HED Ardennes LT Wheelset - Clincher $850.00
Belgium, in cycling circles, typically evokes Flanders, flat roads, and pave for most people, and the wheels that can handle that are typically pretty burly. Since Hed's Belgian series wheels are fairly light and aero, they decided to lead with Ardennes, also in Belgium, but known for its steep climbs. And, as such, this is the Hed Ardennes LT Clincher Wheelset.
This wheelset was once known as the Bastogne, named for the city that is the halfway point of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, La Doyenne, the hilliest of the classics. Bastogne was a good name; tougher than Ardennes, and the wheelset is probably a little tougher, while still being light (aka LT). Likewise, the wheelset is almost identical to the Ardennes SL, with one change; the super-light Scandium C2 rim has been subbed out in favor of a heavier, and less expensive, aluminum C2 rim. The rims look almost identical, both sporting black anodization with machined sidewalls.
This is the same C2 concept wheelset that has been turning more and more heads as the world warms to wide rims. As you've certainly read in our other write-ups of Hed wheels, C2 is for the two Cs that the 23mm wide rim improves. Cda, which is aerodynamics, and Crr, which is rolling resistance. That is, the width and shape of the rim reduces both aerodynamic drag and road friction.
Making a rim 23mm wide and 24mm deep when most rims are around 19mm wide and 19-23mm deep is a big difference. The reason for the greater width is because of 23mm tires, the minimum tire width you almost always should be using on the road (there are 22mm clinchers; these will work, too). A 23mm rim paired with a 23mm tire changes the tire's footprint. It grips better in a straight line, and it grips better in turns because the tire deforms differently and more evenly. A 23mm tire on a 23mm rim also has lower rolling resistance. Hed sent the wheels to Continental Tires for testing. Conti's engineers shrugged their shoulders, figured there was no difference, but put them in the jig and ran the tests anyways. It turned out the 23mm width has 18% less rolling resistance. And because of the smoother tire shape, the transition air makes from the edge of the tread to the sidewall to the rim wall to the end of the rim is smoother, resulting in a more laminar air flow and less aerodynamic drag.
Hed isn't resting after developing their rims, though. They've laced bladed Sapim spokes to self-securing aluminum nipples. The front wheel has 18 straight-pull spokes laced radially, and the rear has 24 spokes laced in a two-cross pattern. The spokes are anodized black.
The Sonic hubs are also of Hed's design. They run ABEC5 bearings on oversized axles, 12mm in front and 15mm in the rear. Hed spaced the flanges as widely as possible to create a stronger bracing angle, resulting in better lateral stiffness. This year, there's a lighter front hub; the carbon-shafted, aluminum end-capped FR Sonic front hub,which is designed for radial lacing. In the back, you'll find a stiffer lacing pattern, two-cross on both sides for stiffness, matched up with an all-aluminum rear hub.
The Hed Ardennes LT Clincher Wheelset comes with either a Campagnolo-spline cassette body or a Shimano/SRAM-spline body. The rims are anodized Black and have machined brake tracks. The wheels come with Hed's steel-shafted skewers and Hed rim strips. Hed does not recommend this wheel for people weighing over 190lbs.
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The listed "Tech Specs" states that the...
The listed "Tech Specs" states that the rear hub is "Shimano/SRAM 9-10-11" Does that mean that like Shimano's Dura Ace 9000 rear hubs, they will take a Shimano 11-speed cassette, without any sort of adapter, and also accept 9 and 10-speed cassettes with a spacer?
11 sp shimano compatible?
11 sp shimano compatible?