If you want some traditional-looking hoops for your classic road bike or Sunday tourer, then you can get some handbuilt wheels but there's not many off-the-shelf options. The Halo Retro wheelset is one such wheelset, and they're good too: stiff, not too heavy and, maybe most importantly here, good looking.
The rim is designed to ape classic hoops from the 1970s and 1980s but it's a modern, box-section alloy extrusion with stainless steel eyelets. The polished finish lends it a look not dissimilar to a steel rim though, and the laser-etched decals are discreet. The hubs have an open-flange design (except on the drive side of the rear hub) and they're laced up with butted stainless spokes. The freehub has an alloy body and will handle up to ten sprockets. Or as few as seven.
The overall look of the wheelset is undeniably classic and they looked the ticket on my 1986 Raleigh Scirocco. In terms of performance, they feel undeniably modern. The build is tight and the wheels are nice and stiff, and weight-wise they're a very reasonable 1800g all-in. They roll very well and they've stayed true throughout testing. The freehub has a solid-sounding click and looks to be the same as used on the SpinMaster rear hub, which I've put a few thousand miles into now.
The only downside for me is the braking surface. It's swings and roundabouts, this: the polished sidewalls look more classic, but a machined braking surface would massively improve the braking consistency on the wheels. I'd like to see Halo offer the wheelset in both polished and machined versions, personally. That way, everyone's happy.
In terms of value they're not dissimilar in price and weight to entry-level race wheels such as the Fulcrum Racing 5, so I wouldn't say they were expensive. They're well built and good-looking wheels that'll look great on a certain type of bike. If you've got a bike like that, these are worth a look.
Classic looks with modern performance, a good new wheelset for a classic racer or Sunday tourer
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Make and model: Halo Retro wheelset
Size tested: Silver
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Box section low-profile lightweight road race rims with stainless eyelets.
Our brand new 700c Retro rims resemble European high quality rims from the 1970s and 80s but are made using modern extrusions and materials to offer high performance and low weight.
The perfect option to finish off your retro classic race machine that warms your heart on a Sunday morning (or anytime when you take a sneaky peek.)
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Double wall box section.
Heat Treated T10 extruded alloy.
Polished smooth brakewall.
Stainless Steel single eyelets.
High polished finish sealed bearing 32H hubs.
Rims with subtle laser logo.
Front Weight 810g
Rear Weight 1010g
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Look nice, stiff, not over-heavy
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
polished brake surface
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? For the right bike, yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.