HED has launched a handsome polished silver version of its Emporia GA Pro aluminium gravel wheelset. Based on a 25mm wide (internal) rim, the wheelset is designed for tyres 32mm+ wide. The rims measure 30mm wide external and 24mm deep.
This wide internal width gives tyres a round profile that increases volume, which increases comfort and reduces rolling resistance on rough surfaces.
HED adds that using a wider rim prevents the wheels from pinching the sidewalls of a tyre, allowing them to “provide the natural suspension they are designed for”.
The rims use HED’s Fat Lip Technology. This is a structural reinforcement of the rim bead designed to let you run a lower tyre pressure without worrying about damaging the rim.
Of course, this isn’t an invitation to make a habit of running under-inflated tyres and smashing your rims off of hard edges – the ideal tyre pressure balances squishy voluminous comfort, low rolling resistance and support, but knowing the wheel should be strong enough to survive impacts while you experiment is no bad thing.
The wheels are built around HED’s own Sonic Hubs. These are only available in a Centerlock rotor mount option and, notably, they can be converted between 12mm or 15mm thru-axle options, as well as quick release. Many road/gravel wheelsets are limited to 12mm or QR only. The hubs have also been polished to match.
The wheels weigh a claimed 1,535g for the pair and will set you back $1,200. No international pricing is available at the time of writing.
On the right bike, silver wheels can look insanely cool – they are simultaneously a groovy retro throwback and a shiny modernist statement all at once.
For those not bold enough to run a silver wheelset, they’re also available in good ol’ black. The black version also comes in a 650b version.