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Hard knock life.
In a Linnaean taxonomy of the world of wheels, HED's Ardennes Plus GP Disc Brake Clincher Wheelset would fall in relation to the road and cyclocross genus without belonging wholly to either one. This dual phenotypic citizenship recommends it as the most pure example of a gravel wheelset — that is to say, a wheelset that's anything but purely classifiable in a single category. The GP model combines a centerlock disc interface with no-nonsense, round spokes and a tubeless-ready bead for a wheelset that's every bit as tough as its price is low.
And ok. Normally we don't spend a lot of time lingering on price, but in the case of the HED GP, it's worth highlighting. A wheel with 25mm-wide rims (21mm internal width) and disc-brake compatibility at this pricepoint is unheard of. Ardennes Plus wheels are every bit equal to 'cross and gravel racing, but the GP version brings the line to a price that makes picking up a pair for training purposes a feasible reality rather than an I'm-not-sponsored pipe dream. The main difference between it and the lighter, more race-oriented Ardennes Plus models are the spokes, which are round instead of bladed and butted, further recommending the wheels for the hard knock life of all-terrain training abuse.
By now, you're probably well-familiar with the advantages of the Ardennes Plus's wide rim. With a 21mm internal width, the rim lets larger tires fill out more, expanding air volume and straightening side walls. This reduces the lightbulb effect that skinnier rims produce, putting a larger tire patch in contact with the ground, improving rolling efficiency in the straights, increasing cornering confidence and grip, and letting you run lower PSI for a plusher, more supple ride. (HED recommends a maximum PSI of 100.) There are also some aerodynamic advantages to the more consistent line from tire to rim, but ride quality and durability are the GP's primary goals.
When paired with 28 or 30mm tires, the Ardennes Plus GP melts punishing chip seal and poorly graded gravel into ribbons of buttery smooth joy. The rims can also be paired with 25mm tires, but that size starts approaching issues of rim contact during cornering, and we'd recommend staying well above HED's suggested lower limit of 22mm tires. Regardless, the rims are huge, and we suggest taking advantage of that width with tire sizes in the high 20s and lower 30s that you can't get away with on yesteryear's 19mm rims. The rims include tubeless rim tape, so you can add further flat protection and cushion by installing valves, sealant, and tubeless-ready tires.
Except for the above mentioned spokes, the sole sacrifice the standard, rim brake Ardennes GP makes to considerations of price is the inclusion of HED's old Sonic LT hubs. The GP Disc features the same spokes but they lace the rims to an updated hub model that effectively situates it between the new 545 hub and the Sonic LT. Instead of the 545's five pawls or the Sonic LT's three pawls, the GP Disc's freehub features four pawls. It's not quite as responsive as the 545, but it does reduce the angle of engagement compared to the Sonic LT. If you're running the standard GP, that extra responsiveness won't be as important, but on a 'cross course — where disc brakes are more valuable — instant acceleration out of corners or up punchy climbs becomes much more important.
- Item #HED002B
- Q & A
Sweet wheelset and easy tubeless setup
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I just swapped out my cross wheels yesterday. In under 30 minutes I had my tires mounted tubeless, front thru-axle converted to 15mm from 12mm, centerlock rotors installed, and the bike completely setup. For the price, this wheelset is a good weight and sounds nice when rolling.
The wheelset comes tubeless ready, all you need to supply are tubeless valve stems (around $16) and some tubeless ready tires.
I now have a solid wheelset for the race season and a stock wheelset for when I want to hit the road. Carbon is nice for cross, only until you break a spoke. These wheels look like they will be a tank and that's exactly what you need for cyclocross.
Relatively Affordable Gravel Wheel
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
HED has brought its legendary Ardennes lineup down range slightly to make it more affordable. You still get the 21mm wide internal rim that would work perfectly with newer gen wider tires, and tubeless ready if you're so inclined. Centerlock hubs means that you can run Shimano's best rotor, the RT-99, or Centerline X if you're running SRAM. While a little bit heavier than the far more expensive FR, SL, or LT wheels, I didn't notice any difference in stiffness or ride quality of these wheels when riding them. Definitely would recommend over any other road disc wheelset in this price range
Is there any guidance for installing the 15mm adapters? These appear to use a lockring setup I've never seen before. Most just push in, which is what the 12mm caps do. But the 15mm apparently use a lockring that need to be fastened down with pin spanner?
Is the QR kit provided for these wheels or must it be purchased separately?
You would need to order it separate.
Hello I don't have thru axles only QR. will these work? Thank you. The bike is a 2015 Caadx rival.
Wow. Great catch. NOBODY has thru axles. How did you even spot that in the description? Nope - these are special. TOTALLY USELESS one might say. Good question.
My bike has a 15mm thru axle on the fork. What if any adapter would be required to fit these wheels?
These wheels come with end caps for 15mm thru axle conversion; no need for an additional adapter purchase!
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