New Hed Belgian series rims and old Mavic hubs

Here’s my oh-so exclusive wheelset: new Hed “Belgian” low-profile, clincher rims laced to Mavic Classics Pro hubs with Sapim straight-pull CX spokes. Hed Cycling is now selling the same rim as used in Ardennes and Bastogne wheelsets to shops for building with any 32 or 28 hole hubs. I got the 32h aluminium Belgian; they also offer the same extrusion in a scandium-alloy (“Belgian-Sc”).

The Belgian rims are the same 23mm wide “C2” platform as the new generation Jet wheels. The Jets use the wider rim to create a better transition from the tire to the carbon fairing, but riders discovered that the wider rim made for a tire than cornered better because the tire is better supported. Hence, the creation of the Bastogne and Ardennes wheelsets, as well as the Belgian series rims now.



p> I built these as training wheels, so I wasn’t concerned at all by their weight. These aluminium rims weigh about 465gr, or about 20-30gr more than the narrower Mavic Open Pro. The Hed Belgian has a hard, bead blast finish that is more scratch resistant than the usual anodized rim. Spoke holes are angled to facilitate use of nipple drivers and ease spoke strain at the nipple. These rims are welded at the seam and then machined at the brake surface; the seam itself is nearly invisible both while assembling and on the finished wheel. Laterally, the Belgian seems fairly stiff, judging by the force necessary to unload the spokes during the building process.

Among rims without eyelets, I’d rate this as an easy build from a wheelbuilder’s perspective, if it weren’t for those straight-pull spokes that the Mavic Classics hubs use.


The Hed Belgian is available now, but it’s so new that Hed doesn’t have decals for it yet. So I added a custom lucky cat by the valve hole. It adds a bit of…er,class… to the hardware.


Damn, got to get me a set of those rims! Wish I could get the hubs too but they seem to be rare as hens teeth.

Yeah, I went nuts over the past year with those Mavic Classics; I’ve got 4 sets now. My best score was a pair of hubs with skewers for $30.  Those hubs are pictured in this post.

Where can I get those rims? How much are the retailing for?

The regular Belgian (aluminium) costs $130 and the Belgian Sc goes for $200 a rim.

Mark V - very cool.  Here did you purchase the rims?  I can’t a site on the Web the sells rims from Hed.

Hi Mark V-Could you tell me the spoke lengths that you used for these wheels front and rear please? What tension did you build them up with?

I cut the spokes to about 294mm for front and nd-rear, and 293mm for driveside rear.  As for tension, I have a beat up Hozan tension-gauge that may or not be accurate but it is consistent.  Thus, I can only say that I build a touch tighter than the original build. For a non-eyeleted rim, these build up pretty easy for me, but as I said, the straight-pull spokes are annoying.  You’ll need something to grab the spoke to keep it from rotating. There is a tool called a “Twist-Resist” (available from QBP) that I use, since it is gentler yet more effective on the spoke than pliers.

Also as an update, QBP now lists this rims in their catalog, so any bike shop should be able to order these now.

I have a set of these hubs and am going to lace them up to reflex rims.

Will spoke calculation be the same as a normal hub with normal spokes? Or does it not work because of the unique pattern the spokes attach to the hub with?

How did you do the spoke calc for these wheels?


i don’t know of a spoke calc system online or otherwise that works for these wheels because the reference points for the hub flange diameter don’t work with the non-traditional straight-pull hub.  however, the design dictates that you’ll be lacing the same pattern, so you can make a good approximation by just comparing the rims’ ERDs.  A Hed Belgium clincher is 594mm vs Open Pro (same as original Classics rim except for the label) is about 602. Stock spokes for a Classics Pro clincher measure 300/301 for dr/(nd-fr), but using DT nipples I usually cut them 299/300.  Just subtracting the 6mm diff in ERD from the spoke length worked like a charm.  i would be hesitant to trust this method if the ERDs were dramtically difference, like 700C to 20"rim per se, but it works pretty well in this case. 

in your case, the Reflex rim (i’m assuming tubular rim, not the early 90s clincher) is a 11mm larger ERD.  it might be tough getting straight pull long enough unless you get spokes from Mavic. if not them, you should try Sapim.  your shop will need to special order them from KHS/Provelo.

good luck!

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