Easton EA70 SL £519.98

Wide-rimmed aluminium all-rounders

BikeRadar score 3/5

The new EA70 SL drops neatly into the mid-price range and offers a durable, conventional aluminium format take on the latest smooth-rolling, surefooted, fat-rim thinking.

Easton isn’t the first to roll out wider road rims in an alloy format. The idea is that a wider rim creates a wider contact area between tyre and road, with better support and more consistent feedback in corners. It also increases the effective volume of the tyre so it deforms more easily and rolls more smoothly and efficiently.

The EA70 uses a 22mm external, 17.5mm internal rim trough. Running them with our default Continental GP4000S test tyres there was noticeably more glide over frost-damaged tarmac, and we felt more confident taking hard and low cornering lines even in grim, grimy, wintry conditions.

The handbuilt spoking pattern – 20 front, 24 rear – is tight and precise through corners and the low rim height keeps them windproof. And even with paper-width pad clearances we haven’t had any rim rub when riding out of the saddle. Braking is also consistent and predictable in a way no carbon wheel could match.

With only a maximum 10-degree gap in drive pickup, and a reasonable if unremarkable weight, the rear wheel feels positive under power, and it’s 8, 9, 10 and 11-speed SRAM- or Shimano-compatible. It bounces off unavoidable potholes and rattles along back roads without numbing your hands.

It’s a very balanced all-round wheel that’ll flatter most bikes and riders. At 1,600g it’s heavier than similarly priced products, though, and it’s not tubeless-compatible, so you’ll have to trade up to the EA90SL wheelset if you want to try life without inner tubes.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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