The price of some wheels is scary to say the least, especially when you know that you’re going to be hammering the hell out of them on a DH bike. Unless you’re racing at the highest level, or have endless amounts of spare cash, the reality is that it’s probably not worth spending huge amounts of money on a set of DH wheels in order to save a tiny bit of weight. At just under £330 for the pair these Halo Chaos Downhill Race wheels are less than half the cost of some high-end offerings, yet performance wise they’re far more closely related.
At 924g for the front and 1043g for the rear these wheels aren’t that much heavier than the lightest DH offerings either. Of course weight isn’t everything with a pair of DH wheels cos it doesn’t matter how light they are if they buckle in seconds. The 28mm wide Chaos rims are well proven though and with smooth welded joints, a mud shedding non-stick style coating, and stainless steel eyelets the finish is good too.
The rims are laced up with 32 double butted spokes to Halo’s own hubs, which once again have already proved to be quality bits of kit. You get cartridge bearings throughout and the ability to run them with the most common axle standards. The front hub is a little annoying in that the 20mm axle adaptors aren’t captive so if you take your wheel out you have to be careful not to lose them, and it’s a bit more of a faff to put your wheel back in, but apart from that it does a sterling job. It’s at the rear though that you get something pretty special in the shape of Halo’s SupaDrive freehub system. This has pawls which use loads of fine teeth to produce 120 points of engagement. That means almost instantaneous pick-up. The photos below show you what the design looks like…
Halo have been selling these hubs for a while now and we know a couple of local riders who have been using them for years with no issues whatsoever. You might think the fine teeth would be prone to problems, but because there are so many of them, and because they wedge firmly into place under load, they’ve proved to be more than up to the job. Because the engagement is so fast these hubs have a very distinctive sound that is similar to a Chris King hub. If you wan to hear what one sounds like then click on the play button below…
That recording also shows how little drag this system produces, and how smooth running the bearings are. Not many wheels that we get in here spin for as long as this.
Halo also sell these 150x12mm hubs separately in either black, white or red.
With the complete wheels you get a choice of black or white rims, but hubs and spokes are always red and black respectively. If you haven’t got a 150mm back end on your frame then you can also get a 135mm version of these wheels, but instead of the SupaDrive hub you get a Spin Dr Pro one which uses more conventional pawls to give 30 points of engagement. To make up for that it’s a fair bit cheaper at £145.00.
Overall then these are some good quality wheels that come with an excellent rear hub, and perhaps crucially a relatively sensible price tag.
And if that’s left you wanting to know more about freehub designs then take a look at this feature we did earlier this year.