Easton’s new Haven carbon wheels are getting all the attention these days, but riders looking for a solid set of wheels for downhill and freeride applications would do well to take a look at Easton’s Havoc DH wheels. First impressions of these wheels have them riding and performing as good as they look. The no-nonsense black and red graphics compliment almost any ride, and the straight pull spoke design has been proven to create a solid structure with minimal stress points. Each component of the wheels is well put together, as is expected with a wheel set at this price point and caliber. While these wheels are intended for the rigors of world cup level competition, they are lean enough to weigh in at a respectable claimed weight of 2295g.
The straight pull spokes are single butted, and retain a large 2.3mm diameter near the hub before tapering to 2.0mm on the outer part of the spoke. The concept behind the single butting was to retain spoke material close to the hub for a strong and stiff wheel that would accelerate and brake quickly, but minimize the rotating weight. First impressions of the wheels back that up. They get up to speed fast and feel solid, even when braking in burly terrain. Thankfully, brass spoke nipples are utilized instead of alloy. Alloy nipples save weight, but in my experience, an aggressive rock banging riding style doesn’t mesh well with them. Brass nipples are also less prone to stripping out and causing maintenance issues down the road.
Black and red graphics are classic. Photo: J. Van Horn
Easton makes a standard Havoc wheel set for those looking for something that will work with 15mm, 20mm, and quick release compatibility for the front hubs. The standard Havoc rear wheel also has 135mm rear spacing. Utilizing a similar hub design as the Havoc all mountain wheels, the DH hubs have a clean finish and smooth lines. However, the rear hub is set up with a 150x12mm thru-axle for dedicated DH use, and matched to a 20mm dedicated front hub. White and red graphics are printed on the hub shell that match the graphics on the rims. On the inside, the front hub features an additional cartridge bearing on the rotor side to handle the higher stress loads created by the current crop of DH specific brakes. The rear places the double row bearing on the drive side where it is needed to handle drive train forces.
Diagram of the Havoc Hubs. Image: Easton.
The rims feature a 32mm outer width and are strong enough that only 28 spokes are used. The rims are 28mm wide on the inside and the wide 32mm outer width mount up easily and offer a nice tire profile. A red rim strip is included with the wheels.
Easton builds each of their wheels by hand, as opposed to using a wheel building machine. Both wheels arrived in true, and spoke tension looked even all the way around.This is of course to expected when you buy a high end set of wheels. Downhill and Freeride mountain bikers expect their gear to work, run after run. Installing rotors, tires and a cassette went quickly and painlessly on our Session 88 test bike. You gotta love it when it’s as easy as plug and play.
To date, we’ve put a few rides in at our local DH trails, as well as a solid session on the freeride stunts and jumps of Post Canyon, in Hood River, Oregon. So far the wheels ride great, we’re stoked. Everything is still running true, and spoke tension has remained consistant. The pacific northwest is currently undergoing nonstop wet weather, so we’re also putting a hurt on the bearings. Stay tuned for a follow up post in a few months with an update of how the wheels hold up.
Easton Havoc front wheel, post ride. Photo: J. Van Horn
- Color: Black
- Claimed Weight: 2295g
- Wheel Size: 26″
- Hub/Brake Compatibility: 6-Bolt Disc
- Front Axle Type: 20mm Thru
- Rear Hub Spacing: 150mm
- Rear Axle Type: 12mm Thru-axle
- Spokes: 28 spokes
- Spoke Style: DT Single-butted 2.3-2.0 black
- Rim Width (outside-outside): 32mm
This article originally ran on mbaction.com
For more info on Easton wheels, head over to EastonBike.com