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Verdict: 
Not the cheapest option out there, but you can't fault the stiffness or the looks
Weight: 
344g

Easton's new EC90 SL Cranks form part of one of the latest fully customisable chainset options to enter the marketplace. It's pricey against some of the opposition, but you are getting a very stiff set of lightweight cranks.

  • Pros: Super-stiff; light
  • Cons: Quite pricey

Easton has used RaceFace's Cinch technology for these cranks, which gives you a modular system when selecting the front gears for your bike. You buy the cranks and rings separately, with options to be able to run 1x or 2x systems and swap easily between the two should the need arise.

> Find your nearest dealer here

We've got the Easton 52/36 direct mount spider option (review to come) to test with the EC90 SL cranks, and you literally slot them onto the splines on the rear of the drive side crank before screwing on the lockring using a standard bottom bracket tool. You get clear instructions included in the box for assembling everything, so any competent home mechanic shouldn't have any issues.

Unlike most standard chainsets, the spindle is attached to the non-drive side so once this is positioned inside the frame, the drive side is attached by aligning the splines on the spindle with those on the crank and tightening. Any side to side play is taken care of by the pre-load ring.

Easton_EC90_SL_Crankset_with _rings

In use, the cranks are very stiff, helped not just by their hollow carbon fibre construction, but also the larger 30mm diameter axle. Stamping hard on the pedals, I couldn't detect any flex whatsoever, although the Shimano 105 crankset these replaced isn't exactly floppy either.

Size options are the usual 170/172.5/175mm lengths, and give a Q-factor (the distance between the pedal faces) of 149mm including the pedal washers.

When it comes to money, the Eastons aren't exactly cheap. A similar setup that I tested from Praxis, its Zayante Carbon M30 Direct Mount chainset, costs £300 including the rings.

The EC90 SLs are £399.99 on their own, with another £159.99 for the rings and spider. That's an extra £259.98 for a saving of just 27g for the full setup.

> How to trim bike weight on the cheap

It looks a little better when compared to the Campagnolo Record Carbon chainset, which has an rrp of £479.99; the Easton setup is still £80 more, but you are saving over 120g.

The similar RaceFace Next R cranks are around the same price, though they are aimed more at the mountain bike market.

Overall, these cranks deliver everything you could possibly ask for when it comes to performance and looks, but they aren't cheap.

Verdict

Not the cheapest option out there, but you can't fault the stiffness or the looks

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Easton EC90 SL cranks

Size tested: 172.5mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Easton says, "The EC90 SL crank utilizes the Race Face Cinch technology which allows for direct mount 1x rings as well as direct mount 2x spiders, and industry leading versatility. Increasingly popular 1x setups have many advantages including weight and simplicity, although their major limitation is adaptability. A Cyclocross rider's ability to ride a course, then effortlessly change chainrings to their preferred setup is a major necessity that has, until now, been overlooked. Narrow-Wide chainring design has revolutionized the mountain bike world, effectively eliminating dropped chains and chain guides. Easton refines the design for larger ring applications with improved chain retention while reducing running noise and friction. Finally Easton launches a new line of low friction Bottom Brackets to complete the EC90 SL Crank package."

If you race many disciplines, the option to be able to change rings over makes a lot of sense.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Easton lists:

Hollow carbon construction paired with the highest grade aluminium pedal insert and spindle.

Cinch interface with a road specific 30mm spindle.

Road standard Q-Factor of 149mm and will fit every major road BB standard.

1x chainline optimized for increasingly popular 135/142mm rear disc bikes.

Built For - Road / CX / Tri-TT.

Size - 170 / 172.5 / 175mm.

Ring Configurations - 53/39, 52/36, 50/34, w/ Removable Spider.

Single Direct Mount - 40T, 42T.

Weight - 590g (172.5mm 52/36 w/o BB), 442g (172.5mm 40T w/o BB).

Chainline - 2x 43.5mm / 2x Disc 46mm / 1x 47mm

Q-FACTOR (with washers): 149mm.

Spindle Diameter - 30mm.

BB Options - BB86, BSA 68mm, PF30 68mm, BB30 68mm, BBright, 386Evo.

Material - EC90 Carbon.

Finish - Matte Carbon.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Light weight and offer loads of stiffness, exactly what you want from your cranks.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy to fit and loads of options.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price will put some off.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Against other cranksets we've tested, it is priced quite high.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

At the top end of the price spectrum but the overall performance, quality and customisation keep the score up.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

9 comments

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [466 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

It's too bad about the price. An FSA SL-K crankset (standard, compact, or sub-compact) is about half the price.

The Easton branding on the crank arms is annoying too.

Avatar
EcoRacer [5 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

It's too bad about the price. An FSA SL-K crankset (standard, compact, or sub-compact) is about half the price. The Easton branding on the crank arms is annoying too.

 

The FSA SL-K cranks have a RRP of €445 for the cheapest version. So they are actually the same price. Sure you can find the SL-K for about £280, but that's because nobody wants them, and even at that price they have trouble selling them. At least here in our local marked.

Aesthetics are personal, but I don't mind the Easton logo. I find the FSA colors and logos on their offerings a lot uglier than the Easton cranks.

I have more issue with the shape of the drive side crank arm. Shimano, Campagnolo and FSA shaped arms where the chainrings flow from the spider into the driveside crank arm is more pleasing to the eye. And I've had to adjust my speedplay cleats because the float had me slightly heel-striking/rubbing the drive side crank arm on some occasions.

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [1187 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

How would these compare to the Cannondale Si cranks which are similar buy everything seperately approach?

Avatar
EcoRacer [5 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Rapha Nadal wrote:

How would these compare to the Cannondale Si cranks which are similar buy everything seperately approach?

I've worked on both and I would rate them about the same. The only thing annoying is the propietary tools you need to remove the crank arm and the spider, on the Cannondale crank. Other than that you can't really go wrong with either of them. Plenty stiff the both of them.

Avatar
TonyMM [4 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

New Easton EC90SL have been announced for August from Easton ......

Avatar
Disfunctional_T... [466 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
EcoRacer wrote:

Sure you can find the SL-K for about £280, but that's because nobody wants them, and even at that price they have trouble selling them. At least here in our local market.

I agree that they aren't popular, but the SL-K is a great crankset. I have 6 years and lots of miles on mine. In the name of full disclosure, the aluminum insert for the pedal has debonded, causing a bit of pedal wobble, but it still works fine. Also the anodizing on the chainrings has deteriorated. The teeth are still in good shape after 6 years though.

And I just picked up an entire never-used compact SL-K crankset on eBay for the bargain price of £75!
I also bought the new modular subcompact version (48/32) for £200 from a retailer.

The graphics on the newer FSA cranksets is pretty subdued... It just says SL-K in black, white, and gray.

Avatar
Fred10195 [3 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

"we received cranks to review from Easton"

"great, anything else to test right now?"

NO

Sh... did they send a BB?

YES!

Can you remove the chainrings?

Sure, in a Cinch (hahahaha)

Ok then write me a review on the cranks, then the chainrings and the BB

Do you want me to review the chainrings separately too chief?

No that would be too obvious

you're right chief, let's go!

Avatar
Fred10195 [3 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

"we received cranks to review from Easton"

"great, anything else to test right now?"

NO

Sh... did they send a BB?

YES!

Can you remove the chainrings?

Sure, in a Cinch (hahahaha)

Ok then write me a review on the cranks, then the chainrings and the BB

Do you want me to review the chainrings separately too chief?

No that would be too obvious

you're right chief, let's go!

Avatar
MikeO [1 post] 1 month ago
0 likes

I recently purchased these cranks to replace a well worn set of Rotor's that finally broke.  My issue with the Easton BB30 Bottom Bracket is that the tolerance is so tight, once I push the crank-arm through the cranks do not spin smoothly.  Before I try re-facing my BB shell again, I'd like to know if anyone else has tried using a different brand Bottom Bracket with the Easton EC90 SL Cranks?  I'm really not sure it will work with these cups as there is barely any thread left once I put on spacers.

I'm going to try a set of (expensive) Chris King BB30 threaded cups and the conversion kit #23 for a 68mm threaded bottom bracket shell.  I am pretty sure this will help with the tolerance issue as I have used CK Bottom Brackets on this bike before with no crank issues, though that was with a 24mm spindle.

It would be great to hear if anyone else has used these cranks on an older bike with a BB30 and 68mm threaded shell.