SEA OTTER CLASSIC 2010 – Looking to up their game in the Freeride segment, Easton’s come out with a full line of tough new components that can also lighten up the cockpit on your all-mountain rig called Haven.
Easton’s marketing rep says only Easton could create aluminum components that are about as light as some competitors’ XC products but strong enough for freeride use.Â Using their Taperwall technology, the handlebar, stem and seatpost really do weigh in at XC-like weights.Â Although their testing makes the claims, time will tell if they hold up to that promise.Â We’ve got a few pieces in to review, too, and first glances suggest they are indeed fairly burly.
In addition to the components shown above, Easton is really pumping their Haven wheelsets.Â The alloy models have been out for a bit (read our review here), but it’s the all-carbon rimmed version that’s going to be the real head turner when it comes out this Summer.
Weights, pics and specs after the break…
We covered the new Carbon-rimmed Haven’s announcement in this post with full specs, so we’ll just cover a few real-world pics here.Â The rims share the same 21mm internal width as the alloy versions, and the rim is made of a ballistic carbon composite material, giving it the strength to handle all-mountain abuse.Â The sidewalls are pretty thick, as evidenced here, and they’ll hold up to a 2.4″ tire.
The rims are UST Tubeless compatible, or you can run a regular tire/tube combo if you want.Â Wheels are handbuilt by Easton, which undoubtedly adds to the $2,300 MSRP.Â Part of that handbuilding is a unique “Acoustic Tuning” process by which the wheel builders done earphones and use a mic to check the frequency of the spoke.Â A certain sonic frequency equals the desired tension, and Easton says this provides a perfectly true and tensioned wheel that’ll stay that way longer and is generally stronger than one built using just a tensionometer.
Another differentiator for the carbon versions is the use of a large spoke mount embedded in the rim.Â Contrary to what you (and I) might think, a small hole in a carbon rim is more likely to cause stress risers.Â The large-diameter silver ferrule in the rim is a stronger solution, and it’s reverse threaded on the inside.Â The spoke nipple is threaded into it with the spoke pre-installed.Â Once it’s screwed down tightly, the truing/tensioning process is carried out normally.
The front hub will have two axle options: A dedicated 20mm thru axle, and one with swappable caps for either 15mm or 9mm QR.Â Weights?Â The 26″ version is just 1,450g, making it thus far the lightest AM wheelset around.Â The 29er version has an estimated weight of 1,590g, making it not only one of the lightest AM 29er wheelsets, but one of the lightest 29er wheelsets, period.Â And with the carbon rim, we’re guessing it’ll also be one of the stiffest.
Click to enlarge.
The Haven handlebar is offered in both carbon and aluminum, and at 170g, the carbon one is on par with XC-weight carbon riser bars, including Easton’s own Monkey Lite XC (155g), while giving riders the added width of a 711mm bar.
On the alloy model (265g), there’s an etched mounting surface to improve grip with the stem and location markers to ease adjustments.
For the stems, there’s matching polished black or polished magnesium color options in lengths of 30, 50, 70 and 100mm.Â Weights and prices are in the chart below.
The seatposts are also offered in carbon fiber and aluminum, both in 400mm options only with three widths each: 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6.
The two-bolt head design mirrors Easton’s existing seatposts and makes adjusting the angle of the saddle fairly easy.