Interbike is basically like a strip-club where you aren’t allowed to touch any of the dancers. This year I got all worked up seeing the latest from Easton but left the show feeling pretty unsatisfied. After flipping through the catalog hundreds of times and burning up the Easton website I finally got a chance to test the goods for myself.
Easton hooked me up with a component trifecta that’s geared toward all-mountain / freeride / DH rigs. Most of us don’t realize it but handlebars, stems, and seat posts need updating and/or replacing every few years, particularly if they’re abused day in and day out (guilty). Fortunately Easton has just the ticket: the Monkeylite DH bar (now in 750mm width), the 65mm Havoc stem, and the Havoc two bolt seat post. These products alone or together offer the perfect complement to your long travel mountain bike.
First on the block is the MonkeyLite DH bar (MSRP $150). The first thing you’ll notice about the 2010 MonkeyLite DH is the new graphics and flat white center. More importantly you also now have a choice of either 750mm or a slightly narrower 711mm version. The DH bar weighs around 230 grams which means it’s still lighter than most bars and incredibly strong. You get a very comfortable 9° back sweep which keeps your wrists fairly straight rather than twisted.
You also get a 5° upsweep which I noticed reduces fatigue when turning (that little amount of rise rotated my wrists slightly towards the center of the bike and made me use more triceps). The 40mm rise placed my body in just about the right spot for hitting the slopes, reducing that unsettling “over the wheel” feeling. Since this is a carbon bar you’ll notice reduced sting from taking hits. Carbon allows the bar to flex without transmitting the full force of rocks, logs and drops through the bar.
The Havoc DH stem (MSRP $85) comes in white or black this year and has new graphics as well. There are three lengths to choose from (50mm, 65mm, or 80mm) and each sports a 10°rise. The Havoc stem is made from 6061 aluminum making it durable enough for the demanding rider without worrying about it breaking. I chose the 65mm stem (203 grams) which is not the lightest I’ve seen but I’m definitely willing to trade off a little extra weight for improved durability. The four bolt front cap was made as wide as possible to evenly distribute clamping forces, making it safe for carbon bars as well. The double pinch bolt at the steering tube is really a must for the all-mountain / freerider crowd. This is a very stiff unit that’s a great addition to any front end overhaul.
NOTE: whenever installing stems or bars, always refer to manufacturer info for torque specifications and sequences. Failure to do so may permanently damage the stem and bar.
The double bolt Havoc seat post (MSRP $80) is the third piece of the all-mountain pie. At about 285 grams for the 350mm unit you’re getting an Easton EA70 aluminum tapered wall unit that can take a ton of abuse. Available in four sizes (27.2, 30.0, 30.9, or 31.6mm), the post will fit almost any MTB seat tube out there. The killer feature here is that you can switch between either 7mm or 8mm rails by orienting the clamp plates. Perfect for those saddles with beefier rails!
The double bolt design allows you to easily set up your seat angle and provides a strong clamping area to prevent saddle movement. I did find the angle of the bolts a little annoying because I couldn’t use a tee-handle Allen key and ended up using a slower L-shaped tool. On the bike and hitting trails the seat post held up great with no creaking and no slipping of the saddle position – a definite plus.
Overall the fresh new graphics, solid construction, and trouble-free installation of all these components make them a great choice for updating your all-mountain rig. Bring all three into the champagne room with you the next time you’re out!
Thanks to the folks at Easton for providing the components for review.