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Ardennes SL Wheelset - Clincher

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Ardennes SL Wheelset - Clincher

Hail the new Ardennes. They're better than the old Ardennes. Last year, these were the really light Ardennes wheels. This year, they've been upgraded and get a new name, the Hed Ardennes SL Clincher Wheelset.

Last year, these were Hed's Scandium-rimmed wheels. This year, the light and strong Scandium hoops are paired up with an even lighter front hub, the FR Sonic front hub. It's built with aluminum ends bonded to a carbon-fiber center. To hold the line when wheels are clamped into increasingly stiffer frames, Hed has gone from a two-cross/radial lacing pattern in the rear to a two-cross pattern on both sides laced to a traditionally flanged all-aluminum rear hub. The extra crossed spokes will maximize power transfer while minimizing flex.

Otherwise, this is the same C2 concept wheelset that has been turning more and more heads as the world warms to embrace wide rims. As you've certainly read in our other write-ups of Hed wheels, C2 is for ...the lightest Ardennes wheelset with Scandium rims and a hybrid carbon/aluminum front hub... the two coefficients that the 23mm wide rim improves: Cda (aerodynamics) and Crr (rolling resistance). That is, it reduces both aerodynamic drag and road friction.

The C2 rims are 23mm when most rims are around 19mm, and it makes a big difference. The reason for the greater width is because 23mm tires are ubiquitous and seem to be the practical minimum width for general road use. 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. Turns out the extra width creates 18% less rolling resistance. And because of the smoother shape, the airflow over the tire tread, sidewall, rim braking surface, and on to the end of the rim is smoother and thus less disturbed. This results in a more laminar air flow with less aerodynamic drag.

Hed isn't resting with their rim. They use Sapim's popular and aerodynamic CX-Ray spokes and self-securing aluminum nipples. The straight-pull spokes are radial in front and two-cross in back. The spokes are anodized Black. Hed's Sonic hubs run ABEC5 bearings on oversize axles, 12mm in front and 15mm in the rear. Hed spaced the flanges as widely as possible to create a stronger bracing angle for better lateral stiffness.

The Hed Ardennes SL Clincher Wheelset comes with either a Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM compatible freehub body. The rims are anodized Black and have machined brake tracks. The wheels come with Hed's steel-shafted skewers and rim strips. Hed does not recommend this wheel for people weighing over 190lbs. The Hed stickers are reflective for an additional margin of safety in low light situations.