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  1. #1
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    Wide Alloy grudge match: AForce AL33 vs HED Belgium Plus vs Boyd Altamont

    First, sorry for being all over the place in this forum!
    I was about to pull the trigger on a carbon wheelset (Easton EC90 SL) but I'm having a change of heart about the durability and cost of using carbon wheels. So, now I'm entertaining alloy wheels. These will be for daily training use and climbing too.

    I have narrowed things down to 3 alloy rims:
    AForce AL33 vs HED Belgium Plus vs Boyd Altamont

    Here I have found a review from November Dave on AL33 vs Altamon:
    https://novemberbicycles.com/blogs/b...vs-aforce-al33

    The 2 wheels look to be dead equal. Notable points from November's review are:

    Specs are as follows (as measured on our current stock of each):

    • Inner width: AForce 19.75mm/Boyd 19.35mm
    • Outer width (max): AForce 26.5mm/Boyd 24.75
    • Depth: AForce 32.2mm/Boyd 29.5mm
    • Weight: AForce 495g/Boyd 502g
    For HED Belgium Plus, this is what I find:

    • Rim Width (External): 25mm
    • Rim Width (Internal): 20.5mm
    • Rim Depth: 24mm
    • Weight: 465 grams
    • Max Pressure: 90psi
    price wise, the Belgium Plus and AL33 are about equal. The Altamont is about $45 cheaper a piece (making a wheelset about $90 cheaper).

    I already have a set of Belgium Plus and I do like them. My only real complaint against the Belgium Plus is that its brake track is a little too skinny and too curved, thus it's difficult to align the brake pads flushed against its brake track surface (since the pad is flat and the brake track is curved). But braking seems to be just fine in spite of the pads not completely aligning flushed on the track.

    I would especially like to know info on tubeless use. I know, I have in the past tried and then cursed at road tubeless and swore to never go there again, but perhaps you can convince me otherwise with your new school tubeless experience on these 3 rims if you have set them up like that?

    So let's year your input folks.

  2. #2
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    If you use a set of Kool Stop Dura 2 pads, the brake track height issue with HEDs goes away.

    All around, there's too much evidence of my having a general preference for HED Belgium+ as the best all around alloy rim. They're light, proven to be plenty fast, tires set up great on them, they're strong and durable, and really really well made.

    The AForce and Boyd, as I think I mention in the thing linked above, well I don't have actual smoking gun hard evidence but they're made in the same place as each other. Not that that means a whole whole lot, but we've found similar very high but not absolutely quite at the level of HED build quality out of them.

    I could easily be the guy who's set up each of them tubeless the most, so here are my thoughts. None of them will absolutely lock the tires on the bead shelves in a flat. This to me is not a big deal but some lose their minds over it. To me, if you flat tubeless, you're putting a tube in anyhow so that doesn't matter. For inflation, HEDs generally inflate right away with two wraps of Stan's or equal tape. For Schwalbe tires (which we use 10 to 1 for road tubeless over any other), you need an extra wrap of tape on AForce and Boyd, and then you might also need to take the valve stem out to get enough volume. These are standard tricks for people who use tubeless a lot.

    For what it's worth, I'm not a road tubeless evangelist/dedicated user/etc. For anything with knobs on it, or anything over about 33mm, tubeless all day every day. For road tires up through Conti 28s (which actually measure 32, and on which I've done 95% of the last 2000 or so of my last miles), thin butyl or latex tubes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    If you use a set of Kool Stop Dura 2 pads, the brake track height issue with HEDs goes away.

    All around, there's too much evidence of my having a general preference for HED Belgium+ as the best all around alloy rim. They're light, proven to be plenty fast, tires set up great on them, they're strong and durable, and really really well made.

    The AForce and Boyd, as I think I mention in the thing linked above, well I don't have actual smoking gun hard evidence but they're made in the same place as each other. Not that that means a whole whole lot, but we've found similar very high but not absolutely quite at the level of HED build quality out of them.

    I could easily be the guy who's set up each of them tubeless the most, so here are my thoughts. None of them will absolutely lock the tires on the bead shelves in a flat. This to me is not a big deal but some lose their minds over it. To me, if you flat tubeless, you're putting a tube in anyhow so that doesn't matter. For inflation, HEDs generally inflate right away with two wraps of Stan's or equal tape. For Schwalbe tires (which we use 10 to 1 for road tubeless over any other), you need an extra wrap of tape on AForce and Boyd, and then you might also need to take the valve stem out to get enough volume. These are standard tricks for people who use tubeless a lot.

    For what it's worth, I'm not a road tubeless evangelist/dedicated user/etc. For anything with knobs on it, or anything over about 33mm, tubeless all day every day. For road tires up through Conti 28s (which actually measure 32, and on which I've done 95% of the last 2000 or so of my last miles), thin butyl or latex tubes.
    Thanks for the input Dave! Appreciate it. I guess I'll continue to ignore tubeless then since I don't plan to use tires bigger than 25c.

    Do you have any opinion on the Zipp 30 Course and the Easton EA90 SL wheels? It looks like the Easton EA90 SL wheelset uses the Easton R90SL rim that is also available for 3rd party wheelbuilders.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    If you use a set of Kool Stop Dura 2 pads, the brake track height issue with HEDs goes away.

    All around, there's too much evidence of my having a general preference for HED Belgium+ as the best all around alloy rim. They're light, proven to be plenty fast, tires set up great on them, they're strong and durable, and really really well made.

    The AForce and Boyd, as I think I mention in the thing linked above, well I don't have actual smoking gun hard evidence but they're made in the same place as each other. Not that that means a whole whole lot, but we've found similar very high but not absolutely quite at the level of HED build quality out of them.

    I could easily be the guy who's set up each of them tubeless the most, so here are my thoughts. None of them will absolutely lock the tires on the bead shelves in a flat. This to me is not a big deal but some lose their minds over it. To me, if you flat tubeless, you're putting a tube in anyhow so that doesn't matter. For inflation, HEDs generally inflate right away with two wraps of Stan's or equal tape. For Schwalbe tires (which we use 10 to 1 for road tubeless over any other), you need an extra wrap of tape on AForce and Boyd, and then you might also need to take the valve stem out to get enough volume. These are standard tricks for people who use tubeless a lot.

    For what it's worth, I'm not a road tubeless evangelist/dedicated user/etc. For anything with knobs on it, or anything over about 33mm, tubeless all day every day. For road tires up through Conti 28s (which actually measure 32, and on which I've done 95% of the last 2000 or so of my last miles), thin butyl or latex tubes.
    100% agreed, especially the bold part.
    I work for some bike racers
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    If you use a set of Kool Stop Dura 2 pads, the brake track height issue with HEDs goes away.

    All around, there's too much evidence of my having a general preference for HED Belgium+ as the best all around alloy rim. They're light, proven to be plenty fast, tires set up great on them, they're strong and durable, and really really well made.

    The AForce and Boyd, as I think I mention in the thing linked above, well I don't have actual smoking gun hard evidence but they're made in the same place as each other. Not that that means a whole whole lot, but we've found similar very high but not absolutely quite at the level of HED build quality out of them.

    I could easily be the guy who's set up each of them tubeless the most, so here are my thoughts. None of them will absolutely lock the tires on the bead shelves in a flat. This to me is not a big deal but some lose their minds over it. To me, if you flat tubeless, you're putting a tube in anyhow so that doesn't matter. For inflation, HEDs generally inflate right away with two wraps of Stan's or equal tape. For Schwalbe tires (which we use 10 to 1 for road tubeless over any other), you need an extra wrap of tape on AForce and Boyd, and then you might also need to take the valve stem out to get enough volume. These are standard tricks for people who use tubeless a lot.

    For what it's worth, I'm not a road tubeless evangelist/dedicated user/etc. For anything with knobs on it, or anything over about 33mm, tubeless all day every day. For road tires up through Conti 28s (which actually measure 32, and on which I've done 95% of the last 2000 or so of my last miles), thin butyl or latex tubes.
    Only thing not till love about Belgium rims... Is the $150 each price tag.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Only thing not till love about Belgium rims... Is the $150 each price tag.
    no kidding. But then again the prices of the other highend alloy rims are pretty damn high too:
    Mavic Open Pro $100
    Altamont rim $105
    Easton R90SL rim $128
    AL33 rim $150
    Zipp 30 Course $155

    Who knew just 450g of 6000 series aluminum can be this expensive! I know, "R&D cost". Not a cheap sport if you don't have a steady job that's for sure.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    no kidding. But then again the prices of the other highend alloy rims are pretty damn high too:
    Mavic Open Pro $100
    Altamont rim $105
    Easton R90SL rim $128
    AL33 rim $150
    Zipp 30 Course $155

    Who knew just 450g of 6000 series aluminum can be this expensive! I know, "R&D cost". Not a cheap sport if you don't have a steady job that's for sure.
    Well, you picked the candidates in the thread header . Plenty of good quality fish in the sea. Other similar profile options at lower price points:

    Pacenti Forza ($85/rim) https://pacenticycledesign.com/colle...road-front-rim
    H+Son Hydra ($90/rim) https://shop.hplusson.com/product/the-hydra
    H+Son Archetype ($70/rim) https://shop.hplusson.com/product/archetype


    Yes, Forza are almost half the cost of HEDs and AL33 and Zipp. Good rims, lace up well espec the asymmetrical rear. HEDs are ofc going to be expensive, as are Zipps, Easton--I'm surprised they even sell rims.


    If you have a trusted wheelbuilder...BHS has an absolute steal on a Pacenti Forza build kit:

    Pacenti Forza Wheelset Build Kit - $399.95
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  8. #8
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    If the decision is to use butyl/latex tubes, then what are the issues in selecting a HED C2 vs. the C2(Belgium) Plus?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalheart View Post
    If the decision is to use butyl/latex tubes, then what are the issues in selecting a HED C2 vs. the C2(Belgium) Plus?
    hmm. The C2 is the older and narrower design. The Belgium Plus is the wider newer design. Butyl or latex tubes can be used in either one. But the trend now is to go wider rim. I have a set of the Belgium Plus and I'd never ever think about buying the C2 at this point.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    hmm. The C2 is the older and narrower design. The Belgium Plus is the wider newer design. Butyl or latex tubes can be used in either one. But the trend now is to go wider rim. I have a set of the Belgium Plus and I'd never ever think about buying the C2 at this point.
    I know nothing about this, but I read that the value of the HED C2Plus rim is in using tires 28mm or larger and all the benefits that come from lower pressure with wider tires. But, if there is some reason that a 28 tire will not fit, then the C2 is an alternative. I also read something about the brake track on the C2 Plus -- for rim brake use -- is more narrow than the C2 with the possibility of a need for different brake pads.

    I am thinking of the C2 Plus if it will fit and using 28mm tires -- Conti 4 Season or Compass Chinook Pass -- and tubes, but I might want the option of tubeless if I can convince myself it fits my riding environment.

  11. #11
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    Of the rims you listed, I only have experience with the AL33. I built a set of wheels with that rim earlier this year using WI Hubs, 24/28 and Sapim CXray spokes with brass nipples. They went together very smoothly and the rims were easy to true. My other experience with the wider clincher rims was the Kinlin 31W and I've built four sets of those for friends and me. I like the way the AL33 built up and ride better than the Kinlin. Of course, the AL33 is about twice the cost of the Kinlin, but I think its worth it.

    If you choose to go with the AL33 and are building these yourself, take a look at the "kit" based on this rim being offered by Bike Hub Store: AForce Al33 / White Industries Build Kit (MSW). Pretty big savings over buying the same parts separately. I've built 3 sets of Kinlin 31Ws built on these Kits for friends and they include everything you need except rim tape. Spoke measurements, etc. are spot on. It says "No Substitutions" but Brandon will swap out the Aluminum nipples for Brass, which I prefer given the climate I'm in, if you ask.
    Last edited by cdhbrad; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:47 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdhbrad View Post
    Of the rims you listed, I only have experience with the AL33. I built a set of wheels with that rim earlier this year using WI Hubs, 24/28 and Sapim CXray spokes with brass nipples. They went together very smoothly and the rims were easy to true. My other experience with the wider clincher rims was the Kinlin 31W and I've built four sets of those for friends and me. I like the way the AL33 built up and ride better than the Kinlin. Of course, the AL33 is about twice the cost of the Kinlin, but I think its worth it.

    If you choose to go with the AL33 and are building these yourself, take a look at the "kit" based on this rime being offered by Bike Hub Store: AForce Al33 / White Industries Build Kit (MSW). Pretty big savings over buying the same parts separately. I've built 3 sets of Kinlin 31Ws built on these Kits for friends and they include everything you need except rim tape. Spoke measurements, etc. are spot on. It says "No Substitutions" but Brandon will swap out Brass nipples for Aluminum, if you ask.
    thanks great info!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Well, you picked the candidates in the thread header . Plenty of good quality fish in the sea. Other similar profile options at lower price points:

    Pacenti Forza ($85/rim) https://pacenticycledesign.com/colle...road-front-rim
    H+Son Hydra ($90/rim) https://shop.hplusson.com/product/the-hydra
    H+Son Archetype ($70/rim) https://shop.hplusson.com/product/archetype


    Yes, Forza are almost half the cost of HEDs and AL33 and Zipp. Good rims, lace up well espec the asymmetrical rear. HEDs are ofc going to be expensive, as are Zipps, Easton--I'm surprised they even sell rims.


    If you have a trusted wheelbuilder...BHS has an absolute steal on a Pacenti Forza build kit:

    Pacenti Forza Wheelset Build Kit - $399.95
    the Forza kit is a great value! Problem is there is no worthy wheelbuilders around here. And not to knock on the hubs in the kit, but I also like a little more blinging hubs to compare penile size at the cafe, lol yeah i'm a sucker like that

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalheart View Post
    I know nothing about this, but I read that the value of the HED C2Plus rim is in using tires 28mm or larger and all the benefits that come from lower pressure with wider tires. But, if there is some reason that a 28 tire will not fit, then the C2 is an alternative. I also read something about the brake track on the C2 Plus -- for rim brake use -- is more narrow than the C2 with the possibility of a need for different brake pads.

    I am thinking of the C2 Plus if it will fit and using 28mm tires -- Conti 4 Season or Compass Chinook Pass -- and tubes, but I might want the option of tubeless if I can convince myself it fits my riding environment.
    just to be clear on terminology, the HED C2 is called the C2, the Belgium Plus is called Belgium Plus. I don't think there is a "C2 Belgium Plus" or "C2 Plus" rim.

    Anyway, if you're thinking of doing ride on non-pavement road, then definitely think about the Belgium Plus rim along with 28c tires. This combination will make the tire more like closer to 30mm wide once mounted, and this may be an issue for frame fitting.

    But as you can see in this thread, there are also other cheaper wide-rim options to the Belgium Plus rim too, like the Pacenti Forza kit mentioned by Marc above. Lots of options out there (as I'm now learning).
    Last edited by aclinjury; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:35 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Well, you picked the candidates in the thread header . Plenty of good quality fish in the sea. Other similar profile options at lower price points:

    Pacenti Forza ($85/rim) https://pacenticycledesign.com/colle...road-front-rim
    H+Son Hydra ($90/rim) https://shop.hplusson.com/product/the-hydra
    H+Son Archetype ($70/rim) https://shop.hplusson.com/product/archetype


    Yes, Forza are almost half the cost of HEDs and AL33 and Zipp. Good rims, lace up well espec the asymmetrical rear. HEDs are ofc going to be expensive, as are Zipps, Easton--I'm surprised they even sell rims.


    If you have a trusted wheelbuilder...BHS has an absolute steal on a Pacenti Forza build kit:

    Pacenti Forza Wheelset Build Kit - $399.95
    Anybody have experience with the hub quality difference, if any, between the BHS build kits and BDOP's?

    https://www.bdopcycling.com/DIY%20WHEELS.asp

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bremerradkurier View Post
    Anybody have experience with the hub quality difference, if any, between the BHS build kits and BDOP's?

    https://www.bdopcycling.com/DIY%20WHEELS.asp
    Short version: I think the Novatec Hubs (from BDOP) and the BHS hubs are extremely similar in quality and performance.

    Longer answer: over the past 4 years I have built up and ridden the following –

    3 sets of wheels with BHS (non-disc) hubs (SL210)
    1 set of wheels with Bitex-branded (non-disc) hubs
    1 set of wheels with BHS disc hubs
    1 set of road wheels with Novatec hubs from BDOP
    1 set of track wheels with BDOP hubs (not sure the brand)

    One of those sets was for my wife, and over all those wheelsets there are probably 20k miles at this point. ALL of them built up really well as new, with no issues out of the box.

    Out of all of them, ONE rear hub on an early BHS hub developed a crunchy bearing after around 2,000 miles of riding (with a few long rides in rain, but not regular riding in rain). I emailed Brandon and he sent instructions which I used to fairly easily replace the enduro cartridge bearings with new ones. I've had zero other problems with any of these hubs.

    I'm fairly certain that both hubs use the same, high quality bearings, and that the aluminum bodies on both are very similar.

    I had a very slight and purely subjective preference for the Novatec hubs in terms of observing the quality of manufacturing in my hand and building them up
    , but let me stress this was VERY slight (maybe I just liked the red labels).

    I've also built up wheels with more expensive brands (WI), and in my (obviously limited experience) I could see no benefit (other than the bling) to spending more on hubs.

    The same is NOT true of rims: I'm a BIG fan of the Kinlin rims, and you can't beat them for the price, but a Pacenti or AI or HED rim is clearly better-made and builds up easier. The easiest wheels I ever built up were high quality carbon rims. The kinlins build up nicely, but I always find it a challenge to get a bit of vertical hop out of them. I can build them 100% true laterally, but my kinlin wheels always have a tiny hop in them. This has zero effect on the road, but bugs me a bit.

    (I wish Brandon had build kits with disc brake hubs.)

  17. #17
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    I don't have the experience of some in here, but over the years I'd guess that I've built about 50 sets of wheels with HED belgium rims. I haven't built with the other two, but I've yet to be disappointed with a single Belgium, and I've got a pair on my own bike as well.

    The cost is annoying, yes, but really they're only about 50 bucks a rim more than others, and is an extra hundred bucks for a wheelset really that big of a deal? I don't think so.

  18. #18
    changingleaf
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    The Altamont is a very well made rim with an excellent finish. The other two are better for setting up tubeless tires as they keep the bead seated on the rim after the air is let out.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    just to be clear on terminology, the HED C2 is called the C2, the Belgium Plus is called Belgium Plus. I don't think there is a "C2 Belgium Plus" or "C2 Plus" rim.
    They are both the C2 Belgium. One is plus, the other isn't:

    https://www.hedcycling.com/belgium-rim-brake-clincher/

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