HED Goes Deep with the Jet 180

You may find Lionel Sanders and other HED-riding athletes aboard a radically deep rear wheel at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona in a couple of weeks.

HED has released a non-disc that is very disc-like, but conforms to the rules for a rear wheel and adds a lot of surface area over the traditional rear wheel offerings at this event. It’s the Jet 180, and has certain theoretical—at least—advantages over a disc.

While disc wheels are quite rigid, for both comfort and rolling resistance (at a given pressure) a spoked wheel may be desirable. The Jet 180 could, theoretically, offer the aero performance approaching a disc wheel with the cornering and rolling resistance advantages of a spoked wheel.

This is a tubeless compatible wheel, 21mm internal bead width, available as a Black series rim brake model or a disc brake model, and with a 32.5mm outer diameter (which should make this a good choice for either a 25mm or 28mm tire). The wheel will weigh just over 1200 grams in either its disc or rim brake configuration.

You’ll only find the Jet 180 used as a rear wheel in Kona. Could it be used as a front? Legally perhaps so, but practically no. Kona has a rule on wheels that is thought to be overly restrictive, while lacking a rule that does not restrict sufficiently. There is no good evidence I have seen showing that a disc on the rear is dangerous in Kona. (Indeed, discs are legal in most other IRONMAN races.) However, a front wheel too deep is problematic in windy conditions, and Kona doesn’t have a depth restriction on front wheels. Most Kona veterans would probably say that a disc on the rear in that race is way less dangerous than, say, a 120mm wheel on the front. Yet, that front wheel is currently legal in Kona. Adding a max depth front wheel rule for Kona is worth a look.

The Jet 180 is reportedly underneath several of HED’s Kona-bound athletes right now.

Could the Jet 180 eventually be used as a front wheel outside of Kona? Hopefully only on calm days. Perhaps on a velodrome, or on a road course with a guarantee of very light winds. But the Jet 180 was made as a rear wheel, and with Kona in mind. Here’s where you can read more about this wheel. There’s a 4 to 6 week lead time, but there will be some limited availability in Kona.

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