It started with the Arc rims, offering three widths to suit everything from cross country to all mountain riding. Now, they’ve taken those rims and built them into very affordable wheels that are built to take full advantage of bigger, meatier tires and the more aggressive riding those tires allow.
The new Easton Heist wheels come in 29er and 27.5″ sizes, with internal rim widths of 24, 27 and 30 millimeters. They’re laced 3-cross to new X5 hubs, with 28 double butted spokes per wheel and silver brass nipples holding them in place. All of the spokes -front and rear, drive and non-drive side- are the same length, too, and the wheels come with five spares to make repairs quick and easy.
But you’ll have to earn those repairs with some hard ridin’…
EASTON HEIST WHEEL DETAILS
The rim profile is rounded with a slightly pointed section at the center.
They’re drilled, unlike the solid rim channel of the Haven and Havoc, so rim tape is required, but they ship with it and tubeless valve stems preinstalled.
There’s a slight bump before the bead seat flattens out, and the bead hook is present but minimal. The rims are welded alloy with an upscale brushed metal finish and no visible seam.
The new X5 hubs get a sleeker look than the X4 used on some of their other MTB wheels, but still roll on a standard sealed cartridge bearing setup over a full width axle. The end caps slide over the axles, so they’re supported by more than just flanges sticking into the hubs.
They use 6-bolt rotor mounts and ship with thru axle end caps installed. Front axle caps fit very snug but can be removed without tools if you have a hulk-like grip.
The rear’s non-drive axle cap pulls off by hand, then you’ll need an oversized allen wrench and cone wrench to remove the drive side cap. There’s no preload adjustment available or necessary.
Inside are three pawls making a connection with 21 teeth (~17º of engagement).
The wheels are aimed at XC to all-mountain, so axle options are QR or 15mm front / 12×142 rear. No 20mm front is offered for the Heist line.
The XD Driver Body equipped wheels are a standalone SKU for them, so your shop can order it ready to go rather than having to add the XD piece on at additional expense.
The wheels ship with five extra spokes and QR, thru axle and XD Driver Body end caps.
Retail is $700 (€650 / £449.98) regardless of wheel size or width, which includes everything you need to mount them up and hit the trail. Available in July.
ACTUAL WEIGHTS & WIDTHS
As claimed, the inside width of our Heist 27 test wheelset measured out at exactly 27mm if not a hair over.
Outside width is 31mm, and height is 20mm.
For comparison, the Haven 29er measures 21mm inside. Their DH proven Havoc only measures 23mm wide inside, making the Heist their widest wheels yet.
I used this to compare mounted tire widths for a Continental Mountain King Protection 29×2.2 and 29×2.4, here’s the results:
The 2.2″ tire measured 51mm (2.0″) on the Haven and 54.5mm (2.15″) on the Heist.
The tire takes on a slightly rounder shape on the narrower rim and slightly flatter shape on the Heist. Just slightly, though, and well within what I’d consider normal and safe.
The 2.4″ tire measures 55.5mm (2.17″) on the Haven and 58mm (2.28″) on the Heist. Not quite the 2.4 I was hoping for, but certainly closer.
About the same visual roundness difference here, too. On ultra wide rims, we’ve seem serious flattening of the tread section, leading to weird, square looking tire profiles that change the handling substantially. Tailor your tire’s width to the right rim and you’ll be able to hit that sweet spot of perfectly rounded knob coverage, which is one of the benefits of Easton’s three-width lineup. For tires that run true to size or wider, I’d opt for the 30mm for a 2.3″ or larger tire. (I’ll be testing other tires on these wheels, too)
Weights with rim tape and valve stems are 866g front and 1006g rear (1,872g total with 15mm thru axle front, 12×142 rear and XD Driver Body). Claimed weights for the line are:
- 27.5″ – 1,650g (24) / 1,750g (27) / 1,790g (30)
- 29er – 1,730g (24) / 1,840g (27) / 1,880g (30)
- Hubs – 135g (front) and 285g (rear), claimed with thru axles
- Rims – see Arc post for more rim details, these are the same
My review wheels (29er Heist 27) were set up with a Continental X-King 2.4 on the rear and Mountain King 2.4 up front, both with Orange Seal sealant inside. One seated itself using only a Lezyne Alloy Dirt Floor Drive, a high volume mountain bike specific floor pump. The other required a compressor, but popped into place instantly.
The first thing I noticed were the looks. Other than the nipples, they’re blacked out. Mostly, anyway. The logos are a subtle gray that don’t grab undue attention.
The decals are just that, standard decals. Unlike the water slide graphics on some of Easton’s other wheels, these appear to be removable if you wanted to go really stealth.
I initially ran the tires with around 18-19psi, which is very low pressure for my riding weight of about 195-200 pounds. But Conti’s Protection casings are stout, so it felt right at the trail head. At that pressure, they squirmed slightly but never slipped or burped. And that’s one of the benefits Easton claims comes from wider rims – the ability to run lower pressures without adverse effects. Even so, I pushed it up to about 22-23psi and it felt better without losing traction.
As expected from a 28-count, 3-cross build, the wheels are plenty stiff in the corners. Steering is predictable and acceleration snappy. So far they behave lighter than their weight (and the almost 1,700g of tires) should. They spin smooth…
…and quiet. Almost silent at first, with a bit more of the usual whir coming in near the end of my first ride. Still, much quieter than most.
No wheel slop or play was evident, but it was extremely difficult to get my rear Maxle through the hub. I’ve had some issues with that Maxle before, though, so it needs further inspection before blame is laid anywhere.
I usually run 2.2 tires, so I was curious how 2.4 tires on wider rims would fit inside my Niner JET 9 RDO. It’s equipped with a Manitou Tower fork (which is dead simple and severely underrated, BTW). Granted these Conti’s still don’t measure out to a proper 2.4″ wide, but there’s room to spare.
Same in the rear, for both seatstays and chainstays.
First impressions are good. As soon as the standard freehub body arrives, I’ll swap that in and these wheels will move over to the more aggressive RIP 9 for some bigger trail days and a proper long term