EC90 SL Road Tubeless Trial and Error
After our initial road ride, I removed the road tires to measure the rim and view the profile. But of course I couldn’t resist trying to set up a tubeless cyclocross tire. Grabbing a 33c Maxxis Mud Wrestler Tubeless Ready tire, I quite easily mounted the tire onto the Easton EC90 SL carbon rim, without levers. The deep center channel makes tire installation rather easy.
The same channel also makes seating the Maxxis tire a bit challenging. Even with a Bontrager TLR Flash Charger pump, the tire wouldn’t initially snap into place (a first for me with this pump), but after guiding a portion of the tire onto the rim’s hook bead before blasting it with air, it glided onto place (quietly, without a snap) on the third try.
Will it be reliable at low pressure? We’ll have to play with more tires, as at 20, 25 and 30 psi, I could easily finger burp the Maxxis Mud Wrestler TR tire, which is a no go by CXM criteria. Stay tuned as I look for another tire that will seal up well.
Update: A 35c WTB Cross Bross TCS tubeless tire was very difficult to mount, but seated and sealed up well, measured close to 36c and did not finger-burp at 20 psi, which is promising. Stay tuned.
First (Road) Ride, On 25c Tubeless Tires
Easton took Cyclocross Magazine and other cycling media on a hilly ride above Scotts Valley for a first ride on their wheels, set up tubeless with Schwalbe One 25c tubeless tires. The 30-mile route included 4650 feet of climbing with famed climbs like Empire Grade, Smith Grade, and the deceivingly-named Ice Cream Grade. Sure, it’s not a cyclocross or gravel ride, but with tires inflated to 80 psi or more, it was a good test to gauge the stiffness, ride quality and road tubeless performance.
The wheels, particularly with our thru axle setup, were stiff and performed without a hitch. Brake rotors mounted true, there was no bearing play, they spun quite freely. Under hard (disc) braking, there wasn’t any noticeable chatter—testimony to not only the frame and fork’s build, but also the wheel’s robust build and lack of bearing play.
Since we were replacing a heavier alloy wheelset, the weight savings were noticeable, even if some were due to the lighter Schwalbe road tire that replaced our 40c and 50c gravel tires. Accelerate out of a corner, or attempt to scale a steep climb, and the EC90 SL wheelset helped make the experience a bit less painful.
At 1674g for a carbon disc tubeless wheelset, the $2800 EC90 SL disc clinchers are not a weight weenie’s dream, and the rim itself isn’t a featherweight (we don’t have a rim only weight at this time). Gram shavers should look to the rim brake tubular model, which is impressive at just 1167g. Add 500 grams for tubeless and disc brakes? That’s quite a penalty, but the aerodynamic and sealed rim benefits and construction may justify the premium over similar weight wheelsets (like the $695 NoTubes Grail Team, at 1625g). Tubular disc EC90 SL wheels are competitive at 1335g, which suggests the carbon clincher disc rim adds a 340g premium. That’s more than the weight of some tubular rims alone. On the rim brake side, the clincher version is 310g more than the tubular option.
We’re always seeking the ultimate do-it-all wheelset, and the Easton EC90 SL Disc tubeless clincher wheelset shows promise as a durable, aerodynamic, versatile option, albeit with limited cyclocross tire compatibility. Stay tuned as we try out other tubeless tires, and put the Easton EC90 SL tubeless clincher wheels to the test on some mixed terrain adventures.
See a full photo gallery below, and wheel specs below that.
Easton EC90 SL Photo Gallery:
Easton EC90 SL Specs (Disc Tubeless Clincher Model Tested):
MSRP: $2800 clincher (disc or rim brake), $2400 tubular
Weight: Disc: 1674 grams tubeless clincher, 1335g tubular; Rim brake: 1167g tubular, 1473g clincher
Width: 19mm internal, 28mm external
Spokes: Sapim straight pull 20/2x front, 24/2x rear (16/20 on rim brake)
Rotor: Six-Bolt Disc
Warranty: Two Years
Rider Weight Limit: None
More info: eastoncycling.com