HED Eroica GP Disc Brake Wheels: Checkpoint

HED Eroica GP Disc Brake Wheels: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted

The version of Winter handed to us so far has been one of mild days and clear roads. Good enough to get this Checkpoint review on the HED Eroica GP Disc wheels out to you. When I last left you with this review in progress, I mentioned that the over-all theme of these wheels seemed to be “quiet strength“, and that has carried over. There are a couple of other things I’ve noted since the last update though, so let’s get on with it…….

The HED Eroica GP wheels have been steady, reliable wheels so far.

Tubeless Performance: As noted in the previous update, the Vittoria Terreno Dry 700 X 40mm tires fit quite tightly and required only a poor floor pump to seat the tires up. This always leads me to think about what would happen out in the field if the dreaded unsealable cut or puncture should occur and I’d have to try to peel that tire off and put in a tube. Unlikely as that scenario might be, it could happen, and I think I have an answer for this due to a problem I had unrelated to punctures and cuts.

There has been a trend of late to use aluminum tubeless valve stems with higher end tubeless wheel sets. While the cool anodized colors and lighter weight may seem like a good thing, aluminum isn’t as robust a material to cut fine threads into as brass, and mated with a silly aluminum Presta valve nut, well, things can go pear-shaped in a hurry. I found this out with the valves provided for this wheel set. The threads gave way on one of the valves and this caused a small leak since the valve stem wouldn’t tighten up enough anymore due to the failed threading. This, of course, required dismounting the tire, so hey! I found out that removing the Terreno Dry tire was possible, albeit quite a chore, and you’d better have really good tire levers.

After a re-tape, (because I could, and it was a preventative measure), a new, brass based valve, and a metal Presta nut, the tire remounted much the same as it did at first and aired up again with no issues. With that leakage out of my hair, I was able to note that the Terreno Dry tire took on a less rounded crown to the profile of the tire, which puts more rubber to the road while riding straight on. I like this for looser conditions where rocks are the main road surface. It also plays well when you might need maximum traction in Winter conditions. Credit that 25mm internal rim width for this result with this particular tire. Oh, and air retention has normalized, which is a good thing.

A view of the HED Eroica GP wheel on a bike in a rural setting
The wheels are quite comfortable to ride, but other than this, they simply just get the job done.

Ride Performance: So these wheels are……..invisible? They really just are very good at being wheels and that makes them good. Great wheels? Well, what do you expect for $810.00 retail? Here’s my answer: Good wheels, maybe not the lightest, nor the most flashy, but a wheel set that is reliable, tough, willing and able to take it on the chin and keep on keeping on. So far, that describes my experiences with the rides I’ve had on these wheels. I’m not thinking anything like, “Wow! These wheels feel awesome!“, because I’ve ridden on wheels costing three times as much and far lighter than these wheels are which did make me say”Wow!

A bicycle and gravel road view

That’s not saying anything bad about the HED Eroica GP’s either, but rather, it says that these are more of a solid upgrade that one could afford, be reasonably sure that they will last, and that they ride quite nicely. In fact, they might make you say, “Wow!“, especially if you are coming off a stock, heavy wheel set.

I took these out over some local single track, broken up pavement, and over some deteriorated gravel and smoother dirt roads. The Eroica GP’s are solid and smooth over it all. With those wider rims, I can lower my air pressures, on average by about 5-7psi, and get a smoother ride yet with no issues with squirmy tires, burps, or funny feelings in turns. Those wider internal widths are good for certain tire widths, and 40-45’s would probably be what I would say are right in the sweet spot for the Eroica GP’s.

Out on proper gravel roads the Eroica GP’s are fast, and they have a propensity to be good at coasting, for whatever that is worth. I am chalking that up to the low drag on the pawls in the free hub. These wheels have pretty average engagement, but again, they are really quiet when coasting. Less drag, less noise? That’s what I am thinking here.

So Far…. The HED Eroica SR wheels are a good, solid looking and feeling wheel set. The rims feature a different bead in the “Fat Lip” design which worked fine. The tubeless fit with the Vittoria tires was quite tight, and the tires set up with no “pings” or any pops at all. Another surprising thing- the free hub seems to be very quiet when coasting. I guess the over-all theme here so far is “quiet strength”. You can lower the air pressure on these and I was able to get good feeling, fast performance at around 5-7psi less than what I normally ran. This resulted in a smoother, more comfortable ride.

So, with many wheels in this price range what sets these Eroica GP’s apart? That wider internal width, decent weight, and the unique feature of the bead interface all are great features here, and do make your tires a bit more versatile. We’ll be riding these as Winter permits to check on longer term reliability. Stay tuned for the “At The Finish” post when I have had enough time on these to make a final verdict.

Note: HED sent over the Eroica SR wheel set for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.

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by Riding Gravel 2014