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.  

Older Post Newer Post

  • Dave on

    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.

  • SG on

    Lovely rims. Will it be strong enough even if it is lighter?

  • Charlie Richman on

    Looking forward to hearing how they build up (and how they ride)! If they haven’t lost much strength along with all that weight, then they’re for me!

  • Dave on

    Hi Tom – I wouldn’t expect so, no indications that it will, but happy to be surprised on the upside if it happens. As of what I see now, it looks like there’s only 28 and 32h drilling planned, but again let’s hope for an upside surprise on that.

  • Tom A. on

    Love the phrase “Physics doesn’t care what your tires say they are, only what the caliper says.” Perfect.

    My fingers are crossed the rim brake versions will include a Turbine brake track option…any insight on that?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published