No-nonsense trail wheels from a brand with a long history in dirt-jumping
Halo has been making dependable wheelsets for years and Halo Vapour 35 are rated for rubber up to 2.8in wide, making them suitable for modern tyres.
They are tubeless-ready out of the box and use a 30mm internal rim made from heat-treated aluminium for extra toughness, with a claimed weight of 536g for the 29in rim on its own.
With a smooth, rounded and fairly deep profile, the rims are sleeve joined (whereby an overlap bonds the two ends into a hoop), rather than welded. Drilled with 32 holes front and rear, they use black double-butted spokes laced three-cross through reinforced rim eyelets with black brass nipples that are more durable than alloy ones.
Own brand hubs use a mid-height flange with heavy machining to save weight, and standard six-bolt rotor mounts. Inside the body, there’s a chromoly axle sleeve for extra strength. The rear MT Supadrive Boost freehub is Halo’s top end design with a rapid 120-point engagement. Pick up under power is near instantaneous, and feels really snappy and precise, especially when crawling your way up technical climbs.
This rear hub has a fairly loud freehub whine when coasting, and also uses end caps that stay put better than ones that came loose accidentally testing Halo wheels a few seasons ago. We didn’t need to service them, but they run standard sealed cartridge that are easy to source when required.
Both Halo Vapour 35 wheels inflated tubeless with no drama and the tyres held air perfectly from day one. Halo’s wheels have a no-nonsense feel and a real solid ride quality, so there’s little noticeable flex, even smashing tight turns going full tilt. In fact, stiffness was noticeably better than most on test when hitting deep berms, and the wheels also shrugged off nasty sounding smashes, held tension and stayed true during testing.
In terms of comfort and rolling speed, there’s little to distinguish from DT Swiss’s M1900s, but the Vapours definitely feel more zippy and responsive thanks to the rapid freehub pick-up. Both wheels are much more lively and less wooden than Hope’s heavier Fortus 26s.
At nearly 2.1kg, the Vapours don’t feel incredibly urgent accelerating, and are a tad less speedy heading uphill or building pace than Mavic’s Deemax, but that’s got to be expected with the huge difference in cost.
The Vapours are solid and no-nonsense for a wallet-friendly price, and use readily-available spokes. Brands like Hunt offer lighter wheels for similar money (the DT Swiss wheels here are slightly lighter too), but the rear freehub is a highlight for this much cash, and Vapours with a standard six-pawl design can be had for £65 less, which is even better value.