There have been some pretty great products coming out of Easton lately and after getting hands on with the Haven wheels (26 and 29er) we were interested to see how the other Haven components stack up. I got a chance to check out the Haven bars, stem, and seatpost recently and this is my review.
This year Easton introduced Haven bars, stems, and seat posts to go along with the high power wheels intro’d last year. Not only does this allow riders to put together a cohesive look for custom builds but the company is also building on the high quality finishes and materials (uni-directional carbon and Easton aluminum) found on the wheelsets. The upshot: matched graphics and anodizing plus even more ultra-precise machine work .
Haven Carbon bars
The Haven Carbon bars weigh in at a svelte 170 grams which is pretty good considering they’re lighter than some XC alloy bars yet stronger than many DH bars. With a 711mm width and a low rise of 20mm, these are ready for some serious steering. The Haven bars are offered with a clamp diameter of 31.8mm and feature a near perfect 9°degree back bend with a 5° degree up-sweep which leaves my wrists pretty straight on the bar with just a slight inward twist.
Compared to other carbon bars on the market, Easton didn’t waste resin to flash a fancy weave on the outside; instead, the uni-directional fiber construction yields a smooth matte finish. What makes this bar so light and strong is the taper wall construction which varies the wall thickness along the bar. Also found in Havoc and EA series bars, tapered walls are thicker where stresses are greater and thinner where there’s not as much stress. As an added benefit, the bar doesn’t feel overly stiff. At $160 MSRP, this is definitely a premium cost for a lightweight bar.
The all new, all-mountain Haven stem takes everything Easton knows and tosses it into this lightweight yet strong stem. Using their proprietary CNC aluminum, Easton pulled out all the stops to make this jewel for your ride. The highly machined (both in a out) stem uses Easton’s tried and true 4-bolt top lock technology (where the top edge of the stem and face plate meet), ensuring very little stress on the bar at that point. Easton claims this design has the best stiffness to weight ratio to date.
The stem comes in four lengths to best suit your needs and body style (55mm, 70mm, 85mm, 100mm) with a 0° degree rise (sorry no choice there). Like the bars, this stem is only offered with a 31.8mm clamp diameter. Depending on the length, the stem weight varies from 143 grams and up. With two color choices (either black with mag cap or mag with black cap) you can match up your ride and look pretty smart. $105 MSRP.
Haven carbon seat post
The final item on the list is the Easton Haven carbon seat post. I’m pretty sure many of you are thinking a carbon post on a AM bike is a little crazy – but believe it or not this post is stronger than the aluminum counterpart. Once again Easton went to great lengths manipulating the tubing thickness to get the maximum strength into this taper-walled constructed unit.
Unlike the EC90 post which is totally carbon (minus the bolts), the Haven has an ingenius featherweight alloy top cap that resembles the landing gear support braces on a jet. Using the same two-bolt design allows for an index-free, infinitely adjustable saddle. Weighing in at 240 grams (31.6mm x 400mm), this post is about 50 grams heavier than the EC90 but to put that into perspective, only 10 grams heavier than the lightest post RaceFace has to offer. So I would have to say that the Haven is very light for AM or even for a trail bike for that matter. With three diameters (27.2mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm) and a 0° degree set back, this should fit a large selection of bikes out there today. Of course all this high technology has a cost: $140 MSRP.
Well once the gear arrived from Easton it took very little time to get everything installed. Because the gear is carbon or is being attached to carbon, it’s essential to apply the correct amount of torque. I always use my Topeak D-torq DX wrench to apply the correct amount of force to every bolt. The very last thing I want to do is crush the carbon… that would be bad.
With the stem and bar it’s a matter of following the clear instructions supplied by Easton. Do yourself a favor and pick up a good quality carbon grease while you’re at it, preferably one that does not use “grit” in it to provide friction. A Carbon grease like Motorex is a great idea to prevent slip and it reduces the amount of torque needed to get things tight. The key thing to remember with carbon gear, especially with seat posts, is to make sure there are no metal burs on your seat tube that may scratch or damage the carbon. Double check before installing anything.
On the trail
On the trails I really enjoy the feel of carbon. As stiff as it can be, a properly designed fiber-oriented bar really takes the sting out of the hits and these Haven components are no exception. The 711mm bar with the 55mm zero-rise stem is a perfect width / reach for my 5.5″ Opus Clutch. The shorter stem and wider bar helps me breathe better and keeps me a bit more upright and back on the bike. When conditions get rough I have ample control over the front wheel without going over.
I really love the fact that even on those long rides my hands don’t get fatigued thanks to the combination of the natural vibration dampening of the bar and optimal bend. Over the duration of the test the bars, stem, and seat post never came out of adjustment or slipped in any way. Even with rocks and debis flying about, the finish never got damaged despite an over the bar experience (or two). I did a bar tap or two on some saplings on a tight trail but nothing that caused too much alarm. The wider bars are definitely a good choice for an amazing amount of steering control.
I would like to thank the folks at Easton for sending down the gear for review.