My Fresh New Hed C2 Fixie Wheel

In the past 6 months I have replaced every wheel associated with my four road bikes and my convertible road/fixie/track/travel bike. I rebuilt two sets of Mavic Classics hubs onto new Open Pro Ceramic rims, acquired another set of un-rebuilt Classics Pro, and swapped my Mavic Cosmic Carbones for Hed Het60 C2.

That left the wheels on the do-everything Sycip travel bike. I’ll need a front and two rear wheels (10sp and fixed).

hub label.jpg The C2 version of the Hed wheels have the new rim extrusion that is wider to spread the clincher tire into a smoother transition to the carbon aero fairing; a claimed side benefit is that the tire handles better. Now Hed is selling the C2 rim without fairing (same as on their Ardennes wheel system) to consumers who want to build the wide rim onto their own hubs.

Hed C2 rim on Phil hub.jpg

It turns out that I have another set of Mavic Classics hubs. Yeah, I really like Mavic hubs. The problem with those hubs (and also one of the cool aspects) is that they use straight-pull spokes, ie the spokes do not have the “J-bend” at the head. Even though straight-pull is almost the norm for wheel systems, it is really hard to buy them at convenient lengths as a wheel component. I bought replacement spokes directly from Mavic for rebuilding the other Classics hubs because the Classics Pro wheel system just used re-labeled Open Pro rims, but for building on the Hed C2 rims I would need something a little shorter than what I could cut the Mavic-supplied spokes.

Dt Swiss’s US distributor no longer has straight-pull spokes long enough, so I bought black Sapim CX spokes from KHS. The CX spokes are 2.0/1.5mm double butted spokes. I had to trim them in the shop’s Phil Wood spoke cutter, then I used DT ProLock nipples that are pretreated with a threadlock.

There we go: front wheel and the 10sp rear. Then I needed a fixed gear wheel.

For the rear wheel, I bought a Phil Wood double-fixed track hub, 130mm-spaced and anodized pink. After all the trouble I went through to acquire proper spokes for the Classics hubs, I suddenly became lackadaisical about proper spokes for the track hub. Aesthetics dictated black spokes, but the shop didn’t have the black DT 2.0/1.8 spokes in a suitable length. I don’t build my track wheels with 2.0/1.5 spokes unless the spoke count is 36, but I was on a wheel building crusade last night… I wasn’t about to be denied.

We had a box of DT Alpine III spokes in black. Alpine III spokes are triple-butted 2.34/1.8/2.0mm, typically used for tandems. Well, why not?

The Hed rims weigh 465gr a piece, and the built rear wheel weighs 1187gr with the heavy duty Phil Wood fixing bolts. Yes, it’s heavy, but I like stout for rear fixie wheels, especially if I might be anywhere in the world with that wheel. The previous wheel was a Phil hub 36h on a Mavic CXP33 with 2.0/1.8 spokes. That wheel had been to Europe, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and England. The hub was fine, but rider abuse and bag handlers had taken their toll on the spokes and rim. This new wheel is built better, as my wheel building skills have matured, and the individual components are top-notch.

Also, two words: pink hub.

UPDATE 2009.01.09 Hed is calling these rims a la carte “Belgian series”, echoing the Bastogne and Ardennes wheelsystems that use the same rim. What I have is the “Belgian”, but there is a premium “Belgian-Sc” in scandium alloy

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