Wheels of the deep-dish — greater than 50mm — variety excel on flat courses, but very often we find ourselves on courses riddled with hills. Now, if they were just long drawn out grades, then any deep-dish would do. But all too often, they are of the brutal switchback variety where drafting is quickly negated. The HED Jet 6 Plus Clincher is a wheelset for the switchbacks. It's a dangerous cliche to say that the Jet 6 is a 'one-quiver' wheel, but that's exactly how HED designed it. It's heavier than a traditional climbing wheelset, but for most moderate hills, it's still more efficient and inherently faster.
Over the past 26 years of engineering wheels, Steve Hed's end goal remains the same: simply make them as fast as possible. So, it's almost a given that HED aerodynamics are superb. However, what you might not know is that these wheels' aerodynamics are equally matched by their low rolling resistance. We have HED's C2 rim concept concept to thank for this. Essentially, C2 is about reduction of the two C's — less Cda (aerodynamic drag) and less Crr (rolling resistance). Accordingly, a 25mm rim width makes this possible, and is mainly responsible for the wider-is-better campaign that's been replicated throughout the market. But, you're certainly wondering, why wider? Well, the width provides what can be described as an 'aero shroud' for the rest of the wheel. This also changes the nature of the tire's contact patch with the road.
However, HED also knows that faster speeds require a heightened sense of control. This becomes evident through HED testing, as it found that rim depths which cross the forty or fifty-millimeter threshold grow increasingly more difficult to handle in crosswinds. So, HED engineered a solution that it calls Stability Control Technology, or SCT. In regards to the wheel shape, at 0-15 degree yaw angles, SCT reduces the force put on the wheels by side winds. This makes the Jet 6's 60mm depth handle more like a 30 or 40mm deep wheel in crosswinds.
HED laces the rims to its Sonic hubs, which feature silky ABEC5 bearings on oversized axles — 12mm in front and 15mm in rear. Oversized axles flex less, resulting in smoother bearing loads and less mechanical drag. And its not only the axle that received a bigger-is-better treatment, as the hub flanges are spaced as wide apart as possible in order to create a stronger bracing angle. And again, this results in increased lateral stiffness.
Easing the maintenance to the rear hub, HED included a grease port and carbon port cap. True, it's a subtle convenience, but rejoice that this capped port ensures that you'll no longer need to rebuild your rear hub after repeated washings.
As we mentioned, the fairing is bonded to the rim, which means that the spokes engage at the rim rather than at the end of the fairing. The result is not only an increase to aerodynamics, as there are no exposed nipples, but also to an increase in lateral strength. However, like all wheels, there are nipples, and for them, HED used Sapim hex-headed aluminum nipples. These are treated with a light thread-locking compound and are accessed from inside the rim. They anchor the venerable Sapim CX-Ray spokes. The 18 front spokes are straight-pull, while the 24 rear spokes are J-bend for both sides.
At the rear, you'll notice a two-cross lacing pattern on both sides. HED did this for a simple reason — with ever-stiffer frames, the force of stomping on the pedals was increasing force on the wheels, which has in turn reduced mechanical efficiency. To counteract these forces, HED stiffened up the rear wheel so that no power would be lost to wheel flexing, thus putting more power into driving the bike forward.
The HED Jet 6 Clincher Wheelset is available with either a Campagnolo or Shimano compatible freehub body. Please note that both freehub bodies accept 11-speed cassettes, and that they're easily swapped out with two 5mm hex keys. The wheels come with HED steel-shafted skewers, valve extenders, and rim strips. Also worth mention is that HED does NOT recommend these wheels for riders exceeding 190lbs.