Halo Tundra FATBike Wheels
Hier geht's zur Deutschen Version!
!!! UPDATE !!! ISON Distribution, the German distributor of Halo, has informed us that Halo uses powder coating instead of anodizing with immediate effect. Based on this our previous critics in our article below with regards to plain aluminum surfaces become invalid. This very useful upgrade should be present at all wheels you find in shops from now. As all further technology as well as the price remain unchanged we now can fully recommend the Halo Tundra FATBike wheels! Also we're happy to see that our critics are recognized. As soon as we get hold of an updated pair of Halo Tundra FATBike wheels we'll update this article including a new set of pictures.
And this is how the new wheels look like:
That's it, folks: our third article on FATBike wheels. Today we take a closer look onto Tundra wheels made by UK BMX specialist Halo. The Tundra came in from our partner Alex* and we've place some links to Alex‘ shop below (all marked with „*“).
The Tundras are a pretty interesting wheelset having awesome strengths but also some weaknesses. What this is? You'll find it below. But before we start, just another reminder on our self-developed „tubelessability ranking“:
- 100%: Perfect! It's all nicely prepared to throw that nasty old rubber hose over board. The rim seals tightly and tire is strongly fixed. Everthing is in place out of the box. Nothing to buy, nothing to add. Just go!
- 75%: Good to go! The rim might not be perfectly sealed or needs some rework. Technically it's all there but you may have to buy some additional stuff to get it going.
- 50%: Worth a try! Tire is well fixed in it's position but might need some more pressure to stay in place. You have to buy plenty of tubeless ingredients to make it happen.
- 25%: Hmmmm… The wheels are not intended for tubeless use and lack some important features. However with some workaround it could work. We don't recommend to go for it, as it may not be reliable under all everyday circumstances.
- 0%: Get out and buy yourself a tube! You will be wasting your time.
The Halo Tundra FATBike Wheels
When we unboxed the Halo Tundras* Alex sent us, it was our first contact ever with Halo wheels. Frankly spoken we never ever heared about Halo – which for sure is not an indication for a lack of Halos publicity. It rather prooved to us that we still have to learn a lot.
Of course we immediately ripped them into pieces and found some very interesting details!
But before we come down to these, let's talk about where the Halo Tundra FATBike wheels will fit. They are offered in a wide range of setups, which means you can chose from 135 QR or 150mm through axle in the front an 170/190 QR or 177/197 through axle for your rear end.
Moreover Halo rear hub comes with either Shimano type or Sram XD cassette body. So that part is pretty ideal, the Halo Tundra set will sneak into nearly every FATBike on this planet (except of some archaic Surlies with their odd RDS forks).
For your brakes make sure you have 6 hole discs as there is no Centerlock option for the Tundra. But who will miss that…
The technical stuff
Well, here we have to separate as Halo somehow blends two completely different worlds into their Tundra wheels…
On the one hand side there are those magnificient hubs. And then there are the rims… So what's wrong with them? Apparently the rims, which come in a common single wall construction, were produced without cut outs – or even spoke holes. Now of course they have both – cut outs as well as spoke holes have been CNC milled into the metal after everything else was done. This looks a bit homespun – you may or may not like it. However, the milling process leaves bare aluminum surfaces that are exposed to whatever the environment has to offer. This may be okay on a BMX bike that spends its life in a half pipe. But on a FATBike? Just think about water, mud, snow and unfortunately road salt…
Unfortunately Halo does not use nipple washers in combination with the aluminum nipples. So the sharp drilling edges literally dig into them – good luck if you have to true them one day.
All this is a bummer as the rims themselves are nicely made. In particular the rounded, reinforced rim edges are a good combination for saving some weight and protection against punch flats.
But then there are the hubs… The HUBS! They are, excuse my french, fucking awesome. Yepp, just as I said. The hub bodies come in combination with different axle end caps to realize the diversity of applications. The front hub spins around two 32mm cartridge bearings whereas the rear hub relies on not three, not four but FIVE (two being on the brake disc side) of them. They are 25 and 28mm versions and, at least as far as we could see it, made in Japan!
But there is more delicacy there! The aluminum cassette body has a six (!) pawl ratchet mechanism whereas each pawl has its own loader spring. The rear hub axle is made of a thin-walled stainless steel tube which has fine pitch threads at each end to hold the end caps. And of course everything is nicely sealed from forbidden outer world by a set of lip seals.
So truly those Halo hubs belong to the best things your hard earned money can buy! And they are sold* separately!
Sizes and weight
|Rim width (inner)||75mm|
|Rim width (outer)||80,5mm|
|Weight front wheel||~1.360 gram (without rim tape)|
|Weight rear wheel||~1.620 gram (without rim tape)|
|Front hub||135mm QR / 142/150mm through axle**)|
|Rear hub||170/190mm QR / 177/197mm through axle**)|
|# of spokes F/R||32/32|
|Cassette body||Aluminum, 10/11 speed Shimano type**) or SRAM XD|
|Price||480,- to 520,- Euro (depending on version)|
**) conversion kits available
Look and feel
Out of the box the Halo Tundra FATBike Wheels are pretty impressive. The silver surface of the CNC milled cut outs immediately shows you that those rims are made of some thick aluminum underlining the solid appearance of the wheels. The red aluminum nipples are nice color sprinkles and save weight where it helps most. The bearings are great and run smooth as silk.
The freehub has, undoubtedly a result of the six pawl reversed ratched mechanism, an impressive sound and provides a bomb proof transmission of power. Well done!
Rims and hubs are laced together by double butted spokes. The narrow 80mm rim design improves the handling and tire compatibility as more tires work well on narrow rims.
0%. The Halo Tundra FATBike wheels are by no means prepared for tubeless riding. In this case also a conversion might become particularely difficult as the tire bead is extremely narrow. This is a handicap when is comes to sealing tape installation. Also there are no bead humps to secure the tire. Again the narrow bead is an issue: the tire can easily snap out of position in hard cornering which might lead to immediate loss of pressure. Unless you are a very experienced tubeless user, we don't recommend tubeless installation here.
Pro and contra
+ good value for money
+ fantastic hubs
+ ultimate ratchet mechanism
+ Japanese bearing
+ narrow rim design for good handling
+ rounded rim edges lower risk of punch flats
+ easy to maintain
+ wide array of conversion kits for axles and cassette body (including ChroMo option)
– No tubeless compatibility
– CNC treatment of rims after anodization leaves bare, unprotected aluminum surfaces
– no washers between nipples and sharp-edges spoke holes
The Halo Tundra leaves us with mixed emotions. The Hubs are just fantastic. They are made for live and even in the very unlikely case of a damaged bearing or pawl you can easily replace whatever is needed.
The rims are nice when new. But after some hard winter usage the bare surfaces may become dowdy and the nipples are very likely to seize into the rims. Don't get us wrong – the rims are far from being bad stuff. But clearly we would prefer to first CNC machine and then anodize them. May not be as pretty but for sure this is much more durable.
However, considering that approx. 250,- Euros become due for the hubs* – not really a fortune for THOSE hubs – the set price* is absolutely fair and gives you good values for your money. If you don't expose your fatty to nasty winter conditions or permanently cover them in mud they are good to go!