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review

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset

8
£1,099.95

VERDICT:

8
10
Fast and durable wheels that handle well in crosswinds
Solid build means you don't have to be gentle with them
Rapid engagement from the freehub
'Buzzy' freehub won't suit the shy
Weight: 
1,629g

This Carbaura RCD wheelset is Halo's latest edition and it offers a very good all-round package with a strong build, noticeable aero benefits and a decent weight. It's good quality, at a sensible price.

The Carbaura, according to Halo, is the fastest disc brake wheelset it has ever developed thanks to a computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-designed and tested rim. Out on the road this 50mm version (35mm is also available) certainly feels fast and there is a noticeable drop-off in effort needed to keep them rolling once your speed gets above about 23mph, something that happens with a lot of decently aerodynamic wheels.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy these online here

Halo has gone for a u-shaped, Toray T700 carbon fibre rim with a rounded edge where the spokes enter, as opposed to a sharper v-shape like we used to see a few years ago. Halo reckons this shape means the wheel is less affected by crosswinds regardless of what angle they are coming from, and I'd say that feels to be largely true.

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset - spoke nipples.jpg

I've had the wheels for about six weeks and tried them on a couple of different aero bikes in many weather conditions. The start of the test period was blighted by consistent strong winds of 30 to 40mph, and while you could feel the pressure of the wind pushing on the rim, especially when passing an exposed gateway or something, the handlebar wasn't getting slapped about in my hands.

Our test set weighs 1,629g (including tubeless rim tape) which is in line with Fulcrum's Wind 40 DB wheels (1,620g) and only a bit heavier than the Scribe Aero Wide 50-D at 1,449g.

Out on the road they don't feel heavy at all, and there isn't any lag to get them to rotate from a standing start.

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset - graphic.jpg

Stiffness is great: when attacking climbs or just accelerating hard there doesn't feel to be any flex from them at all, although admittedly it is often harder to tell on a disc brake setup with no pads to rub on the rim.

The Carbauras are handbuilt and that is really noticeable in the spoke tension: they are taut right around both wheels, and there were no issues with trueness from the start or throughout testing.

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset - logo.jpg

In fact, the whole build feels very durable and robust, and while not going out to purposely destroy them, like all test wheels they never get treated like you would your own. Clattering over rough surfaces and small potholes at speed has seen them shrugging off everything with no signs of damage or, as I said, trueness problems.

Halo has gone for a reasonably wide rim width too – 19mm internal and 25mm external – and says that the Carbauras will work best with 25mm to 35mm tyres. With modern road disc-equipped bikes coming with increasingly large clearances, this means you can use wider tyres for comfort while still maintaining the aerodynamic effects.

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset - rim bed.jpg

Tyre fitment was relatively easy with most that I tried. The only one that required a bit of effort was the Michelin Power Road Tubeless, but that one is a faff on any rim.

Once set up tubeless, the Halos were pretty much fit and forget.

The wheels use Halo's own very good hubs. The RD2 Supadrive rear has a 24-hole drilling pattern for the spokes and a freehub that has 120 points of pickup – which basically means that engagement of the pawls will be a maximum rotation of just three degrees, so drive is there in an instant. Perfect for pulling away from those traffic light trackstands before the traffic behind has even had a chance to find the bite on their clutches!

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset - rear hub.jpg

With this number of engagement points, the freehub is quite noisy when you are rolling along; the sound is less 'clicky', more 'buzzy', though not as bad as the RSP Calavera CC35 wheelset that I described as sounding like a bluebottle trapped in a jam jar.

The freehub body has a bite-guard, a small strip of steel added to protect the splines from the cassette which, under load, would otherwise cut into the material of the freehub body. It's worked well, with just a few small indentations to be found after about 700 miles.

Options include Shimano HG, Campagnolo and SRAM XDR.

The start of the test period was quite wet, with things turning much warmer and dustier later on. Whatever the conditions, nothing has had any effect on the bearings so far on either the rear hub or the front RD2.

Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset - front hub.jpg

The front hub also takes 24 spokes, and they both accept Centerlock rotors rather than six-bolt options.

Value

When it comes to value, the Carbauras aren't bad. At £1,099.99 they're in the right sort of price bracket for what you are getting – they're the same as the Fulcrum Wind 40s I mentioned earlier in the review, and they both share that same balance of build and ride quality.

> Buyer’s Guide: 21 of the best disc brake road wheelsets

However, the Scribes that I also mentioned are not only lighter but also cheaper at just £870.

Conclusion

Overall, you can get cheaper, but the Halo Carbauras are a sensible investment if you want a set of durable, fast and reasonably light wheels that are backed up by a great build quality.

Verdict

Fast and durable wheels that handle well in crosswinds

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Halo Carbaura RCD wheelset

Size tested: 50mm deep rims, Shimano

Tell us what the wheel 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?

Halo says, "Our Carbaura RCD wheelsets have been designed to keep you one step ahead of the competition.

"Built around an optimized, Computational Fluid Dynamics tested, aerodynamic profile in a Carbon Fibre chassis, low weights, linear compliance and lateral stiffness were our primary aims with the Carbaura RCD wheelsets.

"The tried and tested 19mm internal and 25mm external rim widths allow you to run a choice of traditional or tubeless tyres and are well suited to tyres ranging from 25c through to 35c widths to deliver enhanced comfort and grip.

"At the centre of the Carbaura RCD wheelsets are our RD2 hubs equipped with centre lock, to accept disc brakes for consistently powerful braking in all weathers and to eliminate rim wear.

"The RD2 hub set also incorporates Supadrive, which offers a 120 point near-instant engagement with the ability to withstand substantial torque loads. With multiple World Championship titles across a range of disciplines, the Supadrive system is tried and tested to the very highest level and is our most advanced and reliable drive system to date.

"Handcrafted with lightweight bladed aero spokes to decrease resistance and widely spaced hub flanges the Carbaura RCD wheelsets have been built to reduce any possible lateral flex and increase power transfer. Both front and rear wheels use a 16/8e lacing pattern to balance spoke tensions and withstand torque and braking forces from the centre of the wheels.

"Available in two depths, 35mm, a lower inertia option great for undulating courses, and 50mm, a more aerodynamic option for flatter routes.

"Wheelsets are supplied with a padded travel bag."

They are very fast yet durable wheels.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Spokes

Halo Black Aero Racing Stainless spokes

Nipples

Halo Black Brass nipples

Rim Depth

35/50mm

Internal Width

19mm

External Width

25mm

Front Hub Spacing

100mm

Rear spacing

142mm

Drillings

24H Front and Rear

Freehub

Shimano HG, Sram XDR and Campagnolo versions

Drive System

Supadrive

Freehub Body

Alloy (Steel tabs on HG)

Disc Mount

Centre Lock

Spoke pattern

16/8e Front and Rear

Recommended Tyre size

25-35c

Tubeless

Tubeless ready

Colour

Raw UD Carbon

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10

Front: 737g; rear 892g.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
5/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Spoke tension was very good indeed and there were no issues with trueness throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

The majority of tubeless and non-tubeless tyres fitted without fuss.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The supplied tubeless tape worked fine.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

There are some definite aerodynamic benefits to be felt.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Solid build quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Personally, I prefer a quiet freehub; those who aren't bothered will struggle to find something to actually dislike.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

As I mention in the review, the Halos are very similar to the Fulcrums in virtually every attribute and they cost the same money. You can get cheaper from the likes of Scribe and others, but on the whole I think the Halos are sensibly priced.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A great package all-round, from their stiffness and ride quality to durability and build quality. It is possible to get lighter, cheaper wheels with similar attributes out there, but not by a massive margin.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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