Easton has gone through some serious changes over the past year, but these hoops have remained solid and true despite repeated abuse. Though the EC70 Trail 29 wheels are discontinued, they were solid enough and indicative of what you can expect from the iconic cycling brand.
Easton EC70 Trail 29 Features:
- Unidirectional carbon fiber layup
- Hand-built and acoustically tuned
- 20mm internal / 25.5mm external rim width
- Straight-pull spokes
- 24-3x spoke pattern
- Optional XD Driver (tested)
- Front Hub: M1, QR or 15mm
- Rear Hub: M1, QR or 142×12
- Warranty: 2 years
- Weight: 1460 grams
- Price: $1850 (much less currently at competitivecyclist.com)
Trailworthy carbon hoops
I mated the Easton EC70 wheels to a Santa Cruz Tallboy CC and found them to be perfectly-suited to the trail abuse I ended up dishing out. For starters, the stealth black look of the wheels looked awesome with the black Tallboy. But, the beauty of these wheels isn’t merely skin-deep, they are a versatile, lightweight set of wheels that I’ve loved whipping around the local singletrack.
Nothing drags a bike down more than a set of flimsy, flexy wheels. I’ve ridden some awesome bikes that have been almost unbearable due to the flex exhibited by the wheels. The EC70’s feature Easton’s renowned carbon fiber layup process and are meticulously-made.
Both front and rear hubs are oversize and add to the stiffness of the overall package. My M1 rear hub came with a standard cassette driver, which I switched to a SRAM XD for XX1 use. The process of swapping out endcaps and drivers is straightforward and simple. After about 15 min, I was ready for a brand new XX1 cassette.
The only miss on these wheels is that they don’t come tubeless-ready out of the box. In today’s world of wheels, that’s a major whiff, but ended up being a non-issue — read on.
EC70’s spin up and take abuse
I’m a climber and love to ascend hard and fast. Some of my favorite trails are medium-pitched grinders that I can power through at a high speed. Spinning up and maintaining speed is essential and the EC70’s were always willing dance partners. Standing sprints were always met with lateral stiffness you can only get with carbon wheels. These things never once felt flexy under load and were especially fast when climbing.
When pointed downhill, not once did I think, “are those wheels flexing?” Not once… ever. I pushed these wheels hard on flow trails and did my fair share of poor landings into chattery corners and not once did these wheels exude anything other than quiet confidence.
Another benefit of carbon hoops is how quiet they run. Rocks and trail scree don’t ever cause an aluminum chorus — instead they just thud right off. It’s all just superficial scratches here-and-there with nothing to detract from the good looks or performance of these hoops.
While these rims aren’t the widest on the market, they are wider than some lightweight hoops. We’re seeing XC wheels hitting 22mm internal width and nearly every one of them are tubeless-ready. Wider internal widths means straighter sidewalls and better traction. Since these weren’t tubeless-ready, I just went with tubes and called it good. Honestly, I didn’t miss having to fuss with sealant and tire inflation all the time. The tubeless issue went away quickly, but I could have dropped some weight and improved traction had these been tubeless-compatible.
- Low price and low weight carbon hoops
- Burly M1 hubs look awesome and provide stiffness
- Proven durable over time
- Lateral stiffness on par with the best rims tested
- Easily-changed endcaps and cassette driver
- Not tubeless-ready
- Discontinued — could be hard to find
- 20mm isn’t all that wide for trail wheels
The Bottom Line: Easton EC70 Trail Wheels
The EC70’s have proven worthy. I’ve loved them for hundreds of miles and have found them to be capable and durable. They spin up fast and don’t flex– even when pressed hard. On top of that, they smooth out trail chatter and they look pretty sexy to boot. Not being tubeless ready out of the box is was the only thing dragging these down.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com (approx $1000/set)