The Swiss Side Hadron 625 is the latest wheelset to arrive for test at RCUK Towers.
As the name suggests, this aluminium clincher is equipped with a laminate shroud some 62.5mm deep and comes with bold performance claims. Swiss Side founder, Jean-Paul Ballard, by day an aerodynamicist with the Sauber F1 team, is more than happy to have those claims tested, however: RCUK will be among a handful of journalists taking their favourite wheels to a wind tunnel in Switzerland for a head-to-head with the Hadron. Watch this space.
Swiss Side claim a weight of 1686g for its latest hoops, sans skewers and tapes, so while far from heavy, will add a not insignificant amount of revolving weight to our trusty Kinesis Racelight TK3 test rig, which has until now rolled on the 1260g Julius AC22 tested earlier this year. We hope to draw some conclusions on the relative advantages of weight vs. aerodynamics (the Julius has a conventional rim profile, just 22mm deep).
The profile of the Hadron’s laminate covers, crucially in our experience, is toroidal rather than flat and high-sided, so we’re expecting stability in cross winds. They feel soft (gentle pressure from thumb and forefinger is all that’s required to induce flex), but rigidity of the cover is another aspect to have been subjected to wind tunnel testing, and those supplied are claimed by Swiss Side to represent the optimum. We’ll report on their performance on the road in the weeks ahead.
The spoke holes are on the large side (Swiss Side’s wind tunnel test report claims no aerodynamic advantage accrued from ‘closing’ them with tape), which may contribute to the ‘rushing’ sound typical of deep section wheels. They may also allow water ingress in the typically wet conditions faced by the UK cyclist, so we’re pleased to see each rim equipped with an equally sizeable drain hole.
The broad (in addition to deep) profile of the rim places the Hadron 625 in the vanguard of wheel design: one which holds that wider is better. Swiss Side reports 23mm for the brake track’s external diameter, and they certainly appear to have made the most of the Schwalbe Ultremo ZX rubber in which we’ve wrapped them (summer is here).
The hubs appear similar if not identical to those fitted to the Swiss Side Franc tested earlier this year, and should this be the case, we’ll have no fears for their performance. CNC-machined from 6061 aluminium, they’re easy on the eye, too. The pawls in the freehub emit the same pleasingly aggressive ‘click’, and operate without excessive lag, though we’ve experienced quicker engagement from competing designs, such as Chris King’s RingDrive and the star ratchet from DT Swiss. The freehub comes in Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo flavours.
Spokes are from Sapim: the Belgian spoke king’s flagship CX-Ray, which is perhaps all we need to say at this stage about the quality of the spars Swiss Side has wisely decided to deploy. For the record, the Hadron 625 is laced with 24 at the rear (two-cross driveside, radial non-driveside) and 18 up front (radial). The brand’s signature inclusion of two red spokes and one white among a series of black is present and correct.
Our final comment concerns the appearance, which is striking. Deep section wheels are famously alluring and the Hadron 625 is likely to appeal to those to whom the aesthetic of a carbon wheel appears more than the price. Swiss Side’s creation offers the appearance of a moulded rim for €799 (around £640). As previously mentioned, the design team is happy for the Hadron to be judged against wheels of this type in the performance stakes, too. We’ll find out how they fare in the weeks ahead. Check back soon for a full review.
Price: €799 (circa £640) with wheelbags, rim tapes, and skewers
Size: 700c with 625mm laminate shroud
Website: Swiss Side