Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 HED Jet Wheels
World Champion Clinchers

By Jack Mott

It has always been "known" that if you want serious race wheels, you need tubulars. They roll smoother, handle better, can tolerate higher pressures, are lighter, and spin up better. All of these things have been basic truths of bicycle lore for decades. For those of us who would prefer not to scrape glue off of a rim when we get a flat, we have good news. Time trial specialist Tony Martin recently ignored these myths and rode a set of HED Jet clinchers to victory, defeating the legendary Fabian Cancellara to become world time trial champion in 2011.

Clinchers just as good as tubulars? A tough pill to swallow for most, even if Tony Martin says so. But the arrival of top notch clincher tires, latex tubes, and new clincher wheel offerings from HED, Zipp, and others has made it a reality whether the old guard believes it or not. The newest iteration of the HED Jet line brings improved aerodynamics and reduced weight, allowing you to have your cake and eat it too – you can change tires easily, but go just as fast.

HED's Jet line has always offered an affordable yet fast and high quality alternative to more expensive brands like Zipp, as well as the convenience of clinchers and aluminum brake tracks. The Jet wheels are built out of conventional metal rims, with the aerodynamic shape being created from a thin carbon fiber fairing. This means the wheels handle just like ordinary wheels and share the reliability and ease of maintenance of normal wheels, but cut through the air with a lot less drag. No more picking tubular glue off the rim, no more changing to carbon-specific race pads, just throw the wheels on and race.

2012 HED Jet Features

Improved Aerodynamic Shape
NEW for 2012
- The JET line gets a new shape, noticeable at first glance as the inside edge of the rim is much meatier. This has been the latest trend in aero wheel offerings, said to provide less drag and better stability in crosswinds. HED claims that the new shape gives the JET the same aerodynamic performance as their tubular Stinger line.

Unidirectional Carbon Fiber Skin
NEW for 2012
- The new unidirectional carbon is lighter and stronger, allowing for the new aerodynamic shaping, as well as reducing the weight of the skin by up to 54 grams. Above, you can see a closeup shot of a 2012 Jet 6 on the left compared to a 2011 Jet 9 on the right. Notice the thicker inner edge and different carbon style. Click for a closer view.

C2 Wide Rims - Jet Wheels continue to have an extra wide rim, which can help to improve handling and overall aerodynamic performance when the wheel is equipped with 23mm or wider tires. Road racers absolutely benefit from this feature, as they almost always run 23mm or wider tires. Triathletes and time trial specialists should keep in mind that even with these wide rims, narrower tires are still generally a faster option for races against the clock. Click the picture to see a closeup view of how a Zipp Tangente 23mm tire mates up with the wide rim on a Jet 6. Notice how the tire doesn't bulge out past the rim itself, for cleaner airflow.

Aluminum Brake Track - Few other aero wheels of this caliber offer the feel and convenience of a standard metal brake track. No longer do you have to engage in a ritual of brake pad swapping, or pray that it doesn't rain. These rims brake just like your training wheels, no special pads required.

Clincher Convenience - Got a flat in the middle of a stage race? Want to switch to a different tire because of rain? Can't resist the urge to train a bit on your race wheels? With tubular race wheels you are out of luck, with clinchers, just change the tire! Put on a super narrow, delicate tire for an olympic tri, and put a wider more durable one on for a rainy ironman. Tire selection is such a key part of overall bike performance that this can be a huge benefit.

Flamme Rouge - In the past you had to pay extra for the lightweight Flamme Rouge feature, but now most Jet wheels come standard with these beautiful carbon hubs that save a bit of weight and look pretty sweet.

Customization - HED can build wheels to suit your needs. Larger athletes can get stallion builds with extra spokes, an array of custom colors are available, and most of their wheels can be built with a Powertap hub upon request. Other options include track versions, 650c versions, and even wheels for recumbents. HED is even nice enough to ship their wheels with stickers that peel off cleanly and easily for those who prefer the stealth look.

Snapple-ATC's Kat Hunter will be on HED Jets for the Tour of the Gila 2012!

Aerodynamic Comparison

The following is a compilation of data from the HED Website for their 2012 Jet Clinchers. This is marketing data so use it at your own risk. It may be useful in comparing the relative differences between the HED Wheels, but these numbers are not comparable to wind tunnel results from other sources, as protocol details (tire choice, tunnel calibration, etc) could be completely different. Yaw angle is the angle of the wind as it hits the wheel. Very fast riders or windless days will be at lower yaw angles. Slower riders or very windy days will be at higher yaw angles. As a rough rule of thumb, each 50 grams of drag will save about 0.5 seconds per kilometer, or 20 seconds over 40k on a flat, straight course.

The HED Jet Lineup

HED currently offers the Jet lineup in a variety of sizes from shallow to all-out disc wheels. All wheels ship with skewers, rim tape, and valve extenders. Stop by ATC and give them a try!

front/rear (g)
Jet 4
Flamme Rouge
Jet 5
54mm754/927Set $1500
Jet 6
Flamme Rouge
Jet 9
Flamme Rouge
Jet Discn/a1300$1150
Jet Disc
Flamme Rouge

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