Hed Ardennes / Sonic rear hub...

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 3:48 pm

by xrlwkkr

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.

Shows notches on first fhb after not many miles.

Second fhb showing the damaged section.

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by Mr.Gib

Thanks for the informative post. I am really interested to try a wider rim wheelset but I guess it won't be Hed. That hub design is very poor.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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by newfy

Sorry to hear but I have had the Hed Kermesse model for over a year and have 7000 miles on them and 1000 of that is in the rain. I weight 215lb and run campy 11sp only trued them once after a crash in a crit

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by shadwell

Good post thanks for the info and great shots...
I am running 2 sets of Ardennes currently... one 1 year old 12,00kms, and one brand new... on 2 different bikes, a Look 595, and Scott CR-1.
I am 78kgs and do around 350kms a week on them on some pretty poor roads on the GOld COast in Australia, and up tp Brisbane...

Now that you have a context; i have had the free hub notch issue also but it has never progressed past 1-2mm intrusion.. i do make a point of ensuring the frehub is at correct torque... as even a little loose seems to allow the cogs to rotate a little more...
I have had no issues on the frrehub internals and mechanism however... i use Motul Boron motocycl chain oil on it and clean it approx once a monthe or every 1500kms or so... its a 60 second job so happy to do it....

Similarly HED support has been awesome with any issues (i had a hub flange crack on one spoke, which was dealt with incredibly.....).

All in i highly rate the wheels and re the frruhb wear, every alu freehub i have had ha done the same so i haven't considered this a point of differentiation / something to complain about... TI would be nice but haver and more expensive... so........

I agree buy well informed of posible issues, HED have theors like every prduct but they are few and dealt with well in my experience (this excludes HED Australia they are a shower of fools).

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by ahumblecycler

shadwell wrote: i do make a point of ensuring the frehub is at correct torque... as even a little loose seems to allow the cogs to rotate a little more...

What is the correct torque?


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by shadwell

40Nm for Shimano Cassette.

It is inscribe on the lock ring itself.

Note even at this torque t does not PREVENT th teeth getting chewed, simply reduces it in my experience.

Hope this helps.

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by xrlwkkr

@ Mr Gib - From my point of view, only part of the rear hub design is poor and that part is the fhb. There are some great pieces of design too - this is what frustrates me so much! If you are a Campy user then there is (as I understand it) no notching issue. One of the attractions for me was the wider rim concept. I did not spend £650 to 'try it out' though - I got a cheapo wheelbuilder to knock up a set of 32 hole Mavic A119 rims (24mm) on Tiagra hubs. I still have them, use them loads and their performance convinced me that wide rims are a good idea.

@ Shadwell - other than my fhb issues, I really like the wheels - there are so many good points, but this one 'little' issue has caused me a lot of grief. As you pointed out, I am also sure that every other aluminium 8/9/10 shimano fhb ever made has the notching problem - that isn't an excuse though. Why is such a badly designed thing still made?! It's so easy to fix........offer either steel or titanium as an option and for S 10 speed, just raise the height of the splines on the aluminium one at no cost increase. Agreed that it's a good idea to keep the lockring tight, but indeed it doesn't prevent notches.

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by MattSoutherden

xrlwkkr wrote:Why is such a badly designed thing still made?!

This is WW. This is the reason manufacturers are in a constant war to be the lightest, whatever the cost in terms of fitness for purpose. ;)

You could use a SRAM 1090 cassette, which doesn't notch the freehub like the single sprocket designs do.

I have to say, this 'soft as cheese freehub' issue is what's stopping me from buying brand-name wheels at the moment.

I'd like to get a set of wider rimmed hoops, but the HED rims are insanely priced (£200 EACH!!!!), and Brick Lane Bikes (the UK distributor for the Velocity A23s) just aren't bothered about my custom (well, that's all I can deduce from the fact that they don't respond to my requests). I can't imaging that the Zipp 101 rims would be available for a while, either, as the wheelset still isn't available in the UK yet.
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by js

I actually did build up a pair of HED rims to DT 240s hubs and I couldn't be happier... even though the DT 'fhb' does also get fairly dented by cogs too. That said, I don't know that I could have convinced myself to do it had I been forced to pay the UK retail for those rims.

One other option might be to look at the 'Belgium' rims from HED, which are simply the non-scandium version of this same rim, which HED uses in all the wheels below the Ardennes. They weigh 40g more and cost nearly half as much ($125 vs $200 in the US retail... which hopefully translates to at most £125, but who knows with the UK importer). If you're already considering other heavier options, 475g still isn't that heavy and much cheaper then the Ardennes.

For what it's worth, I freakin' love my wheels and my wife has been quite impressed with the set I built her as well. She wasn't that big on corners before, but now enjoys trying to rail things that previously intimidated her - there may be some placebo in there, but she's loving her rides.

The set I build were 20/24, weigh very little (1465g for me, 1435g for her) and spin up well due to the low rim weight. They carve corners, have no brake rub, even under my 80+kg and they didn't even need truing after the Flanders sportive (a friend swapped onto them as his only wheels were 50mm deep - granted he was only 69kg, but he loved them too!)

Personal Opinion - the wide rim thing works and the HED rims, at least at 2000k in, seem to be by far the most impressive combination of weight & strength.

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by xrlwkkr

Hmmm. It seems that among the pros using Hed wheels, some use the Sonic rear hub & some don't.

Wiggins not:

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/p ... raal-26064

While HTC-Columbia do:

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/p ... dict-26318

Another small issue with the notching is that gearshifts are noticeably not as good, as the shifts ramps no longer line up.

@Newfy - do you know if your fhb looks like the one on the Hed website, or like my second one pictured in the thread, with the extra material machined away from in between the pawls? Thanks....

@ MattSoutherden - Good call on the SRAM 1090 cassette. I'm not so keen to have to drop that much on a cassette though and I think the ratio 'spacing' is slightly different - 22, 25 rather than Shimano's 21, 24.

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by newfy

After all my miles i should pull it a part and take a look will let you know

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by spatz

I've had my Ardennes for almost a couple years now. Excellent riding wheels and particularly amazing in the corners. I've had some issues including many broken spokes on the rear, rim cracking around the nipples (rear) and the usual freehub spline notching, poor bearing wear on the front. Hed was offered excellent service immediately sending me a replacement spokes as well as a replacement rim free of charge with no run around. However durability has become a bit of a concern as I'm only 150 pounds and don't want to have to face the prospect of breaking spokes/rims in the middle of events. Hopefully some of the durability issues will be addressed in the future.


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by xrlwkkr

Just waking this up again as I have at long last received my replacement (i.e. third) fhb - it is as the one pictured on the Hed website with no 'extra' material machined away in the pawl areas - a good thing!

We shall see how long it lasts - I suspect that bar the spline notching it will be fine, as I will specifically not put 100% power through the pedals when I'm on the 34T chainring, as I now think doing so increases the chain tension beyond what the hub (fhb in particular) will cater to. Time will tell.

@newfy - did you ever have a look at your fhb, especially in the pawl carrying area?

@anybody - likewise?

I also emailed Hed (USA) to ask whether I could buy a 20H Scandium C2 from them, but never received a reply - anyone know if they sell the rims directly still or have they stopped? Thanks....

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by runner999

I have the Hed 2011 Ardennes LT wheelset that was on a used bike I bought. The shimano freehub body has a cassette spline that completely broke off. The freehub from Hed is $100 USD.

Question - Is the freehub on the Sonic hub unique? The FH body looks similar in pictures to the Spinergy and Powertap FH body along with a few other brands at nearly half the price. Anyone with experience with these?


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