Friday, March 26, 2010

hed 3 track use - review

For some reason Hed3s are not popular on the track here and I found it difficult to find any information/postings by people that have tried them. As a community service announcement I am therefore posting this message about the wheels.

For the record I am very (very) light, not a big sprinter. I am a masters level rider. The wheels I have raced are the clincher, aluminium-rimmed version.

Build quality: The carbon work on these is very sexy, no two-ways about it. An ugly carbon-weave immitation sticker at the hub disguising the interface between the fabric and the hub body was poorly applied. The hubs spin very smoothly although the non-drive-side rear hub outer shell is not quite round. This does not effect the rolling in any way but it shows poor manufacturing tolerances. The wheels are not quite true but they are very nearly so – good I think for this kind of untruable wheel!

Conditions: I have raced them front and rear on an outdoor concrete velodrome with Vredestein Fortezza tyres (700x23) and latex tubes in a couple of scratch races, 500m ITT, flying 200m, and a single match sprint.

I have also raced them front and rear indoors on the boards with Continental Supersonic (700x20) tyres and latex inner tubes in the team-sprint, 3000m individual pursuit, 3000m team pursuit and in one very fast scratch race.

Speed: These are fast wheels! They have a terrific runaway-hell-train feeling when they are up to speed.

Wind: Outdoors in the wind these wheels are much easier to handle than a full disc. If it is blowing a gale, leave them at home, but a breeze is no problem as long as you concentrate on holding your line.

Flex: I never noticed any flex under power or at speed through the bends indoors or out. The front wheel took a little getting used to though – I was not well prepared for my first team sprint run indoors on the wheels and as I hit the bend at full tilt the steering of my bike was not quite as I expected it – practice on these before racing on them or you won't hug the measuring line ;-)

Weight: The clincher version especially is not the lightest wheel on the track. This might be a problem in getting up to speed, but the aerodynamics might overcome the disadvantage. That is a tough call to make! I suspect that the longer the race, the more the aerodynamics will be of assistance. Conversely, the more rapid accelerations you must make, the more the weight will be a hindrance. Whether or not these are suitable for a particular race will depend on your racing style as much as anything else.

I find these terrific. At the price (compared for instance to the Mavic IO) I think these are fantastic.

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