On Test: Easton EA70 XCT 29er Wheels

After a comedy of errors getting the correct pair of wheels to fit my ride, complicated by how insanely back-ordered the EA70 29er wheels are, I finally have a pair of these UST hoops mounted up on my Giant Anthem X 29er.

Like all Easton wheels, these are hand-built andacousticallytuned to ensure consistent tension on all 24 spokes. Yeah right… is what you’re thinking, and I’ll admit, I was too. For science, I got out my digital guitar tuner and checked it out. Sure enough, the spokes are right on,acousticallyspeaking. (If you’re curious, The front is a G and the rear is a G on the non-drive side, and a B on the drive side)

Light and stiff for Rocky Mountain “XC” riding.

Specs

  • Hand-built and acoustically tuned
  • Alloy UST with 24 straight pull spokes (3x lacing)
  • Sealed cartridge bearings
  • No rider weight limit
  • Front is available in standard QR or 15mm thru-axle
  • Rear is available in standard QR, and 12×135 or 12×142
  • Actual weight on my scales: Front – 800 grams, Rear – 930 grams – 1,730 total
  • Also available in 26″
800 grams!

The X2 hubs are manufactured by Easton and the rear is a 3-pawl design that engages quickly. The sealed cartridge design and easyserviceability should keep themspinningsmoothly for a long time. As I already mentioned, the 24 straight pull spokes are well tensioned. This was most noticeable when I was moving the cassette and brake rotors over. My OEM Giant wheels aren’t flexy by any means, but the Eastons take spoke tension to a whole new level.

The rims are pure Easton aluminum, welded, with no breaks in the inner rim and therefore no need for a rim strip of any kind. On the outside these wheels have understated grey on black graphics that lend a clean, stealth look on the trail. The presta valve is pre-installed and attaches via a threaded collar and an O-ring. The valve cores are notremovable, however the wholevalveis easily removed in case you need to install a tube due to a flat. I’ve experienced this first hand as I cut a sidewall on my front tire and had to get creative to finish the ride.


Before and after … The Eastons would look incredible on this frame!

With a pair of brand new folding GEAXSaguarotires andsomeTrue Goo sealant, these mounted right up and seated on the first try with the aid of my air compressor (watch for a review of the GEAX tires as well). With a few rides on them already, the stiffness andlight weight are very noticeable improvements over my stock wheels.

My first ever tubeless wheel … Yay!

Easton has these listed at $750 but they are back-ordered due to popularity with bike manufacturers as an OEM wheel. Watch for them popping up on 2013 bike models, or grab a pair now from your favorite online retailer for around $600. So far I have been very impressed, and I’ll be continuing to put them through their paces here in the Rocky Mountains to see how well they hold up as a wheel for both trail riding and racing.

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