Halo GXR Gravel Tyre
Halo Wheels, better known for producing some of the noisiest freehubs in cycling, recently launched a trio of new gravel specific tyres. The range is designed to cover all the bases from rough road to aggressive trail riding. Halo’s in-house design team of gravel boffins have had these tyres in development for over three years, tweaking and adjusting them after countless miles in typical UK conditions. Original Adventure were lucky to get a sneak preview back in March of 2020 and take away a pair of Halo GXR tyres for testing.
The Halo GXR 650b x 47 shares the same durable, tubeless ready, 60tpi casing as the rest of the Halo gravel tyre range. It’s a supple carcass, feeling more akin to a tyre with a much higher thread count. Halo do not state a weight for the tyres, only that they’re a lightweight design. Our scales weighed them in at 569g and 571g, which puts them in a similar weight category to WTB’s Byway. The trusty Byway is probably the tyre which is most clearly the GXR’s main competitor. Both are intended as an ‘all-road’ tyre, with a fast rolling centre matched with aggressive side knobs.
Where the GXR differs from tyres like the WTB Byway and Teravail Washburn, is that it sports a centre tread pattern… of sorts. Rather than a slick middle, the Halo GXR features an ‘H-pattern’ designed to apparently help shed water when riding in wet conditions. It’s also made from a firmer rubber compound than the edges to improve longevity. The side tread features a spaced tread pattern with narrow, aggressive knobs and a large tread wrap for ‘extreme lean angles.’
Mounting the Halo GXR to our test rims was pure simplicity and they snapped to the beads with just a track pump. Tubeless duties were left in the capable hands of Halo’s own Fibre-Tech tyre seal. Not only were the tyres still inflated 24 hours later, but there was also no evidence of weeping sidewalls.
Compared to the fully slick centred Byway, the Halo GXR’s rolling resistance is only slightly hampered by that trendy H profile tread. You are hardly going to choose this tyre for time trials anyway, so we’ll breeze over any minute differences in roll speed. Where the GXR does perform better than the mighty Byway is in durability; I’ve punctured A LOT of Byways in the slick centre tread, ironically when on the road rather than perilous flint trails. The tougher compound and raised ‘H’ ridges seem to give the GXR a real advantage here.
On gravel tracks and forest fireroads, the GXR performs admirably as an all-conditions tyre. It can rattle along with great speed and the wide wrap side tread picks up well in loose corners, keeping you rubber side down… at least most of the time. As you can probably tell from the semi-slick design, the Halo GXR can easily be overwhelmed when the trails get wet.
As with any plump 650b tyre, comfort is not an issue. My personal sweet spot was 30psi, which gave enough trail comfort without becoming unnecessarily bouncy or slow when jumping back on the roads. It is a shame Halo only offer the GXR in this 650b x 47 size as I think the tread design would work well as a fast rolling 700 x 40 option.
Where the GXR does perform admirably is as a dependable ‘do it all’ tyre for those whose riding preference is for the rough country back roads and well maintained forest trails. So long as you don’t intend to get too rowdy with your riding or too far off the beaten track, GXR just keeps on rolling. The puncture resistance of the tyre has never come into question, having had no issues during the 8 month test.
Through summer, autumn and the onset of winter, the Halo GXR has just kept rolling. The wear rate has been impressive and the only sign that the tyres have aged at all is the sidewall decals have started to peel away. Which personally is no bad thing as I wasn’t a big fan of silver logos on tanwall anyway…
The sticking point for many inquisitive readers will be the price. At £49.99 a tyre, you could get more change from £100 with a pair of WTB Byways or the more trail focused Venture, or even the Teravail Washburn. All admittedly, have more kerb appeal and the reassurance of a big brand name behind them. Price aside, the GXR is a durable all-rounder which fulfils the needs of most gravel riders.