There was a time when we treated carbon wheels with suspicion, I mean surely a rim is no place for a material like carbon, but hey, after riding countless different carbon wheels we’ve been nothing but impressed. We’ve been so impressed in fact that if you’re planning on buying a 29’er to ride in an agro-fashion then we’d seriously recommend factoring a set of carbon wheels into the budget. As much as their low weight really can make a big difference if you’re rolling big wheels, it’s the added stiffness and strength that they bring that we really love. The downside of them is of course the price, with some sets costing as much as two grand. Recently though we’ve started to see some cheaper offerings, of which these Halo Vapour Carbon wheels are the latest. Now £900 is obviously still a lot of money for a set of wheels, but if they can live up to the performance of the considerably more expensive offerings then dare I say it, they might even be a bit of a bargain.
Whether or not you like the look of a product is obviously a personal opinion, but we all really like the classy understated grey graphics on these wheels. If you want something shouty you’re going to have to look elsewhere I’m afraid.
At 28mm wide these rims are a great width and certainly aren’t skinny XC ones. If you’ve already got some nice hubs then these rims are available separately, and unlike the wheels these are the same price regardless of diameter. At 440g, 445g and 460g depending on size these rims aren’t a huge chunk lighter than their aluminium counterparts, but even a small saving translates into a noticeable difference when riding, and from our experience so far manufacturers seem to be playing it safe with carbon rims, i.e. they’re overbuilding them considerably, hence I guess why they are proving to be so strong. Basically if these are anything like others we’ve tried they’ll be light but very strong.
One thing we’ve really not liked about Halo wheels in the past has been their front hubs, or more specifically the non-captive axle adaptors which making fitting a wheel far more painful than it should be, and that’s even if you’ve managed not to lose them. Thankfully though Halo have tweaked the design of their hub and all of the adaptors now stay where they should. Speaking of the adaptors, all three (QR, 15 & 20mm) are included as standard.
At the rear you get a choice of a Spin Doctor 6D hub, or the super fast 120-point engagement Supa Drive hub, which will cost you a tenner more. If you want instant pick-up and don’t mind a bit of noise from your freehub then I’d probably go for the latter, but the cheaper option is still a great design, one that should prove to be very reliable, and it’s a fair bit quieter. If you want to know a bit more about the different designs of freehub then we covered the Supa Drive one in this feature we did a while back, and the video below shows you what is going on inside the Spin Doctor 6D…
Both hubs can cater for all the common axle sizes, and should you need one they’re both available with an XD Driver Body for SRAM XX1 style cassettes.
The 26″ wheels that we’ve got in to try out tipped the scales at 792g for the front and 884g for the rear. They’re not the lightest we’ve come across but then again the rims are a decent width and we think they’ll probably offer a lot more strength than a set similarly weighted aluminium rimmed wheels. The overall build quality seems good too in terms of double butted spokes that are well tensioned, and the hub bearings feel silky smooth. Only time will tell if they prove to be as good as we hope they are going to be, and we’ll let you know the results in a few months time…
Front Wheel: 26″ £419.99, 27.5″ £429.99, 29″ £439.99
Rear Wheel: 26″ £479.99, 27.5″ £489.99, 29″ £499.99 (all sizes +£10 for Supa Drive hub)
Front Hub: £59.99
Rear Hub: Spin Doctor 6D £109.99, Supa Drive £119.99
Rims: £374.99 each