Aero fairings: HED Jet 6 Black and Swiss Side Hadron 625

Alloy wheels with carbon fairings bring aero benefit without the full-carbon price tag

The wind doesn't care if your rims are carbon.

A few wheel makers, like HED and the relatively new Swiss Side, are betting that some riders will appreciate aero-fairing alloy clincher wheels, accepting a little weight and foregoing a full-carbon construction while keeping more of their money. While the fairing concept isn't new, the HED Jet 6 Black and Swiss Side Hadron 625 are relatively new entrants into the category, each with their own distinctive claims.

The new $2,100 / £1,600 HED Jet 6 Black has a machined and anodized brake track for improved performance (70 percent better in the wet than standard alloy, HED claims) and a faux carbon clincher look. The Hadron 625 boasts an aero design done by former Formula 1 engineers and excellent pricing, thanks to its consumer-direct model: $1,134 / £880 for the set. 

For comparison, the full carbon Zipp 404 of similar rim depth retails for $2,100 / £1,680 with a claimed weight of 1,690g. (Zipp recently dropped its prices significantly.) An ENVE SES 6.7 set goes for $3,475 (£2,250) at a claimed weight of 1,544g. Both these claimed weights are without skewers.  

The hed jet 6 black wheels have a machined and anodized brake track: the hed jet 6 black wheels have a machined and anodized brake track
The hed jet 6 black wheels have a machined and anodized brake track: the hed jet 6 black wheels have a machined and anodized brake track

The HED Jet 6 Black uses a machined and anodized brake track, with a carbon fairing over the alloy rim

Both sets were created on the premise that a fairing offers the same aero benefits as a solid rim of the same shape. One drawback to the fairing is practical: you can't hang your bike by the wheels, as doing so could damage the fairing and voids the warranty with both companies. But there is a strong positive to keeping the rim alloy: braking quality and a general absence of heat-related failures. 

BikeRadar is going to be testing these two wheelsets back to back, using Vittoria's new Corsa 25mm clinchers on both. As both wheels have the wide rims we're seeing crop up more and more these days, the Corsas plump up nicely, measuring 27mm on the Hadrons and a whopping 29mm on the Jet 6 Blacks.

We are testing the two wheelsets back-to-back with vittoria's new corsa clinchers: we are testing the two wheelsets back-to-back with vittoria's new corsa clinchers
We are testing the two wheelsets back-to-back with vittoria's new corsa clinchers: we are testing the two wheelsets back-to-back with vittoria's new corsa clinchers

We are testing both wheelsets with Vittoria's new Corsa clincher

Here are some comparative specs, including the weights we recorded using Feedback Sports scales.

 Depth Maxwidth Internal rim width Total weight inc. skewers and rim tape 
 HED Jet 6 Black 60mm 25mm21mm  1,800g
 Swiss Side Hadron 625 62.5mm 27mm19mm 1,850g
The relatively new swiss side company was formed by former formula 1 engineers: the relatively new swiss side company was formed by former formula 1 engineers
The relatively new swiss side company was formed by former formula 1 engineers: the relatively new swiss side company was formed by former formula 1 engineers
Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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