HED's collection of wide-rimmed road wheels will grow by two for the upcoming model year. Why wider, you ask? Touted benefits include better tire casing support for improved cornering performance and road feel, lower rolling resistance and even improved aerodynamics. Though it's hard for us to verify the latter, our earlier experience with the Ardennes (HED's first wide-rimmed model, introduced in 2007) confirm the former claims and it continues to be one of our favorite high-performance alloy clinchers.
For 2010, HED will now add an entry-level version of the Ardennes – there are already two mid-range models, the Bastogne and Kermesse – called the Flanders. The Flanders wheelset will use the same 23mm-wide and 24mm-deep clincher rim dimensions as on the rest of so-called 'C2' line but a standard alloy – instead of scandium – rim with thicker walls and other weightier bits will bring the total mass up to a still reasonable 1,650g. Price, however, is a manageable US$700.
At the other end of the scale, HED will add a new 46mm-deep Stinger 4 to its line of all-carbon tubulars. The Stinger 4's wider shape reportedly offers similar performance gains as on the clincher C2 but with the added benefits of a deeper and broader tire bed for more glue surface area. 'Cross riders should take special notice here as this means reduced chance of rolling a tire on hard corners and a generally less squirmy feeling when running very low pressures.
Aero claims are even more impressive here, too, with the Stinger 4 supposedly posting similar drag figures as the doubly deep 2008 Stinger 90 but with better crosswind handling and a far lighter weight of just 1,284g for the pair.
Also coming from HED is a novel looking bottle cage that mounts atop the steerer tube and places the bottle in an aerodynamic, horizontal position in between a rider's arms when aero bars are used. Though a tad ungainly looking, the setup supposedly produces less drag than a frame-mounted setup – especially on more today's ultra-aero tube shapes – and is easier to access. HED will offer the cage mount in both fixed and adjustable position versions.