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 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 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||25mm||21mm||1,800g|
|Swiss Side Hadron 625||62.5mm||27mm||19mm||1,850g|