HED JET 6 BLACK CLINCHER FRONT WHEEL
Everyone has their favorite rim depth. In general terms, the Hed Jet 6 Black is designed for flat to rolling courses. That doesn’t take into account Hed’s superior aerodynamics and low rolling resistance.
Rolling resistance is important and not discussed nearly enough. Basically, if the tire deforms more easily, it will roll over surface imperfections more quickly, which will result in greater speed. This is why Hed has increased the width of their Jet wheels to their Plus width of 25mm external, 21mm internal. To give you a sense of how wide that is, a traditional rim will fit inside it. The increased air volume means that a nominally 23mm-wide tire pumped up to 100psi (incidentally, the max recommended pressure with these rims) is the equivalent of that same tire pumped up at 120psi on a traditional 19mm wide rim. There’s a secondary benefit: with increased air volume comes greater comfort. Hed recommends 22mm wide tires at a minimum, suggests 22-25mm wide tires for ideal aerodynamics, and 25mm+ width tires for increased comfort.
The move to the wider rims, wider than most of their competitors, too, has also helped with aerodynamics. The 25mm width allows them to improve aerodynamics with a more blunt shape for the spoke side of the rim. Here, the depth is 60mm, close to the maximum allowed for UCI-sanctioned road racing. The rim depth is made by affixing a shroud to a shallow aluminum rim. This means the spoke nipples are internal, another aero’ boosting design feature. It also means that since it’s not structural, you shouldn’t hang these wheels on hooks.
The aluminum rim improves both strength and braking. Braking is improved in two ways. One is that aluminum is generally a better material for braking. Second is Hed improved on the braking with their Turbine Braking Technology (TBT). This is a permanent surface treatment that reduces dry-weather braking distances by 25% and wet-weather braking distances by 70%. As this is a directional technology, make sure you’ve lined up the wheel in the proper direction. Hed also recommends starting the wheels off with fresh brake pads, so as not to chance embedded shards scratching the finish. The TBT starts black, and should remain that color for the life of the wheel. To keep it pristine, they recommend black-colored alloy-specific pads as well.
Hed laces the wheels with bladed spokes to Sonic hubs, which are Hed’s house design. The hubs are flangeless in front, calling for eighteen straight-pull spokes, and flanged in the rear, calling for 24 J-bend spokes. For greater aerodynamics, the nipples are internal, lacing to the rim. This also means the shroud itself allows in water, which drains out via a drain hole as you ride, and should not be hung on hooks.
The Plus design rim is tubeless compatible. The wheels come with their own extra-wide rim tape, which is essential for tubeless, and is a really good idea for tubed. It’s also thinner and lighter than conventional rim strips. So the wheels come set up for tubed clinchers, but can be converted to tubeless with the addition of the proper valve, tires, and goo.
The wheel also comes with a valve extender and titanium quick-release skewer.
For some folks, looking to balance weight and aerodynamics, mixing a Jet 4 Black front with a Jet 6 Black rear, or a Jet 6 Black front and Jet 9 Black rear. If you're a smaller rider or on hillier courses, the former could be better. If you’re a bigger rider or on flatter courses, the latter could be better.
The Hed Jet 6 Black gives time trialists a road racing option and road racers the chance to attack from a long way out.