Halo says its ExciteD wheels are aimed at the XC rider who craves lightweight but has no desire to dent or crumple a hoop on a hard ride. To add to the durability (and bling factor) the 23mm Auralite Nb-A section alloy rims are sheathed in a carbon matrix ‘skin’ which adds strength with no significant increase in weight. The skin extends around the rim to within about 4mm of the rim edge thus preventing the carbon suffering any damage in what can be a vulnerable area. The rear hub boasts five bearings and a six-pawl, six-drive freehub for speedy pick up. An alloy freehub body also reduces overall grammage. The rims and hubs are stitched together with 32 double butted 14/16-gauge black spokes to Halo’s own Supa Drive hubs.
Kore offers ultimate choice with its new all-in-one disc mount. Rotors of the standard six bolt or lock-on variety can both be fitted to this wheelset via some short studs and a centre-lock ring, which is fitted with a cassette lockring tool. Also new are the adjustable sealed cartridge bearing hubs, which are laced, two-cross style, to 6066 alloy welded seam rims with 28 14-gauge stainless spokes per hoop. Where the Halos carbon looks futuristic, the XCD rims feature a classic black shot-peened finish.
Despite being a little heavier than claimed, which discounts them for the real weight weenie, the Halos are fast off the mark and quick to get up to speed. The pick up on the cassette is snappy, offering almost instant response from a pedal lunge. In the rocks of the Peaks the Halos felt pingy and a little harsh, a trade off for the rigidity of the carbon skin. At £450 a pair they will suit the trail rider that fancies some zip in his ride with the wow factor of carbon. The Kore wheels felt the opposite of the ExciteDs. They are heavier despite fewer spokes but yielded a slightly more forgiving — which translates as comfortable — ride. The fact that you can use either a six-bolt or a lock-on rotor definitely makes them desirable — kudos to Kore for that little twist. The lock-on adapters give a much cleaner look to the hub disc interface too. Make sure you have a long hollow cassette lock ring tool though, or else you won’t be able to tighten down the rear disc. We used one by Ice Toolz. When it comes to value the XCDs run out half the price of the Halos. If you are after a pair of zoot suit hoops that you can race and do long XC rides on then the Halos fit the bill. But if weight is not an issue Kore wheels have it. Add their versatility into the mix and they just scrape top honours.