Leader of the pack.
Hed is an innovator. And what we love is that Hed the man and Hed the company are fixated on fast. It's an obsession here as well. Hed's Jet 6 Clincher Wheelset is a 60mm deep clincher that time trials like a demon yet still climbs pretty well. Hed has three depths in the Jet series, and which one you choose depends both on your speed and your terrain. On moderate hills, like 7.5% or less, the 60mm depth Jet 6 may actually climb faster than many lighter low-profile wheels. It takes a leap of faith to believe that the heavier wheel will climb better, but just about all modeling programs indicate that the right aero wheel will benefit you going uphill as well. Shouldn't be that hard to believe, since drafting makes a difference on all but the steepest of hills.
The first thing we'll point to that separates Hed from the crowd are their C2 rims. Less Cda (aerodynamic drag) and less Crr (rolling resistance). The 23mm width of the rims is what makes this possible. C2 is the basis for most of the Hed lineup, and here it's bonded to a carbon-fiber fairing to better slice the wind.
Conventional wisdom on wheels 50mm deep and deeper is that they are hard to ride in a straight line when fighting crosswinds. For some wheels that may be true. But Hed has shaped their wheels with what they're calling SCT, Stability Control Technology, so a 60mm deep Hed will handle like a conventional wheel. While the name is new, Hed has actually been working on this for years and finally felt it was ...the right wheels will give you a benefit when you go uphill as well as on the flats. Thus is the importance of aerodynamics... perfected enough to recognize it as a feature. The nice thing is that even with this shaping, the wheel is no more visible to the wind than it used to be, so this is a handling improvement with no aerodynamic cost.
As we mentioned, the fairing is bonded to the rim, which means the spokes engage at the rim rather than at the end of the fairing. The result is not only better aerodynamics, no exposed nipples, but greater lateral strength thank to a better bracing angle.
The Sonic hubs are also of Hed's designing. They run ABEC5 bearings on oversize axles, 12mm in front, 15mm in rear. Oversized axles flex less, resulting in smoother bearings and less drag. They spaced the flanges as widely as possible to create a stronger bracing angle, again resulting in better lateral stiffness. The front hub has aluminum end caps with a carbon-fiber center, and the rear hub is all aluminum.
At the rear, you'll notice something else new -- two-cross lacing pattern on both sides. Hed made this change for a simple reason. With ever-stiffer frames, the force of stomping on the pedals was going to unexpected places. The forces have increased on the wheels and this has reduced mechanical efficiency. To counter these forces, Hed stiffened up the rear wheel so that no power would be lost to wheel flexing, thus putting more power into driving the bike forward.
The Sapim hex-headed aluminum nipples are treated with a light thread-locking compound and are accessed from inside the rim. They anchor the Black Sapim CX-Ray spokes, the fastest spokes in the biz. The 18 front spokes are straight-pull while the 24 rear spokes are J-bend for both sides.
The Hed Jet 6 Clincher Wheelset is available to fit Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM cassettes. The freehub bodies are easy to switch with two 5mm hex keys. The wheels come with skewers, valve extenders, and rim strips. Hed does not recommend this wheelset for people weighing over 190lbs.