Stock Hed Ardennes or Custom Hed C2
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  1. #1
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    Stock Hed Ardennes or Custom Hed C2

    I'm considering the Hed Belgium C2 rims for my next wheelset. My dilemma is should I go with the factory Hed Ardennes SL or a custom built Hed C2 wheelset with Chris King R45 or DT Swiss 240 hubs and Sapim CX Ray spokes. The cost btw factory or custom is about the same.

    Some of the LBS in my area have said that factory Hed wheels have poor build quality and that the Hed hubs are not that good. On the other hand, the factory Hed Ardennes SLs are the scandium rims. I believe the Belgium C2 rims are aluminum and heavier.

    Looking for pros/cons from the experts here on this forum and folks who have the factory Hed Ardennes on which route to go: factory vs. custom. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I was in a similar situation to you and was trying to decide between going with a factory built wheelset such as the Hed Ardennes or the custom route. After a bit of research I took the plunge this week and went the custom route. I ended up ordering a pair of Hed C2 rims with sapim cx-ray spokes using Alchemy Elf/Orc hubs. They are being built this week and hopefully I will have them sent to me early next week (I live in Oz). I will post how they are when I get a chance to put some decent k's in them.

  3. #3
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    The Hed Ardennes stock really doesn't seem like the way to go. For $1000, it seems that 1475 grams is way too heavy to be considered worth it. Concerning the custom build, that may be a bit better way to go, however it does have some flaws. First off, the C2 is pretty heavy. 475 grams and $100 isn't exactly the best value. Additionally, the King hubs are good however I think you can find better value elsewhere.

    You could always lace up some White Industries hubs to Stans Alpha 340 rims. These would be $200 cheaper than the Ardennes SL and they would be 200 grams lighter.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zen Cyclery View Post
    The Hed Ardennes stock really doesn't seem like the way to go. For $1000, it seems that 1475 grams is way too heavy to be considered worth it. Concerning the custom build, that may be a bit better way to go, however it does have some flaws. First off, the C2 is pretty heavy. 475 grams and $100 isn't exactly the best value. Additionally, the King hubs are good however I think you can find better value elsewhere.

    You could always lace up some White Industries hubs to Stans Alpha 340 rims. These would be $200 cheaper than the Ardennes SL and they would be 200 grams lighter.
    First of all, the C2 rims average weight is 456g. I had only one rim weigh more than 470g. Recently, they have all weighed 450g or less.

    Second, Stan's Alpha rims aren't even a fair comparison. They are not as stiff, have tension issues with some tires, have a low maximum tension, and need a higher spoke count to compensate for their lack of strength. I've been building Alchemy/CX-Ray/Hed C2 wheelsets and even using a heavier gauge spoke for the drive-side rear (20/24 spokes) the sets weigh around 1400g and the last two were under that.

    The Alpha rim is a nice rim for what it is, but it isn't the second coming. It doesn't blow every other rim on the market away.

    To the OP,
    If you end up going the custom route, I would recommend you choose the R45 over the DT hubs. If it were me, I'd choose the Alchemy hubs for my own wheels. The King hubs aren't too shabby though. Consider a heavier gauge spoke for the drive-side spokes. This will stiffen up the rear wheel for better handling and durability.

    For your reference, I just sent out a set of Hed C2 rims laced to Alchemy hubs, all CX-Ray spokes, alloy nipples, 28/32 spokes and they weighed 1484g. That's a lot more spokes than a stock Hed build and they still weigh about the same. I know which ones I think would be stronger.

    Lots of luck,
    Eric

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergott View Post
    First of all, the C2 rims average weight is 456g. I had only one rim weigh more than 470g. Recently, they have all weighed 450g or less.

    Second, Stan's Alpha rims aren't even a fair comparison. They are not as stiff, have tension issues with some tires, have a low maximum tension, and need a higher spoke count to compensate for their lack of strength. I've been building Alchemy/CX-Ray/Hed C2 wheelsets and even using a heavier gauge spoke for the drive-side rear (20/24 spokes) the sets weigh around 1400g and the last two were under that.

    The Alpha rim is a nice rim for what it is, but it isn't the second coming. It doesn't blow every other rim on the market away.

    To the OP,
    If you end up going the custom route, I would recommend you choose the R45 over the DT hubs. If it were me, I'd choose the Alchemy hubs for my own wheels. The King hubs aren't too shabby though. Consider a heavier gauge spoke for the drive-side spokes. This will stiffen up the rear wheel for better handling and durability.

    For your reference, I just sent out a set of Hed C2 rims laced to Alchemy hubs, all CX-Ray spokes, alloy nipples, 28/32 spokes and they weighed 1484g. That's a lot more spokes than a stock Hed build and they still weigh about the same. I know which ones I think would be stronger.

    Lots of luck,
    Eric

    I have never seen a C2 under 465 grams. I know your stoked on these rims but I don't think it is fair to say all of them are that light. I am not doubting you have seen ones that light, it's just that I have yet to.
    Secondly, we have had fairly good luck with the 340s. I will admit we have only sold about 10 pairs, however we have yet to have any problems or negative feedback. Like you said, we have been upping the spoke count a bit more so that usual to ensure rigidity.
    However considering the feedback I am quite supportive of the 340. All though I do like your idea to beef up the DS spokes.
    Lastly, no one mentioned this Stans build as the second coming. I think that is quite exaggerated. It simply seems to me that the WI/Stans build is of better value than the other options.

  6. #6
    wheelbuilder
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    Here are two batches. The first batch are the first rims I got from them. The second batch is the most recent.

    482 466 468 464 464 454 466 466 454 462 470 450

    442 464 452 452 454 452 450 450 446 444 426 442

    I'm not asking them to cherry pick rims or anything. That's what I get.

    -Eric

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the replies thus far. I'm pretty set on using Hed rims whether I go the factory or custom route. I like what I've read about the benefits their 23mm wide rim profile and strength and durability.

    Anybody have the factory Hed Ardennes and can comment on their experience with Hed's hubs and build quality?

  8. #8
    Bianchi-Campagnolo
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    I've seen a Hed Ardennes front wheel fail in a race, and if I got it right it happened while JRA. I believe Hed have redesigned the front Ardennes since that wheel, though.

  9. #9
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    Hed Ardennes FR

    I have had a set of the Ardennes, with the FR option for maybe 14 to 18 months. I have absolutely no complaints and have had no issues. I am not too heavy, ~150lbs, so the spoke count of 18/24 works and is stiff enough to me. These are easily my favorite wheel set, or a close 2nd behind my HED C2 stingers ( I also have Zipps, Gray, Reynolds wheel sets as well). The Ardennes just feel good, the wider rim provides good cornering, good braking with the aluminum rims, plus they have a decent bling factor.
    I would stick with the HED C2 rims, like you mentioned.....factory or custom is a tough choice, but my factory built are performing well.
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  10. #10
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    C2 custom option for sure...

    I have 3 sets of Hed C2 Belgian rims- 2 with king hubs and the other with some NOS Dura Ace 7800 hubs- all 32f/32r. I think that they are sharp looking and very stiff wheels. The King hubs are great too. I don't think that you can go wrong with the custom option- awesome rims, awesome hubs and you can pick your spoke/nipple colors too. Much better option IMHO if the prices are close. Good luck.

  11. #11
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    I have the 2011 HED SL wheelset. No issues. They do soften out the road and grip on turns, likely secondary to larger tire profile. The rear derailer had broken off and ruined several spokes. The wheel was easily fixed, which surprised.

  12. #12
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    I recall months ago seeing Belgium Scandium rims for sale separately (in addition to the alloy rims being discussed in this thread). But just now I Binged and Googled them and can't find any. Are those no longer for sale?

    If they are for sale, has anyone built a custom wheelset on those? Weight of rims? Stiffness and durability?

  13. #13
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    Just spoke with my LBS about the Hed C2 rims. They said that the wider rims can sometimes be harder to fit with Sram brakes - less clearance between the pads and the braking track less optimal brake performance and feel.

    Anybody using Hed C2s or Ardennes with Sram brakes? What's your experience?

  14. #14
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    I didnt like the rear hub on my stinger 50's. I like Ardennes but the price is kinda high. I just saw a set go for $550 on fleabay. If you're not set on Hed check out the Zipp 101's.
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  15. #15
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    Have a set of Ardennes on my Look with Force brakes. There has been no problem with braking once the calipers are adjusted, must admit the brake pads are a little old, but do not see a problem with new ones going on and working properly.

    They are the best cornering wheels I have used - have definitely upped my confidence leaning into turns and going fast. Feel very stout and stiff - I weigh 160 so most wheels are stiff enough for me - still true after several thousand miles and many potholes etc... Also good aero wheels (unlike the Ksyriums which were not aero at all).
    Live in the mountains - they are very good climbers, but not great (like my Campy Neutron Utras better, liked my Ksyrium ES's better also).

    Very good all around wheel - happy with this purchase.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LARC View Post
    Just spoke with my LBS about the Hed C2 rims. They said that the wider rims can sometimes be harder to fit with Sram brakes
    SRAM Red here with no issues whatsoever.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12104205mok View Post
    I was in a similar situation to you and was trying to decide between going with a factory built wheelset such as the Hed Ardennes or the custom route. After a bit of research I took the plunge this week and went the custom route. I ended up ordering a pair of Hed C2 rims with sapim cx-ray spokes using Alchemy Elf/Orc hubs. They are being built this week and hopefully I will have them sent to me early next week (I live in Oz). I will post how they are when I get a chance to put some decent k's in them.
    Where abouts did you get your build from? I'm in oz also.
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  18. #18
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    Thanks for all the replies. Just ordered the Ardennes SL from my LBS. Can't wait to get them!

  19. #19
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    question for you on doing a custom build. I want to do the HED Belgium c2 with the sapim cx-ray pokes, laced to the alchemy hubs. I weigh between 180-185lbs, never above that. I am curious as to the spoke count I should, and what you would recommend on lacing. I have ksyrium sl and they are laced 18F20R. I am leaning towards a 20F/24R but have been hearing suggestions of 20F28R. do you have any thoughts. Thanks.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by arghhmaitee View Post
    I am leaning towards a 20F/24R but have been hearing suggestions of 20F28R. do you have any thoughts. Thanks.
    I've narrowed it down after getting a feel for what the rider tells me after a few emails. Some guys your weight kill equipment and some don't. You are right on the edge where I wouldn't mind adding a the few extra spokes for the rear wheel. Also note that I build my wheels with heavier gauge spokes for the rear, drive side when using CX-Rays or Lasers.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by arghhmaitee View Post
    question for you on doing a custom build. I want to do the HED Belgium c2 with the sapim cx-ray pokes, laced to the alchemy hubs. I weigh between 180-185lbs, never above that. I am curious as to the spoke count I should, and what you would recommend on lacing. I have ksyrium sl and they are laced 18F20R. I am leaning towards a 20F/24R but have been hearing suggestions of 20F28R. do you have any thoughts. Thanks.
    I'm considering the exact same build except that I weigh between 240-250 lbs. Would 28F/32R be a rugged enough all-round wheelset? (mostly training, occasional race, flat to moderately rolling terrain)

    I'd be grateful for any input. Thanks.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    SRAM Red here with no issues whatsoever.
    2011 Force and Rival. No issues. Will likely have to remove the washer on the holder side to get a few more mm's. And definitely will need to let out the brake cable so there is no tension on the calipers so they can open to the max width.

    This is on the 28mm HED Stinger 6.

  23. #23
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    Go custom, more options and more fun. You'll end up with a nicer wheel overall!

  24. #24
    Scott in Maryland
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    At 175-180 pounds I ride HED Ardennes SL with semi-custom 24x28 spokes. It is one of the best upgrades I've ever made on a bike. I ride the Specialized Turbo 23x25mm "open tubular" tire , which is really just a very nice 24mm clincher, and it freakin' rocks. My other nice hoops are Reynolds 32's and 46mm DV3K clinchers now both on my Tri bike, and also both very sturdy but I can tell you for smooth stable fast real-world riding the C2 is a great wheel. It is just very good to trust your wheels when you hit a road imperfection or bump at 24mph to have a trustworthy solid bump-bump instead of a rim-busting "clank". I never trusted 16x20 and have thousands of miles on 20x24 and relatively few on 20x28 ... But my first impression is that it is a really really good choice for me.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by IainStevens View Post
    I'm considering the exact same build except that I weigh between 240-250 lbs. Would 28F/32R be a rugged enough all-round wheelset? (mostly training, occasional race, flat to moderately rolling terrain)

    I'd be grateful for any input. Thanks.
    I might not be a bad idea to go 32/32 at your weight I think.
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