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.
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.