After years of promoting his highly touted aluminum-and-carbon Jet series of aero clinchers, Steve Hed has finally relented to marketplace pressures with his first all-carbon clincher – the Vanquish 6 SCT.
HED is far from abandoning the long-running Jet series, though. There's a new disc brake-compatible Stinger 5, and fans of the company's wide-profile Ardennes series can also now buy standalone rims for custom builds.
The new Vanquish carries on with HED's long-standing 'wider is better' philosophy with a generous 26.5mm maximum rim width to go along with the versatile 60mm depth and rounded nose. That suggests at least reasonable handling characteristics in crosswinds.
Hed told BikeRadar that the carbon construction required a much thicker bead hook than his aluminum rims, though. Therefore, the Vanquish is actually an all-new shape that isn't just a carbon copy of the Jet 6 profile.
As expected, the new Vanquish is lighter than the similarly deep Jet 6 (670g versus 724g for the front wheel, 936g versus 873g for the rear). Nearly all of the weight savings come exclusively from the rim. We expect it to be stiffer too, when it's released this coming January. Projected retail price is US$2,500 / 2,399 Euros for the pair.
Hed's first all-carbon clincher wheelset, the 6 SCT
Options for disc brakes
Early adopters looking to outfit their new disc brake-equipped road or cyclocross frames have a new high-end option in HED's new Stinger 5 Disc. This wheelset will use the same 50mm-deep, 28mm-wide carbon fiber tubular rim as the standard Stinger 5 but with a new set of hubs based on HED's current Sonic FR model, splines for Centerlock rotors (six-bolt rotors will work with adapters) and 135mm spacing out back.
As expected, the disc version will be heavier than the rim brake model, but not by much and with all the gains concentrated at the hubs. Claimed figures are 765g and 864g for the front Stinger 5 SCT FR Disc front and rear wheels, respectively, compared to 660g and 857g for the standard Stinger 5 SCT.
Suggested retail pricing is US$2,100 / 1,999 Euros, and Hed says they'll start arriving in stores in just a few weeks. That leaves just enough time for the glue to dry before the meat of cyclocross season begins.
The Stinger 5 Disc has the same rim as the standard Stinger 5
Jet 7 Express and Belgium C2
Elsewhere in the range, HED has added a second, lower-priced Jet wheelset – the 75mm deep Jet 7 Express – to last year's Jet 5 Express. It's built with the same rim technology as higher-end Jet wheels but with heavier hubs and spokes to bring the cost down to a more reasonable US$1,650 / 1,649 Euros.
Finally, DIY fans of HED's wide-profile Ardennes series of aluminum clinchers can now buy the Belgium C2 rim as a standalone item, in either 28-hole or 32-hole drillings for custom builds. Other drillings may be added later and retail price is US$125.
Slightly heavier hubs are used in the Express variants of the Jet wheels