OK, hopefully I can add some clarity here...the reality is that I have no idea what Hed is up to, or how this prouduct really performs beyond this test, as I cannot get one to test in depth, despite having been trying for a few months.
First of all, we knew this VN test was coming (unlike Tour Germany or or Triathlon Germany who buy wheels locally to be sure that the test product is 'as sold', VN got these wheels from the manufacturers), so we sent them standard 808's and also a prototype pair of the new 808 with Firecrest geometry, which was debuted at the Tour and will be officially shown in public at Eurobike in a few weeks. they only officially tested the standard 808 as the FC version was not available yet (the testing was done in May)...they do mention the new 808 in the front of the magazine as a product that you would see at the Tour, but would not put it in the review as it wasn't shipping yet...I agree with their decision and think it shows integrity on their part.
in late April, we bought all of the products that were going to be tested by VN and took them to the A2 tunnel to make sure we would be on top (we had just been to A2 5 weeks earlier with a S9 purchased in December and we were beating it at that time, but had never tested a Cole wheel, though we later determined it to be the same rim as FFWD) and we bought a Stinger9 from a very large Hed retailer online in early April. This wheel has the unidirectional sidewalls with woven ID and OD (a layup concept now used by Hed's chinese manufacturer on all their products, but pioneered by Zipp beginning in 2001...so it is not so easy to pick our zipp wheels by the layup alone as mentioned earlier in the thread) and is similar to the shape in the images on Hed's website in that it has a wide brake track, smaller spoke bed radius with slight V shape and deep tire bed (except that the web images are full woven rims). this wheel does not beat the 808 with 21mm tire and is essentially equal with 23mm tires (slightly better actually at 15 degrees, but only by about 12 grams), though, the 404 Firecrest carbon clincher easily beats it at all angles between 0 and 20 degrees...but that's another story.
The wheel that velonews had, looks very much like a 1080 with a wider multi-radius spoke bed shape, but has a very wide brake track and 7.5mm deep tire bed (4.5-5 is normal). this wheel definitely beat the 808 in this test, no question, and I do commend Hed on producing a really fast wheel...the wheel is fast, I am not disputing that. In Hed's defense, this new shape is now shown in Hed's magazine advertising, but is still not what is shown on the website, so no idea what the official changeover date was, but in the retail channel and on the team side, I have bought 2 of these between March 1 and June 15 and had access to a third set from a Hed sponsored team, and none of them have this new bulbous spoke bed shape...I did get some time with the new wheel at the Tour Prologue with a Hed sponsored team and talked at length with the mechanics, as well as mechanics which had involvement in the VN test, so though I don't/can't own one yet, I do have some pretty good knowledge of it.
Rappstar is correct in that the 27.75-28.0mm brake track (the rim is painted, so there is a bit of variance) will not work with ZeroG brakes and is very tight with older SRAM and some model Shimano and Tektro (commonly rebranded with major bike brand names) brakes as well as the integrated chainstay brakes from Specialized and Cervelo. we can measure this from the actual brakes, as well as knowing that our sub9 is 28.5mm wide at the bulge, and only 26.5 mm wide in the brake track...and yet, has had fitment issues in some frames as has been discussed ad nauseum here on ST. As we experienced with the sub9, there is manufacturing variance in all of the subcomponents of a frame or brake, so it is nearly impossible to tell if a particular wheel will work in your particular frame or brake, and that is why there will be lots of conflicting information on this...'it won't fit at all in my Tektro/Cervelo brake'...'it fits great in my Tektro/Cervelo brake'... both are most likely correct as the brake assembly has over 2mm of allowed variance in MAX open width...so your experience may vary, but it seems from the article that the VN testers also had some issues here..
Ultimately, I think time will tell that Hed wins the 80-90mm deep wheel aero battle for a few months (you have to admit that the timing here is pretty awesome for them...this version of the 808 is almost 3 years old and the Stinger9 is brand new) but Firecrest will change things in a few weeks... With FC, we are equal to, or better than the Stinger9 at every data point, without having to resort to using a super deep or impact prone tire bed geometry and without limitation on tire pressure or tire size...in fact we might have been able to integrate the identical tire bed geometry and perimeter edge layup/geometry as the Paris-Roubaix winning 303...but I'm not saying for sure before Eurobike.
In the end, I feel that we are about to unleash something game changing...something lighter, more aero, more useable in more types of events, something with no limitations and no weaknesses when considering total performance...something that might have just won 5 TdF stages under a customer... but in the mean time, Hed will definitely has the more aero wheel for the rest of the summer.
Lastly, Vince is right that Cav's crash was on a Zipp wheelset...he will not ride anything else (he even mentions us in his book..), and has been a great customer of ours for a few years. Unfortunately the wheel was failed in the incident, but as Cav pointed out, when you get T-boned at 44mph, bad things happen. Attached is the picture of him signing it and giving it to me in Rotterdam...as he pointed out, Hausler hit him behind the hub, turning the wheel 90deg to the direction of travel, essentially taking the wheel from 44mph to 0mph in about 5cm...he still believes that had Hausler hit him in front of the hub, they both would have stayed up and sprinted for the win...these guys have unbelievable cajones!!! Though we have built wheels for him for a few years, this was the first time I'd actually met him. I was really impressed by a soft-spoken, introspective guy...not at all how the media portrays him at times. As he has said before, and told me that day 'don't listen to me when I have my helmet on'... he also spent 10 minutes showing me his 3 new pair of shoes, each a different color, as well as his new 'samurai' bike, I was also surprised by his interest in all the technology...
thanks for listening
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