Like this site? Help us to make it better.


HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheelset



Excellent handling and aero attributes regardless of the conditions, and an impressive warranty, but up against tough competition
Width works with a wide range of tyre types
Hooked rim for good compatibility
Noticeable aero benefits
Impressively stiff
Stiff competition on price
No Campagnolo freehub

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

HED has gone wide with the rims of its Vanquish RC6 Performance wheelset, which makes it a great choice if you want an aero boost while favouring wider tyres. For the depth and width they are a decent overall weight, and stiffness isn't an issue either, but our guide to the best road bike wheels shows there's some tough competition in terms of price, weight and performance.

Over recent years tyre widths and clearances have been getting wider on road bikes, and that trend shows no signs of abating. It's no surprise then that we are seeing more and more aero wheels coming with wider rim profiles.

> Buy now: HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheelset for £1,625 from HED

The Vanquish RC6s are in that camp with a 30.6mm external width, which means even with tyres of 36mm there's a smooth transition between the rim of the wheel and sidewall of the tyre. There is none of that 'lightbulb' effect going on.

2022 HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheel set - valve hole.jpg

HED hasn't gone over the top with the internal rim width, though, keeping the wheels compatible with tyres more akin to racing, triathlon or time trialling – disciplines that the RC6s' 61mm depth makes them ideal for.

2022 HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheel set - rim bed.jpg

HED recommends a tyre range of 23mm (remember those?) up to 45mm.

For the majority of the reviewing period I was running 28mm tyres which were easy to fit with just thumb pressure and popped onto the rim with just a track pump when setting them up tubeless. This is the size that HED reckons is the most aero optimised. HED has also stuck with hooked rims, so they are compatible with standard clincher tyres too.

I also tried the RC6s with some 36mm WTB Exposure tyres which I was reviewing at the time, and they, too, went onto the rims easily.

In use

The HEDs felt quick straight from the off. Heading out onto the local roads, as soon as I opened the legs up and got the speed to 20mph and above they seem to really come alive and just roll so well. I could definitely feel their aero benefits – if you ride time trials on fast, flat courses these are perfect for the job.

2022 HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheel set - rim detail.jpg

It's not just straight-line speed where they excel either: even with their 1,680g (on the scales) they are responsive to your inputs for acceleration out of tight corners or when passing through roundabouts.

They may not be your first choice if your riding takes in a lot of climbs, but on rolling terrain they are very capable, and Jamie also found that the HEDs were very competitive in his real world testing against a whole range of carbon wheels at various price points, as you can see in this video.

A lot of wider-rimmed, U-profiled wheels feel more stable in crosswinds compared with narrower versions that use more of a V-shaped profile. These certainly do, and even riding past gaps in hedges for gates and the like, the HEDs never felt overly twitchy. A gust will catch them, but not to the point that they are battered around and a struggle to keep in a straight line.

2022 HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheel set - spoke.jpg

Stiffness is also impressive. When I did have to take in a climb there was no noticeable lateral flex, they just felt tight. It was the same when sprinting too.

Even with the 28mm tyres pumped up to 70psi (HED's recommended maximum for that tyre size) the RC6s have a certain plushness to the ride; it's firm, but considering the depth and width of the rim there is no feeling of harshness.

Tough build

The HEDs are handbuilt and are more than tough enough to handle UK road conditions, where the constantly changing conditions have seen the number of potholes rise. They remained true throughout testing with no issues whatsoever, and are backed up a five-year warranty.

Build-wise, HED has gone for full carbon fibre rims, with 24 Sapim CX-Sprint J-bend spokes, front and rear.

The aluminium alloy hubs are designed in-house by HED and roll very smoothly indeed. They come with freehub options that cater for Shimano/SRAM HD, compatible with 9-speed to 12-speed, plus there is a SRAM XDR option, but nothing for Campagnolo users.

2022 HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheel set - front hub 2.jpg

The freehub uses four pawls for engagement, and while not the most rapid that I've used, it's not really an issue in the real world. It's still pretty instantaneous.

2022 HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheel set - rear hub.jpg


Overall, the build quality is very good, which helps justify the price of £1,625, though that's more than double the cost of some.

The Vel 60 RLs, for example, impressed me with their performance, and though they've gone up £50 since I tested them they're still less than half the price of the HEDs at £799 (and currently on sale at £599).

Hunt's 54 Aerodynamicists are a similar shape, although not quite as deep, and also impressed me with their performance – they're £949, and currently available for £806.65.

A little closer in price, the Reynolds AR 58/62 X DB wheelset has gone up to £1,500 since I tested them in 2021. They are similar in width and depth to the HEDs, and about 150g lighter.

At the other end of the scale, though, are the likes of Zipp's 454 NSW wheels, which Jamie tested last year. They're a lot lighter at 1,420g, but £3,376, and their hookless rims limit tyre compatibility.


Overall, the Vanquish RC6 Performance is a quality wheelset with a great ride in all kinds of conditions. Some of the competition is cheaper, but in HED's defence the build quality is excellent, and they come with that five-year warranty.


Excellent handling and aero attributes regardless of the conditions, and an impressive warranty, but up against tough competition test report

Make and model: HED Vanquish RC6 Performance wheelset

Size tested: 700C, 61mm deep

Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

HED says, "Perfectly suiting the marauding solo break specialist or triathlon courses with a good dose of climbing, the Vanquish RC6 Performance wheels seamlessly blend speed, control and style while remaining cost-effective."

The RC6s are a fast set of wheels with plenty of stiffness, ideal for a range of fast disciplines.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

HED lists:

Rim Material: 150 GSM HED carbon

Rim Type: Hooked

Tyre Compatibility: Tubeless-ready clincher or standard tube-type clincher

Rim Size: 700c

Rim Depth: 61mm

External Rim Width: 30.6mm

Internal Rim Width: 21mm

Effective Rim Diameter (ERD): 525mm

Rim Weight: 523g

Carbon Rim Assembly: Hand made in Minnesota, USA

Rim Decals: Removable stickers

Braking Surface: Disc brake only

Recommended Brake Pad: Disc brake only

Hub Model: Front: HED GP Performance disc brake / Rear: HED GP Performance disc brake

Hub Bearing Type: Front: 6902 2RS Radial / Rear: 6902 2RS Radial

Freehub Options: Shimano HD 9, 10, 11 & 12-speed, SRAM XDR 12-speed

Front Axle: 12mm thru-axle or 15mm thru-axle, 100mm spacing (Q/R adaptors available separately)

Rear Axle: 12mm thru-axle, 142mm spacing (Q/R, 135mm spacing adaptors available separately)

Disc Rotor Attachment: Center Lock front and rear

Build and Spokes: x 24 front in a 2-cross pattern / x 24 rear in a 2-cross pattern

Spoke Type: Sapim CX-Sprint, J-bend

Spoke Lengths: Front: 252mm and 254mm / Rear: 250mm and 254mm

Assembly Method: Hand-built in Minnesota, USA

Wheelset Weight: 1720g (Front: 790g / Rear: 930g)

Aerodynamically Optimal Tyre Size: 28mm

Supported Tyre Widths: 23mm to 45mm

Max Tyre Pressure: 23mm tyre: 80psi / 25mm tyre: 75psi / 28mm tyre: 70psi / 32mm tyre: 70psi

Includes: Tubeless valves, tubeless-ready rim tape, HED wheel manual

Crash Replacement Policy: Yes

Warranty: 5 years

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Rate the wheel for performance:
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
Rate the wheel for value:

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

The wheels stayed true throughout reviewing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Various sets of tyres fitted without issue.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

Valves and rim tape are included and are of a decent quality.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great real world aero performance, plus they are stable for such a deep-section wheel.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Great aero benefits.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

No freehub option for Campagnolo owners.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

They are in the sort of mid-range: Hunt and Vel offer cheaper alternatives, while the likes of Zipp are double the price.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall, this is a high-quality set of handbuilt wheels with impressive aero performance, and the lengthy warranty is great. There is some very tough competition out there, though, in terms of price, weight and real world performance.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Latest Comments