HED Belgium+ Rims

We are glad that the HED Belgium+ rims are available again – they are the best modern rims we have found. They build up straight, they remain true, and tire mounting is a snap, even tubeless.

They come in disc brake (top) and rim brake (above) versions, in 650B and 700C (disc brake only). With a width of 25 mm (ouside), they are a perfect complement for our wide all-road tires. They have a properly-sized hook that interlocks with the tire’s bead – a useful safeguard against blowing off a tubeless tire. Of course, you can run the Belgium+ with tubes, too.

The Pacenti Brevet rims look very different, but they perform equally well. Designed for rim brakes, these are the rims we use on most of our bikes. We got Pacenti to make the rims not just with 36 and 32 holes, but also 28. With wide tires cushioning the shocks, 28 spokes are plenty for most riders, especially on the front wheel.

We also offer spoke kits to build wheels with the generator hubs we sell. With so many spoke lengths available, few shops stock all, and finding the correct spokes for your wheel build can turn into a treasure hunt. (Spokes for the 700C Belgium+ will be in stock soon.)

Remember to always use tubeless rim tape with modern tubeless-compatible rims, even if you install inner tubes. Tubeless rim tape is thin and slippery, allowing the tires to slide onto the shelf that forms the bead seat. Cloth and other traditional tapes are too thick and have too much friction, so the tire beads get hung up on the ridge that separates the well from the shelf on these rims.

When installing your tires tubeless, make sure the tire fits properly. If you need huge blasts of air from a compressor to seat the tire, the fit is too loose. Build up the rim bed with tape until the fit is tight enough that you can seat the tire with a floor pump. That greatly reduces the risk of the tire blowing off the rim.

With good rims and properly mounted tires, you can venture off the beaten path with confidence. Enjoy the ride!

All the rims and tape are now in stock. Click here for more information.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into the high-performance components we need for our adventures.
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19 Responses to HED Belgium+ Rims

  1. PK says:

    Nothing worse than a rim with a 625 or 587mm BSD. They are out there, believe me.

  2. aquilaaudax1 says:

    What will become of the Brevet rim with the change of ownership at Pacenti Cycle Design?

    • No worries. If Pacenti discontinues the rims, Compass or somebody else will make something similar. The Brevet rims are based on our feedback on Pacenti’s earlier rims – from my perspective, they are pretty much perfect, but there is no secret to making them.

      The days when we worried about not being able to get 650B tires or other crucial parts in the future are long past. There are enough 650B bikes out there now that the parts will remain available.

  3. Stuart Fogg says:

    Thanks for the mounting advice!

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of HED rims vs. Pacenti rims? Or compared to light mountain rims like the DT Swiss XR 361?

    • If you run tubeless, I’d go with the HED rims, as you don’t need the extra material on the brake track that you get with a rim designed for rim brakes. Otherwise, it’s mostly down to appearance. The HED is a tad lighter. I haven’t cut them apart to measure the thickness of the brake tracks, but I expect the HED’s to be a bit thinner and wear out a bit faster. (That is where most of the weight savings of otherwise similar rims are.)

      I have no experience with recent DT rims, sorry.

    • Steve Palincsar says:

      On a very classic-looking frame, the HED Belgium just look all wrong and out of place, whereas the Pacenti Brevet are visually just perfect.

  4. Rick Thompson says:

    You say no compressor needed, and I found that to be the case installing Snoqualmie Pass EL on Brevet rims. For a floor pump to work, though, I had to carefully go around and pull the bead out to the edge of the rim all the way on both sides. This was easy to do with wide supple tires, by pinching the sidewall and pulling out, but I had not seen this important step mentioned in the tubeless install instructions found online. Most just say blast with a compressor or an accumulator tank.

  5. dz says:

    Is there any reason to go with tubeless rim tape over kapton tape when using tubes? I’ve been using kapton tape (very thin, slick) successfully with tubes for years but only recently purchased TC Compass tires and Pacenti Brevet rims… I’m still planning on using tubes, should I switch to tubeless tape?
    Thanks!

  6. John Smith says:

    I use DT Swiss XR 331 650b rims on my wheels. They are a bit lighter than these at 355 grams and typical dt swiss quality. How do you think these would compare to the HED rims? do you rate dt swiss rims?

    • As mentioned above, I have no experience with recent DT rims. With aluminum rims, there is little magic – if the overall shape is fine, then lighter weight means less durability. And yet, with wide tires, most riders also don’t need mountain bike-strength to ride on gravel, even very rough gravel. Just think of cyclocross racers using road tubular rims on pretty rough terrain…

  7. DaveS says:

    Jan, your article mentioned that a rim should “have a properly-sized hook that interlocks with the tire’s bead”. Is it possible for you to explain this more? I use a 559 size rim that you don’t sell. Wanted to ensure that what I have meets this expectation.

    • The bead hook should be at least 5 mm (better 6 mm) tall and have an actual hook. Most classic rims meet that standard. Some modern rims are shallower and ‘hook-less,’ which works fine on tires with stiff sidewalls, but can cause trouble with supple tires.

  8. tone bone says:

    Velocity Quill is another great option, now available in 584 as well as 622 and comes in high polished silver 🙂 Tubless tape is simply rebranded polypropylene strapping tape. Tesa 4288, available from Uline, works as well as DT and better Stans tape at a fraction of the cost.

  9. Luke says:

    Jan, what tire is being used in the final two pictures on the Caletti?

  10. codadelgruppo says:

    Another litmus test for tire-rim fit: after inflating the tire and seating the bead, fully deflate the tire. If the tire bead unseats itself without the use of any force, then the fit is too loose.

    Not suggesting that this be the only criteria, but it can be a useful line of evidence.

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