About ninety days ago, I took the HED Made in Minnesota wheels out of the box and shared a video that promised a full report about how they performed out in the field. I’ve spent the summer working as a bicicleta gaucho and while executing the regular business of daily bike life, I imagine that I’ve ridden about three metric gnome-tons on these things.
This is what might be called the mid-term review of the wheelset and it’ll focus primarily on dirt riding. The snow testing will start the moment the first snowflake falls, but for now, I’ll share some thoughts about how the HED Made in Minnesota wheelset performed over the last three months.
Initially, I mounted a pair of Bontrager Hodag 27.5×4.0 tires and after suffering a puncture, I replaced the rear Hodag with a Maxxis Minion FBF and then a Vee Tire Snow Ball 27.5×4.0. I mounted the tires tubeless but it’s worth mentioning that there is a small learning curve involved with the way that HED rims go tubeless. It’s all explained in the instructions that come with the rims. My tip is to use the rubber bands all lubed up with sealant for easy bead snaps with a compressor. There are easier rims to get seated, but there are no lighter fat bike rims available on the planet.
I ran the wheels on my Corvus FLT, Ten Beers. With these wheels, Ten Beers weighed in at twenty-four pounds, eight ounces. These wheels really made me feel like I could ride my fat bike in many situations where I’d usually ride a gravel bike or a mountain bike. The wheelset turned Ten Beers into a true quiver killer or maybe a quiver limiter. A better way to state it would be to say that the wheels made my fat-bike a better overall bicycle.
The big question that has most definitely has been answered in the last three months is whether the Berd Spokes would feel flexy or cause any detrimental behavior. The wheels have felt rock solid from day one. They’re quiet and solid. Right from the start, I set out to put these wheels through the roughest trails that we’ve got here in South Central Wisconsin. The trails at Blue Mound are a real ass-kicker and I managed to survive in one piece along with the help of Ten Beers and HED’s featherlight, tough as nails, made in Minnesota wheelset.
I loaded up the gear and did some camping at Kettle this Summer. Why not load up the lightest set of wheels with some gear and go camping? What could go wrong? Well…nothing went wrong. I’ve experienced completely smooth sailing with these things. I’ve ridden a ton of sweet flow trail on these wheels and they feel perfectly normal at warp speed, G’ing out in bermed corners felt ultra smurfy just how I like it! I’ll tell you where the HED wheels feel a little different is on startup from slow speed and climbing. They make the bike feel about one and a half gears easier to propel forward. (kinda unique, right?)
I know that this will probably drive some of you crazy, but I derbied these wheels. The Levis Mound Fat Tire Fest featured multiple rounds of derby and I might have even won a round out at the Yellowjacket campsite. Carbon bikes derby just fine (till they don’t). I’ve been working on my slow-speed handling drills on these wheels. They track-stand really nice. Totally solid feeling.
The HED/Berd/Onyx wheelset totally Aced our Mid-Term (dirt) exam. I’m looking forward to getting into snow season with them and reporting back with some thoughts in another few months of fat-bike-fun.
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