The Halo Vapour 35 Stealth 29 is a trail focussed wheelset offering a winning combination of a decent rim, a good spoke count and a high-quality hub resulting in a light-feeling and durable wheelset for varied riding and terrain. That said, is it a worthy consideration in the highly competitive best mountain bike wheels category?
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Halo Vapour 35 Stealth 29″ Wheelset - Technical details
Halo’s Vapour 35 MTC Stealth Wheelset is a good-looking gloss-black alloy rimmed wheelset with stealthy dark grey graphics. Halo uses the same rim for both front and rear duties and it is sleeve joined with a 30mm internal width, 35mm external width and 19mm depth. The 35mm Vapour rim is designed to work with tyres from 2.25- to 2.8in and is tubeless ready with tape pre-installed.
Buy now: Halo Vapour 35 MTC 29″ Boost front wheel from eBay for £154.00
The Vapour 35 rims are built onto Halo's own MTC Supadrive and MTC Front hubs, using its own stainless steel double-butted ED coated spokes, and black brass nipples - all in black and very smart. Both wheels use 32 spokes with the front using a two-cross pattern while the rear takes on a three-cross configuration for extra durability.
The MTC Front hub is available with centre-lock discs in 110mm boost width only. It uses sealed bearings and ‘wider spaced flanges for stiffness and durability'.
The rear MTC hub uses Halo’s Supadrive drive system which offers a 120T inner drive ring with three individually sprung wedge pawls, each with ten teeth providing near-instant engagement. The rear wheel is available in Micro Spline, HG or SRAM XDR freehub options - and in 148mm boost width.
The C part of the MTC name refers to the Centrelock disc rotor mount we have here, but you can also get a standard MT version with a six-bolt mount which is available in different widths and axles for your bike.
Setting up the Vapour 35 MTC wheels tubeless was a simple task, I found that both Continental Kryptotal 2.4in and Michelin AM 2.4in tyres mounted without drama - either by just a hand pump, others with a compressed bottle charge.
At the end of the test period, the spoke tension remained even and the rims were straight, even with some slight bends to spokes and some scuffs to the rear wheel.
Halo Vapour 35 Stealth 29″ Wheelset - Performance
I liked the Vapour 35 MTC Wheels as the rims are good in terms of width, hitting the middle ground of not being too wide and prone to rock strikes, and not too narrow that the tyre can feel unsupported, and squirm. I tried a few combinations and found the wheelset gelled best with tyre widths from 2.4- to 2.6in giving them a stable square profile with an increased tyre volume which I preferred.
The Vapour 35 MTC felt taught but not harsh over rocky ground and was quick to gather momentum whether riding along a trail or climbing hard in or out of the saddle due to that almost instant engagement delivered from the Supadrive freehub design. Once up to speed over traversing terrain with technical features they hold their speed and roll well.
Apart from one initial pop from the free hub, on a very steep technical climb, they performed without issue. To double check, I opened both of the hubs up and the grease has remained clean for the test period, which, was helped in part by fairly dry weather.
The rims have resisted square-edge impacts and heavy strikes on my usual rocky terrain, and when shod with good aggressive trail tyres such as the Continental Kryptotal 2.4in, they make for a great wheelset for varied terrain.
I did manage to bend a couple of spokes slightly during the test period which surprisingly didn't have any effect on the alignment of the wheels. If you were unlucky enough to break one, the good news is that they are regular j-bend spokes and therefore easy to source from most bike shops and easy to replace which is a huge bonus.
The front hub end caps do have an unusual quirk; at times it was difficult to push the axle through smoothly as the end caps have some play up and down in the hub shell which means they don’t align perfectly with the internal axle sleeve. It’s not a big issue as the axle or caps can either be jiggled or given a hard whack to get it through, but it’s a shame the alignment is not perfect given the rest of the Halo build quality.
Halo Vapour MTC 35 Stealth 29″ Wheelset - Verdict
With a competitive weight for a trail wheelset of 2,091g, (front 952g and rear 1,139g), the Halo Vapour 35 Stealth has performed well for a wheelset not aimed at enduro, or heavier riding. They are a little heavier than some of the competitors but the payoff is their ability to handle some pretty rough stuff.
They are tougher than the £379 Hunt Enduro Wide MTB V2 29 I tested, with nearly identical weight even though the Halos get more spokes on the front. The rims are wider on the Hunts, with 33mm front / 31mm rear as opposed to 30mm inner width front/rear for the Halos, The wider front can offer a squarer profile to a front tyre, but the extra width can increase rock strikes. The Halos strike a good mid-point. Price-wise, the Hunts are over £100 cheaper, but the Halos seem to have been more durable.
The Pacenti PI30-END 29 Boost wheelset tested last year are comparable price-wise, costing £40 more but are around 250g lighter. I feel the Halo may be a touch tougher, and a better wheel for harder riders or if you ride mainly rough terrain.
The Vapour 35 MTC Stealth 29” roll well, and strike a good balance between weight and strength. They have been easy to set up tubeless and resisted any serious damage from the rocks and rougher terrain I tested them on. The high gloss anodising looks a little scratched and beaten, but overall they still look classy. They are a great choice mid-range wheelset especially if strength is a priority and you ride rougher terrain.