Just to be clear: these are not the Havoc DH wheels but rather a lightweight option that a race-oriented rider would want. The Havoc DH wheels are available if you are interested in a pair of heavy-duty hoops.
The Havoc 150 USTs tip the scales at a mind-blowing 1870 grams–so I felt a bit of trepidation tossing on a set of wheels that are as light as most trail wheels. But seeing how well the Havoc USTs held up on my freeride bike, I had to see how they would work on my much faster DH rig.
Santa Cruz V10C Test Bike.
The Easton Havoc UST 150 is sold as rear-only or as a set. The Havoc 150 uses the same 23mm inner width/28mm outer width rim as the Havoc, but features a 12x150mm spaced rear hub (157mm adapters included).
The rim material is Easton’s own EA90 aluminum and is welded together at the seam with a final grinding to finish. Holding this all together are 28 straight-gauge spokes in the rear and 24 double-butted Sapim spokes in the front with Easton’s proprietary alloy nipples (that are still compatible with standard spoke wrenches).
As with the regular Havocs, you have a choice of the bold orange anodized hub (with matching graphics on the rims) or the stealthier gray version that doesn’t stand out as much (if that is even possible–these are Easton wheels after all).
The Havoc 150 features the same 3 cam pawl freehub body as the previous 135mm version I reviewed not too long ago, and still has the same smooth feeling and quiet operation. A tight 7° resolution on the freehub makes for lightning-fast engagement of the cassette when you just have to fit one more pedal stroke in.
Installing UST tires on these wheels was a snap. I tossed on a set of Fat Alberts as well as a set of Big Bettys with no issues at all. Despite being UST, I still added about 4oz of Stan’s for added security, which is always good to do. To make things easy I also sprayed a small amount of soapy water around the beads of the rim when pumping up the tires. At just 12 PSI I had both sides of the tires snap over the safety ridges, nice and secure.
Out on the Slopes
On the slopes, my very first impression was OMFG wow! I can’t believe how fast and nimble a set of these make a bike! The reduction in mass is very noticeable over a 2000 gram set. And it wasn’t just my opinion – all the guys who had a go on the bike with these wheels felt the same.
We were all very impressed with the rate at which the bike can accelerate, brake, and corner. I did find a small amount of lateral flex, especially when hitting the bermed corners, but nothing that really made me worry. I was equally impressed that the wheel held up very well despite my 200lb riding weight. Don’t get me wrong, I cringed more than once when entering some rock gardens, thinking I was going to be eating a spoke-and-rubber sandwich, but fortunately that was not the case.
I did have a slight warp start to come on after some hard hits, but nothing a few tweaks of the spokes couldn’t handle. That could have very well happened when I didn’t check my pressure and ran it too low for a day or two (note: always check your pressures before you ride).
So who are these wheels really for? Well, if you’re a hucker who plans on running every run like it’s your last, and regularly says “Hey guys! Watch this!” (while your buddies have their fingers on the speed dial for 911), then these are not for you. Easton still sells the Havoc DHs for that.
If you are a racer or a fast rider who wants the absolute lightest set out there (without spending the equivalent of some third world countries’ GDP), then these are for you. Easton has produced a truly usable set of great wheels for your DH rig with 150mm rear spacing.
These wheels cost $1000 USD for the pair and are worth the investment. The price is about mid-scale as far as wheels go (today carbon wheels are the top shelf items), and they run in direct competition with Mavic, Sun-Ringle, I9, Fulcrum and others. These really give everyone else a tough run for the money!
Stay tuned for a mid-season report after my visit to Mountain Creek Bike Park.
I would like to thank the folks at Easton for sending these wheels down for review.