Just in: Easton’s EC70 Trail mid-priced carbon wheelset

A couple of years after releasing what must be the most widely-adopted composite trail/all mountain wheelset–the carbon Haven–Easton have decided to bring their carbon fiber wheels to a wider audience.  Despite dialing the tech (and the graphics) back a bit, the EC70 Trail 26in and 29er wheelsets chop a third off of the Havens’ price while bringing carbon fiber’s startlingly light weight and impressive durability to the XC/trail crowd.  Looking for a wheelset that can handle big days in the mountains without holding you back come race day?  These may well be the ticket.  Hit the jump for more photos and the dirty details!

With 24 straight pull spokes front and rear, the EC70s aim to strike a balance between light weight and durability.  While it’ll take some riding to prove the latter, our 26in samples hit the scales at 638g and 781g, or 1,419g for the set including rim strips.  That’s 65g (or about two rim strips) heavier than claimed- but still awfully light.  The 29er version should come in just about 100g heavier.

Rim strips, you ask?  That’s right: in order to simplify manufacturing and bring the price down to $1,800 (26in, $1,850 29er), Easton have opted for a more standard spoke and nipple configuration- which means holes through the rims’ inner walls.  With a layer of Gorilla Tape and a pair of tubeless valve stems, a Specialized 2Bliss tire mounted up without trouble- though the pictured Continentals’ looser beads took a bit more work to seat.  Multiple layers of tape or a rubber rim strip should make the job easier.

As with the spoke count and overall weight, the rims’ 20mm inside width strikes a nice XC/trail balance and should work well with most mid-width tires.  The EC70 Trails share the Havens’ M1 hubs, which makes the front hub 9x100mm QR and 15x100mm compatible and the rear 9x135mm, 12x135mm, and 12x142mm compatible right out of the box.  If they’re anything like the EA70s we’ve been riding, they’ll be stealthy and roll like little else.

The EC70 Trail wheels have found a home on our 150mm BMC Trailfox trail bike, where they seem like a good match for that bike’s fun up/fun down personality.  We’ll be back with a review after they’ve seen a few months’ roots, rocks, dirt, and snow.

marc

www.eastoncycling.com

Comments

xcgeek.com - 12/11/12 - 10:06am

its exciting to see a quality product at a lower pricepoint. i just cant wait for a new hub design to accent the beautiful rims!

Greg - 12/11/12 - 10:35am

When did $1800 really become a “wider audience?” While I see people on Chinese carbon rims, which makes sense since they are about $500+ for a wheelset, most the people are know and encounter on the trail are not on $1800+ wheelsets. Perhaps this is normal in higher populated areas where there are more riders and people who can’t even ride on really expensive stuff??

vhom - 12/11/12 - 10:44am

I just wished that Easton would just sell the rims. I bet they would make a killing on them. Look at how well ENVE rims are selling and they’re nearly a grand a pop. I bet Easton can make them just as strong and a couple hundred dollar cheaper.

nrkocyclist - 12/11/12 - 11:23am

+1 vhom
Either that, or replace those hubs with some decent ones. I LOVE my Haven Carbons but hate the rear drive side’s bearing always coming loose after every ride.

Limba - 12/11/12 - 11:28am

Did Easton ever solve their problems with their hubs?

Eric - 12/11/12 - 11:29am

I’m trying to understand why when choices like AC Race wheelsets are lighter, wider, less expensive and have tubeless specific beads that work super with even NON tubeless tires. Both the 26 & 29 AC wheelsets have been problem free through a very hard season of use on the trail and racing. Is there a feature in this Easton wheelset I’m missing?

AZbikefreak - 12/11/12 - 11:47am

@ Eric, the feature that really sets off these wheels is the screw in nipple design. I’ve ridden a set of the aluminum and carbon wheels and they are super sweet. The’rey really stiff and spin up quick with their lightweigt. The problem is their rear freehub design is not robust and there are lots of posts of them failing. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if they sold you the freehub to replace it yourself but they won’t. Easton expects people to ship the wheel back. That’s a deal breaker for me.

I agree with Vhom about Easton selling their rims and nipples. If they sold them aftermarket they would make a killing. If I could lace these to a set of Kings, Hadleys, I-9s or even a set of Hopes I would buy them in a second.

georg - 12/11/12 - 12:15pm

I have a pair of EC90XC’s on my 29er Hardtail. They roll great and are sturdy.

However, one thing they are not: Durable. They are made for loving hands, good weather and due care. If you don’t have that then the bearings will suck water – they are sealed for race performance, not everyday durability. I’d expect the same from these.

BTW, “industry ball bearings” is a better termed: “bicycle industry ball bearings” – the bearings extensivly used in my 90XC’s are “17287″. These cost considerably more than “industry standard”.

johnny - 12/11/12 - 12:34pm

Any news on Easton making a XX1 cassette body?

I’m also not a fan of Easton hubs; have found them difficult to service which they frequently need.

kurti_sc - 12/11/12 - 1:16pm

+1 for Eric. @AZbikefreak, you point out a few other reasons to shy away, let alone the price. I would not consider ‘screw in nipple designs’ a good option, either. I want something i can fix when i need to and if I happen to not be near my lbs but have to rely on other shops in who knows where, I don’t want the nipple design to be the reason i’m not riding. C’mon Easton. Get a clue. We don’t all tote factory trailers behind us with qualified technicians. And it’s not like a wheel isn’t going to need servicing. If you never had any issues with your wheels, then you need to get off of the golf cart paths and into the woods.

Mindless - 12/11/12 - 1:19pm

$1800? I can make three Hope Pro 2 Evo with some light 32h Stan’s rims and bladed spokes for that price, which would hold and perform better. Hubs in particular.

No, but thank you. Will revisit this once it goes WELL under $1000

Steve - 12/11/12 - 2:22pm

I have heard from Easton that there is a retrofit service kit they have been working on for about 6 months that drastically improves the rear hub bearing life. It a system you install and doesn’t require adjustment. They have told me just after the first of the year it will be available.

@Kurti_sc – The EC70 use standard nipples. Only the UST wheels (Haven / EA90 XC / EC90 XC ) use the screw in nipples.

G.. - 12/11/12 - 2:39pm

The rims are tops, the hubs are average, the build is shocking. Both my sets of Haven’s (Al and Carbon) had the rear pop spokes like it was going out of style. A friend’s friend, also with Al Haven’s has had the same thing. I am having the rear carbon re-laced with new, non butted spokes, so I hope it’ll be better than out of the factory.

A bud of mind built a set of solidly good quality wheels, almost as light as the carbon’s, for a third of the cost…

Disclaimer: I did not pay for either set, they were for evaluation purposes.

brd - 12/11/12 - 3:33pm

the 2.2 TK/RQ look bigger than a 2.4 MKII
LOL

ab - 12/11/12 - 4:15pm

$1800, >1500g for 29er wheelset? Stupid…many other wheelsets on the market are lighter, wider rims, tubeless capable without adding 5 rolls of tape and rubber strips, with significantly better hubs for a fraction of the cost. Not to mention if a carbon wheel fails 20 miles from your vehicle you walk out of the woods, or down the mountain. At least an aluminum wheel can be hammered back into rolling condition in an emergency situation.

Stupid.

Topmounter - 12/11/12 - 4:59pm

I encourage you all to buy these wheels and ride the heck out of them so you can help get the bugs worked out and get the volume up so, in time, they can reduce the price to a reasonable level.

Good luck, we’re all counting on you!

Meanwhile, I will continue riding my Stan’s Wheels which are a fraction of the price, wonderfully reliable and only ~100 grams heavier (unless you buy the Race Golds which are still about half the price and ~100 or so lighter).

Marc - 12/11/12 - 6:59pm

brd,

Close- the Mountain King 2.4 measured 2.26in across, the Trail King 2.2 measured 2.22in across. Not a whole lot of difference- though the sparsely-knob’d Mountain King is 80g lighter.

Marc - 12/11/12 - 7:02pm

Kurti,
For the EC70s, Easton are using a standard nailhead spoke and nipple: “Easton have opted for a more standard spoke and nipple configuration- which means holes through the rims’ inner walls.”
marc

Marc - 12/11/12 - 7:06pm

Greg,
A 1/3 price reduction should, if the wheelset proves to be solid, mean wider adoption than the $2.5K Havens or EC90s. Wide adoption? Probably not. They could be a nice OEM spec for flagship bikes from brands that don’t have a house brand carbon wheelset.
marc

anon - 12/11/12 - 9:59pm

“I am having the rear carbon re-laced with new, non butted spokes, so I hope it’ll be better than out of the factory.”

Why?

JB - 12/11/12 - 11:27pm

@G..,
Butted spokes are actually STRONGER than straight pull spokes – as they have the same amount of material where highly stressed, but less material where stresses are lower, they allow for more displacement (and better stress distribution) in the spoke. And as there’s more displacement available, they tend to allow loads to be better shared over multiple spokes.

anon - 12/11/12 - 11:43pm

^ Thissssssss

3X/32 w/double booted 4 LYFE

Steve - 12/12/12 - 8:23am

Folks are comparing these to aluminum rims for less price saying “oh I could buy 3 sets of Stan’s or AC wheels for that much.” That is nuts. Carbon rims are so vastly different from aluminum rims that comparing the two really is like apples and oranges. Crest rims? Are you kidding me? Those things flex and deflect like no one’s business. Carbon rims are a game changer and worth the price. I’m on some 2013 Reynolds 29r wheels coming off an Industry Nine Enduro set with the Pacenti TL28s. Night and day and the Pacentis are stiffer than the Stan’s rims. I had to learn how to ride my bike again they were so different.

Mindless - 12/12/12 - 9:19pm

Carbon rims are not “vastly different”. They are round and they support tire.

If your wheel flexes too much find a better wheel builder or better yet switch to 650b. And get a better bike for the money saved. Or get a different rim, if that is so important. You can hit some good weights with Flows, FFS.

You just justify your expensive purchase. It is all in your head. Learn to ride bike again so different? That is straight up grade A bullshit.

Riding ENVE and Flow back to back – same shit.

Steve - 12/15/12 - 5:44pm

Mindless are you really light? I found the Flows to be really flexy laterally. I find a huge difference in deflection and the rim is 100g lighter. I am a 190-200lb rider that rides a lot of roots and rocks. When blowing through these sections, the carbon rims track so much better. And yeah, I did have to learn how to corner again. The rims do not flex the same way and coming out of the corner is much different than what I am used to. I went from Flows and Arches to Pacenti to carbon Reynolds. There is an enormous difference, for me. If not for you, then I think you are golden. I could make due with aluminum rims, but I would hate the flex.
As far as grade A bullsh@t, hell, I am happy with that. I noticed that grade A bullsh@t the first ride. I’ll use that grade A bullsh@t to my advantage.

Percy - 05/05/13 - 2:23am

Hi folks, I’m looking at getting a pair of either easton EC70 trail 29″ or haven 29″ so I can go tubeless! These will be the 2013 model, anyone got any feedback on the hub issues mentioned with easton! Have they been resolved? When I spend top dollar I expect value for money and don’t want to spend time out the saddle waiting on repairs!
Regards
Stu

Marc Basiliere - 05/05/13 - 2:43pm

Percey,

I’ve had no issues yet with the wheels or freehubs. There is a free M1 hub upgrade available that should address the bearing loosening issues (contact the UK dist. for one) but when I pulled the freehub body to slap the XX1 version on the other day things felt too smooth for me to justify installing it.

As far as going tubeless- this wheelset is not especially easy to set up and doesn’t seem to have been designed with tubeless compatibility in mind. That said, it’s little worse than other non-tubeless wheelsets: I’m running 1 layer of Gorilla Tape and Stan’s valve stems and sealant with no issues whatsoever.

Marc

Percy - 05/06/13 - 6:14am

Nice 1, cheers Marc!
Percy

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.