I thought I would share my experiences about the Ardennes....
I bought mine early 2009 (in the UK) and I haven't put more than 1500 miles on them, if that. They are still almost perfectly true - certainly no adjustment needed - and I like them a lot. However there are some problems:
1. Poor sealing between the freehub body and the hub - my first freehub was replaced after the bearings failed due to water ingress. I had used the wheels once in wet weather - light rain, pretty wet roads and some fast, sustained downhills. That was enough to ruin them. If you know this before, then you can easily take the freehub off - no tools - and dry/regrease the bearings. I did not know. It's also a pita to do this after every wet ride.
2. Rear axle is not stiff enough. I am between 75 & 82 Kg and I can see tiny marks where the outer edge of the freehub body has been touching the hub shell - this is not serious, but smacks of poor design/testing.
3. This one for Shimano users.....freehub body is 8/9/10 speed compatible and made of aluminium. It is light and it is also hopeless. Notches arrive immediately and even using American Classic cassette clip/pins will not stop it - I have tried. I contacted Hed in the US and was told that it was "normal" and they considered it a "wear item" to be replaced. Hmmm. After 1200 miles the splines on mine were half way through on some sprockets - at £70 replacement, that adds up! All they have to do is alter the numbers on the CNC milling machine and ...presto! a 10 speed only body which will last indefinitely. Easton do this. Make a steel one for 8/9 speed if you don't have all the sprockets joined together. Easy.
4. I was sent a replacement freehub body after the bearing went on the first one. It lasted about 100 miles, before the section of freehub body where one of the pawls seats in the body was broken clean off. Interestingly, my first freehub body looked like this one - http://www.hedcycling.com/accessories/h ... e_body.asp
and I had noticed a tiny bit of yielding in the areas below where the pawls seat, but this did not progress, so did not cause any issue.
The replacement fhb (fed up of typing freehub body) was not quite the same. In between the pawls, aluminium had been machined away, presumably to make it lighter. I suspect that was why it broke almost immediately - it was lighter and weaker.
So I will be trying the third fhb soon - I have no confidence it will last.
In every other respect the wheels have been really nice, but this one thing - the fhb - ruins them. I will not buy another wheel with a Hed rear hub and I cannot recommend anyone else does either. Especially for £650 (Ardennes in the UK).
If they redesign the fhb then I may reconsider.
If you're thinking of buying any Hed rear wheels, think carefully.
One point of note. 'My' retailer - La Bicicleta in Sheffield - has been great. I can recommend them.
File comment: Shows notches on first fhb after not many miles.
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File comment: Second fhb showing the damaged section.
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