With an ever-growing variety of 29er wheelsets on the market, it’s always nice to find one that gets the job done without being overly-flashy or expensive. That’s always been Easton’s schtick with their EA70 line of components and the new-for-2011 Easton EA70 XC 29er wheels are no exception.
Easton EA70 XC 29er Wheelset Features:
- 100% handbuilt
- Available in white (tested) or black
- 20mm internal rim width
- Straight-pull, straight-gauge black spokes (24 in 3x pattern)
- Compatible with 6-bolt disc rotors
- Available 9mm QR or 15mm thru-axle (tested)
- Weight: 1950 grams (pair)
- MSRP: $560 (wheelset)
Easton EA70 XC 29er Wheelset Review
We’ve come a long way when it comes to 29er wheelsets. Just a few years ago, the options were minimal and axle choices were sparse. Now, you can get 29er wheelsets in all kinds of configurations for any fork or rear dropout style on the market. And, for those with deep pockets, you can even go carbon (someday… someday). For the majority of us, we want a reliable, cost-effective set of hoops that will minimize fuss and maximize fun. That’s been the mantra of Easton’s EA70 franchise for as long as I can recall and the EA70 XC 29er wheelsets keep that vibe rolling.
I’ve been able to ride the EA70 XC’s on the Yeti Big Top 29er and have just now mounted them to a new Niner Jet 9 Al — confident that they will deliver. My experience thus far has been very positive.
For starters, the EA70’s are journeyman wheelsets for the XC and trailbike crowd. These wheels can take abuse and not flinch, but they do have their limits (which my age and riding style precludes me from doing). My ability to put the hurt on a set of wheels went away with my 7-inch travel freeride bikes back in the day. But, the EA70 XC’s aren’t made for hard-core stuff, rather they are built to tackle the terrain you and I obsess over every day. I’m talking about technical climbs, fast and flowy descents, rock drops, epic all-day adventures… you know, that kind of stuff.
The most impressive thing about the EA70’s is the overall value. At 1950 grams per pair, they aren’t the lightest wheels on the market, but once you get on the trail, you won’t mind the extra grams. I’ve been rolling with some meaty Specialized Purgatory 2.2’s without a hitch. I have no need to run UST, but I suppose I could go the Stan’s route if I really wanted to. As it is, I gladly opted for the tubed route and had no issues.
My configuration is the white rims with 15mm front hub and standard 135mm rear spacing. The front hub is not really interchangeable. Well… it is, but it takes an Easton tech to swap between axle sizes (probably the biggest downer of these wheels). I typically have a variety of forks throughout the year, so that causes issues for me, but for most people, you just choose one and go for it. In my mind, 15qr is the way to go — especially with RockShox now producing the SID and Reba with that standard.
The best way to describe these wheels is to call them invisible. We all know a poorly-built pair of wheels when we ride them. Cornering feels uncertain, acceleration is delayed and truing becomes a nightly activity. With the EA70 XC’s, I just rode. I rode uphill (a lot) and I rode them downhill on rough, rocky terrain and they remain as true as the law of gravity.
The hubs aren’t anything flashy, but the engagement has been solid and predictable. Available in standard 6-bolt pattern only, these hubs do look a little wimpy, but have performed admirably. The rear quick release has smooth action. As you spend more, you do get higher-quality and lighter hubs with smoother bearings, etc. These worked well, but I have ridden smoother-running hubs, however they have been twice the price. So, in reality, it’s a non-issue.
I’ve yet to push these wheels past their limits and I’m not sure I realistically could. They track well, accelerate well and have been quiet partners on miles of singletrack.
Good EA70 XC 29er Wheels:
- Possibly the best value in wheels at this price
- Wide enough to handle 2.2’s with ease
- Durable white finish
- No acceleration lag
- Engagement was solid, predictable
- Lateral stiffness was superb
Bad EA70 XC 29er Wheels:
- Wish they were a tad lighter
- Brass nipples (again a weight issue)
- Inability to swap front axle type
Bottom Line: Easton EA70 XC 29er Wheels
The EA70 XC 29er wheelsets are a no-brainer. You can’t go wrong with their utility and you won’t have to fuss over them nightly. You’ll definitely agree that they are essentially invisible — thus allowing you to enjoy the ride and not think about how crappy your wheels corner when pushed hard. The EA70’s definitely hit the mark.
Buy Now: Easton Wheels at CompetitiveCyclist