As one of the more prevalent wheelsets out there today for trail/AM bikes, the Havens didn’t get to that point by having a lack of features. On paper, the Havens are some of the best wheels going, but what does that say for real world, long term use?
I initially jumped on a pair of the gold hoops shortly after they were first introduced. Between the two versions, they have found themselves on at least 4 bikes since, and are still on my XC/trail bike as we speak. The Havens do a lot of things incredibly well, but are they perfect?
Find out after the break!
First, the basics. The Easton Haven is a UST wheelset, with straight pull spokes, different hub compatibility and a lot of bling. The first generation was only offered in the shiny gold colorway with its jewelery like machined hub. The rims are a properly wide 26mm ext., 21mm int. width, which obviously are devoid of spoke holes to allow the UST moniker. Easton utilized a unique dual threaded nipple that threads into the rim and onto the spoke at the same time to allow for the non pierced rim. At the hub you will find the 24 (26 inch set) Sapim 2.0/1.7/2.0 spokes fitted to the hub through holes in the flanges secured by the spoke’s nail head design.
Havens are currently available in both 26 and 29 inch versions, and come in both gold and black colorways. Both are now 142 x 12/135 x 12 compatible, too.
One of the beautiful features of the current Easton Havens is the adaptability for nearly any hub design, although that wasn’t always the case. Easton’s first generation came with the 15mm thru axle front adapter pictured above right, but did not allow for a rear thru axle. This was due to the fact that the inside diameter of the rear bearings were physically too small for a 12mm axle to fit through. The issue was resolved on the subsequent model, and now all new Havens are both 142 x 12 and 135 x 12 compatible along with the standard 135mm quick release. The axle systems are incredibly easy to change out, and making hub adjustments is also incredibly easy which is a good thing (more on that later).
The Havens include their own UST valve core which is specially shaped to fit the center channel of the rim. While I haven’t tried it, my guess is a Shimano UST or Mavic UST core may work in a pinch. Fortunately, for the entire duration of testing on both wheels I never had an issue with the valve or the tubeless ability of the rim for that matter. The Havens allow for use of UST tires without sealant, tubeless ready tires with sealant, and even some non-tubeless tires to be run tubeless with sealant as well. Only the super light non tubeless tires without a thick bead were unable to be run tubeless on the Havens.
When considering a trail or AM wheelset, I want it to be very stiff, tubeless compatible, roll smooth, and have a wide rim to offer the best footprint out of my tires. The Havens are definitely one of the most laterally stiff wheelsets I have have run, and there is a noticeable difference in how a bike performs with and without Havens installed. The tubeless set up is great, as it held pressure and never seemed to leak. The rims seem to be incredibly durable with 0 dents or flatspots, and with a weight of 1647g for the pair, you can’t help but like these wheels.
The Not So Good:
While there are a lot of different wheel options out there, I still feel that the Havens are one of the best. However, issues with the rear hub seems to be a common theme. On the first generation, variances with the thickness of an o-ring in the preload adjuster led to noticeable play that couldn’t be adjusted out. Easton’s top notch wheel support was extremely helpful in taking care of the situation though, and it has since been remedied. On the newest generation the issue seems to be that the rear hub just refuses to stay tight. I’ve only run the new set of Havens set up as 142 x 12, and usually after 1 or 2 rides I have to re-tighten the rear hub. It seems that it’s not just me either, I’ve had friends mention that their rear Haven (also 142 x 12) won’t stay tight, and seems that Pinkbike is experiencing similar issues with their Carbon Havens. I also had to replace bearings in the rear hub much sooner that I would have liked, but to be fair they did see some fairly wet conditions.
The silver lining in all of this, is that even with the fact that I have to adjust the rear hub fairly frequently, it hasn’t kept me off the Havens. Fortunately, the process of adjusting the hub is incredibly easy and simply requires a 20mm cone wrench to turn the adjustment collar while the wheel is in the bike. If it was an involved process of removing the wheel, etc, it would change my mind, but as it stands I don’t mind having to adjust it from time to time. I’m hoping that as with a few of Easton’s road wheels, a new adjuster will be developed and will remedy the slight issue in the future.
There are simply too many good things about the Havens to give them a low score just because of the loose hub. I’m hoping that it’s not a widespread issue, but as stated at least it’s easy to address. Due to the fact that the Havens are very light, very stiff, adaptable, and only retail for $945, they are still a good buy in my book. Address the issues with the rear hub and you will have a perfect wheelset.