HED Stinger 9 FR Carbon Road Wheelset - Tubular $2,295.95
Stop the crosswind shimmy.
Deeper is better. Right? Maybe if you love Chicago style pizza. When it comes to choosing race wheels, deep rims often bring with them instability problems caused by crosswinds. And even though you may feel fast, every millimeter of side-to side movement adds seconds to your time. To help counteract this, Steve Hed and his engineers created a deep-section wheel that not only improves stability, it also performs as a box-section wheel would in a crosswind -- in other words, the side to side shimmying is reduced. The HED Stinger 9 FR Carbon Tubular Wheelset is a result of these efforts.
Stability Control Technology is a hallmark of HED's wheels. It is used to smooth airflow as it flows across the rim. This means that despite the larger surface area of the 90mm-deep rim, the wheel continues to hold its line in a crosswind because air is flowing smoothly over it, not buffeting against it. The nice thing is that even with this shaping, the wheel is no more visible to the wind than it used to be, so it offers a handling improvement with no aerodynamic cost.
With the shape of the Stinger 9 dialed in, HED engineers shifted their focus to on the type of carbon used to make the rim, as well as the orientation of the fibers. Using three different types of carbon fiber and a unique layup schedule, HED made the Stinger 9 -- 15% stiffer laterally and 10% more impact-resistant, while at the same time making the rim 25 grams lighter.
As with all HED C2s, this carbon-fiber rim is 28mm wide. C2 stands for the two C's that the rim is designed to minimize, Cda, or aerodynamic resistance, and Crr, or rolling resistance. The width is designed to maximize the efficiency of air passing over the tire and rim by smoothing out the air flow. It also maximizes the efficiency of tires by providing better support and a better-shaped contact patch for the tire. Because of the width, you'll minimize rolling resistance and maximize aerodynamics by using 22-23mm wide tires. 19-21mm tires won't ride well; choosing 19-21mm tubulars is also not a great idea as not only won't they seat well, and the tall sides will come perilously close to bottoming out on rough road surfaces.
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. Both wheels are laced with Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes, the front getting 18 radially laced spokes and the rear bumping up to 24.
As a rear wheel, the HED Stinger 9 FR can be used by anyone. However, the front wheel is best utilized by an athlete that rides 25mph or faster in light or medium wind conditions. For the athlete that isn't breaking the 25mph barrier, HED recommends reserving the front wheel for days when winds are light.
The rear wheel is available to fit Campagnolo cassettes and the freehub bodies are easy to swap out with two 5mm hex keys. The HED Stinger 9 FR Carbon Tubular Wheelset comes with valve extenders and HED titanium skewers. Any carbon-specific brake pad should work well with HED's braking track. The recommended rider weight limit is 210lbs.