With wheel technology marching steadily on (and prices marching steadily up), it’s nice to look a step or two down the range to find a darn impressive  sexy wheel.  When Easton’s EA70 XCT 26in wheels arrived (a 29er version is also available), I was taken aback by how cool they looked.  Given the number of positive comments our similarly stealth Project 24.2 Rocky Mountain Element MSL has attracted, I have the feeling that others will agree.  Of course, there’s more to the EA70 XCTs than good looks: click through for more photos, specs, and pricing…

The black-on-gray graphics are a marked contrast with the current blinged-out trend. People seem to be ready to tune it down a notch. Actual weight (15x100mm thru front, 12x135mm thru rear) is 1,606g- better than the advertised 1,620g. All this for $725.
Even the warnings are subtle. The rim measures 19mm inside and 24mm outside and are true UST, without breaks in the inner wall. The wheels are hand built and trued using Easton's proprietary acoustic method.
The straight pull front hub is available in standard QR and 15mm thru versions.
The rear hub is a fairly standard and easily serviced 3-pawl design. Available in 12mm thru (with 135mm and 142mm adapters) or 135mm quick release versions.

It’s wheel testing season here at the ‘Rumor, so we’ll soon be putting the EA70 XCTs through their paces.  Stay tuned to see how they stack up…



  1. Question about spokes, I just had a lovely crash and broke 12 spokes that attach to my Industry 9 hubs.
    Price of $12 to $14 a spoke, I don’t think these straight pull spokes are the way to go? Comments?

  2. Aluminum spokes are not the way to go…neither is anything made by Easton, horrible company to deal with, owned by people who care nothing for bikes but the money that they can squeeze out of the industry. I9 spokes may be brittle but at least the people behind them give a damn. Try getting Easton to take care of one of their many quality issues and you will learn the meaning of ‘exercise in futility’

  3. bike1225, your comment about aluminum spokes is totally baseless. Have you every ridden or owned some I9s? Based on the result of Taylor’s crash I am pretty he would have wrecked any wheel with any type of spoke in it. I have multiple sets of I9s, and have ridden thousands of miles with no spoke failures carrying my Clydesdale all over the country riding/jumping/raging on almost all every kind of trail. The technology behind their spokes is pretty strong and brittle shouldn’t be the go to word for all aluminum especially today’s alloys.

    Taylor, give I9 a call and see what they can do for you. Spokes are more like $6 a piece and the I9 team has always been super helpful to me. No other wheel on the market performs or looks as hot as the I9s so I would get them fixed or be disappointed with your next set.

  4. Easton spokes would be cheaper than I9 Spokes, And from a guy that deals with just warranty for a bike shop in Canada..The Canadian Distributor for Easton is always willing to help out where they can…I have nothing but great things to say about the support I get up here.

  5. Also If you buy wizzy wheels that need special spokes you should be buying extra spokes for when you need them….no matter what wheel you buy this is always a good idea…give praise to I9 who includes a couple when you buy the wheel set.

  6. Bottom line.. If you are worried about the cost of replacement spokes, then you shouldn’t be buying ANY wheel with difficult to find/expensive spokes. That being said… I have owned both i9 and Easton wheel sets and both are great wheels. The i9 customer service has always been decent when I had problems with the wheels. Easton on the other hand I can not speak for because I have never had problems with their wheelsets… I am a huge proponent of Easton, but I guess that’s because I have never had to call customer service about anything. Wheelsets, handlebars, stems etc..

    On the flipside, I will never use Thompson again. Had three products fail on me and sure they replaced them no questions asked… however I rather have bad customer (supposedly) and never use it, than decent customer service and constantly need it.

  7. Actually bike1225, my experiences with Easton have been far better than with Industry 9. Both companies make hardly anything that I would put on my own bikes, but from a customer service standpoint Easton Bell Sports has always been way friendlier and productive to deal with than some of the douche bags at I9.

    Case in point; I once called up I9 to ask what MSRP was on a set of wheels I had a customer asking about. The rep told me, I shit you not, “the people who buy our wheels aren’t worried about the price.”

  8. Thank for the response! regarding spokes counting the crash, in three years that I owned my I-9 hubs (29er) about 30 spokes, all my fault. Now with that said I love my I-9 hubs, people know I am behind them with RACHET sound! Question before I call Easton or I-9 will either spoke work on my hubs?

  9. @Taylor. The spokes on the Easton wheels are stainless steel Sapim straight pulls. Very similar to a standard spoke without the J-Bend. These are readily found at most higher end bike shops. The spokes on your I9s are proprietary aluminum straight pulls that have a threading at the hub side.

    Unfortunately, you can replace one with the other. Good luck

  10. Soo… APS,

    I’m peering through the snark to try to figure out if you want photos of something that’s not there (holes in the rim). Are you suggesting that they made that bit up?

  11. I have had great luck and horrible luck with Easton’s warranty dept. They had always credited customers or sent out a new product and then sent us a postage label with an RA. That’s how it used to be. Flawless, kind of like the way TREK normally rolls. This summer on my personal wheels (havens), I got a wheel set that was probably anomalous in durability. I broke the pawl retaining clip 3 times in 5 weeks. Each time it was like pulling teeth. I wanted a new wheel. They kept sending me the same pos clip. After the 3rd time when I claimed that our next order would be cancelled- the guaranteed me a fix and sent me a new type of clip. It worked! Still, I spent 3 weeks off my bike.
    I9 are well made but poorly thought out. if you break a spoke off in the hub, the failsafe is a 15/1000th allen. That immediately strips. Then you must send it to them. Nice guys though.

  12. @Taylor, if you have broke 30 spokes in the last three years maybe you need look at your whole wheelset setup instead just the hubs/spokes issue. You may need to go to a super stout rim, spoke, 36H hub setup. What rim/spoke/hub combo are you riding from I9?

  13. I can’t address the wheels in the article…. they may be very nice, who knows. Personally I’m on some Easton road wheels now and an email and a phone call to them concerning replacement rims were never answered. All I was asking was “are they available?”…. a simple yes/no question. And yes, I’m in the industry, not that that should matter.

  14. More on topic…
    How is a 1,600 gram 26″ wheelset for $725!! noteworthy? They’re either heavy, overpriced…or both.

    For reference, Stan’s Arch wheelset is $200 cheaper for same weight, and likely, strength. (Since the Arch is billed as their strong/trail wheelset)

  15. Taylor,

    Easton have been in touch with spoke costs: EA70 XCT spokes run $7.76 for a bag of 5. All of the spokes on this wheelset are the same length, so the bag should last you through several mishaps. Industry 9 uses aluminum spokes that are threaded at the hub end (nailhead at the rim), where the Eastons are steel spokes that are threaded at the rim end. As another commenter pointed out, the two are not interchangeable.


  16. Greg,

    You make a good point- it would be interesting to compare stiffness and durability between the two. One thing that the Eastons can boast is the ability to run all tubeless tires- I’ve been repeatedly frustrated by Notubes rims’ oversized bead seat, which rules out a number of very good tubeless tires (if you have any desire to fix flats on the trail). For the $175 savings (like-for-like, with 15QR front hub), that may be an acceptable tradeoff for many people, though.


  17. Marc,
    There is something to be said for UST. I agree. Although I have had no problems running tubeless with Stan’s Crests… however, I do use standard Racing Ralphs, Fast Trax and Nano Raptors. I always assumed running tubeless with 2Bliss and the like tires would be even better.

    My buddy just had a heck of a time getting his TL RR’s to seat on his UST Crossmax SLRs…I assumed it was the UST. You bring up a good point.

    Interesting point.

    But overall I just expected to read this post and for the wheels to be lighter, so cheaper. It seems like wheels have gotten marginally lighter/better and significantly more expensive. Do Easton alloy wheels have the same cache’ as Mavics? I always assumed no. Maybe I’m wrong, thus the price.

  18. Rear hub with a 142 x 12 is complete garbage. Pull the axle out and the freehub body and end caps fall off. Lovely. Who thought a slip fit only assembly was a good idea?

    Promptly returned these via my local shop, after Easton’s “fix” of new end caps did nothing to help the situation. Never again an Easton hub.

What do you think?