Most wheel makers would be quite content having the fastest wire spoked wheel in the world but with Hed things are different. After an extensive prototyping and wind tunnel testing Hed was rewarded with the new Hed Stinger 9 Flamme Rouge Carbon Tubular Front Bicycle Wheel that not only lowers drag at all angles but also gives the rim a bigger window of aerodynamic effectiveness. As with the Stinger 6, Steve Hed has again proven that shape is actually more important than depth as the Stinger 9 not only outperforms every spoked wheel shallower than 90mm but it also outperforms all the wheels that deeper than 90mm. During development of the new shape Hed also set out to increase lateral stiffness, cornering performance, and impact durability. This was done without affecting the impressively comfortable ride quality.
Looking at the wind tunnel drag data you might notice that the Stinger 9 now has a stall point of 14 degrees and drag numbers routinely go negative when testing the 9. So what does this mean to the rider you ask? It means that in light to medium winds the Stinger not only will give you more speed than any other wheel out there but will stay fast when other wheels begin to slow down. If you’re in doubt, check out the Sept 2010 issue of VeloNews Magazine. The Stinger 9 beat (soundly) the "fastest" wheels from 5 of Hed’s competitors.
With the shaping ironed out Hed spent considerable energy focused on the type of carbon used to make the rim as well as the orientation of the fibers. Balancing lateral stiffness, vertical compliance, impact resistance, cornering performance is quite a dance. The result of SCT Tuning efforts is that the Stinger 9 uses three different types of carbon and a unique layup schedule that produces a wheel that is 15% stiffer laterally and 10% more impact resistant. This was done while maintaining vertical compliance and making the rim 25 grams lighter. Cornering is noticeably improved by the use of the C2 tire well. The C2 tire well provides more support for the tire when cornering or accelerating out of the saddle. It is also worth noting that the stability of the wheel in crosswinds has been improved. This is a side effect of the improved aerodynamics. Smooth air over the rim produces stability in the wheel. This means that despite the Stinger 9 have a large amount of surface area in a side wind it still holds its riding line well because air is flowing smoothly over it and not buffeting which in indicative of a wheel beyond its stall point.
So where might you see the Stinger 9 wheel in action? Last year Stinger 9's were used on the professional level to win Ironman races, criteriums, and road races. As a testament to their durability they were even used in the cobbled classics of Paris Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders without a single failure. As a front wheel they are a good choice for athletes that ride at 25mph or faster in light and medium wind conditions. For those athletes that are riding 25mph or less the front wheel should be reserved for days when the winds are light.
- C2 platform tubular rim
- 18 front silver bladed spokes
- Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes
- Carbon FR Sonic hub
- Titanium Skewer and valve extender included
- Rider weight limit 210lbs
- Weights (g): Front: 807