HED Jet 5 Express Clincher Wheelset - $1,550.00

HED is refreshingly anti-marketing. It doesn't make a big deal about releasing something new until it actually has something new to offer. And even then, it usually shows up more as a running change. The Jet 5 Express Clincher Wheelset fits into this tradition of quality first, needless hype never. HED's Jet 5 Express fits in between the Jet 4 and Jet 6 models -- which simple logic has already told you. It features a 54mm rim depth, yet it shares a closer kinship with the 60mm Jet 6, rather than the 44mm Jet 4. This size differential says something to HED's general wheel philosophy: Aerodynamics before weight reduction. And what might surprise you is the weight, at around 1681 grams per set, the Jet 5 is only a little heavier than the Jet 6. Herein lies a major distinction between the Express and its brethren -- it doesn't share the Flamme Rouge (FR) designation of either the 4 or 6. This means that it beats them rather handily on price, only at the cost of a few grams. However, this shouldn't become a matter of stress or contemplation. With a new construction and a new rim shape, this budget wheel outperforms last year's Jet 6 FR. This is attributable to two criteria. One being that HED has switched its top layer from woven carbon-fiber to a uni-directional carbon fiber. Besides the smooth aesthetic, there's a practical benefit at work, too. The uni-directional cloth is flatter, so it requires less resin to adhere to the other layers. This results in the same strength and rigidity with less overall weight. The second thing, and this is throughout the line, is that the spoke end of the rim has a more rounded, wider shape (more 'blunt,' or less V-like) at 23mm. This creates a faster and more stable platform than traditional V-shaped rims. For handling, HED employed its SCT Technology in order to compensate for the Jet 5's 54mm effective rim depth. This means that the wheel has been tuned in accordance to handling at its depth. - $1,550.00