Halo Drove Line Gravel wheels review – a new bargain gravel wheel king?

Halo has a reputation for top-quality, bombproof, and wallet-friendly wheels; the latest Drove gravel wheels are no exception

Halo Drove Line gravel rim finish detail
(Image: © Neal Hunt)

Bike Perfect Verdict

The UK brand's latest wheels are solid, reliable, and surprisingly nippy and nimble considering their weight. They are also available at a fantastic price too. There is a lot to like about them.


  • +

    High-quality finish

  • +

    Easy to set up tubeless

  • +

    Engaging and comfortable ride

  • +

    Durability claims ring true


  • -

    No Centrelock rotor option

  • -

    Not the lightest

  • -

    Look elsewhere if you like to run big rubber

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Halo’s Drove line wheelset is designed as an all-around option for gravel, bikepacking, cyclocross, and road riding at a wallet-friendly price point. We loved the GXC gravel tire when we reviewed it, so we were curious how Halo's budget alloy wheels stacked up in comparison. Has Halo used its years of making bombproof low-cost MTB and dirt jump rolling stock to build some of the best gravel wheels out there?

The 24mm deep rims fitted with stainless eyelets and brass nipples and black spokes

The 24mm deep rims feature stainless eyelets and brass nipples for solid dependability (Image credit: Neal Hunt)

Design and specifications

Don't let the low price fool you. These are suitably modern wheels with many of the features you want for gravel or bikepacking in a seriously robust package. They look good, too, with their high-gloss black finish, stainless steel eyelets, and matching spokes, nipples, and hubs. They come ready-taped for tubeless but without valves, so you'll need to source them elsewhere.

The rims are 21mm internal and 26 external diameter, which Halo says makes them ideal for tires from 25mm up to 45mm. Depth-wise, these have a shallow rim at 24mm, and they are connected to the hubs using 32 spokes with color-matched brass nipples. Though they are heavier than an alloy equivalent, brass nipples are far more robust and less likely to break when the time comes to adjust them further down the line. Halo has also gone to the effort of using a version with a protective electrophoretic deposition coating, which not only makes them a classy-looking black color but is also more corrosion resistant.

The hubs are from Halo's Ridge Line MTB range, which means they should be well-sealed and deal with the worst of the Northern Hemisphere winters, but they are also only available in a six-bolt fitting. Functionally, that makes little difference when riding, but it's worth noting if you're using these to upgrade your existing wheelset.  If your current setup uses the center lock mounting standard you will need to factor in the extra cost of a set of rotors when purchasing.

Halo Drove Line front hub fitted to a gravel bike

Hubs come supplied with 12mm bolt thru, though QR and 15mm versions are available aftermarket (Image credit: Neal Hunt)

The rear hub uses a four-pawl system with a 36-tooth ratchet ring, which gives you an engagement angle of ten degrees, which is perfectly adequate. They come set up for 12mm bolt-through front and rear, though replacement end caps are available to purchase aftermarket if you need a 15mm front axle or quick releases. This is handy for those looking to upgrade bikes bought before the now commonplace 12mm front axle became the norm.

There are also 650b versions available, which, provided you have enough clearance, means you can upsize in rubber for a smoother ride. There's even a dynamo front hub option for those planning a bike-packing epic or simply after something to survive the daily commute.

With 32 spokes, brass nipples, and mountain bike hubs, these are never going to be a weight weenies' dream, and at 2,080g, they are certainly on the heavier side. For example, the DT Swiss G1800, though a bit more expensive at $542 / £429.99 / €429, is nearly 250g lighter at 1,832g. But to be fair to Halo, the Drove Line's ride lighter than the scales suggest, and at this price point, I would take longevity and reliability over a few saved grams any day, so it's good to see they have really paid attention to the key details.

The Drove wheels fitted with Schwalbe G One RS gravel tires

The Drove wheels were easy to set up tubeless once I fitted valves, which aren't included (Image credit: Neal Hunt)


Fitting tires was a painless affair once I had fitted the valves. I actually had a pair of Reserve’s fancy Fillmore valves, which make seating tubeless tires easier. Their fast flow design makes blowing the tire up quickly much easier, though I see no reason why normal tubeless valves wouldn't work just as well here. I spent most of my time riding these with the excellent and speedy  Schwalbe G-One RS fitted, though I also used some beefier rubber from Zipp and ERE research.

The weight is noticeable compared to some of the other fancy wheelsets I've used lately, though they do feel surprisingly nippy and nimble considering their mass. They are well built with good even tension across all spokes, which I think helps give them a more sprightly feel than you would expect. 

On smooth surfaces, they felt responsive, reacting well to accelerations and being pretty good at holding speed despite being decidedly un-aero. I also found them very comfortable on medium-sized gravel. The shallow rim and usefully wide rim bed did a good job of muting and damping trail feedback. They don't have the floaty ride sensation of something fancier like the ERE research Tenaci G40 or the much wider and more MTB style Hunt 4 Season Gravel disc X-wide, but they do a very good job, especially when you consider how cost-effective these are.

The Drove wheels rim detail pictured against grass

The 21mm internal rim width works with tires from 25 up to 45mm wide (Image credit: Neal Hunt)

I used these on one of my recent micro adventures to a Youth Hostel, and I think they work great as a bikepacking and adventuring option where reliability trumps everything else. The use of solid components, normal J-bend spokes, and readily available parts means they are likely to last a very long time, but can also be easily repaired by a bike shop wherever you may be.

The hub engagement is more than good enough, too. Sure, there are quicker hubs out there, but these are as quick as most will need. Again, a solid, reliable hub is far more preferable to me than a quicker but more temperamental alternative.

I think the main market for these is people looking to upgrade the original equipment wheels on their bikes. On-budget gravel bikes can often be woefully underperforming and I think these offer a solid improvement in ride feel and durability giving a worthwhile upgrade to most cheap gravel bikes.

The Drove wheels front and rear hub details

Unusually, for a gravel wheel, they use a six-bolt rotor fitting and not the more popular center lock style (Image credit: Neal Hunt)


Though heavy, these offer a noticeable benefit over a lot of the wheels you find on budget bikes with sensible spec and design choices that should lead to many miles of trouble-free riding.

Throughout testing, the wheels have been faultless and give a far better ride than you might expect for such a keen price point. The hubs are smooth, solid, quiet, and with good engagement. However, I would much rather see the use of a center lock rotor mount to save on upgrades and ease of fitting, but once fitted there's no difference in ride quality.

A solid and reliable wheelset for a great price, the Halo Drove wheels have a lot to like. Despite the obvious weight penalty, I think they ride faster and smoother than many others and make a great low-cost upgrade on budget gravel and adventure bikes.

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The lowdown: Halo Drove Line Alloy gravel wheelset
PerformanceSolid but forgiving shallow rim design but held back by their weight and limited by their inner rim diameter★★★
Construction Well built and good spoke tension give better than expected feedback★★★★
WeightVery heavy overall weight★★★
Value for moneyGreat price for a dependable wheelset★★★★★

Tech specs: Halo Drove Line Alloy gravel wheelset

  • Price: $382 / £330 / €TBC 
  • Inner Rim Width: 21mm
  • Outer Rim Width: 26mm
  • Rim Depth: 24mm
  • Diameter: 700c and 650b 
  • Spokes: 32
  • Weight: 2,080g (with rim tapes fitted)
  • Hub: Halo Ridge Line
  • Engagement: 10 degrees
  • Freehub: Shimano HG, Shimano Microspline, Sram XD
Neal Hunt
Freelance Writer

Neal has been riding bikes of all persuasions for over 20 years and has had a go at racing most of them to a pretty average level across the board. From town center criteriums to the Megavalanche and pretty much everything in between. Neal has worked in the bicycle industry his entire working life, from starting out as a Saturday lad at the local bike shop to working for global brands in a variety of roles; he has built an in-depth knowledge and love of all things tech. Based in Sheffield, UK, he can be found riding the incredible local trails on a wide variety of bikes whenever he can