HED Belgium R rim review - first thoughts

HED Belgium R rim review - first thoughts

We didn't know today was going to be new rim day but it is. Surprise! HED's new Belgium R has started shipping in disc brake form (no word yet on rim brake availability - it still looks like late fall/early winter). This is a replacement for the HED Belgium+, of which we will apparently be shipping our last sets very soon.

The three most instantly noticeable elements of the redesign are the graphics, the inclusion of the FatLip™ that HED introduced on the Belgium G/Eroica, and the weight. 

In broad terms, the dimensions are the same. The overall width is a shade over 24mm, with internal a shade over 21mm. The depth stays 24, and the ERD is the same as all HED 700c alloy rims at 592mm. The tubeless profile is ever so slightly different with a bit of a ramp to the shelf, making it more of a bead lock design. This may be of benefit in cross use, which we'll investigate as we have time (as I said - this was a surprise delivery).

The graphics are more muted than ever, with the Belgium flag design waving (see what I did there?) goodbye. 

The super astute among you will notice the little "R" after "Belgium" - that used to be a "+". Now it's an R. 

As you can see the max pressure tops out at 80 for 23mm tires. Our guess is that almost no one is going to use these with 23mm tires. The more relevant parts are the 25 and 28mm tire pressure limits, which are comfortably below what most people use. Keep in mind that it's the inflated width that counts here. Physics doesn't care what your tires say they are, only what the caliper says. So if you are using a "known to be wide" 28, then you will probably want to limit yourself to 65psi. Which is plenty for an "actual" 31mm tire. 

The FatLip™ design carries over from the Eroica/G rim. HED changes names and graphics the way some people change socks, so the gravel-leaning G rim started life as the Eroica, but maybe they were infringing on a copyright or some other thing and now it's the G. We still spend about 45' a week clarifying that for people. In any case, the FatLip™ puts a bit more metal at the out perimeter of the rim, where dents are most likely to occur. The difference here is that the Belgium R creates the FatLip™ (and I curse the day I ever learned to make the ™ sign) by making the body of the rim ever so slightly narrower, rather than making the lip wider as is done on the Belgium G (and I'm not calling it the G/Eroica any more - it's just the G, now you know). This gets us into our next substantive change - the weight.

The R rims are 40g/rim lighter than the Belgium+. This is almost 10%. We already see how some of that has happened - the rim is slightly smaller than the + rim because the body is slightly narrowed. Without HED explaining the whole thing in detail (and "hah" on the chance of that happening - as good as their rims are, their sales support is equally bad), we don't really know where the rest of the weight comes from. This is by no means an unprecedented weight for a rim of these dimensions - Boyd's Altamont Lite was very similar, and the Easton R90SL was always lighter than the Belgium+ despite being deeper. I don't know how many sales HED lost to "no no no, the Belgium+ is just too heavy for my build, man" but we sure never thought of them as heavy rims. The minimum drilling is 28, with 32 as the other option. A 28/28 set of Belgium R will weigh less than a set of 24/24 Belgium+ by about 50g with typical spokes. There are people who would sell their sister to save 50g at the rim. We've never gotten that sweaty about differences like that, but though there are people who prefer heavier stuff, they are in about a 100:1 minority to people for whom lighter. is. always. better. 

Fit and finish are per the usual HED quality, which if you've never read the blog before is to say "as good as it gets."

We haven't yet gotten to build these up, nor have we gotten a chance to put them in either our HED disc builds section or the QuickShip™ section. Trying to keep the QuickShip™ section absolutely up to date is about like trying to nail a jelly fish to a wall in the best of circumstances. Curve balls like this help not at all.

Pricing rises just a bit, it looks like around $15 or $20 for a set, but still an excellent value proposition for super high quality rims, outstandingly hand built with other top of the line components.  

Back to blog

9 comments

Hi Moe -

I don’t think the Belgium G is your solution there. HED’s site says the minimum tire size is 32mm. On our All Road rims, which share a very similar inside width as the HED Belgium G, we recommend 28mm as a minimum but this is really more a question of tire pressure – the All Roads can stand the tire pressure you will use with 28mm tires, where the Belgium G hasn’t been designed to do that. It’s really a gravel-specific rim.

Dave

Hello November, in these parts I cannot yet get the Belgium R (or Belgium+), so at the moment I might be able to get the Belgium+ G/Eroica. Plan is to pair them with 32mm Conti GP 5000 Tubeless, however there are two things I need to consider:
- current frame max tire clearance is officially 32mm
- I would like the option to run narrower (28mm tires) in future.
Would the Eroica/G be a bad choice, given these two criteria?
Thanks for any insights!

Moe

Robert-

I won’t argue that 28th hole disk builds are appropriate in many many instances, but HED is more than willing to sell you a set of 24 hole wheels in their factory build. There is no signaling about any appropriateness going on here, it’s just a business decision.

Dave

No 24h drilling conveys HED’s views on the reliability/performance of 24h aluminium disc rims. This should send a clear message to those who may want to run 24spoke aluminium disc rims (of any brand, of similar dimensions).

No complaints from me: at 72kg I’ve always run 28r/28f on disc brake bikes. Suspect I’m in the minority though, preferring a more reliable wheel over any (miniscule, practically immeasurable) performance gain from 4 less spokes.

Will be giving these a try at some stage.

Robert

We’ve now built several sets and I can’t say I notice much of any behavior difference between Belgium+ and Belgium R in the stand.

Time will be the real tell but so far we’re fans. We’ll do an update post before too long.

Dave

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.