:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel/grignon.htm

note on this one that radial stiffness is assumed to be inversely proportional to comfort.

I have enjoyed the discussion on stiffness aerodynamics and the link to the article on spoke pattern is an awesome link. Thanks Mark V.
Recently cycling has seen a number of riders taking deep aero rims and using them as a daily use wheel. Hed 3 and Specialized tri seem to be the most prevalent. I would think the tri design gives them increased durability factor.

What I am wondering is how a wheel similar to a Jet 90 new or old design (circa 99)  would hold up to daily street riding. If one cross laced the wheel,  I am thinking 2x after reading that study so you have the lateral stiffness but a softer torsional flex to take dropping off curbs or potholes,  a light weight rider up to 150lbs might very well get a lot of use and length out of a deep profile rim running it through daily abuse. The 90 has a 24 or 28 spoke count and I am wondering if this could handle the abuse a front wheel takes.

Thoughts?

Great site!!  Hey, I heard of a guy racing a Mavic spoked Power Tap wheel with a wheel fairing over the spokes for aerodynamics.  Is this smart?  Will he gain an advantage over the purely spoked wheel?  Or, should he ditch the Power Tap in races and race a solid disc?  Thanks.

Hey Chris,
assuming it’s something like a 32-spoke on a typical aluminium rim, then the wheel fairing is going to be aerodynamically faster for sure. As for faired Powertap vs disc, I guess it depends.  A good modern disc will be faster than a faired wheel, but probably not night and day.  The reason is that the rear wheel sits in relatively “dirty” air behind the front half of the bike and the rider’s legs.  Still, a modern disc should be both lighter and aerodynamically cleaner than a faired wheel.  The Powertap function might fulfill other needs, so the choice becomes a matter of priorities.

Knowing your power output in a Time Trial or similar effort is VERY useful information (much more so than heart rate).  For those folks who can’t afford an SRM, running a PowerTap wheel with covers is a great option.  You know exactly what sort of power you are capable of putting out, and you don’t pay a huge penalty for getting that data by using the PowerTap setup.

What you said makes a lot of sense but it seems like you are only considering 0 degrees of yaw w/respect to the wind direction.  From what I understand, in wind angles greater than ~7 degrees the disk wheels actually help to “push” you along.  If this is true wouldn’t it be better to invest in a rear disk than a deep section front wheel?

http://www2.bsn.de/cycling/WheelAerodynamics.html

Sid

Good point that real world riding usually involves wind hitting from some angle other than straight ahead.  If the choice is to run a rear disc or a rear deep section wheel in a time trial, the fastest choice is clearly a disc. BUT if the choice was a rear disc with a convential front or a front deep section with a conventional rear, I’d still say go with the latter.  Here’s why:

1) Those tests that you linked to most certainly tested wheels by themselves, not on a bike.  As such, the wheels’ performance numbers should be considered potentials rather than actual.  Because of the position of the rear wheel, you can’t expect the rear wheel to come as near to its potential as a front wheel operating in nonturbulent air.  Lift is usually really sensitive to having a smooth airflow over the leeward (low pressure) side of a foil (or in this case disc).  In other words, what I said about rear vs front wheels still holds for lift, as it does for drag.

I’m willing to admit to the possiblity that a rear disc might get closer to its potential than I think it can, but isolating the drag/lift effects of a wheel in a test rig that can account for yet control the effects of a bike frame AND rider in varying yaw angles would be REALLY difficult.  So I don’t anticpate anyone definitively proving me wrong without throwing a ton of money at the question. 

Again, I don’t doubt that a disc is the fastest wheel for a given postion.  I’m saying that the front is distinctly the more important position, enough so that a reasonably good front aero wheel will usually beat a rear disc.

2) Cost.  Simply put, a front aero wheel is almost always cheaper than a full-on rear disc.

3) Versatility.  Sure a disc is great for time trials, but I’d never run a disc in a crit or a road race.  The huge cross section makes the bike handle funny, especially leaned over in a turn.  I’d have no hesitation in running a 50mm deep front except in really heavy winds, though.

4) Sprinting.  Sure track sprinters use discs, but a track is usually (apologies to Dick Lane Velodrome) super smooth.  During crits or road races, coming out of bumpy corners or sprinting on rough roads tends to make the deeper rear wheels skip rather adhere. Not fast. Front aero wheels don’t seem to have that problem to the same extent in turns, and not at all for me in straight lines.  I’m not the only person to feel this way, but since I don’t have any hard data on this you are welcome to your own opinion. 

By the way, someone suggested to me that ride “harshness” was due to the harmonics of the wheel.  His background was rally car racing, and he told me about a this car that was breaking driveshafts.  The engineers spec’ed a weaker, thinner walled shaft that had a lower harmonic that the original, and the problem vanished. 

He reasoned that higher profile rims have a higher frequency harmonic that resonated against the frequency range of road vibrations at typical bike speeds.  Sounds plausible, but it’s not really my forte.  If I can find some English-speaking wheel engineers at Interbike who know, I’ll ask them about their thoughts.

Well written.

-Murph (BL Bikes, Solana Beach)

I cant discern any difference between my Corimma disc and my Power Tap with cover. The main difference is that the Disc dosent get used any more!!

jeff

Don’t forget the ‘rotating’ drag created by a wheel - distinct from the purely ‘linear’ drag of a wheel (rotating or not) in forward motion.
The use of a disc wheel at the back must then be seen as of great advantage.  The aerodynamic interaction between the spokes of a conventional wheel and he numerous chassis members (chain stays, seat stays, even the chain itself) create rotational drag.  This dag will be substantially reduced by the use of a disc wheel instead.

I have an old heavy Ambrosia fiber glass disc wheel which I belive is called an “ENER-N.M.”

My computer crashed and I lost all my info.  I was corisponding with a guy named Jon from Madison.  His wheel was featured in a test some years ago.  I know this isn’t much info, but it’s all I have.
If you have an address I would sure appreciate it.

i am thinking about investing in some aero wheels. I was looking at the zipp 808 wheels with a wireless powertap but there have been many people that tell me that zipp are just a rip off. That i can get just as good a wheel at half the price. I priced it with the powertap and it came to around 3,200. What are your thoughts? What wheel would you go for? fyi I ride on a trek madone 5.9sl…

thanks in advance..

Mark,

Don’t know John.

Aaron,

I don’t think Zipp’s are a “rip-off,” they’ve got their brand, following, and styling. They are however, in some cases at too light. We just heard that from Paris Roubiax, where they were breaking and other wheels were not.

We’re fans of Hed here because they offer a good value, straight-up technology, wind-tested, and not just hype like dimples. Same thing with Reynolds. A great wheel that’s all carbon.

Brontrager has some relationship with PowerTap and that’s the only real value I’ve seen in a carbon wheel built with their unit.

OK, I don’t belong here (on this site). I’m a hack. I ride as hard as I can trying to make my friends think I am faster than they are. I have 2 questions to a seemingly well informed crowd, if anyone feels like playing. Question 1, on the wheels: I like the hills and I ride Campy Electrons - bought in 1999. Are these wheels seriously underperforming versus current technology, or do I just need stronger legs? I don’t ride over 17 up hill - wish I could. Question 2, any unbiased opinions on frames? Everyone out there seems to have an agenda. How about (when I can afford one) a Colnago C50 versus a Parlee Z-1 or something else? Thanks.

John,

You’re welcome here—no worries— wheels have improved significantly in terms of weight and performance since 99. Just the hubs alone - better made, longer lasting, etc. I’d upgrade, not to go faster, but just to get much improved gear. Especially like the C2 platform from Hed.

As for frames, at the high end, they’ll all perform well. And it’s down to what you want and budget. Custom frames are going to have the attention to detail and fit, while you’ll get a better buy from a mass-produced frame. Also realize, save for some select manufactures, there’s only a few carbon factories out there (despite the marketing, carbon is mostly carbon—it’s the weave and how they lay it up). It comes down to the choices that the company made from the factory and what they spec’d the bike with. Good example is Lapierre. Great frame, new to the US.

John:

whenever the ride is flat, an aero wheel will be faster above 17mph.  whenever you go uphill below 17mph, you have a slight penalty with an aero wheel. 

if you really want to gain an advantage over your group, keep track of the time you spend climbing below about 17mph, not including warm-up or cool-down routines.  If you spend less than say, 25% of the ride duration climbing slow, then I’d say you’d benefit from aero wheels.  Don’t guess the time, because human nature will cause you to overestimate. If you spend 25 to 35% at slow climb, then maybe it could go either way. If more than that, you live in some serious hills.

Otherwise, a climbing wheel doesn’t really have any drawbacks other than being draggy at higher speeds.  Usually a smoother ride, quicker acceleration at lower speeds, low side-gust response.  It’s just that a good aero wheel is faster in most conditions…not just feels fast…IS FASTER.  An aero wheel may not be a substitute for strong legs and lungs, but it is an honest advantage.

As for high-zoot frames, I think Colnagos are over-priced, and I had a bad experience with their quality control.  Lapierre makes a nice bike, I own a Bianchi T-Cube, Specialized makes a nice frame too…

Thank you both very much. More personal info here than you care to hear , but… I live in Denver, and our rides in the flats average around 24 - 25; with that said, in the hills it can be slow. I’ll track the % issue. Regarding wheels, on the flats I’d like to gain whatever is possible - without hurting the climbing - hopefully improving it. This is my first year getting serious about riding after major back surgery (skied off a jump and landed very poorly - needed a 3X discectomy & 2X laminectomy) - loads of fun - I am no longer allowed to ski moguls, so bicycling has now become my primary sport.). I am doing a 65 miler up South St Vrain and Left Hand Canyons today - so the going is steep at times. So, clearly a few people here have a bias towards HED, and I need to research all of the terms “C2”, Mondo (a pair of Zipps for sale at Pro Peloton in Boulder), etc. If you were me and you had only $1,000 to spend, what wheels would you suggest, and does a used pair 1 or 2 years old matter or would you go new? I’m sorry to be so self-serving here, and I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks again.

Hey John - from my viewpoint I prefer a structural carbon rim and if I can get it - a clincher.  That makes the options pretty limited for full-carbon options - Reynolds is the only one I can think of off-hand.  If you go to an Aluminum Rim with a bonded carbon body, you can go with Zipp, Ritchey, and a number of other manufacturers, but the weight goes up some.

Since you are from CO, carbon braking surfaces might be an issue on those long descents, so I’d probably lean towards the aluminum option.  There are plenty of other factors - how windy is it were you ride, how much do you weigh, how much compliance do you expect in a wheel, how much do you want to spend?

For $1000, I’d look at these:
Reynolds Attack - super stiff, but FAST and light.

Zipp Flashpoint - a bit heavier, but I prefer something with a little deeper cross-section (like the 60)

American Classic 420 - not carbon, but light, aero, and far more reasonable.

Thank you for your comments on the aero wheels, It’s nice to know there are still some normal people out there.

Nice! I love when techno weenies spend all their money on crazy new products and get their butts whooped so they sell the stuff off at a loss and buy more junk and fail some more and the poor guy with the worn down parts he bought cheap keeps on coming in all smiles cause he loves how great his bike is. hahaa

Hi all,

Excellent Article Mark !!

A wheel I use that not many know about is the Corima Aero Carbon clincher.  46mm cross section.  very light, yet very very sturdy, and comfortable.  Sometimes you can find good deals for them on the web for $1500/wheelset.  Total weightset weight is just over 1500gr.  They do surprisingly well hillclimbing.

Durability - rode just over 3000km, and only the rear wheel needed to be trued so far.  Roads were in New Mexico and Colorado (high desert and mountains 6k-11k ft up/down climbs), and in Canada on rough roads (from the salt they use in the winter).  I swear by using a clincher because I can be assured I won’t get a flat by using tougher tires, rim strips and sealant glue.  Might add weight, but adds assurance on the road, and would save my rims if I flatted at high speeds. (lost too many discs to tubular tire issues, like flats and separations in fast cornering).  Sickening to hear a rim grinding down to a stop…

Speeds, can get over 75kph (45mph) on descents without a problem on the Corimas.  I don’t go faster because of the braking issue…All carbon, with corima cork brakes…only downside of true carbon wheels I saw was their weaker ability to brake harder than a milled aluminum rim brake surface.

Someone mentioned three-spoke wheels.  I tried Nimble crosswinds.  They work wonders if the crosswing is above 15mph, and work AMAZING if crosswinds are above 20mph.  You can FEEL them taking the bike faster.  without wind, the corimas are faster.  Durability, any three-spoke will go out of true with increased use over rougher roads and as the weight of the rider increases.  Nimble makes a “clydesdale” version of their Crosswind wheel for riders up to 225 lbs.  It adds a bit of weight, but I am 190, and I used that version as a rear wheel and had no issues.

I ride a BHGlobal G3 with Ultra Record.  Fantastic bike, that I got from the Astana/Wurth team after the 2006 TDF.  The new G5 is supposed to rival anything out there…

my two copper pieces.

 

Most of the discussion has been about climbing and flat road races.  What about crits?  How light should light be for crits?  What about the newer deep aero wheels which are getting lighter and lighter?  ex. Stinger 60 coming in at 1350ish.  Supposedly able to handle a crosswind like a 45mm.

Since the time I originally wrote this entry, I’ve had a Jet 6 (what Hed is calling the most recent version of the 23mm wide x 60mm tall Jet wheel) plus a similar Jet 6 rim that I laced to a Mavic hub.  I rode the Jet 6 wheels back to back against Mavic Cosmic Carbones (19 x 52mm) and I assure you that the Jet 6 wheels rode distinctly better in the crosswinds. 

The Jet 6 rim on Mavic hub is now my everyday wheel on my fixed-gear training/commuting bike.  In the Seattle winter that means I ride through gusty weather often.  It would be a lie to say that the wheel is easy to ride in winds over 20mph, but I can manage it even though I only weigh 135lbs. 

I believe that the low side-gust response is due to the toroidal shape of the rim. The full carbon, tubular Hed Stinger rims are closer to a true toroid than the Stingers, so I would expect that they perform even better.  In fact, I am purchasing a set Stinger 9 (90mm tall and 28mm at the rim’s widest point) track wheels for next season.  Considering that I just sold my Corima 4-spoke front and full disc rear in favour of the Stinger 9, you can say that I believe in Hed.

As for crits, I would recommend the Stinger 6 if you like tubulars and low weight.  The only other wheelset I would consider would be Zipp, but you’d be paying a lot more for some dimples.  The Zipps have a similar toroidal shape as the Heds, but having the dimples sets the Zipp wheels apart from the rest of the market.  Not the same thing as saying that the dimples make Zipp wheels faster, though.

Hey Mark,
I am in the market for a carbon / aero wheelset that won’t kill me in the pocket but will preform well. You stated in your piece that unless we are sponsored by ZIPP…....  Well I found a set from Planet X that I am intrested in. I am curious what you think. planet x.com the 108’s… thanks, tridad4

Hi Sir, can I check with you..? what is the wheelset company you are using for the 16 spokes paired wheelset..? Cause I am intending to rebuilt it and wondering is that one of your rebuilt wheelset..?

Thanks.. Await ur reply.. =)

To comment

Or with us.





Advertise here

About this Entry

Off the Wagon was the previous entry in this blog.

$65,000 in bicycles: Lotto winner is one of us is the next one.

Find more recent content on our home page and archives.

About Bike Hugger