Halo has been around for ages, getting their start in the dirt jump, street, and BMX scene back in the day. I'm sure if you had told those DJ delinquents that Halo would be making tires for drop bar bikes in the future they would have scoffed. Halo is putting their experience in fast-rolling low-profile dirt tires to good use and now offers a range of gravel tires alongside their dirt jump, BMX, and MTB tires.
The Halo gravel tires come in three tread versions covering road/hardpack with the RXR, slightly knobblier GXR for light gravel, and the GXC for all-round gravel. We have been running the GXC across a number of gravel bikes to see how it performs.
Design and specifications
The tire is intended for loose and more challenging gravel terrain and is constructed around a 60tpi carcass. The tread features a center section of closely packed directional arrows that are designed to maintain rolling speed. Move out to the edge of the tire and the tread becomes wider spaced with larger sipped blocks for better corner adhesion. Halo has used two different compounds with a harder, faster, and more durable center and a softer rubber on the edges for cornering.
There isn’t much of a selection of sizes for the GXC, in 700c there are 38mm or 42mm and the only larger size available is a 47mm in a 650b. Although the 42mm should be enough for the majority of people's gravel riding, it does seem amiss that for their most rugged gravel tire there isn't at least a 50mm option for bikepackers and adventurous gravel riders looking for a little more grip and comfort.
Big kudos to Halo for their minimal packaging, the tires come rolled up with a small label and held together with a reusable velcro strap which is a nice touch.
Set up was easy enough with the tire popping up and sealing on the rim with little fuss. Apart from the initial setup they have stayed inflated without frequent top air top-ups. I have both the 700c x 42mm and the smaller but wider 650b x 47mm with both tires blowing up to their stated widths.
The directional small block arrow tread isn’t revolutionary as many other gravel tires use a similar pattern, for example, the Michelin Power Gravel, Hutchinson Touareg, and Schwalbe G-One R. For good reason though as it's a profile that seems to universally work well when balancing speed and grip across a range of conditions. The continuous tread across the tire gives a even level of grip as you lean the tire into corners. The pattern doesn’t feel all that fazed by different conditions either, although, like any gravel tire, it's going to find its limits in wet and slimy conditions.
Not only does this tire pattern consistently work well over a broad range of surfaces and conditions, but I'm also convinced that the tread helps with the flexibility of the tire and its ability to conform to the surface. The GXR runs well at lower pressures to give a comfortable ride feel without feeling squirrely or unsupported.
Durability has been decent, with both my sets of tires doing a reasonable job of holding out against the rough and rocky gravel tracks in my local area. I have picked up a couple of sidewall cuts on a rear tire although one was on a very rough section of track and I'm putting the second down to bad luck rather than durability as the trail was tame and rock free. The dual compound tread construction seems to be working well too as I recently ticked over 1000km on one of our sets of test tires and they still have loads of tread life left.
The Halo GXC offers impressive amounts of grip and comfort without sacrificing much in the way of speed and durability, making the a reliable setup for a broad range of gravel riding. I rode these on the wettest 200km Dirty Reiver to date and ticked off some pretty big rides over the summer too.
The 38mm and 42mm width options are a bit limited though and I would like to see the 42mm get a little more width or a 50mm added to the range to cater for bikepackers and rugged gravel riders to have an option for a little more volume.
Tech specs: Halo GXC gravel tire
- Price: $N/A / £59.99
- Weight: 471g
- Sizes: 700 x 38mm / 42mm (tested, tan), 650b x 47mm
- Colors: Black, Tan