HED Eroica GP Disc Brake Wheels: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
Wheels, wheels, and more wheels. The rise in the popularity of the gravel road segment in cycling has brought a lot of product to market to serve this niche. Besides tires, perhaps wheels are one of the most popular upgrades to any all-road/gravel bike. Of course, today we are looking at a wheel set for gravel from HED Wheels, who are celebrating 35 years in the business.
HED has a history of making high performance, durable wheels for road and triathlon. However; they have been doing gravel wheels for years, and one of the more popular gravel related rims over the last several years has been HED’s Belgium Plus. HED used this rim design in a pre-built wheel set and dubbed it Ardennes+, which I happen to have a set of on one of my bikes. I reviewed those on my former site, “Gravel Grinder News” back in 2013. These wheels are still going strong and you might see them from time to time on this site as I still use those wheels for tire reviews. All this to say that HED has been in the game a while and that they make a durable, quality product.
What It Is: But that was then and this is now, as they say, “So, what have you done for me lately?” Well, HED have a new rim design and they use it in this pre-built wheel set dubbed “Eroica”. That might be a name that conjures up old codgers on ancient steel steeds using box section, rim brake tubular wheel sets, but these couldn’t be further removed from that notion. Disc brakes here, tubeless, not tubular, and deeper sectioned with a lot less spokes. Here are the features as listed on HED’s website:
“Ride it all with the new Eroica Alloy wheels from HED! Pavement, dirt, gravel, grass and everything in between, HED’s new generation of gravel/adventure wheels give you the freedom to explore. Getting from here to there with speed, efficiency, and peace of mind is key to discovering new adventures. Built with HED’s 35 year legacy of proven speed, the new Eroica Alloy wheels deliver strength and performance to take you beyond the tarmac. The Eroica Alloy wheels feature a 24mm deep, and 25mm internal/30mm external width rim profile. They are tubeless-ready and available in either 700c or 650b sizes. Employing HED’s new Fat Lip rim design, the Eroica Alloy wheels are built to take a hit, the Fat Lip reconstructed rim bead offers a stronger rim for lower tire pressure, more comfort and better cornering performance. “
The Eroica GP wheels feature four pawl rear hubs laced with 24 Sapim Leader spokes, (front and rear), to the Eroica’s rims which have a 24mm deep rounded profile. The axle configuration is the now standard 12mm through axle on our test set, but you can configure your wheels at purchase to be 15mm front through axle, or quick release front and/or rear compatible. The rotor standard is Center Lock on these wheels. These wheels are also offered in 650B size, and for approximately $200.00 more you can get the Eroica LT, which has Sapim Race spokes, five pawl hubs, and are slightly lighter. The HED Eroica wheel sets come with tubeless tape and valves. Claimed weight for a set of Eroica GP’s is 1750gm and MSRP on the set is $810.00USD.
First Impressions: The wheel set was pulled from the box and all I could think of was how these looked like 29″er wheels from ten to twelve years ago. It is amazing how things have changed in cycling when a 30mm external measurement rim is called a “gravel road wheel” and back in those days that wide a rim was nearly unheard of in 700c. The gravel road going set really has pushed the inner rim widths out over the last several years. I recall building a set of wheels not all that long ago which used a 25mm internal width rim and I thought, at the time, that was radical for gravel. Now it is about par for the course.
When this set was weighed in on the digital scales here, I got a reading of 1640 gm for the set. That’s bare wheels, by the way. No tubeless rim tape or tubeless valves. Still, that’s significantly lighter than the claim by HED. The wheels checked out here true and round and with HED’s understated graphics, they look cool as well.
Tubeless Set Up & Installation: The Fat Lip rim bead design looked a bit different, but my main concern, as it always is with an unknown quantity, was whether this was a rim bead diameter on the “tight” side of the spectrum or the looser side. I had decided to use the Vittoria Terreno Dry tires which we reviewed on this site. Their grippier nature would be appreciated during Winter here where I am in Iowa. They are more of a UST type diameter, so “on the tighter side“. Despite having been used, these tires did not stretch much during the review period. So, I thought they would be a good choice to use here.
I found that the Terreno Dry tires fit very tightly on the Eroica SR rims. They needed “urging” with tire levers to mount, but nothing too serious. This made airing them up a breeze. In fact, something I haven’t ever experienced here was that the tires did not “pop” or “ping” when the tire bead moved into place on the rim. Pretty weird.
The components mounted with no issues and I fitted them to our long-term test mule, the Noble Bikes GX5. This is also the bike with the Shimano GRX 1X group which we are reviewing. The first test ride went smoothly. Very smoothly. No pops or noises from the spokes, and no weird sensations from the wheels overall. The free hub engagement feels par for the course. Points of engagement were not listed in the spec, but the surprising thing was that I could not hear the wheels as I coasted. That free hub is pretty quiet.
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. We will test the lowered pressure riding claims HED makes for this feature soon. 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”. We’ll check in on reliability and ride feel in our next post. Look for the “Checkpoint” post, perhaps at the end of this year, perhaps later into next year. Winter will have a say when we can get that done.
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.