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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
About the tester
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
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.