When new wheels were spotted under triathlete Andreas Raelert at Ironman Austria, the lack of hiding them suggested an imminent release. Well, here they are, along with a whole lot more. Not only have the 55mm EC90 Aero wheels been completely redesigned, the road line up gets a boost with new hubs, tubeless compatibility, wide rims, and more freehub selections!
Ratchet past the break for more details…
While most of the new developments are wrapped up in the all new EC90 Aero 55, other wheels in the line up benefit from the technology trickling down. Called the Single Wheelset Arsenal, the new Aero 55 seems to have all the bases covered – they’re light, aero, clincher, tubular, and tubeless, and have much improved hubs.
A big part of the new design is the Fantom rim – a much wider rim that improved drastically over the previous shape which is now found on all EC90 wheels. Now 21mm wide, and 19mm internally, the rim is 6mm wider than the previous EC90 Aero 56, while 1mm shallower.
At least according to Easton’s data, the Fantom is radically better than the 2012 Ec90 Aero, while also appearing to be quite a bit better at yaw angles of 12.5 degrees than the competitors. Due to the blunt nose of the Fantom rim, it is also more stable in cross winds – something that becomes more important the more aero you go. The result is a more rideable, aerodynamic wheel for all conditions.
In addition to tubular rims, the Aero 55 will be offered in a tubeless clincher version as well. Using Easton’s Eyelet Nipple system, the nipples thread into the eyelets allowing for a sealed rim bed, therefore tubeless. Certified for Road Tubeless even without sealant, the Aero 55 is one of the first carbon tubeless road wheels on the market.
Along with the rim, big changes have been made to the hubs as well with the introduction of the all new Echo system. While the performance of the previous R4 system wasn’t exactly stellar, the Echo looks to address all of the previous issues with an intriguing design and a host of improvements. The biggest of which would be the positioning of the bearings which resulted in an all new freehub design.
On the R4 hubs, the load bearings were located in the center of the hub far from the dropout which created a lot of leverage on them which is bad for bearing life. The Echo system places the load bearings as far apart as possible which should drastically improve bearing life. This design required a new freehub though, so Easton rethought the design and the pawls now reside in the hub body instead of the freehub body. Taking things a step further, the two center bearings are now angular contact bearings as well, further increasing durability. All of the new road wheels are compatible with Campy, Shimano, and Sram 9/10/11.
Part of the cassette body redesign resulted in the engagement increasing from 12 to 7° for improved efficiency especially out of corners. Since the straight pull spoke flanges are separated from the bearing bores, bearing performance can be kept consistent regardless of spoke tension. The hubs also include an improved QR skewer with an internal cam mechanism. If you haven’t caught on, the focus for the new wheels across the line is durability, decreased maintenance, and improved power transfer.
EC90 Aero 55 wheels will be available this fall for $2,400 for the 1330g tubular set and $2,800 for the 1580g tubeless clincher.
As mentioned, Echo and Tubeless Road technology also makes their way into the aluminum wheel line like the new EA90 SLX. At 1400g, the tubeless road wheelset looks good with a 22mm external width and 17.5mm internal. Built with the same Echo hubset as the Aero 55s (also found on all other EA90 and EC90 wheels), the EA90 SLX feature 16/20 ft/rr spoking with double butted straight pull spokes. EA90 SLX wheels will retail for $1200.
Currently Echo hubsets and tubeless rims can be found on the EC90 Aero 55 clincher and tubular, and EA90 SLX and SL wheelsets, with another tubeless option in the EA90 XD cross wheelset. Wider rims are found across the board, all the way down to the new 22mm wide EA70 and EA70 SL wheels. For more information check out Easton Cycling.