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Reader Inquires About Easton EC90 XC Wheelset

James M writes

Diglloyd, I’d like to start by saying your review on the EC90 wheels was outstanding and very thorough. It seemed you’ve been very happy with the wheels, at least up till 9/22 (the end of the review). I wanted to see if you are still very happy with them or if you’d prefer a different wheel knowing what you know now? I’m in the process of buying new carbon wheels and I’ve been going back and forth with the ENVE/EC90/Haven carbon 29 wheels. I’d like to give you my breakdown on the wheels and I’d love to hear your opinion.

DIGLLOYD: I am still very happy with them, and would not switch to a heavier wheel.

First about me: I’m 160lbs and race and train XC. I’m a top level CAT2 (podium, some would argue CAT1 J) XC racer and also race 4-6 endurance events a year. I train on my road and mtb. My race bikes are also my training bikes….a 2012 Trek SuperFly 100 Carbon and a Scott Scale 29 RC. Although XC is what I primarily race I come from an dirt bike background so descending aggressively is the highlight of my rides and from time to time I do some more “all-mountain” type riding…rocks, small drops, heavy ruts.

I’m a bit of a weight weenie but If I have to give up a little weight for reliability I will.

DIGLLOYD: Dressed and fed, I am more like 175. I have detected zero evidence of any issue on rough stuff— no flex no nothing, just great handling.

I ride my Moots MootoX RSL 29er or Moots MootoX YBB 29er primarily, where flex is presumably more of an issue with 29er wheels (larger diameter), but this has not been an issue, even under aggressive descents. I have also ridden them with a 25 pound pack, and I have never noticed any wheel flex or steering issues or even spoke creak. My typical ride is 2-3 hours and 3400 vertical feet.

So on paper, the Easton EC90 XC 29er looks like the favorite but I haven’t entirely ruled out the Haven or ENVE

EC90 XC:
Pros: lightest, good warranty, UST with a sealed rim
Cons: not the “no questions asked” warranty, 19mm rim width (this is kind of a big one but not a deal breaker, with the way I like to ride I wish they were 21mm like my Crest), the most expensive

Haven Carbon: these are a very close 2nd and would be the obvious choice if they were just a tad lighter
Pros: GREAT warranty, UST with a sealed rim, 21mm rim width, cheapest
Cons: slightly heavier than the XC

ENVE XC:
Pros: time proven, light, offer 28 or 32 hole
Cons: 19mm rim width, cost, requires rim tape

I’ve been favoring the Easton’s but I’m not ruling out the ENVE if there’s something that makes them better. If you could do it again would you still go Easton XC or would you go Haven…or maybe something different? The 19mm vs. 21mm rim width, what’s you feeling on that…have you noticed much of a difference?

DIGLLOYD: I cannot comment to what I have not used, but I am very happy with the EC90 XC wheelset, in both 26er and 29er formats. I am used to high end wheels on my road bike, and the Easton EC90 XC wheelset seems to fit the bill for MTB.

My feeling is if I get two hard years of use out of them, then it was money well spent for the enjoyment.

Easton EC90 XC front wheel

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