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While many riders will look at carbon fibre when it comes to an upgrade, there is still a lot to be said for a quality set of alloy hoops, especially when they look as good as these Halo Devaura RD2 700C wheels. They offer a strong build from quality components and are very well finished, although they are up against some very good cheaper and lighter competition.
Removing the RD2s from their box is a pleasure. Not only does the mid-section black anodised rim give the Devauras a top end look along with the anodised freehub, it's also the feeling of quality. The spoke tension is uniform throughout, which means they are spot on for trueness right from the start, and the hub bearings are as smooth as smooth.
Once fitted to the bike, all of that transfers to the way they ride: very free rolling and comfortable too. Some mid to deep-section alloy rim wheels can give a harsh ride if they aren't built up to take the material's quality into account, but these are spot on.
Their total weight of 1,733g isn't earth shattering, but it's barely noticeable in the real world, plus they accelerate and climb very well thanks to impressive stiffness.
As soon as you step on the pedals these wheels just shoot forward, feeling very efficient – helped in part by the excellent RD2 Supadrive 120 hubs which have a freehub with 120 points of pickup. That basically means there will be just three degrees of rotation before drive is engaged, which equals instant forward motion.
It does make for a bit of a noisy (buzzy) freewheel, but it's a small trade-off.
The freehub body is aluminium alloy, which can be an issue for powerful riders on the Shimano/SRAM option (Campagnolo and SRAM XDR versions are also available) because the cassette can bite into the alloy splines as it rotates slightly when you put in a big effort. To ward this off Halo has added a steel insert, a bite-guard, and it does the job as the freehub looks pretty much untouched after 500 miles of riding on routes containing a lot of traffic lights.
The T10 Nobium heat-treated alloy rim is 31mm deep, which isn't really enough to give much of an aero advantage although there will be some benefits over a basic box section one.
At 24mm wide externally, 19mm internally, the RD2s will work with tyres from 25mm wide through to 38mm, although Halo says that the sweetspot is 28mm. The majority of tyres I fitted came up about 1.5mm wider than their nominal size: for instance, the 25mm Michelin Lithion 3s I'm currently testing measured 26.4mm. That's worth bearing mind if you have limited frame or fork clearance.
Both the front and rear use 24 bladed stainless spokes with a pattern of 16 spokes on the side of the hub that will see the most load – the drive side at the rear and the braking side on the front – with 8 spokes on the other side.
Halo has also used brass nipples – better, in my opinion, than aluminium alloy, which can be affected by corrosion from riding on salty roads.
The rims are tubeless ready, and they come ready taped so all you'll need are some valves and sealant if that is the route you want to take. Fitting the Michelin Power Road Tubeless was achieved with little hassle, and they popped onto the rim easily with a really secure fit.
Both hubs are designed for Centerlock brake rotors which to my mind are easier to fit and set up than a six-bolt system. Centerlock was developed by Shimano – you attach the rotors with what is essentially a cassette lockring.
Throughout the test period reliability has been impressive, although it has been very dry and warm. There has been the odd day with heavy rain, though, so I have been taking one for the team and going out there to get as much of the elements around the workings of the Halos.
On a ride that finished with the bike covered in grit from the road edges and water getting sprayed pretty much everywhere, the RD2s haven't grumbled at all and the hubs look to be well sealed.
The wheels have remained true throughout testing too.
Price-wise, the Devaura RD2s are available separately rather than as a wheelset, and are priced at £229.99 for the front and £339.99 for the rear regardless of what freehub fitting you go for, so £569.98 in total.
That puts them up against some tough competition, like the 1,586g, 30mm-deep Prime Baroudeur Road Disc wheels that Liam was very impressed with, which come in at just £249.99 – less than half the price of the Devauras.
Another tough rival is the 1,586g Scribe 365 Disc, an impressive set of all-round wheels that cost £290.
Not everything is cheaper though: the 1,630g FFWD F3A Disc Brake is a very capable set of wheels that will stand up to plenty of abuse for £624.95.
Overall, though, I wouldn't say that the Halos are overpriced or even expensive. They offer not just great quality but decent performance and are pretty much the best looking set of alloy rims out there with that shiny anodised finish and subtle graphics.
Quality set of wheels that deliver on performance, reliability and great looks
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Halo Devaura Disc RD2 700C Wheels
Size tested: 700C, 12mm thru-axles
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 Devaura Series is ready whatever the conditions, to offer you the aerodynamic advantage.
"Our brand new Devaura Disc RD2 wheels utilise Center Lock disc brake technology, allowing consistently powerful braking on the road and CX courses alike.
"The 19mm internal, 24mm external rim widths allow you to run your choice of traditional or tubeless tyres and are well suited to modern tyres ranging from 25C through to 38C widths to deliver enhanced comfort and grip.
"At the core of our Devaura Disc RD2 wheels are our all new 120 point pick up RD2 Supadrive and RD2 Front hubs, with sealed bearings and wide spaced flanges for increased durability. These are hand built onto the dependable 30mm deep rims with our very own Aero Racing bladed spokes to decrease wind resistance. Both front and rear wheels use a 16/8e lacing pattern to balance spoke tensions and withstand torque and braking forces from centre of the wheels, reducing any possible lateral flex and increase power transfer.
"Supplied pre-taped, Devaura Disc RD2 wheels are tubeless ready from the box."
I think they work very well on the road in all sorts of conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Front: 100 x 12mm thru (100 x QR5/9mm available aftermarket)
Rear: 142 x 12mm Alloy thru (135 x QR5/10mm available aftermarket)
Devaura - T10 Nobium heat-treated alloy
Halo Black Aero Racing Stainless spokes
Halo Black Brass nipples
Front Hub Spacing
Shimano HG, Sram XDR and Campagnolo versions
Front: 274mm disc side, 276mm non disc - Rear 276mm disc, 272mm non disc
16/8e Front and Rear
Recommended Tyre size
23-38C (28c Recommended)
Stiffness and lateral stability is very good indeed.
There are much cheaper wheels out there from the likes of Scribe and Prime, but also more expensive sets, from FFWD for example. For the quality of the build and components, I think the Halos sit about right.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed perfectly true throughout testing.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
A range of clincher and tubeless tyres fitted without hassle.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The tubeless rim tape sealed the rims fine and maintained pressure in the tyres.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is a good all-round wheelset in terms of performance and durability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
They are very good quality wheels throughout.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Not a lot really... just that there is some tough competition out there, price and weight-wise.
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
The Devaura RD2 wheels just exude quality throughout the build, and that is what you are paying for. They might not be the cheapest or lightest out there, but they are a very complete package.
About the tester
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!