Easton Cycling have launched the new EC90 Aero 55, available in tubular and clincher versions. The clincher version is a road tubeless wheelset, adding further weight to the tubeless momentum that is gradually building.
Easton claim these wheels are the fastest in category, and key to their speed is the new Fantom rim. The rim is 28mm wide at the spoke bed, which follows the trend in the wheel market for fatter, rounded rim profiles like we've seen from Zipp, Bontrager and HED. The profile is intended to keep the boundary layer as the air passes the tyre, and improve handling in crosswinds. Compared to an Enve 6.7 tubular wheel, Easton say their EC90 Aero 55 tubular is 14 seconds faster in a 40km time trial.
Weight is competitive for both versions. The tubular set weighs 1,330g and the clincher 1,580g. Both rims are made around Easton's new Echo hub. The rear hub is compatible with 11- and 10-speed cassettes, and features angular contact cartridge bearings. The freehub has a 7 degree engagement system and an oversize axle.
There's growing momentum behind road tubeless, with more rims and tyres being released every year. Some people reckon it will signal the death of the inner tube, and in the mountain biking world, where it's now very popular, tubeless technology has been developed and honed over the last 10 years. While it's currently possible to buy a aluminium clincher tubeless wheelset, there have been very few carbon fibre deep section choices - not since Hutchinson's first carbon wheelset, RT1, some years ago. We've now got some very good tubeless tyres, and the release of this light and aero carbon wheelset will doubtless find many fans.
Easton have worked hard to ensure the braking track on the road tubeless carbon clincher can survive real-world braking conditions. They developed a test at their California headquarters to put the wheels through sustained high temperature braking conditions. Easton claim their new wheelset flew through the test. We'll be interested to get our hands on a set and see just how they cope with our real-world testing.
No word on UK pricing yet. Easton products are now available in the UK from www.zyro.co.uk
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.