Halo Vortex 650b wheelset review£420.00

Tough, stiff and built to last mountain bike wheels

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Halo has made super-durable wheels for decades and it's been working on the Vortex for two years, on UK tracks and the Enduro World Series circuit. The result is a max-strength gravity/big-rider wheelset that’s built to survive relentless abuse.

The rim has been designed around a 2.5in tyre, but the 33mm internal width will handle 2.8in rubber just fine, and they’re tubeless taped as standard, with a snug fit that blows up easily.

The walls are extra-thick to fend off dings and the 6061-T10 alloy was chosen for its impact resistance.

Spoking and rim construction are asymmetric for equalised stiffness, and the wheels are hand-built with traditional J-bend spokes. Micro-teethed pawls in the freehub give essentially instant three-degree pick-up.

A heat-treated chromoly steel axle adds more strength, and I’ve had zero issues even when using these wheels on a heavyweight e-bike.

They’re easy to strip too, and Boost and Torque Cap kits are available.

While they’re overkill for average trail use, the rapid pick-up and serious build stiffness help offset their hefty 2,190g weight (990g/1,200g) when accelerating.

It’s the way I’ve been hitting everything I can at full throttle, day in, day out since I got them, without a single issue, even running teen tyre pressures, that makes these great hardcore wheels, though.

The price is good too, considering how long they’re likely to last.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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