Easton Heist 27.5" Wheelset Complete Wheel

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Tested: Easton Heist 27.5 Wheelset

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord

Earlier this year, Easton launched a new MTB rim. Available in 3 different widths, the aluminum ARC rim was made to cater to a wide range of riding styles and conditions. Shortly thereafter, Easton featured the ARC rim on the all-new Heist wheelset, a competitively priced set of hoops aimed at anything "from XC to aggressive all-mountain" - with particular focus on the latter category. The Heist is also suitable for Enduro racing, although Easton feels its flagship Haven wheelset may be the go-to choice for many riders there. We've been rocking a pair of these new wheels for almost 3 months now, and we're here to let you know how we've been getting along.

Easton Heist 30 Wheelset Highlights

  • WHEEL SIZE: 27.5” or 29"
  • WHEELSET WEIGHT (27.5"): 1650g / 1750g / 1790g
  • WHEELSET WEIGHT (29"): 1730g / 1840g / 1880g
  • FINISH: BRUSHED BLACK ANODIZE / VINYL DECALS
  • TYPE: TUBELESS READY CLINCHER
  • RIM MATERIAL: WELDED ALUMINUM
  • RIM DEPTH: 20mm
  • INTERNAL RIM WIDTH: 24mm / 27mm / 30mm
  • EXTERNAL RIM WIDTH: 28mm / 31mm / 34mm
  • SPOKES: DOUBLE-BUTTED BLACK
  • FRONT SPOKE PATTERN: 3x
  • REAR SPOKE PATTERN: 3x
  • NIPPLE TYPE: SILVER BRASS
  • BRAKE INTERFACE: 6-BOLT DISC
  • FRONT HUB TYPE: X5, 9x100QR or 15x100
  • REAR HUB TYPE: X5, 10x135QR or 12x142 REAR
  • MSRP: USD $700 / EUR €650 / UK £449.98

Easton X5 Hub Highlights

  • HUB SHELL MATERIAL (F/R): ALUMINUM
  • AXLE MATERIAL (F/R): ALLOY
  • AXLE TYPE (front): 15X100 THRU-AXLE OR 9X100 QR (STEEL KNURL RINGS ON QR ENDCAPS)
  • AXLE TYPE (rear): 12X142 THRU-AXLE OR 10X135 QR (STEEL KNURL RINGS ON QR ENDCAPS)
  • AXLE DIAMETER (front): 17MM
  • AXLE DIAMETER (rear): 15MM
  • WEIGHT (front) 135G (15X100)
  • WEIGHT (rear) 285G (12X142 SHIMANO)

Rims have been getting wider over the last couple of years or so, but rather than go all in at the wider-is-better table, Easton offers the new wheelset in 3 different configurations from 24- to 30-mm internal width. The objective here is to allow the rider to match up the rim width to his or her tire size and riding style, among other. Although if you are riding a 26" bike you are out of luck, as the Heist is only offered in 27.5" and 29". No word as yet on whether Easton is planning a Boost compatible version.

Wanting to test the new wheelset at the more aggressive end of the scale, we took delivery of a pair of the 30-mm internal width version. The Heist wheel delivers an understated but purposeful look out of the box, with subtle graphics and straight-pull spokes. Different colored decals are available should you want to spice up your bike a bit as well.

The Heist arrives tubeless ready from the factory, with rim strip and valve already pre-installed and ready to go.

As previously mentioned, the Heist wheel uses the ARC rim released earlier this year, although instead of the standard ARC's 32 spoke holes, the version featured on the Heist offers 28. Other than that, the vinyl graphics are the only difference. The rims are laced to the all-new X5 hubs using straight-pull, double-butted spokes. Our set weighed in at 1829-grams (with XD-driver, rimstrip, and valve), 39-grams above the advertised target weight of the 30-mm version.

The Heist wheel is delivered with a set of replacement end-caps to make swapping between axle standards easy, and 5 spare spokes are also included in the box. A welcome design feature, the spokes are all of the same length for the whole wheelset. The Heist keeps it real with a traditional spoke nipple interface, not as sexy as the threaded eyelet on Easton's premium Haven wheel but also probably easier to find replacement parts for out in the bush.

The X5 hub is completely new, although it builds on Easton's previous hub designs. The front hub has been optimized for 15x100 with larger bearings than previously, and the endcaps can be swapped without tools. The rear hub features a classic 3-pawl freehub design with a 21-tooth, reinforced drive ring for 17º engagement. The rear hub also features larger hub shell load bearings than Easton's M1 hub. The non-drive side cap can be swapped without tools, while the drive side cap requires a 17-mm wrench and 12-mm hex to remove. Bearing preload is set at the factory and is non-adjustable, which should hopefully spell the end of the bearing issues that plagued Easton's hub a couple of generations ago.

On The Trail

We paired up the Heists with the Maxxis High Roller 2 tire with a 2.4" casing. Even though we ran the non-tubeless version of the tires, they were (very!) easy to mount tubeless with a simple floor pump and some sealant, and have been trouble free so far in terms of holding air. The extra width of the rim provides a good base for bigger tires, and gives them a notably squarer profile - most visible when comparing the sidewall shape.

The Heist was drag-free out of the box, spinning easily and rolling well, and it has remained so for the duration of this test. We have now been riding this wheelset for 3 months straight, mainly on rough trails with some lift-assisted DH runs thrown in for good measure, and we have been very impressed with how the wheel has stood up to the abuse. Less-than-graceful landings and unfortunate line choices have put this wheelset in harm's way more than once, and while we wouldn't go so far as to say that you can get away with a season of park riding with the Heists, we will say that in terms of durability these wheels have so far outperformed several other wheelsets we have tested, some of which sport significantly higher price tags. We did manage to put the slightest wobble on the rear wheel, but it was easily corrected with a few twists of a spoke key. For the rest, they still look and feel great.

On the trail, the Heist offers in our opinion just the right combination of stiffness and comfort. The real stand-out feature however is the extra rim-width offered by the 30-mm version we rode. The extra width squares up the tire to create a bigger contact patch on the ground, and it also allows you to run lower tire pressure - all of which adds up to more grip and better stability. The wheel provides a very confident feel when leaning into turns, and it deals with off-camber roots and rocks very well too. We were worried the wider, flatter tire profile might start to "float" over loose rocks and sandy chutes as opposed to dig in and look for grip, but we found much the opposite - yet more stability and confidence in these conditions too. Our test took place mainly in the dry, so we can't comment on what the wider tire profile might do in outright muddy conditions, but that is mainly down to tire choice anyway. And of course, another very useful aspect of the new Heist wheel is the availability of 3 different rim widths, which allows you to select the one best suited to your tires, riding style and terrain.

Tubeless performance has been great, the wheels have held air even with non-tubeless tires (running sealant), and we have not had them burp on us even at significantly lower pressures. If we would typically settle on 28 psi front/30 psi rear for most conditions, the Heist/High Roller 2 tubeless combo easily let us get away with 23-25. The bike will still be rideable at even lower pressure than that, but you will increasingly find yourself at the mercy of rim dings and an overall squirmier feel.

Things That Could Be Improved

The rear hub offers an average-at-best 17-degrees of engagement, and while this is in line with some competitive offerings in this wheel category, it is the only point we feel could benefit from improvement. At $700 USD, there are some good options out there, and although Easton has packed some impressive features into the Heist, quicker engagement would add a star and push it really close to the top of its class. As it stands, the 17-degree engagement won't hold you back, but we would certainly welcome a double-time engagement option even if it added $50 to the price...especially since the rest of the wheel punches well above its weight.

We could also cite the lack of a 26" version as a point to improve, along with the lack of a 20-mm through axle, but in reality, the all-mountain and trail bike market has moved on. Easton would have way more reason to invest in a Boost version than in 26" rims or 20-mm axles.

Long Term Durability

Both hubs roll extremely well, and have so far been completely free of any play. 3 months may be a bit short to conclusively prove that Easton's hub woes are behind them, but we're off to a very good start. Easton addressed prior known weaknesses head on when they designed this new X5 hub, which also bodes well for longevity. As for the rest of the wheel, we've been very impressed with how the Heists have dealt with abuse, and the way they hold tension and stay true points to a quality build that should be good for many happy miles of trails. The finish of the rims is very durable, and the sturdy vinyl decals still look good even with a few scratches on them.

What's The Bottom Line?

There is a lot of choice in the current wheel market. Easton's new Heist follows the wide-rim trend but also gives you the opportunity to match your rim width to your riding style, tire size, and riding conditions, a definite plus in our books. The single spoke-length design and the straight-pull hubs give the Heist a premium touch, and the understated but aesthetically pleasing graphics complement any build. Furthermore, the wheel rolls well, holds a line, and has impressed us with its capacity to withstand abuse. Improved rear hub engagement would give the Heist a snappier feel on the trail, but as it stands, Easton has put out an exciting and durable new option for those wanting to get into the wide-rim, all-mountain wheel game.

More information at www.eastoncycling.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Good wheelset at a stellar price

Rating:
The Good:

Tubeless out of the box, wide rims, reliable hub, good rim

The Bad:

Spoke tension

Overall Review:

I've had these in the 27 and 30 width and overall they're a good wheelset, especially for the price you can find them online now. The hub engagement is somewhat slow but who care's unless you're on the cusp of winning races. The rims are pretty strong. I've dented all of my rear rims but they're easy to bend back and surprising hold air well even with dents. It's worth noting that these wheels come taped with tubeless values so set up is super easy.

The biggest issue i've had is with spoke tension. I check them often then all of the sudden lose a spoke, the good news though is that they come with a bag of spokes.

Overall a worthy buy.

Specifications

Product Easton Heist 27.5" Wheelset Complete Wheel
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Freeride / Bike Park
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Rim Material Aluminum
Rim Welded Aluminum Tubeless Ready Clincher
Inner Rim Width
Hole Count
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Rear Hub X5, 10X135QR OR 12×142 REAR
Rear Axle 10mm QR x 135mm, 12mm x 142mm
Front Hub X5, 9X100QR OR 15×100
Front Axle 9mm QR x 100mm, 15mm x 100mm
Disc Mount Type
Spokes DOUBLE-BUTTED BLACK
Nipples SILVER BRASS
Colors Brushed Black Anodize Choice of Colored Vinyl Decals
Weight 3 lb 10.2 oz (1,650 g)
Miscellaneous The new Heist wheels in 24, 27, 30-millimeter internal rim widths are on trend and price point to match tire volume and rider preference. With a competitive 1650-gram weight, the Heist comes with durable three-cross laced twenty-eight count double-butted black spokes, brass nipples, and a versatile six-bolt disc X5 hub that easily converts between various axle configurations with included endcaps. Set includes five spare single-length spokes for easier serviceability, and is tubeless ready straight out of the box with rim tape and valve installed. Heist comes with either Shimano or XD Sram cassette bodies. Style-out your set-up with color-matching decals available in nine color options. Decal kits sold separately.
Price $699
More Info

​Easton's website

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