Founded by Formula 1 engineer Jean-Paul Ballard, the new Hadron 625 nearly equaled the times of the Zipp Firecrest 808 in the wind tunnel (and beat many of its rivals), which costs about $2,900 compared to just $1,200 for the 625.
On the road, that means a 2-minute time-savings over the 40K distance (at 21 mph and 180 watts) and 9-minute time-savings at the longer 180K distance.
The numbers are impressive, but how does the Hadron 625 hold up in the real world compared to the other wheel giants like Zipp and Enve? We got our hands on a pair and put them to the test. Here's how they fared.
The Specs1 of 6
Weight: 1,686 grams (set)
Rim: 62.5 mm carbon, aluminum brake surface
Spokes: Sapim CX-ray straight pull; 18 front, 24 rear
Hubs: CNC machined aluminum freehub; ceramic bearing upgrade available
The Ride2 of 6
What impressed us most with the Hadron 625 was its ability to accelerate. After testing the similarly priced Zipp 60 last year, I was surprised at how much better the Hadron 625 was at stop and go accelerations. While the Zipp 60 can feel sluggish and hard to get going, the Hadron 625 gets ups to speed quickly, and feels lively sprinting out of corners.
The 23 mm-wide external width provides a nice, stable ride that puts a good amount of rubber on the road and lets you crank out downhill sections in your aerobars without getting nervous.
The Ride (Continued)3 of 6
Once you're up to speed, the 62 mm rim depth maintains your effort nicely. The carbon rim shroud of the toridal shape helps to handle strong gusts of wind, but in reality any rim at this depth is going to move laterally. Uphill, the Hadron 625 climbs better than we expected and didn't feel like trying to pull a tank up a mountain on our time trial rig. For our money, they were every bit as impressive as the Enve SES 8.9 ($3,100, 1570 grams for the set) at all but the steepest of pitches and ascents over 10K—terrain that you'll rarely have to navigate during a triathlon.
The Verdict4 of 6
It's easy to get caught up with the latest and greatest all carbon wheels that your favorite pro rides. The truth is, he or she is probably being paid to ride those 3K wheels, or at the very least, has been given them for free. For the amateur athlete, it makes less sense to buy a wheelset like the Zipp 808 Firecrest or the Enve SES 8.9 unless you're working with an unlimited budget.
The Verdict (Continued)5 of 6
For the rest of us, the Swiss Side Hadron 625 is a wheel that will provide huge time-savings over stock wheels at a reasonable price. The aluminum braking won't affect your performance in bad weather, and the 23mm external width provides solid stability that improves bike handling so you can feel confident as your speed rises.