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Most wheel makers would be quite content having the fastest wire spoked wheel in the world, but HED never aspired to be “most wheel makers”. They always want a faster wheel – always.  In 2008 HED's quest took them to…tires. Every rider uses them, but they’ve been overlooked as an element of rim design. The tire is the first thing the air “sees”, and it is the last shape encountered as the airflow leaves the wheel surface. In a sense, all aero wheels streamline the tire’s profile. Careful attention to this fact rewarded HED with a new Stinger 9 rim shape 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 proven that shape is actually more important than depth. The Stinger 9 not only outperforms every wheel shallower than 90mm but it also outperforms all the wheels with rims deeper than 90mm. Development of the new shape included increases lateral stiffness, cornering performance, and impact durability. This was done without affecting the impressively comfortable ride quality.

Wind tunnel testing shows that the Stinger 9 has a stall point of 14° (up from 12.5°) and drag is negative at the wheel’s “sweet spot”. So what does this mean to the rider you ask? It means that in light to medium winds the Stinger will give you more speed than any other wheel out there, due to the wheel’s negative drag. And, the improved stall angle means it hangs on to the sweet spot longer – past the point when other wheels begin to stall out and slow down.

With HED's shaping ironed out they spent considerable energy focused on the type of carbon they use 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 Stinger 9 uses three different types of carbon and a unique layup schedule. The result is a rim 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 their 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 as it leaves the wheel surface evens out the pressure differential on the upwind and downwind sides of the rim, this improves stability. In spite of the Stinger 9’s large surface area, it is easy to hold a line, because air flow is smooth. Buffeting comes from turbulent air leaving the wheel and indicates that it is 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 rear wheel they can be used by anyone. 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 25 mph or less the front wheel should be reserved for days when the winds are light. Use of HED's wind yaw calculator can help you determine what is ideal for you.



  • C2 platform rims
  • silver bladed spokes
  • Sonic carbon hubs
  • Ti Skewers
  • Tubular only

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