Easton EA90 SLX tubeless road wheels review

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£899.98

Easton EA90 SLX is a no-nonsense road tubeless wheel

BikeRadar verdict

4 out of 5 stars

"A light and durable tubeless option with wide rims"

Monday, January 6, 2014 10.00am By

Easton’s tubeless EA90 SLX is a great all-around road wheelset that easily held up to the rigours of aggressive dirt-road riding and cyclocross racing under 80 to 83kg riders without so much as losing a millimeter of truness or burping any air.

Our test set weighed 1,426g (623g front, 803g rear), plus 150g for the pair of quick-releases.

  • Highs: Light, strong, durable, wide rim, relatively easy to mount tubeless tyres
  • Lows: Freehub needs oil overhaul to function smoothly in cold weather, not the most inexpensive
  • Buy if: You want a light but durable road tubeless wheelset

With an internal rim width of 18mm (22.5mm externally), the EA90s offer a solid, wide stance for tyres of 25mm or wider. Perhaps more importantly, the rims seem to strike that nice balance of easy installation and a solid, confident, tubeless seal. We tested Schwalbe One 25mm tyres at everywhere from 70 to 110psi, and Hutchinson Piranha 2 cyclocross tubeless tyres as low as 25psi without any burps or other issues.

Using Easton’s new Echo rear hub with wide-set, angular contact bearings and an inverted driver-ring/pawl configuration, the rear wheel engages quickly under pedal load. Despite rather rough care (read: powerwashing after ’cross races or muddy road rides), the hubs still spin silkily after months of use.

However, the stock grease on the freehub is not cold-weather friendly. Riding in temps at or below freezing resulted in chainsuck. This can be easily remedied by adding oil to the grease, but we would have preferred Easton use a slightly lighter viscosity freehub grease so riders don't have to mess with it.

Two more things to note: the included valve stems don’t have a removable core, so sealant has to be added into the tire itself before mounting. And while the nipples are externally located and use industry-standard wrench flats for easy truing, they use an Easton-exclusive dual-threaded design that's permanently paired with the spoke so finding replacements could be tricky.

Performance-wise, the wheels are lively and dependable. You can feel the light weight when climbing or accelerating, but they are plenty stiff when you’re out of the saddle or cornering. And the durability, in our testing at least, was good.

As with all tubeless wheels, you are saving a bit of rotational weight by swapping tubes ( 120g) for sealant ( 30g a tyre). Some argue that they can feel a smoother ride with road tubeless. But what we appreciate is the fact that flats are virtually eliminated, as small punctures are quickly sealed. Yes, you will have to top off your air at some point, but that certainly beats immediately stopping to pull a tyre and tube off a wheel, especially in cold and grimy winter conditions.

Compared to other high-end road tubeless options, they are generally lighter and competitively priced. While the £349.98 Ultegra 6700s are half the price, they weigh 1,654g. Other options include the £899 HED Ardennes Plus SL at a claimed 1,513g and the £720 Shimano C24 Tubeless at 1,482g. 

NoTubes' £850 Alpha 340 Pro has a claimed weight of 1,330g but has a rider weight limit of 190lb (86.1kg).

American Classic beats the EA90 SLX on weight, but gives up on price; the Argent Road Tubeless set we weighed at 1,400g comes in at £899.99.

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Specification

Name:
EA90 SLX road tubeless wheels (14)
Brand:
Easton
Price:
£899.98

Weight (g):
1426
Tyre Type:
tubeless
Front Wheel Weight:
623
Front Wheel Weight (kg):
803

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