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By Matt Thompson
Disclaimer:  I only mountain bike for fun.  While I’ll acknowledge I enjoy the ancillary fitness and anti-fatness benefits from riding cross-country, I ride my bike for F-U-N.  I rarely let acquaintances take me on a new ride because I often don’t enjoy their idea of a “great trail” (it’s usually way too smooth and way too wide, with lots of boring shit in the middle).  To me, riding mountain bikes is about pushing my personal limits, seeing how fast I can hit corners and rough terrain.  This, to me, is fun.  Now for the bad part: I’m really not that great at it and my riding is rarely called “smooth” by on-lookers or my friends. I digress.

I recently strapped a set of Easton Haven Carbon wheels on my trusty XC steed as a favor to Vital. Seems they needed someone hack-like to give them a go in the real world. Here you go:
Reviewer, Matt Thompson, has been a staple of the Rocky Mountain bike scene for well-over a decade.Out of the Box
Initial impressions of these things are simple – they’re damned beautiful.  A wonderful matte carbon finish with subtle Easton graphics will appeal to all but the neon-clad pajama set (I might add they perfectly complemented the matte carbon finish of my Santa Cruz BLTc).  The straight-pull hubs sport a unique magnesium color that should work well on almost any bike too.  Classy.
The Easton Haven Carbons on Matt's Blur LTc trail bike.Setup
Although these hoops are really made for tubeless application, I ran tubes, as I couldn’t be bothered to mess with the goo. At 215 pounds, I really have no room to complain about the extra weight from a couple tubes. Tubes or not, there were no issues getting tires mounted or unmounted to the rims.  We’re set to hit the trail.
The Easton Haven Carbons on Matt's cNomad, the set up he used to race downhill at Sea Otter.Ride Experiences
On trail, I’ll admit to initially not really feeling blown away. I mean, they’re wheels. The spokes were tight and they rolled. This isn’t a bad thing. As soon as I had a chance to get up to speed though, I started to really appreciate what these babies were all about. I began to understand what the term “less rotating mass” really meant. It was easier to get back up to speed out of corners and my bike accelerated faster from slow speeds.
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     Soon though, I forgot about what wheels I was running and found myself back into normal trail riding mode which, for me, means looking for stuff to jump and stuff to run in to. I began to notice just how laterally stiff the hoops are. This inspired confidence and provoked me to start smashing into berms just a little harder than normal. Indeed, I was having fun.
Did we mention Matt is a 215lb pro downhill rider? He's not easy on the product he runs. Sea Otter DH G-out.     I’ve been pounding around on these wheels for a while now and am very impressed.  I put them on my Carbon Nomad and raced the Sea Otter downhill. I didn’t blanch when I cased a 25 foot double jump.  I never flinched when I was blasting through a 6 foot tall berm and feeling the skin pulled tight on my face from the G-forces. I’ll admit I did freak out the other day when I came over a blind rise on a trail I know well and found myself encountering a displaced baby head in the middle of the track. A very unfamiliar noise (I’m only used to the sound of aluminum on stone, not carbon), followed by an immediate merge to the side of the trail revealed no damage to the rim and no flat tire.  I care not to speculate why.
Matt swapped out the original rear skewer for a Control Tech bolt-on version.Critique
Because this is a review, I feel compelled to nitpick. I don’t like skewers. I wish every frame was made for thru-axles. I was not very impressed with the rear skewer that came with these wheels.  It creaked under extreme side-load unless I used pliers to help me get it closed. A quick switch to a Control Tech bolt-on skewer solved this problem.
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Let’s tie this up. The Easton Haven Carbons are dead sexy, light as hell, and stand up to mega-abuse from a hack like me. Yeah, they’re expensive. So what? I reckon they’ve already saved me from at least one new rim and a re-lace and tension job that would surely frustrate me to no end. Since these wheels have a two-year, no questions asked warranty, that's worth a lot of wheel rebuilds.
     You see, I’m a mountain biker; and I like to have fun.  I don’t want to spend time fixing stuff that should have held up under  “normal” duress.  I’m busy with a job, a son, and a wife.  I just want to ride when I have a chance.  And make the most of it.  These wheels allow me to do just that.

Vital Stats about Easton Haven Carbon Wheels
Price: $1175 front, $1275, rear
Weight: 1450g
Rim Type: Clincher / UST
Rim Material:Armored Ballistic Composite
Internal Rim Width: 21mm
External Rim Width: 26mm
Spokes: Sapim 2.0/1.7/2.0 BLACK
Front Spoke Pattern: 24-3X
Rear Spoke Pattern: 24-3X
Front Hub: Easton M1 / 6-Bolt Disc Type Only
Front Axle Options: 9x100QR, 15x100, 20x110 (tested)
Rear Hub: Easton M1 / 6-Bolt Disc Type Only
Rear Axle Size: 10x135QR (tested), 12x135/142
Bearings: Cartridge

Visit www.eastoncycling.com for more information on Haven Carbon Wheels

How Easton Haven Carbon Wheels are Made
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