Easton Haven Carbon 27.5" Wheelset Wheels

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Tested: Easton Haven Carbon 27.5 Wheelset

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Fred Robinson and Dan Summers

For 2015, Easton Cycling came in swinging with their new Haven Carbon 27.5 wheelset. Aimed directly at the Enduro crowd, the new carbon wheels share quite a few similarities to their alloy counterpart, also dubbed Haven. The carbon rims save you a whopping 220g over the alloy version and boost the stiffness slightly. But with all that saved weight, where do the new wheels stack up in terms of durability? Pure race wheelset, or something weekend warriors will want on their trail bike? Read on to find out.

Haven Carbon 27.5 Highlights

  • Wheel Size: 27.5-inch (650b)
  • Wheelset Weight: 1,500g (3-pounds, 4.9-ounces)
  • Finish: Matte Carbon / Water Transfer Graphics
  • Type: UST Tubeless Carbon Clincher
  • Rim: Armored Ballistic Composite,

Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Fred Robinson and Dan Summers

For 2015, Easton Cycling came in swinging with their new Haven Carbon 27.5 wheelset. Aimed directly at the Enduro crowd, the new carbon wheels share quite a few similarities to their alloy counterpart, also dubbed Haven. The carbon rims save you a whopping 220g over the alloy version and boost the stiffness slightly. But with all that saved weight, where do the new wheels stack up in terms of durability? Pure race wheelset, or something weekend warriors will want on their trail bike? Read on to find out.

Haven Carbon 27.5 Highlights

  • Wheel Size: 27.5-inch (650b)
  • Wheelset Weight: 1,500g (3-pounds, 4.9-ounces)
  • Finish: Matte Carbon / Water Transfer Graphics
  • Type: UST Tubeless Carbon Clincher
  • Rim: Armored Ballistic Composite, 21mm Depth x 21mm Internal Width x 26mm External Width
  • Spokes: Sapim Straight-Pull / Double-Butted
  • Spoke Pattern: 24 / 3X
  • Nipples: Easton UST Alloy
  • Front Hub Type: M1 / 15X100 (Convertible 20mm x 110mm, Parts Sold Separately)
  • Rear Hub Type: M1 / 12X135/142 (Convertible to 10mm x 135QR, Parts Sold Separately)
  • MSRP: $2,200 US

Initial Impressions

First off, the Easton Haven wheelset looks killer, to say the least. Raw carbon hoops with subtle black graphics on the matte finish rims, straight-pull black spokes, black nipples and polished black hubs... damn fine. For those of you who like stealth, subdued looks that are both sharp and clean, these wheels will have you drooling.

Out of the box the bearings felt smooth and properly preloaded, spoke tension was even all around, and both wheels were completely true. Easton tensions their wheels by hand using both a tension-meter and what Easton calls their “proprietary acoustic tensioning and truing method.” Translation: they “pluck” each spoke which produces a tone, and if the tones between each spoke are identical in pitch then the tension of each spoke is also identical. It's safe to assume that whomever built our wheels wasn't tone deaf, though we didn't pull out our guitar tuner to double-check.

The internal width of the Haven rim is only 21mm wide, but it provided a nice tire profile when paired with 2.3-inch Maxxis tires.The rear hub offers 30-points of engagement, which is middle-of-the-road compared to other high-end offerings. In terms of rear hub noise, the engagement is audible but not mega-loud like some hubs, nor super quiet.

One standout feature on the Easton Havens is use of a proprietary dual-threaded nipple system which thread into the eyelets. This eliminates the need for a second hole in the tire bed. Instead of dropping nipples through the outside of the rim (the tire bed), you thread them directly into the eyelets much like a Mavic UST setup, but without the extra hardware/inserts. This makes for an extremely easy tubeless setup with no need for a rim strip, tape or even fluid (if you dare). We simply mounted our tire, threw in some sealant (we're not that daring) and inflated with a floor pump; no tape, no strips, no compressor, no hassle.

On The Trail

At only 1,500 grams for the wheelset, spin-up during acceleration felt extremely fast. Direction changes, cornering and jumping with these wheels really upped the bike's agility and nimbleness due to how light they are. The relatively low engagement of the rear hub wasn't a huge deal on the trail and never negatively impacted our rides, even on off-beat, technical climbs, though this number is one of the least appealing aspects of the wheels.

In terms of stiffness, the Havens were solid. While not as stiff are some heavier wheelsets we've ridden, we feel the balance of weight to strength is pretty spot-on for wheels in this weight category. We were a bit concerned with the low spoke-count paired with the low weight of the wheelset, but we can say they've held up well to our abuse. We did have a minor issue which knocked the rear wheel out of true on a hard rock strike, but we were easily able to pull the wheel back into true once we got the it home and into a stand. That said, the wheels have held up exceptionally well over a few months of use. We even pinch flatted at 30PSI while tubeless which spelled the end of our tire, but the rim shook it off with nothing more than a small chip in the clear coat. Pretty impressive for a 1,500 gram wheelset.

Long Term Durability

This is the main category where the Havens surprised us. As we mentioned above, we were concerned with durability in really rough terrain due to the low weight of the wheels paired with their 24-spoke count. To our surprise, they've held up great and only required some minor truing. The hub bearings have remained smooth and drag-free during our test, and the hubs themselves remain play-free without needing adjustment. These wheels seem to be in it for the long haul, and if something were to happen, Easton has you covered with a two-year, no-questions-asked warranty.

Things That Could Be Improved

The only area we could see some improvement on is the relatively low points of engagement in the rear hub. While this never really hindered us in terms of performance, it just seems that on a premium set of wheels, Easton could have managed at least the industry-standard of 36-points, if not more, providing a more crisp, precise feel at the pedals.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Easton Haven Carbon wheels are most definitely a premium wheelset, and you get that in terms of the overall package. They are extremely light-weight, extremely durable, and there's no compromise between form and function. That said, the price definitely reflects that; at $2,200 they are on the higher side of the market. When you put them up against the aluminum Haven counterpart, the two biggest differences you see are price and weight at $1,200 less and 220 grams more. While that is a substantial savings in weight over the alloy version, it comes at over double the price. If you're a serious racer or just seeking a reliable, light, and sharp-looking carbon wheelset, Easton has you covered with the Haven Carbon 27.5 wheels. If you're looking for a more utilitarian setup that shares quite a few similarities to these wheels, but are okay with added rotational weight, the alloy Haven wheelset is a great alternative.

Visit Easton Cycling for more information.


About The Reviewer

Fred Robinson, a.k.a. "Derf," has been on two wheels since he was two years old. He picked up a mountain bike in 2004 and started racing downhill in 2006. He has seen moderate success racing CAT 1 but focuses his efforts on building, maintaining and riding his local trails. He's deceptively quick for a bigger guy and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. As a SoCal native he mostly rides trails covered with loose, traction-less turns and sharp, immovable rocks. Besides downhill, he rides trail bikes, road, and also enjoys the occasional dirt jump session.

Specifications

Product Easton Haven Carbon 27.5" Wheelset Wheels
Riding Type Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Rim Material Carbon
Rim Armored Ballistic Composite 21mm internal width
Inner Rim Width 21mm
Hole Count 24 / 3x
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Rear Hub M1 / 12mm x 135mm/142mm (Convertible to 10mm x 135QR, Parts Sold Separately)
Rear Axle 10mm QR x 135mm, 12mm x 135mm, 12mm x 142mm
Front Hub M1 / 15mm x 100mm (Convertible 20mm x 110mm, Parts Sold Separately)
Front Axle 15mm x 100mm, 20mm x 110mm
Disc Mount Type
Spokes Sapim Straight-Pull / Double-Butted
Nipples Easton UST Alloy
Colors Matte Carbon / Water Transfer Graphics
Weight 3 lb 4.9 oz (1,500 g)
Miscellaneous We construct the rims from Easton’s proprietary Armored Ballistic Composite™ - a composite that significantly boosts durability and makes the Haven Carbon resilient to impacts with rocks and trail debris. Other highlights include UST tubeless compatibility and is available in every axle configuration—ensuring that any all-mountain rider or Super D racer can enjoy the Haven Carbon. Like all high-end Easton wheels, the Haven Carbon is built by hand using Easton’s proprietary acoustic tensioning and truing method. The Haven Carbon is designed for rugged conditions all-mountain riding. Mount these wheels on your favorite six-inch travel bike and ride them hard.
Price $2,000
More Info

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