HED Belgium + vs. AForce AL33

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
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clarinet5001
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:32 am

by clarinet5001

I'm deciding between these two rims for a custom build. I could pick the AL33 (490-505g, 32.5 depth, 19.6 internal, 24.2 - 26.2 external) for its A2 Wind Tunnel test cred, or the Belgium + (460-470g, 24 depth, 20.7 internal, 25 external) for its extra internal width and slightly lighter weight.

Terrain is mostly rolling with more frequent summer mountain trips, and I'll be using them with a 2016 [rim brake by default] Scott Foil. I want to pass on carbon for better braking and much cheaper rim replacement costs long-term. I could consider the AL33 ceramic for that 'sexy carbon look.'

Have any of you tried wheelsets with either or both of these rims and if so, what do you think?

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

The rim you have not considered is the Easton R90 SL. Like the HED but 2mm deeper and properly tubeless compatible.

The HED rim needs a fair bit of tape to create enough friction with the tyre bead to retain the tyre well enough at zero pressure so it does not unseat as you come to stop in case of a big flat or when you try to push a tyre plug in the sidewall. this is a critical part of tubeless compatibility.

The easton rim has features to retain the tyre as does the a force rim so thats one difference.

If your using tubes then the above is meaningless and the HED rim provides the easiest tyre fitting. The HED rim is very pretty and the the build up nicely. So does the easton and so would the A force rim probably athough I have never used that rim yet.

My choice would be for tubed tyre the HED rim, for tubeless tyres the Eason rim. The A force rim does not appeal to me. It wants to be an aero rim bit for more I would buy myself a carbon rim 50mm deep and have a real aero gain rather than a pretend one.

by Weenie


clarinet5001
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:32 am

by clarinet5001

If testing 0.7w behind Zipp 303 Firecrest isn't enough to refer to it as 'somewhat aero' then fair enough. I could've had a disc brake bike if I knew to wait another year: Foil Disc hit the market in 2017.

Easton R90SL was the third rim I was considering but figured it would be similar enough to the HED not to mention, whoops. I wasn't planning on running tubeless at least initially. Haven't tried it before, but also the Easton is a bit cheaper than the HED which is appealing as well.

StevenH72
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:17 pm

by StevenH72

I faced a similar decision to you last year and went Al33.

Built up with Tune MigMag hugs and CX-Rays. The wheelset came in at 1,495g (with two layers of rim tape).

As for the 'pretend' aero claims. I feel more benefit on the flats going from a set of box-section Mavic Aksiums to the AL33's than I do going from the AL33's to 62mm deep Reynold Strikes.

I've been seriously impressed with the AL33's and for rolling terrain (especially in the wet) they are definitely my first choice.

I'm awaiting a custom bike build to be delivered in the next few weeks which has been built up with Enve 3.4s so I'll be able to provide a comparison between the 3.4's and AL33's too.

StevenH72
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:17 pm

by StevenH72

Also, I can't compare to the HED, but the AL33 is a very stiff rim. I'm 77-81kg (depending on time of year) and have never had any brake rub issues.

EDIT:

Just seen the questions you've asked of me in the other thread. The build is a 20:24 spoke pattern and Machined Side Walls, not the ceramic finish.

I think I've answered everything else. I rode the AL33's (tubeless with Schwalbe Pro Ones) from London to Milan late last summer, over a few mountain passes (including the San Gottardo Pass with a 7km cobbled descent... climbed it the 'reverse' way given my direction of travel), never felt they were heavy, they descended very well, handled the cobbles better than my riding partners' bikes did (based on their complaints) and generally did themselves proud.

clarinet5001
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:32 am

by clarinet5001

What's the AL33's ride quality like? That's the main reason I was still using some mediocre Shimano wheels. The front end on my bike rides very firmly so the way they take the edge off that is very much appreciated. That said, they're 15c rims (C24) so I know I can drop the pressure more by going wider. That's also the main reason I was looking ad the Belgiums as well, figuring I could drop the pressure an additional 5psi or so with them compared to with the AForce and Easton rims.

I was going to get the regular machined version as well. The black looks awesome but I'm about practicality and usability: whatever wheels I get will be on my bike for the next 10000+mi.

StevenH72
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:17 pm

by StevenH72

clarinet5001 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:35 pm
What's the AL33's ride quality like? That's the main reason I was still using some mediocre Shimano wheels. The front end on my bike rides very firmly so the way they take the edge off that is very much appreciated. That said, they're 15c rims (C24) so I know I can drop the pressure more by going wider. That's also the main reason I was looking ad the Belgiums as well, figuring I could drop the pressure an additional 5psi or so with them compared to with the AForce and Easton rims.

I was going to get the regular machined version as well. The black looks awesome but I'm about practicality and usability: whatever wheels I get will be on my bike for the next 10000+mi.
I think the ride quality of the AL33's is excellent, that said, I run the 25mm Schwalbe's at 80psi front and 85 rear, which is bound to help. As I mentioned, over a 7km descent which all of the peopel I rode with detested, I genuinely enjoyed. The wheels and ride quality have to have made a big impact there.


I also ride a lot around Surrey in the UK, which has terrible road surfaces. One of the reasons I don't always ride the Reynolds as they can be a bit jarring over potted surfaces. The AL33's definitely make in more tolerable.

clarinet5001
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:32 am

by clarinet5001

StevenH72 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:19 am
clarinet5001 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:35 pm
What's the AL33's ride quality like? That's the main reason I was still using some mediocre Shimano wheels. The front end on my bike rides very firmly so the way they take the edge off that is very much appreciated. That said, they're 15c rims (C24) so I know I can drop the pressure more by going wider. That's also the main reason I was looking ad the Belgiums as well, figuring I could drop the pressure an additional 5psi or so with them compared to with the AForce and Easton rims.

I was going to get the regular machined version as well. The black looks awesome but I'm about practicality and usability: whatever wheels I get will be on my bike for the next 10000+mi.
I think the ride quality of the AL33's is excellent, that said, I run the 25mm Schwalbe's at 80psi front and 85 rear, which is bound to help. As I mentioned, over a 7km descent which all of the peopel I rode with detested, I genuinely enjoyed. The wheels and ride quality have to have made a big impact there.


I also ride a lot around Surrey in the UK, which has terrible road surfaces. One of the reasons I don't always ride the Reynolds as they can be a bit jarring over potted surfaces. The AL33's definitely make in more tolerable.
Ok, that's good to know. I had a 'bad' experience with alloy-spoked Campags which were too harsh for my bike. If they're noticeably smoother than your Reynolds deep rims then at the 75-80psi or so I was expecting to run that should be low enough for sure to keep things nice and smooth. In reality I know tire pressure makes the biggest difference but apparently those alloy spokes ride pretty firmly. So it might be nothing to worry about anyway.

clarinet5001
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:32 am

by clarinet5001

EDIT: extra post, how to delete?

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pdlpsher1
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by pdlpsher1

I can’t say enough good things on the Belgium +. It’s a very well made rim that builds up to an even tension on all of the spokes. It’s very strong and very light for the wide width. One feature I really like about them is that the rear rim has asymmetrically drilled spoke holes. This allows the nipples to be aligned with the spoke angle. One half of the holes are drilled at a shallower angle for the non-driveside and one half are drilled at a steeper angle for the driveside. Most people don’t know about this feature, even wheel builders. Each rim is marked with a white sticker, either ‘F’ or ‘R’. When shopping online you typically can’t specify which version to buy. But if you end up getting the Belgiums make sure you get one of each. The front rim has symmetrical offset drilling. Good luck with your build.


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pdlpsher1
Posts: 2152
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Location: CO

by pdlpsher1

Here’s a video demonstration on the Hed’s asymmetrical rear spoke hole drilling. This is on the Belgium non-plus rim but the newer + rims work the same.

https://youtu.be/IYnYUqXR41g


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by Weenie


dim
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:25 am
Location: Cambridge UK

by dim

I had a set of wheels built by a very good wheel builder here in the UK

I spent days researching the internet, reading reviews etc from people who actually owned the wheels. At the end, I opted for HED Belgium Plus rims, Chris King R45 hubs (the ceramic bearing version), and Sapim CX-Ray spokes.

Not the lightest (I think the wheelset weighs just over 1600 grams), tubeless ready aswell ...

some reviews:

https://lifeisabeautifuldetail.com/blog ... set-review

https://novemberbicycles.com/blogs/blog ... ed-belgium

https://fairwheelbikes.com/hed-belgium- ... -wheelset/

I've used tubeless tyres as well as clinchers .... I will buy the HED rims again
Trek Emonda SL6
Miyata One Thousand

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