Easton EC90 XC 29 Wheels - Review

Sep 6, 2015 at 14:31
by Mike Levy  
Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP


Although it may seem like mega-wide rims are the only ones worth considering, especially judging by some of the content on this very website, there's still a place for lightweight, skinny hoops in this world. I'm mostly talking about cross-country racing, of course, but there are surely plenty of trail riders who still prefer a fast accelerating, sub-1,500 gram set of wheels built with slender rims over something that weighs a pound more and is nearly twice as wide. Easton's 1,433 gram EC90 XC 29 wheelset has been designed with those riders in mind, although the company says that the wheels can be used to ''shred rough trails all week long and then go on to win World Cup cross-country races on the weekend.'' The wheelset's UST certified carbon fiber rims measure 19mm wide internally, making them better suited to tires that are less then 2.3'' wide, and the front and rear wheels weigh 1,433 grams on my scale when fitted with Easton's aluminum XD freehub body.

EC90 XC 29 Details

• Intended use: cross-country / trail riding
• Wheel size: 29''
• Rim material: carbon fiber
• UST tubeless rim
• Internal rim width: 19mm
• Sapim straight-pull spokes
• 24 spokes front and rear
• Axle: 15mm / QR, 12 x 142mm / QR
• Freehub: alloy, XD or Shimano compatible
• Weight: 1,433 grams (F: 639g, R: 794g)
• MSRP: $2,200 USD
www.eastoncycling.com / @EASTONcycling

Carbon Fiber Rims

At 1,433 grams, Easton claims that the EC90 XC 29 wheels are the lightest UST 29er option on the market, a point that's largely due to their carbon fiber rims. These aren't just any catalog-order carbon fiber rims, though, with the company saying that they're actually employing proprietary ingredients to manufacture their 'Armoured Ballistic Composite' (ABC) rims in Taiwan. I'm told that the ABC material is similar to what the military employs for lightweight body armour and some ballistic applications, with the idea being that if it is resilient enough for the military to use, it's probably tough enough for us to bounce them off some rocks and roots.


Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP
The double-threaded nipples turn into inserts in the rim's outer face, thereby allowing Easton to forgo having to mould or drill holes in the rim bed to provide access to the nipples.
Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP
The UST rim features a sealed rim bed that doesn't require tubeless tape.


So what is ABC? Easton says that they employ exclusive yarns and laminate structures, along with ''MRES-class resin formulation involving rubberizing and other impact-resistant components,'' that allows them to use 15 - 20 percent less resin than if they went with a more conventional approach, but still end up with a finished product that's extremely strong. They also use high-modulus polyethylene rather than Kevlar for a high strength to weight ratio, which is supposed to be ideal in situations that require resistance to ballistic and blast impacts. Their words, not mine, and while I don't suspect that most us need to be concerned over how our rims will hold up to gunfire, it's not far fetched to assume that a material designed to withstand bullets could also shrug off some pointy rocks and misjudged line choices.

The final product is 19mm wide internally (24mm externally), which makes them better suited to tires less than 2.3" wide in order to avoid excess casing roll, and they sport a sealed UST rim shape that allows you to set them up tubeless without fussing about with rim tape. This is possible due to Easton's patented double-threaded nipples that turn into inserts in the rim's outer face, thereby allowing Easton to forgo having to mould or drill holes in the rim bed to provide access to the nipples. The carbon rim's UST designation doesn't just denote a sealed rim bed, though, as the rim must also conform to the UST standard that includes both a specifically shaped bead hook and humps on either side that help to lock the tire in place. Companies that use the UST design say that it makes for a much more secure, and therefore safer, tire and rim combination.


Easton's Latest Hubs

Easton has a bit of a spotted past when it comes to their hubs, but they say their latest design has sorted out the bearing life issues that have plagued the company's otherwise impressive wheels. The all-black hubs no longer offer the ability for the rider to adjust bearing tension, which is probably a good thing when you consider that many people were likely over-tightening them, which then drastically reduced bearing life. Instead, there's a much simpler design that only requires that you tighten the rear axle to 10 Nm. The job does require a large wrench and a 12mm hex key, though, the latter of which most people probably won't have kicking about in the bottom of their toolbox, although it's not a task that should need to be done more often than doing your taxes. The axle also has lefthand threads to keep it from undoing itself when you're riding, much like how the drive-side threads of a traditional bottom bracket are lefthand threaded for the same reason.

Both the front and rear hubs spin on sealed bearings, as you'd expect, and the freehub body employs a traditional three-pawl design that everyone will be familiar with, and it engages with a thirty tooth drive-ring inside the hub shell to provide twelve degrees between engagement points. Replaceable hub end-caps allow the front to fit either 15mm thru-axles or forks with quick-release lowers (remember those?), while the rear hub can do both 12 x 142mm axles or 135mm quick-release setups. No Boost option at this point in time, though.


Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP
Easton says that their new hubs are simpler and much more reliable than their previous design.
Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP
There's twenty four straight-pull Sapim spokes on both the front and rear wheels.



On The Trail

I mounted up two different sets of tires on the EC90 XC 29s - a set of 2.25" wide Vittoria Barzos, and some Racing Ralphs from Schwalbe - all of which went on quickly and easily without spraying sealant or making me throw any tools across the shop. Setup is made even more painless by the sealed UST rim bed saving you from having to wrap the rim with tubeless tape, which isn't exactly a hard job to do, but it is one less thing to have to think about. I flatted a few months ago while using a different wheelset because the tubeless rim tape actually tore for some reason, but this won't ever be an issue with the EC90 XC 29s.

If you've never had the opportunity to ride a set of wheels that barely weigh more than a single dual-ply downhill tire does, you're missing out. You literally feel fitter and like you've just mainlined a triple dose of caffeine, especially if the EC90 XC 29s are replacing something more run of the mill like the 1,800 grams wheels that were previously on my bike. The result was faster acceleration and higher speeds all around, and I'm not just talking about them feeling faster - my times up my local ascents all tumbled after installing Easton's flyweight wheels. The stopwatch doesn't lie, but it shouldn't really come as a surprise given that I dropped nearly a full pound of rotating weight, which is the most important mass when you consider that we use our meager horsepower to get our wheels spinning in the first place.


Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP
Aluminum XD or Shimano compatible freehub bodies are available.
Easton EC90 wheels review test Clayton Racicot Photography CRP
Gone is the adjustable bearing tension, which is probably a good thing.


As far as rigidity goes, the EC90 XC 29s feel adequate relative to burlier cross-country wheelsets out there, despite having only twenty four spokes per wheel and weighing very little. I come in at around 165lb and probably ride above my skill level on occasion, but I never felt like the wheels were flexing an excessive amount. In fact, I'd argue that they feel better on the trail than a set of wider ENVEs or XTR wheels, and although that's a subjective thing to say, the best way to describe the difference is that some of the competition can make you feel like there's a few extra PSI in your tires, whereas the EC90 XC 29s have a touch more forgiving nature to them. This is a good thing, especially on a short-travel bike. I wouldn't call them flexible, though, as these are pure cross-country wheels and they're more than laterally rigid enough for that task.

There's no arguing that the 19mm internal width of the Easton carbon rim will seem excessively slim to some, especially as even cross-country rims are tending to go wider and wider these days, and it makes the EC90 XC 29s and whatever tires you end up running a bit sensitive to air pressure. I had some noticeable casing roll and sealant bleeding out at the bead, even when running the 2.25" wide Barzos in the mid-twenties, with the blame falling on the 19mm rim width rather than the tires themselves (I had no issues with the Barzos on wider rims). Adding just a few PSI put an end to this, but the 19mm width means that they're not best suited to wide tires or low pressures.


Reliability

Bearing life is still up to par, with both the front and rear wheels spinning smoothly after months of use. Anyone who's used Easton's wheels from a few years ago might be surprised by this fact, but the company has obviously made some improvements on this front. There was something odd going on with the rear wheel's axle, though, with there being a smidge of bearing play, or at least something that felt a lot like bearing play, that refused to go away regardless of how tight I did the axle and end-cap up. Easton says to tighten the axle to a very snug 10 Nm, which is 88 inlb (disc rotor bolts are often torqued to 55 inlb), but the small amount of knocking at the hub never went away despite any amount of force applied. Sure, the play only added up to maybe a millimeter or two at the rim, but I'd bet that anyone who just shelled out $2,200 USD would be bummed by it. Easton did say that this would be covered by their warranty program, though.

The 1,433 gram weight of the EC90 XC 29 wheels suggests that they probably aren't the best choice if you measure your ride enjoyment in time spent airborne, but having said that, they held up relatively well to the sort of abuse and neglect one usually tends to only dishes out when they simply get to hand the product back and walk away from any repair bills - the only upkeep being a single truing session for the rear wheel. It wasn't out by much, but it was enough that I wanted to stay on top of it before it got worse, which it never did after setting it straight in the truing stand. I'd say this is acceptable for such a light wheelset that was treated pretty roughly.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesThese are not the wheels for your six-inch travel bike, and there are better choices if you want to run high-volume tires, but you'll already know that if you've read the review. However, at 1,433 grams and with a great feel on the trail, the EC90 XC 29s are a smart choice for the cross-country rider or racer who wants a no-holds-barred wheelset that won't leave any room for upgrading. - Mike Levy



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104 Comments

  • + 65
 2200!?!! I can buy a used motorcycle for that price.. The hell, those things better cure cancer. Those things better make Waffles every morning. They better fix Donald Trumps hair.
  • + 9
 'spensive
  • + 23
 You guys know there is a road wheel brand called lightweight that makes 8k wheels. And that is before taxes and shipping and stuff. Just a fun fact I guess to remind you mtbikers are not roadies.........yet.
  • + 29
 Cure for cancer? Maybe. Waffles? Perhaps. However, nothing known to man can fix Donald Trump's hair....
  • + 4
 These are premium mexican tacos.
  • - 6
flag mudmandhbrazil (Sep 9, 2015 at 6:54) (Below Threshold)
 This argument that with this money you can buy an used motorcycle is the most stupid and kids kind of comments. If you priority is buy a motorcycle go on and get out of PB comments to say shit like that.
  • + 3
 The reason he said that is because you can buy a motorcycle for $2200 and was comparing the fact you could get some bicycle wheels or a motorcycle. Also chill out.
  • - 5
flag DARKSTAR63 (Sep 9, 2015 at 7:37) (Below Threshold)
 Go buy a used motorcycle then and shut it.
  • + 23
 You can get a house for the price of some cars. You can get an airplane for the price of some houses. You can get a bike for the price of some parties. It all depends on your priorities. If this is too much for you keep riding your aluminum bike and be happy.
  • - 1
 we will!!!!
  • + 0
 Me too...
  • + 9
 I paid 150 for my motorcycle and another 150 to get it trail ready. I spent around 2 grand for my last bike before upfgrading the crap out of it.
I love these arguments. my car is available for $800 if anywone is interested.
  • + 8
 Then don't buy em if it's too expensive. These wheels are the best of the best, they're a "halo" product. Do you need them? Hell no! Would they be a nice thing to have if you had 2k burning a hole in your pocket? Hell f*cking yes!
  • + 3
 For what it's worth, I have put 3 seasons on a similar set of $2,500 carbon Syncros XC wheels that weigh and perform on par with Easton's. The Stan's light weight aluminum XC rims I have used in the past were lasting about one season before needing a re-build. I know not everyone has this experience with wheels, but going carbon has worked for me in terms of cost and the performance benefits over aluminum. I'm 185lbs and ride aggressive PNW trails.
  • + 21
 "no boost option at this point in time."

Good. Damn good.
I am convinced that there is a special place in hell for BOOST and all of its offspring.
  • + 2
 there isnt much of a reason to hate boost. its not like companies are going to stop making a 12x142 / 15x100 option any time soon...
  • + 50
 Ha...That's what we all thought with 26ers and 20mm axle hubs.
  • + 3
 Yeti are now using the boost standard for the 6c, it wont be long before the majority of brands are using it
  • - 8
flag djcrossmax (Sep 8, 2015 at 22:30) (Below Threshold)
 In the face of innovation... dude still lives in the past. Lol. There will always be that guy and that guy. If you don't approve of it spend your money elsewhere. Boost 148 makes an aluminum wheelset feel as stiff and compliant as a carbon wheelset but don't take my word for it try it for yourself.
  • + 11
 djcrossmax - Boost makes alu rim feel as stiff as carbon? Unless you are trolling, that is impossible, unless profit expectation or post purchase rationalization take over your cognitive skills, and you know that Big Grin It could be closer to the truth if you had 26-29 rims laced to fatbike hubs. Im too lazy to calculate it. 350g narrow carbon rim (first LBs 21mm) is stiffer than really wide 670g mavic Ex729 in terms of overal lateral and vertical compliance
  • + 3
 Hope design comparison :
ridealongside.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/wpid-pro-2-evo-front-and-rear-boost-comparisons.jpg
Flange width rear : 51.5 -> 57.5 (+11.6%)
Flange width front : 53.5 -> 58.5 (+9.3%)
This is quite interesting but they would better keep the 20x110 instead of creating 15x100 and then update to 15x110
  • + 5
 I would have had no problems with 150mm boost in the rear
  • + 4
 Give me a number on percentual increase in lateral stiffness on a rim with aligned spoke holes and I bet it is not bigger than differences between various rims of comparable weight. rim Material, rim width, spoke hole placement (assymetric?) will have more impact on measured stiffness than this small flange spacing increase. Idea if increasing flange spacing is not bad at all, it's just that executing it with such a small increment is a waste of time and money. They should have gone straight for 20x130 front and 15x160 back
  • + 7
 Always wondered why they chose 148 over 150? 150 is already a size used on big bikes, so why not use it for their new "boost" and add a mm on both sides of the hub and then, if you have more than one bike, the back wheel can be interchangeable between the two?
  • + 8
 There is two different types of dropouts
First ones are flat for 135mm & 150mm hubs
Second ones have a 3.5mm hollow for positioning the wheel correctly, so the 135 become 142mm and 150 become 157mm with just different spacers.
The 148 is made for the second type of dropouts so it is not compatible with a 150mm hub because the disc and the cassette will not be on the right place. 148mm hub could be compared to a 141mm hub for flat dropouts.
  • + 2
 Waki you are true.
The stupid thing is that the 150/157mm hubs have the same flange spacing that the 135/142 ones.
www.jejamescycles.co.uk/item-images-large/hope-pro-ii-evo-rear-hub-150mm-12mm-bolt-through-234010.jpg
They could just make the flange of the 150/157 hubs wider and use this existing standard instead of creating this new boost.
  • + 1
 Dude I always wondered about that. Didn't realize the limiting factor was dropout design. Now it makes sense. Though I'm having a hard time visualizing it... Is there an article somewhere that explains it with pics?
  • + 2
 @ericwahl, it's because 150mm necessitates a wider bb and increased q factor, while 2 less mm allows a standard bb and crank.
  • + 2
 Went hate boost when none if you ride it?
  • + 1
 In most cases, there is no need for increasing Q factor as long as crank arms and spider are modified.so that pedal insert remains in the same place.
  • + 0
 Giants stupid overdrive head tube angle is still with us, so boost aint going anywhere. I was looking at a rockin deal on a new Reign, but I would want to put a 180mm new lyrik on it, and I would have to get a new top headset, and I would never be able to sell the pike it would have come with. Even if I stuck with the pike, I wouldn't be able to run my SIXC 35mm bars since there isn't a 1.25 inch, 35mm stem out there. EEFFF new, worthless standards!
  • + 0
 ^ummm giant use a standard headset size, overdrive = 1.125", have now for a year for their mtb range, only the roadies have the overdrive2 which is the increased 1.25"
  • + 1
 or you just live with boost and stop bitching about all the factors are in involved with it. you guys are all too high maintenance. just ride what youve got and stop thinking boost is some alien from outer space. its evolution, live with it.
  • + 0
 @rrsport EEEEFFFFFFFF on all their marketing they still say overdrive, and my buddies 2012 reign was the 1.25, whats a man supposed to think?
  • + 0
 @hamncheez learn to read. Overdrive = 1.125", all mtbs for 2015 onwards have this. "As we said in our initial Reign post a few weeks back, OverDrive 2 is gone, and plain old OverDrive 1 is back. You may know OverDrive as a plain old tapered steerer, it means WAY more headset and stem options for the Reign than in the last few years!" www.spokemagazine.com/2014/08/20/first-look-giant-2015-range-highlights
  • + 1
 @jhou There are still tons of companies still making 26er. Enve and Industry 9 still have top notch offerings.and there are just as many hub manufactures that make 20mm. for example DT still makes the 240 in 20mm. i mean what else do you need? im not sure you have actually been shopping or just readying peoples comments and letting the fear fester. Just because easton isnt going to make their ultra lightweight xc wheel in 26 with 20x110 doesnt mean youre going to have to start hoarding hubs and rims
  • + 1
 Lol, why so serious? Most hubs high end hubs are interchangeable with end caps anyhow. But it is harder now to get 26 parts, especially at the LBS. I had to special order my I9 Enduro for my Mojo HD and it took a few weeks to get in vs the bigger wheels they had in stock.
  • + 1
 The rumor has it that in Europe, Maxxis has sold out most of their 26" tyres already before holidays.
  • + 19
 Roval control sl's are lighter, wider, cheaper and have dt swiss internals - why would you buy the easton's?
  • + 9
 F Easton. I had the Haven Carbons and they were great rims and the hubs were junk. They were supposed to have a "No questions asked" warranty. The rear bearing preload wouldn't stay tight through one ride and the bearings were trashed. They asked me to ship back the WHOLE WHEEL at my own expense, and I did so thinking they'd replace the bearings and give me a new updated axle in the process. They just tightened the preload to spec and shipped it back 3 weeks later. F you Easton.
  • + 6
 Used XTR wheels? Hell yeah!

Used Enve wheels? I wish! When will the price go down?

Used Easton wheels? Nope, not even for $100. Proprietary spoke system, bad bearings and terrible post purchase parts availability.

Thing is, the warranty is supposed to be a statement of quality, you should never need it but with Easton you use the warranty until it runs out and then you are SOL. What is the number one gripe of old Easton wheels? The shifty machining and bearings being eaten? So clearly that still hasn't been fixed. Tell pinkbike that it is a warranty issue? Up yours Easton. Rattle hubs means you have another design boo boo.

With their bad rep Easton needs to provide a much more convincing value prop besides fancy graphics. Need some convincing assurance that their old post purchase support has been fixed. I'll give them another chance when they publicly disown whatever dumbass that previously ran the division. Head on stake, crying family out on street, etc. Either that or they somehow grow a reputation for reliability over the next few YEARS.
  • + 6
 $1200 for a new pair of Roval Control SL's. Just sayin', Easton.
  • + 2
 Easton wheels are crap. When the bearings prematurely wear out, it causes play that will allow the paws to grind into the ratchet. I submitted a wheel to Easton during the transition to Raceface. What a cluster. I bet if you popped the freehub body off this tested wheel, the paws will have abnormal wear on them. There are a lot better options for $2,200.
  • + 1
 @jdendy, you're absolutely right. They have bearing issues and freehub issues. If the bearings crap out then the freehub will follow but even if the bearings somehow stay tight, the freehub will crap out eventually too. Using cheap bearings and cheap aluminum shows that they don't know anything but carbon (great rims and bars). Hopefully Race Face will turn this around for them.
  • + 2
 Buy some freaking King hubs and lace them to affordable Chinese carbon rims (lb) for a fraction of the cost. Blammo! Unless you prefer gambling $2200 on a product like this. ANY mid-range and up wheelset should still spin freely after a few months so no real feedback here. Granted these here are lighter than a King/LB option.
  • + 3
 I had the same issues with my ea90 wheels. Bearings actually held up but was blowing through rear hub internals. I don't think the hubs were designed to withstand 29"- 42 tooth - one-by torque forces put on the rear hubs. This combination equaled a pile of metal shavings in the rear hub in about two months (destroyed).
I since moved on to an carbon wheelset with a hope hub.
  • + 3
 I don't think their hubs were designed to withstand a child's balance bike. It's a 3-pawl design; it has been around for years, and they can't get it correct. I switched bikes and now riding on a pair of 9-year-old Hope hubs, too.
  • + 11
 Yeah I'm pretty sure those are EC90 wheels, not "EX90". 99.9999% sure there is no such thing as an EX90 wheelset, no matter how many times you write it down in an article Blank Stare
  • + 2
 Says EC on the wheels in the picture too Razz
  • + 3
 I think he just got "EC" and "XC" discombobulated in his brain.
  • + 8
 My Light Bicycle 22mm inner rims on 32h Hopes with Sapim CX Rays were less than half that price and tip the scales at 1567g. They are stiff as hell compared to my old Stans hoops, no issues after 1k+ miles of single track on them the last 5 months other than I ride more than I ever used to for some reason. Haven't touched them once, still perfectly true, would easily recommend them over any prebuilt proprietary sets like this.

So, in summary, a wider (19 vs 22), stronger (24h vs 32h), more servicable (hopes vs Easton), cheaper ($2200 vs $988 shipped) that's only ~100g heavier. Yeah, I'm gonna stick with the LB wheels. (yes, I'm a XC weight weenie wannabe, a rare sighting on PB I know).
  • + 2
 Forgot to mention that's with Brass nipples. Could save 50g going alloy if you so chose. Probably another 20g going down to 28H and still be stronger than these. Plus the ability to run J bend spokes.

The stock wheels on my bike were 24H straight pull. Nothing but problems, and I weigh 165# and live in south Florida so I just ride in sand all day. Yeah. I'm good on inferior designs like 24h straight pull XC wheels, thanks tho.
  • + 5
 19mm int. / 24mm ext. rim width???.. Why is it, that seemingly almost every time a big name manufacturer releases a carbon wheel or rim, the width is 5+ years behind the current standard/trend?
This is ridiculous, even for XC. Not too many people roll on 2" tires anymore. I ride and race a rigid 29er and used to feel 2.25" tires fold under in hard turns even on TL28 rim (23mm int.). I'm on LB 35mm carbon rims nowadays and couldn't imagine going back to something as narrow as this..
Make it a proper width that keeps up with the times. Only then we can even start arguing about the high price and the hubs' quality.
As it stands, I wouldn't use them even at a fraction of their msrp.
  • + 1
 Actually most pros are on 2.0 and 2.1" tires still.
  • + 1
 This isn't a release, these wheels have been around for a while now.
  • + 1
 Actually @seraph you'll find most pros are on 2.25" these days
  • + 1
 I think you're mistaken.
  • + 1
 I can tell you for one all CFR and TFR riders were using 2.20/2.25 tires this season
  • + 2
 Well here's a photo of a TFR racer with a 29x2.00 tire, so I still think you're mistaken: www.pinkbike.com/photo/12649770
  • + 8
 Holy crap those things are light. Given how you case gaps Levy I'm super curious how these things will hold up
  • + 4
 Does he case gaps? I will never trust his review again... I imagined him as smooth and accurate
  • + 3
 Lee, not all that light considering the rim width and lack of spokes. I have some 1550 g Nobl rims that I built to 240 hubs & 32 spokes that have been taking abuse from me for over a year now.
  • + 1
 Ken - thats impressive. I don't know much about light stuff so consider me educated - thanks!
  • + 6
 what exactly do they mean by "warranty program" i would rather have heard: "These will be replaced under warranty"
  • + 3
 Easton is horrible at replacing their products. I had some EA90 road wheels and they kept breaking spokes on front and rear from pedaling and we asked them to warranty a batch of spokes and they wouldn't do it. I relaced them with and tok the old spokes and found that they had weak spots that they would just snap in half.
  • + 1
 Ive heard that as well, but keep in mind a lot of companies get their panties in a bundle over warranty wheels when the customer complains of broken spokes. its a very grey area on what is really a manufacturer defect and what is rider / repair issues. i had easton replace a handle bar i admittedly cracked by over tightening in a stem that was not intended for carbon bar and they replaced it.
  • + 1
 @drummuy04 You thought they were bad before? They are now owned by FUX. I think the company is all downhill now. I have nothing but good luck with my Havocs. I would not go near any thing of theirs now.
To those of you who like FUX you must have never dealt with their service dept.
  • + 1
 Oops I meant fox. NOT! It will allays be FUX to me.
  • + 1
 Luckily I don't have to deal with their service dept too much. One of the higher ups used to work at our shop when he was a kid back in the 80s so we just go straight to him but even he doesn't always call us back.
  • + 3
 If you are interested the following is my ownership experience Easton's Carbon Haven Wheels. Dare I say it, I have two sets of these ridiculously expensive Haven Carbon wheels in 26". I bought a second set as back-up race wheels as the initial set were faultless for the first year.

However, that's when it all started to unravel. In short I would not recommend buying ANY wheel from Easton. The main reason is their hubs are absolutely awful and I believe I can't swap them out for anything else. I've got 1st and 2nd generation hubs with their later mods. They are now onto this 3rd gen, but from the Pinkbike report above they are still suffering from play. The 2nd generation are considerably worse than the first! I replace bearings typically every 6-9 weeks and I have got through 4 freebodies, two sets of pawls and countless seals in an attempt to keep water out of the freebody trying to make the freebody/pawls last longer. The weak pawl spring has now caused premature wear to the drive ring on both hubs.

The second major issue has been the constant lack of spare parts and aftersales service from Easton in the US over the last four years of ownership.

I am in the UK. Initially, I thought the lack of parts was due to the UK importer. But I have been unable to source parts from anywhere in the world. I couldn't buy nipples or a 20mm to 15mm axle conversion from anyone. I had to wait 5 months for that, and I have never been able to get their proprietary nipples in black in four years!

I have split four rear rims and one front rim. I have been waiting 6 weeks for the last rim to be replaced as Easton US could not source one from anywhere and had to make a new batch. But it is only 8 months since that rim was replaced and I had to wait 6 weeks for it also.

I weigh 68kg (150lbs) so not exactly heavy. The rears have all failed the same way. The front rim has a relatively minor crack in the flange which I super glued approx 1 year ago and that is still holding.

That said, I think for the weight, the strength of the carbon rim is pretty decent. I typically ride four times a week and the terrain is rough and fast. So I accept I subject them to a hard time and can therefore accept the rim failures, just not the constant hub failures and waiting months for parts or repairs. I get lots of apologies, but nothing has changed in four years. If anything it has got worse as they are 26" rims.

In addition to all that, once the two year no questions warranty is up. When you break another rim (and you will) Easton's so called discounted rim replacement scheme referred to as the "rim package" amounts to a 30% discount off RRP circa £700 ($1100) for a new rim on a hub with a heavily worn drive ring due to the weak pawl spring on the freebody. So effectively writes-off the wheel after just over 2years.

Sorry for the long story but I would like to share / warn any fellow riders what they are getting into. I've spent £4000 ($6200) on these Easton wheels and one set is scrap after two years and the other set will be scrap in another approx. 8 months as I will break another rim, and my two year warranty is up in two months time. Although I am going to try and get that extended as I have been without the wheels for a more than 3 months during the two years.
  • + 3
 I'm pretty sure that my havoc wheel bearings didn't fail in 6 rides because the axle was over tight. It could have had something to do with the fact there are no environmental seals in the hub though!!
  • + 1
 "but there are surely plenty of trail riders who still prefer a fast accelerating, sub-1,500 gram set of wheels built with slender rims over something that weighs a pound more and is nearly twice as wide."

You can get wheel sets with wider rims sub 1700 grams which is only a half pound heavier than these. I'm running Derby rims on DT350 hubs on DT aerolite spokes and they weight 1690 grams. They take an absolute beating too and come back for more.
  • + 3
 Light Bicycle, 30mm internal, Hopes,1480g.... Bullet proof.
  • + 3
 LB bulletproof - heh yea...
  • - 1
 I use to love Easton wheels. Now they are Fox I dont want any thing to do with them. Also at that price point it better come with multiple happy endings.
  • + 2
 Easton is by no means Fox now. They are owned by the same company, that's it.
  • + 1
 Even if it was Fox, how's that any bad? What kind of ideology are we talking about?
  • + 1
 Maybe they wouldn't survive a bullet, you're right, but I've trashed a bunch of wheels and the LB ones are still going strong. Point is, they weigh the same and I could have two if not three sets sitting my garage for the price of one of these sets...
  • + 2
 Its all OVER F###ING PRICED. Thank goodness for PB buy/sell and ebay.
  • + 0
 BobChicken - I know 4 guys who had them in my town and each one of them broke at least one and that includes their claimed "improved" layups. The fact is that I pay a total of 250$ per LB rim when they are picked up from the post office while an excellent Ex471 costs me around 80$ as I pick it up. I'd have to crack 3 DTs to make it worth and that will simply not happen. So I sold mine just in case, and also for the fact that I hated how stiff they were. It is incredible how smooth and fast the bike feels on alu rims again.
  • + 3
 Nox Skyline 29 with DT240s, 1440gram. 23mm inner width. Over $600 less. Other hub choices available for even less. Easton has been out of it for a while.
  • + 1
 For God's sake how much?? I really wish people would stop buying these products as it would make them reduce the price to a realistic level. There is no justification for that stupid price tag. You can get a really really good bike for that money.
  • - 1
 Really really good? No, you could buy something passable 2nd hand or something pretty bottom run new.
  • + 3
 @jcupit bollox, sorry, technology has come on so much that you can buy a really good bike for that money - Deore Brakes anyone, a Giant Reign 2 for example is CHEAPER than these wheels. Pikes, Droppert Post one could certainly get a whole lot of rowdy fun. @Matt76 is right here.
  • + 1
 Yep, this looks like a really good bike to me: m.pinkbike.com
  • + 1
 Got my pair for £700 online for my xc hardtail. Done a couple races on them so far - taken some proper hammer and fast as fook, can't fault em.
  • + 1
 Quantify it people, where does that giant come in the giant range @graeme187 ?? Is it their top, middle or near the bottom? How far up the shimano range are deore these days? If that model is "really really good" then how would you describe their top model loaded with xx1 etc etc. What I'm saying is 2200 for a really really good bike is an overshoot to say the least. If top shelf bikes are 10k plus then the really really good ones aren't at the 2k point
  • + 0
 My Kappius KW-1.5 wheels weigh 42 g (yes, I weighed them) more than these and have an internal width of 26.4 mm. You don't have to compromise if you want wide and light. Plus they cost $200 less and have 1.5 degree engagement.
  • + 1
 Running an Ardent 2.4 on a first generation Crank Brother's Al skinny front wheel on my XC bike... No probs over 4 years... Like having a battalion of octopuses keeping my front end stuck down...
  • + 2
 Stay away, these hubs still have major problems and a short life span... Plus their spokes are difficult to acquire in the event one breaks...
  • + 2
 19 mm inner is like a shot back to 2001. I am now more convinced to buy LIGHT BICYCLE wheels for 800.
  • + 3
 Just got rid of my easton havoc rear wheel, I'm so happy !
  • + 1
 I almost bought them but no boost. Oh well. Lol. $2200 yikes!
  • + 1
 would it come out in a 27.5 option?
  • - 1
 When shopping for mtb wheels you should only ask one question: Are these Industry Nine wheels? If the answer is no, keep looking.
  • + 4
 Disagree, there are plenty of other great hubs on the market and great rims... Check out hope, king, Phill woods, dt all some of the greatest hub makers... As for rims there are so many great options these days... Albeit industry nine hubs are up there
  • + 0
 But those cut-outs and logo's on the hub shells won't be facing the same way when bolted up! My OCD would kill me!!
  • + 9
 O.C.D. You keep using that word I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • + 0
 Thanks for the enlightenment.
  • + 1
 [G] - Greed
  • + 0
 Barzos FTW
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