Sitting atop the pile of HED's alloy wheels is the Ardennes FR Plus Clincher Wheelset. At a massive 25mm wide, and under 1500 grams for the set, it establishes a new benchmark in the realm of aluminum clinchers. They get all of the details that you'd expect, such as Sapim bladed spokes, titanium skewers, and a grease port at the rear hub. And when you factor in the superior braking of an aluminum rim, this wheelset proves that carbon fiber isn't the only option for taking your wheels into the 21st century.
Wide rims have become standard for road use over the past few seasons, and HED's C2 rim shape has been at the forefront of this. The Plus FR takes this trend a step further by upping the width of the scandium alloy rim by two millimeters, to 25mm. The upshot is that you get more of the same traits that are relegating narrow rims to the antique bin. Namely, better grip and faster rolling through an improved tire profile. And, you can rest assured that these aren't empty promises. All things being equal, a wider rim puts more of the tire on the road, and that increased contact patch means more grip, especially while cornering. Better yet, by widening the tire's base, more of the sidewall is oriented vertically, and that means that the tire is better able to deform around irregularities in the road surface. So, you'll roll through them, not over them. And just in case you're looking for the fastest rolling setup around, the FR Plus is compatible with tubeless setups, in addition to traditional clincher tires with tubes.
At the heart of the Plus FR wheelset are HED's Sonic hubs. The carbon fiber hub shells are bonded to aluminum flanges in order to provide a stiff, lightweight assembly. The rear hub has an external grease port, which means that you're able to pump fresh grease in there without having to disassemble the rear hub. The spokes are Sapim CX rays, of which the front wheel has 18, and the rear has 24. Traditional spokes are drawn from stainless wire, but the CX Rays are forged, which makes them considerably stiffer than traditional options. Additionally, they're bladed to reduce aerodynamic drag. A wheelset of this caliber deserves a set of skewers to match, which is why HED includes its titanium quick-releases. It all adds up to a wheelset that comes in around 1492 grams. This makes the Plus FR an exercise in having your cake and eating it too.
The HED Ardennes Plus FR Clincher Wheelset is available with either a Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo freehub compatibility and in the color Black. It's worth noting that both freehub bodies are compatible with 11-speed cassettes, and that these wheels ship with airtight rim tape that makes them compatible with tubeless setups. Please note that HED's suggested rider weight limit for these wheels is 190lb.