Fall rides with Hed Stinger 6

Enjoyed a Fall ride with Hed’s new Stinger 6s to Labor Day Cross and a stop at South Park for photos of the Create mural.


Quick review

The Stinger 6s are the best wheelset Hed has made. It’s an evolution of their C2 platform and equivalent to cavemen dropping their stones for spears. They spent 10 days in the wind tunnel with these and I noticed the aero tweaks right away.

Besides all the wind tunnel numbers, what’s going on is the tire sits in a cradle and not on top of the wheel. That means the wheel/tire interface is minimzed and facing the wind is one large curved shape. No homies it’s not spokes that matter most in the tunnel (or twin-paired spokes), it’s the wheel/tire interface. Decrease that interface and less drag results.

The C2 tire well secures the tire in a wider and slightly deeper “cradle”. With increased support of the tire carcass, sidewall flexion is reduced, and less flexion vastly increases cornering stability and general handling. It also improves tire efficiency. One hard corner at speed will show you just how much the C2 well decreases tire wash under heavy loading.

There’s also no rim deflection because the rim is an all-carbon tubular. I noticed a difference too in how it behaves in crosswinds. I’ve got a pair of C2 clincher Jet 60s and they are blowy. The Stingers 6s are the same size and still move around, but significantly less and when they do it’s much more gentle. The 60s roll in sidewinds like 40s. That’s because the wing curve begins at the spokes and is continuous to the other side. With the wheel cradling the tire, it’s not upright in the wind, like a wedge.


Summary: Again Hed proves wider is better. Worth noting that Zipp has followed suit with new, wider rims for 2010. So has Bontrager with their carbon-clinchers.


  • C2 tire well, Bladed CX ray spokes, Sonic hubs
  • Tubular only
  • MSRP: $1500 a set, Powertap available

Long Term

We’ll spend the winter on these, with a spare tubie tucked under the saddle and report. According to Hed, these wheels have survived Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, and the worst Belgium roads. We want to know how well they perform in a Seattle Wet Winter.



Man those are so hot.  Can you upload some pics of the tire/rim interface so we see what you’re talking about with the shaping?

I’ve always heard braking on carbon rims is a problem, especially when wet, so I’m interested in knowing how well these work for winter.

Have you had a chance to test out wet braking performance yet?

Forgot to mention Hed’s new brake pads! Wheel technology moved faster than brake pads. Who can forget Jan melting his pads in the tour and him tumbling into a ditch. I’ve melted pads, finished a ride with a rim coated in brake dust, worried about pads when it rains and so on. Because of that, I mostly ride alum-clinchers, but Hed has a new [blue pad](http://www.hedcycling.com/accessories/cork_brake_pads.asp) and they work, at least with the Stingers, in the dry and wet. Note pads will work better or worse with different rims. I haven’t tried the salmon Koolstops, but heard they work good too.

do NOT use KS salmon pads on carbon.  they work great in cold, wet conditions and normal road conditions in the dry.  they tend to fade a bit on long descents on aluminium rims and they MELT on carbon rims. literally salmon coloured streaks all around the rim accompanied by massive fade.

they work ok on ceramic rims, but they wear away at a disturbing rate.

personal experience from using salmon pads for 5-7 years.  someday i’ll test them on wood rims just so i can say i’ve done it all.

Noted! What pads did I mean then? Not the salmon? It’s a wonder to me why the CPSC has never recalled brake pads that melt or fade.

And I just realized there are hardcore fixie riders with no brakes that have no context to what’s stopping our carbon wheels. They just don’t have brakes.

This is turning into BKW. Geeking out on $1500 crabon wheels for our beloved winter commute in Seattle? That’s PRO! A small, wealthy, bike club indeed -

I can solve all this brakepad nonsense and lace up those rims to my Baron Disc rain bike!

And for the record - it Bryon shows up with these things on a wet winter training ride I’ll personally go kick him in the nutz. ;)

Kick him twice, once for me.

Also, don’t care about squeal, that is the price of having two intact collarbones and no cold, wet roadrash. +1 for disc brakes.

I need to call in backup from Mark V to ward off you disc bullies. He can attest to the sales and bikes like the Trek Portland. There’s a reason you don’t see them in manufactures line-ups, besides on flat-bar fitness bikes or the Trek Portland.


With your massive breaking power on that 30-pound diesel Baron, I was thinking you’d act like a brake backup for me while I test various pad combinations down Novelty Hill! Blue on the front and green in the back, if I hit melting temperature, you can grab me.

But this time of year, I’m in shape and enjoy long miles. Doing that on the Hotspur and in a few weeks when the rain comes, it’s with the Hotspur and the Stingers.  Group rides? That’s a different bike.

I don’t know what “BKW” is, but for every 1,000 velocity rims, a set of race wheels like these make a blogger’s day.

I didn’t say I was commuting on them no, just riding them through the winter on my rides.  If you haven’t been to a race lately, you’ll see wheels like this (not as tech, as the Stingers are newer) and with that or more in a spend.  At Cross races as well. $1,500.00 is actually a very reasonable price.

And don’t forget that “small, wealthy bike club” includes Triathletes who are the bread-and-butter market for all high-end wheel manufactures.

Next week, while we’re in Morgan Hill with Globe Bikes, we’ll blog from the lower end on $500.00 fixies. As Bike Huggers, we test and ride a wide range of bikes and gear.

I think losing body weight will make a bigger aerodynamic difference than the interface between carbon rim and tubular tire.

Hed didn’t measure bodies in the wind tunnel no; however, a small skinny guy may not overcome the 60s yaw, riding like a 40 or not. Those are some big wheels to manage on the road and there are few greater pleasures for us roleur types than to watch the climbers get beat up in the wind.

“BKW” == Belgian Knee Warmers (racer-tech blog)

We’ll have to test that “andrew brake” on Novelty Hill.

I did Cascade Classic a few years back in the 2/3 field and a guy completely liquified his pads on the descent off Bachelor.  It squeeked, then really squeeled, then this strange slithering sound with black crap getting littered on the guy behind him…then metal into carbon.  Guy kept it upright, but he just coasted to a stop out of the way of the rest of the group.  THAT was scary.  Don’t do that!

Right. What do you use on your Bontragers? I raced Ravensdale with the last generation Stingers and melted a set of Koolstops. That race is not that hilly and it was 75 degrees. Took me a night of scrubbing with acetone to get the residue off the rims.

Bontrager includes their cork compound pads with their wheels and it works fine.  I’ve used the wrong pads before (On a pair of Reynolds once) and it was horrible.  If the new HED pads are good - stick with them.

Those are nice wheels and we heard at Eurobike they showed some “crazy light” wheels. We rode the [Attacks in 07](http://bikehugger.com/2007/06/hugger-rolls-the-reynolds-atta.html). Not the style of wheel I like (found them harsh and chattery), but still damn nice wheels.

Yeah, my Reynolds MV32Ts are 1025g for the set @ 32mm.

If you didn’t already see it, check the review of the [Scott and Lightweights](http://bikehugger.com/2009/09/protour-bike.html).

Yeah, nice review, that bike looks awesome!  I was broken between the Reynolds MV32Ts, the Zipp 404s, and some Lightweights, but ended up with the Reynolds.  The deeper profile (~50mm) wheels would be problematic for me in crosswinds—I get blown around as I’m only 150lbs!

Personally I always thought the ‘cross application of wide profile rims/low spoke count wheels weren’t about aerodynamics but for mud clearance and for tracking straight lines in mud or sand.

That’s correct. My response to elbowspeak was saying lots of cyclists and racers buy high-end wheels for the Road, Cross, and their own performance goals like Cascade’s High Pass Challenge. Cross racers are also dropping cash on Tubeless. Regarding “holding the line,”  Midride yesterday, [I tweeted](http://twitter.com/bikehugger/status/3872618669):

> These wheels cut corners like a Ginsu through a tomato.

That results from the all-carbon construction and the C2 reduces sidewall flexion. On the road, the wheels feel solid and they go in the direction you point them. I also noticed I was able to control them with more body english v. “steering.” 

There’s a slowtwitch forum on the C2s with [closeups of the tire/wheel interface](http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=1989200;guest=42206729&t=search_engine). They’ll debate wind tunnel results for a century, but you get a good closeup.

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