Halo's Carbaura RCD 80mm wheels are the latest addition to the Halo line-up, and if you want aero over anything else they certainly deliver. They feel fast in the real world, handle well and their weight means that they won't feel overwhelmed on the climbs either.
Halo's Carbaura RCD wheels are available in a range of depths for various applications, including 35mm and the 50mm model I tested last year, but if you want to go for the full-on wind-cheating mode you'll be wanting a set of these, with their 80mm rims. For other wheels, check out our best road bike wheels buyer's guide.
Considering the amount of material involved in their construction (an 80mm rim with a 28mm external width) the 1,770g all-in weight including tubeless rim tape is impressive. And while these aren't the wheels you are going to grab if you spend a lot of your time climbing, if you do find yourself taking in a hill or two you won't find yourself cussing your choice.
In fact, they climb rather well all things considered, which is mainly down to the excellent stiffness from the rim and the 24-spoke, two-cross build front and rear.
Acceleration isn't really hampered either, as they still feel relatively responsive off the line. But they are primarily designed for speed events – time trials, triathlons and even crits – and it is here where they'll really excel.
With a 21mm internal width the RCDs are well suited to 25mm and 28mm tyres, both of which give a near seamless transition between tyre sidewall and rim for an extra aero advantage, which means they'll work well as a wheel-and-tyre package.
Once up to 18mph to 20mph the Halos feel as though they are absolutely flying and the aero advantages are easily noticeable, backed up by the way they have that swoosh sound as your bike moves ever so slightly side to side as you get the power down.
They are affected by crosswinds to a certain degree, especially when you're passing a gateway or there's a break in the hedge that leaves you exposed to a gust, but not to the extent they ever feel a handful. They're certainly no worse than any other wheelset with 80mm rims that I have used.
The own-brand Halo hubs incorporate what it calls Supadrive, which provides 120 points of engagement, so that the pick-up when you stand on the pedals is virtually instantaneous. When you're freewheeling it does mean you're accompanied by a high-pitched buzz, which may or may not be your cup of tea. And you won't be a stealthy wheel-sucker on these, that's for sure – so consider yourself warned!
When it comes to freehubs you can choose from the Shimano/SRAM HG model here, SRAM XDR and Campagnolo.
The anodised aluminium freehub body looks cool, almost to the point where it is a shame to hide it with the cassette. It stays looking new thanks for two 'bite guards', steel strips that stop your pedalling forces from allowing the cassette to cut into the splines.
I used these wheels for around 500 miles and the cassette slid straight off, with no marks whatsoever on the freehub splines.
The rest of the build was equally top notch, with both wheels true straight out of the box and remaining so throughout testing.
The Halo Black Aero Racing Stainless are bladed and are attached to the rim using brass nipples.
The rims are optimised for 28mm tyres, which means the possibility of tyres being run at pressures higher than the 75psi recommend for hookless rims. As a result of this Halo has stuck with a hooked design for the Carbaura's rims.
I did most of testing riding with clincher tyres and inner tubes, but I also ran them tubeless to check compatibility. Both sets of tyres popped onto the rim without issue just using a track pump, so whatever route you choose shouldn't be an issue.
Brake rotors are fitted by way of CenterLock, which uses a single lockring rather than the six bolts found on some wheels.
The Halo Carbaura RCD 80mms come in at £1,099.96, which puts them up against the likes of the FFWD RYOT77s. These have 77mm-deep rims and cost £1,348 for wheels of a similar weight. I tested the RYOT44 wheels back in 2020.
If you've deeper pockets still you might consider the Enve Foundation wheels that I reviewed last year, which have slightly shallower 65mm rims and a slightly lower overall weight. But they do now cost £2,100.
Money no object? A weighty £3,199 will get you a pair of the distinctive Princeton Carbonworks Wake 6560s with their '24 sinusoidal oscillations', but at just 1,540g you'll save a little weight – if not cash. I liked them a lot but there's no getting away from that price.
More budget-minded? The Scribe 7080-D Carbon, with a 70mm front and 80mm rear will set you back just £870, and have a claimed weight of 1,742g. And while we haven't reviewed these, we've given two other Scribe wheelsets 9/10, including the Inception Aero Wide+ 42-D Carbon Wheelset that George tested last year.
Overall, I think the RCD 80mm wheelset is well priced and great quality. Durability is excellent, the performance is very good and coming in at a decent weight you won't be held back when you hit a climb.
Impressively stiff deep-section wheels that should give you a great aero boost – and they're a decent weight too
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Make and model: Halo Carbaura RCD 80mm Wheelset
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: "The latest version of our Carbaura RCD wheels have been designed to maximise aerodynamic benefit and with excellent linear compliance and lateral stiffness these wheels will keep you a bike length ahead of the competition!"
They are a quality set of deep section wheels, great for speed applications, but are also light enough to be used on rolling terrain.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Halo Black Aero Racing Stainless spokes
Halo Black Brass nipples
Rim Depth: 80mm
Internal Width: 21mm
External Width: 28mm
Front Hub Spacing: 100mm
Rear spacing: 142mm
24H Front and Rear
Shimano HG, SRAM XDR and Campagnolo versions
Alloy (Steel tabs on HG)
16/8e Front and Rear
Recommended Tyre size
Raw UD Carbon with stealth decals
Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Rate the wheel for performance:
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
Rate the wheel for value:
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true throughout the test period.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Whether plumping for inner tubes and clincher tyres or going tubeless, fitting tyres was an easy task.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Aero wheels that also handle well, and are a decent weight too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
The noisy freehub won't appeal to everyone.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are competitors either side of the Halo's price point such as the Scribes and the FFWDs mentioned in the review, though you can easily pay much, much more.
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
Halo's Carbaura RCDs give noticeable aero gains in the real world, they're well built from quality components and come in a sensible price.
Age: 44 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,
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