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.