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.