Rolf Prima TDF 60
Rolf Prima has a long history in carbon tubulars, and the company’s hallmark paired spoke design has a proven track record. Nonetheless, we were a bit skeptical of the low front and rear spoke counts — both get only 16. Stiffness was never an issue, though, and the wheels felt light and nimble under acceleration. Rather, it was braking performance and high-yaw wind tunnel results that were Rolf’s downfall.
The TDF 60s were third fastest in the wind tunnel, just 13 grams of drag (a little over 2 watts at 30mph) slower than the Enve 6.7 set. They fell nicely in line with the top two performances between 5° and 15° yaw, but drag rose quickly as the wheels stalled around 15°. Perhaps due to the low spoke count, the TDF 60s were actually the fastest of the bunch at 0° yaw.
The front wheel had a moment of inertia of 1.75 seconds, placing it second behind Bontrager, and the rear managed a score of 1.77 seconds, enough for third behind Bontrager and Psimet.
While still nowhere near the Psimets, crosswinds buffet the Rolf TDF 60s more than the other three blunt-tailed wheels. The slightly narrower profile of the rim and sharper trailing edge, relative to the Enve and Hed sets in particular, seems to catch more wind.
Braking is powerful, but plagued by shuddering. Legan summed up the feelings of our test crew: “Powerful, but in a shuddery, disconcerting way.” We tried the TDF 60s with another set of carbon-specific brake pads, but the problem persisted.
At $2,300, Rolf has placed the TDF 60 smack dab in the middle of the carbon tubular market. Enve’s 6.7 is more expensive, but also faster. More importantly, a pair of Hed Stinger 6s is $100 cheaper and, though a bit slower to spin up, is a better wheelset overall.
As the third lightest in our test, the Rolf TDF 60s get 3 points.
Hed Stinger 6 Flamme Rouge
Hed helped lead the charge toward wider wheels, and has had more time to perfect its stabilizing shape than any other brand in this test; the rest are all first-generation products. So we were not the least bit surprised when the Stinger 6s proved impressively stable in crosswinds and all but matched the deeper Enve 6.7s in the wind tunnel. For $2,200, it’s impossible to go faster.
Hed and Enve effectively tied in the wind tunnel, with the Stinger 6s generating only one extra gram of drag across a full sweep of yaw angles. That’s within the tunnel’s margin of error. The two sets tied down to the gram at 0° and remained tightly packed across all positive yaw angles (with wind hitting the non-drive side of the bike). However, Hed pulled ahead at -15° yaw, dropping precipitously down to 890 grams of drag while every other wheel rose to between 950 and 1,000 grams. So, in the Venge frame we used for testing and with a 21mm tire, a pair of Stinger 6s is faster than Enve 6.7s if the wind is coming from your right side. This odd advantage disappears with a 23 or 25c tire.
Our inertia testing was not so kind. Hed came in last, losing out to the deeper and slightly heavier Enve 6.7 set — by quite a bit, in fact. The Rolf, Psimet and Enve wheels were all closely packed at 1.75 and 1.76 seconds, while Hed fell far behind at 1.80.
Crosswind performance with the Stinger 6 is simply phenomenal. The rims use Hed’s SCT (Stability Control Tuning) shape, which keeps the stall angle high in crosswinds. That means the wheels stay quick even with hefty crosswinds, and are easier to control at the same time. It might sound like marketing jargon, but the shape truly does work. We were confident taking the Stinger 6s out in some truly nasty, spring winds.
Brake performance was low on absolute power and high on modulation. Braking was exceptionally predictable, but Hed’s blue cork pads did not provide much initial bite, decreasing outright power. The surface area of the pad is also very large — too large, in fact, as we had issues with the pads hitting the rim decals.
If aero performance is your highest priority, the Stinger’s $2,200 price tag is worth every penny, particularly when compared to the Enve at $600 more. However, we had to lop a few points off because significantly cheaper options (like the Psimets in this test) still perform very well. Is 65 grams of drag and a heap of crosswind performance worth $1,200? That’s a question we can’t answer for you.
Lighter only than the Enve set, by two grams, the Stingers get two points. Both the front and rear wheel fell within 5 grams of the claimed weight.