Easton Havoc DH Wheels review

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Here’s one for the DH/FR crowd: the Easton Havoc DH-specific wheel set. Can you say awesome?! I can, and will. For starters, the Havoc DH wheels are reasonably priced at $799 MSRP (right now JensonUSA is selling the ’08 set for just $359). And the Havoc DH wheels aren’t just a beefed-up version of the Havoc AM: the hub design is very different and although the Havoc DH shares a similar look to the AM with straight-pull spokes, the Havoc DH front wheel has a double-rowed bearing on the braking side and a single row bearing on the non-disk side. The Havoc DH rear wheel has a whopping 4 bearings and the drive side bearing sports a double bearing row for extra strength and precision.

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When Easton set out to design these wheels, they started with a rim that is a full 32mm wide (the biggest they make) and focused on a careful design of the cross section. The designers wanted to make sure the rim was as light as they possible while maintaining great strength. Instead of designing an extra deep rim they came up with a rim design featuring stronger side walls that maintain roundness even if you do manage to pinch your wheel on a rock.

Another great design detail many riders may overlook is the way the straight-pull spokes are single-butted with a 2.3mm cross section at the base of the spoke tapering to a 2.0mm cross-section at the spoke nipple. Constructing the wheel in this manner places weight toward the center of the wheel rather than toward the outside which speeds the wheel in both acceleration and braking as well as in cornering. Running these wheels with just 28, 2.3mm butted spokes results in a wheel that is 46% stiffer than one with 36, 2.0mm spokes.

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The Easton Havoc DH hubs use high quality bearings with double rows on the braking and drive sides (front and rear, respectively). This results in a hub that’s smooth as butter in rotation and wheels that are very stiff laterally. The new and improved 7050 aluminum freehub body and drive mechanism are super durable and promise to last for years. All the bearings rotate on a new 7050 alloy tapered axle which reduces flex significantly over previous designs. Easton increased the width and the diameter of the pawl carrier to improve torque capabilities as well. Overall weight on the Havoc DH wheel set is 2,295 grams for the pair which is hard to believe based on the light ride feel.

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After installing a set of Maxxis High Roller DH tires on these wheels I was off to the slopes. I had Bob_the_Builder give these wheels a shot and after his first run he was amazed to find out how much the wheels actually weighed. Like I said before, the Havoc DH wheels feel super light and very free rolling, riding like a much lighter wheel set. Just like the Havoc DH’s little brother Havoc, these wheels also have a super smooth and quick-engaging cassette body. That fast action is great for those who also plan on using these wheels for their FR bikes running skinnies and such.

Tossing the Havoc DH wheels around the slopes, getting big air off jumps and drop downs, and railing built-up berms we always got a solid laser-like feeling without a hint of flex or fear of collapsing a wheel. The really amazing thing is how fast these wheels got up to speed and how light they felt through sudden direction changes.

The only bad thing that I encountered with my wheelset was that someone assembled my wheels with too much grease which gummed things up a bit, resulting in less than smooth operation. Fortunately all it took was five minutes to take the wheel apart to remedy the problem. Once that was taken care of there were no further issues and the cassette worked flawlessly. After a few events and runs the wheels didn’t come out of true nor did they need any tensioning. To me that is a good indicator as to how well-built the wheels are.

I have to say if you’re looking for a tough, well-built wheel that can go the distance down a slope, take a good look at the Easton Havoc DH wheel set. This is a great pair of wheels built to last! Just make sure you can take what these wheels can dish out – this is one piece of equipment that can probably take more than you can!

Specs from Easton:

Size 26 inch
Weight 2295 grams
Hubs F-28h Havoc DH 20mm dedicated
R-28h Havoc DH 150x12mm dedicated rear
Spokes DT Single-butted 2.3-2.0 black, brass nipples
Precision Handbuilt 3-cross
Nipples Black brass
Details Proprietary DH spokes are 46% stiffer than 36 2.0sg spoke, and 23% stiffer than standard Havoc 2.34/1.85/2.0 spoke.Advantage of thicker butting towards center is lower rolling inertia, 38% more area in 2.35 section as compared to 2.0 section. This makes for faster acceleration, a livelier feel and better braking

Thanks to the good folks at Easton for providing these wheels for review.


6 thoughts on “Easton Havoc DH Wheels review

  1. These wheels are an AMAZING value, especially at half price (Jenson). If I didn’t already have a good set of wheels I would defininetly get myself a set. I pounded these wheels pretty hard and took them on the muddiest ride of the year and they still roll fast and spin true. You can coast sections where you normally pedal with these wheels. It actually threw me off a bit at first but I got used to it. Nice write up.

  2. Agreed in regards to the exceptional price! I just have one question…..How do they handle hucking big ledge drops or at least some descent 5′ to 7′ flat drops (urban riding)? I have considered these wheels, but I love the WTB SpeedDisc and LaserDisc DH wheels I have now. They are very strong, stay true even on the hardest flat landings, and almost literally bombproof. My WTB FR Dual Duty wheels I have on my FR bike are pretty strong as well. How would you compare those Havocs to these I just mentioned. To replace my SpeedDisc DH wheels would run me over a grand. I am looking for something of less coin but holding the same quality & strength.

    What do you say bro?

  3. These wheels are tough…Really tough…I can’t see any problems doing what your asking. Five to seven feet should not be an issue..Now straight drop Not sure what you mean that…Usually you will have a horizontal component to it as well..But reguardless these can take it.

  4. The WTB Laserdisc DH wheels are awesome wheels too. If you need to replace them I think the 2008 Havoc DH is a great choice if Jenson is selling them for half price.
    That being said, I recommend against doing any drop over 3ft to flat. Especially if it’s to concrete. Find a transition to land on and the drop will be much smoother and more fun, plus you will break fewer parts!

  5. Yeah, I know what you mean BTB. Usually when I do urban riding I only huck off of a 3′ to 6′ ledge drop (loading dock or similar) and have 8″ travel to land on where my son has 6″ travel to land on, and of course we always make it a point to land on the back wheel first. As per the transition landings, we go out to our local FR trail to hit those, but it is more convenient and fun to urban ride at times. Yeah, I know it is harder on the bikes, wheels, and its components, but it is soooo much fun bro. Any other good FR trails besides our local one are over 100 miles away from us, so urban FR is our other ticket. Ya know what I mean. Anyways, yeah those WTB LaserDisc and SpeedDisc wheels have held out very well through the punishment given out to them and have also held true as well. I just want to make sure I am getting my monies worth like I did with my LaserDisc and SpeedDisc. I have heard good things about Havoc wheels and then saw this review in regards to the havoc DH, and I was truly stoked. Do you think that the ’08 wheels will be as good as the newer ones out now? I wonder if they sell them in 24″ wheel size as well. I like to run a 26″/24″ wheel combo when urban riding. Anyways, thanks guys for the great input and thanks element for the exceptional review as always.

    BTW BTB, great write ups on the trail building!

  6. Pingback: Fulcrum Red Fire DH Wheelset Review | Mountain Bike Blog || SINGLETRACKS.COM

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