The Easton Haven Carbon disc front 15mm is the lightest all-mountain wheel on the market and features the first carbon rim designed exclusively for rugged trail riding. Built by engineers from the defense industry, these wheels are literally ready to go ballistic.
Strengths: Light and responsive. Fast spin up. Great tire contact for tubeless setups with no need for rim tape. Nice hubs
Weaknesses: Relatively few spokes. Uncommon nipples not carried by typical bike shops.
Overall I've really enjoyed these wheels. They were on the bike when I bought it, don't think I would have bought these otherwise. The hubs have required no maintenance. The setup for tubeless is great and the tire locks into the rim with a satisfying snap. They're extremely responsive and end up delivering a fluid riding experience. I have had a couple issues with them. One rim came apart after 3 months riding and a couple spokes have failed on the rear wheel, but both were resolved by Easton support without any headaches. I don't plan to use them as my daily wheels for me over the long term, but they do make for an awesome ride.
For reference I am coming from a set of Bontrager Rhythm Elite wheels. I am running the same tires, Maxxis High Roller UST's, 2.35 in a tubeless setup on both wheel sets.
Setup: Simple. Traditional 20mm front, 142x12mm rear setup on my wheels, all other axle options available. UST setup is fantastic. The inside of the rim is completely seamless, no holes for nipples so no need for tape. UST tires mount easily and seat the first time, even with a hand pump (this is also tire dependent). Cassette mounting is traditional. UST valves seal well against the rim.
Rotational Weight: Not as noticeable as I thought it would be, but still an improvement. During spinning I can't feel a difference, but during out of the saddle sprints, especially from low speed corners to a full sprint, it is very noticeable and the bike gets up to speed faster. Note, my tires at 900g literally weigh more than the wheels and being the furthest point on the wheels makes a big difference when it comes to rotational feeling, I think that is why I can't feel a big difference when spinning. This will sound obvious, but the lighter the tire you have the more you will notice the rotational weight advantage of these wheels.
Stiffness: By far the most noticeable difference with these wheels is the stiffness. Laterally they are so stiff that you have telepathic line choice on a technical trail. The input from your bars to the wheel, depending on your overall setup...I have easton haven carbon bars, haven 55 stem, fox 36 van and these wheels...is so fast it took a few technical rides to get used to. It's like going from a 32mm fork to a 36mm w/20mm axle in terms of front end stiffness improvement. Very direct steering, and from a rear wheel advantage it tracks very well on fast bumpy corners and berms and feels very consistent regardless of how hard I throw it into turns. Some have commented about them being too stiff, I can see how some would say that is a negative because in order to get back to the "feeling" most are used to you have to decrease tire pressure and let it take more of the impact force, which for some people is not an option because your tire will roll slower. I for one run my tires on the lower side, 23/25psi on my all mountain bike, and I have been getting used to the stiffer feeling and find it advantageous to have the tires take the deflection and not the wheel. I can really notice a difference with varying tire pressures now and can dial it in better than ever.
Rotation: This might be due to the hubs for these wheels, which may or may not have reliability issues which they are known for, so far mine have been perfect, but these things roll forever! So smooth, so straight and balanced...they just keep going.
Overall feeling: There is a slight dead feeling to the setup which carbon is notorious for. It's not a bad performance issue, just a noticeable change from materials. It's good for vibration into our hands, but also sounds quite different on big hits. Gone are the pings and they have been replaced by thuds...almost sounds like the tire is flat. Just different.
Durability: Bullet proof so far. The carbon rims have been surprisingly durable. Sure, that's what they are supposed to be like, but when you blast down a trail at almost downhill speed and fully commit to a rock studded line without issue you will sit back and nod in approval. Some, perhaps more, have had durability issues with the hubs. This seems to be a case by case basis and although Easton has said they have solved this issue I still have my reservations. This is because the "fix" is a minor axle/bearing design change, not an overall hub redesign. If you love the Easton wheels, don't let this stop you from buying them, if you're hesitant about Easton in general there are great options from Reynolds and ENVE. I have not had any issues with my hubs so far with over 200 hours of riding time. They are the updated model with the "fix".
Conclusion: I love these wheels. They are incredibly light for the abuse they are designed for. Back that up with a two year unconditional guarantee from Easton and prepare to shred on any all mountain terrain and then some without hesitation. Some will complain about the cost, they are expensive, but there are many other great wheel options out there for those that don't want to, or can't afford carbon wheels. Nothing, however, matches the weight/stiffness benefit carbon wheels can offer and in general the all mountain wheels being sold now all hover around the same price range.
Weaknesses: engagement, priced for presidents and doctors
i replaced my king/819 wheelset with this set. in the process i saved about 500g. the first thing i noticed was how stiff the wheels were. i'd felt a similar stiffness when i rode on a set of i9s. with the i9s i attributed it to the aluminum spokes. here, it's clearly the carbon. i run this setup tubeless @ roughly 25-28psi. whenever i've hit the rim on a rock or bottomed the tire out, i didn't get that same feeling that i did every time i heard the twang of an aluminum rim nailing the same obstacle. it did not trouble me that the rim took the brunt of the impact. it is a wonderful bit of confidence to have. not once have the wheels even come close to going out of true. no cracks, no chips and they hold up to scratches very well. they are, however, not perfect. their pricepoint puts them way out of most people's budget. if you can look past the price, another drawback may be the engagement. while not necessarily an issue if your current hubs are the same engagement, if you are coming from something higher, you'll definitely notice a difference. it may not be significant, but there are times that it will let you down. i have found the hubs to be reliable. i had the end caps loosen up once but after i tightened them the issue never returned. tires set up tubelessly are very difficult to unseat. the bead just gets locked into the rim and it requires quite a bit of brute strength to undo. this is only a problem if it's a problem! sealing capabilities are phenomenal.
there are custom non-carbon wheelsets that come close to the weight of this set, but they may not have the stiffness and durablity. these wheels are not for people who can't afford them. they are not a necessary upgrade. they are simply the lightest, strongest wheels an unlimited budget can afford. however, if i had to pay full retail, i wouldn't. i simply can't afford a wheelset this nice. sometimes i feel like i don't deserve them.
i can't give a perfect 5 chili rating because they are not perfect. the engagement and price are the only drawbacks i can find so far and i don't know if any wheelset is truly worth nearly 3 grand ($2799 in canada).
Similar Products Used: chris king/mavic 819, syncros ds32/hope, i9
Bike Setup: 2010 turner 5 spot
a Cross Country Rider
from Auburn, CA
Date Reviewed: December 17, 2011
Strengths: Stiff, light, roles fast, Does not flex, takes the hits
The wheels awesome. The Minuit i sat on my bike i could tell the difference. The bike felt like it had a whole new feel to it. The pedaling is super responsive. The bike is agile and when i hit the trail it was even more of a dream come true. On the climbs these wheels blow every other wheel set i have ever owned out of the water. I aint no cheap guy either. I like good quality and by far this wheel set has impressed me more than any other component i have ever bought. Every pedal stroke i made i noticed how well the energy transfers to the wheels. On uphill technical riding the bike is more nimble and maneuverable. If i was impressed with how the wheels felt while climbing just wait for the down hill review. I made one of the fastest descents i have ever made on my local trail. The wheels glided over rocks, roots, drop's, rock gardens, and small jumps. The amazing rigidity kept my tire on track. The suspension was doing all the work and i never felt any mush on my bike. It was nothing like i have ever experienced. These wheels made my ibis mojo a dream machine. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT. It is worth every penny. Props to Auburn bike works for the sweet hook up.
a Weekend Warrior
from Tahoe City, Ca, USA
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2011
Strengths: Strong, light, stiff
Weaknesses: price, getting the tire off the rim
These wheels are sick if you can afford it. Unbelievable how stiff they are in cornering. The weight reduction is obvious when you mount these up. Difficult to get the tires to release the beed. Read the instructions their is a tip to make this easyer but not by much. Lots of abuse so far and not even a wobble. impressed.