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That cheering you hear is the collective glee of gravel grinders and cyclocross racers from all corners of the earth in reaction to the news of a disc-compatible Ardennes Plus. The HED Ardennes Plus LT Disc Brake Clincher Wheelset gains a smidgen of weight and drops the price compared to the line-topping SLs because of its standard HED bladed spokes, but it still boasts the same beefy, yet lightweight rims for sure-footed handling and speedy spin-up. Whether you're looking for a race-worthy wheelset to tackle a 'cross course or heading out for epic gravel adventures, this wheelset is bound to bump up the fun factor on any ride.
The Ardennes Plus takes HED's C2 rim design a step further compared to the standard Ardennes profile. The 21-millimeter internal width results in an improved tire profile when paired with the wider tires used in 'cross and gravel applications for even better grip and faster rolling. The wider rim puts more of the tire on the ground, and that increased contact patch means more grip, especially while cornering. Better yet, by widening the tire's base, more of the sidewall is oriented vertically, which means the tire is better able to deform around surface irregularities— you'll roll through them, not over them. And just in case you're looking for the fastest rolling setup around, the Plus SL is compatible with tubeless setups in addition to traditional clincher tires with tubes. HED includes their tubeless rim tape for easier set-up, so you'll just need tubeless-compatible tires and sealant to get the job done.
HED laces the Plus LT's to its Sonic Disc hub in the front, with wide flanges for impeccable stiffness and resistance to torsional forces. The rear hub is HED's 545 J-bend hub, featuring five pawls and 45 teeth for lightning-fast engagement over steep inclines and technical terrain. Both hubs are compatible with centerlock rotors, with separately sold adapters available for use with 6-bolt rotors. Tubeless rim tape is included, but thru-axles are sold separately.
- Properly wide hoops for gravel adventures and 'cross racing
- Alloy construction for reliable stiffness and strength
- 21mm internal width for greater support of wider tires
- Compatible with centerlock rotors for powerful stopping
- 6-bolt disc rotors require an adapter (not included)
- Rim tape included for running lower tire pressures
- HED 545 rear hub with 5 pawls for quick engagement
- Shimano/SRAM or SRAM XD rear driver available
- Item #HED002C
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Late winter rides with small block eights on a CX bike. Tires mounted easily, rides good so far. True test will come this fall.
So far, so great
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I use the HEDs as my every day road wheels and so far they have been great. They're much lighter than stock, the bearings are smooth, and the wide rims combined with 28mm tires is very comfortable and sure-footed.
With such wide rims and big tires HED recommends a much lower pressure than you might be used to -- I use 70 PSI (I weigh 145 lbs) which is on the high side and I might go lower (see HED video on recommended pressure). I have hundreds rather than thousands of miles on them so I can't talk about durability yet, but these wheels have a good reputation for quality.
There is one drawback preventing me from giving the wheelset five stars -- it was extremely difficult to get the tires onto the rims. You have to use HED's thin rim tape (included) and follow HED's instructions (watch their video) but even then it was very hard to get the tire stretched over the rim. You might want to consider a tire mounting tool such as the Kool-Stop tire mounting jack (I bought one for next time). I've read that tires stretch with use so I hope it's easier to get on and off, if and when I have a flat on the road. To be fair, I had another set of wheels with Velocity A23 rims (also a wide rimmed-design) and it was even harder to get the tires onto those wheels. So it may be just the way it is with modern tubeless-compatible wide/high-volume rims.
All in all, I'm very happy with the upgrade and while wheels this good are expensive, you could spend a lot more and you probably wouldn't get as much value for the money.