Easton XC One SS 29"er Wheels: Final Review

After having run the XC One single speed specific 29″er wheels for over half a year, we have a final review prepared for your reading pleasure. Check out how these stacked up over the long haul…….

junetesting09 006

As the name of these wheels suggests, these are cross country 29 inch wheels and were tested as such. The terrain consisted of trails ranging from buff single track to rougher, root and rock strewn trails with plenty of climbing and down hills along the way. The rim width is definitely cross country specific and the overall build of these wheels suggests that they could easily become a race wheel set for those inclined to rage on one gear.

So, just how do they stack up? Well, weight-wise, these wheels are right in the ball park as we measured them early on in this review period. They are not crazy light, but they are not anchors either. Over the entire testing period, which included time spent on these wheels by our former reviewer, Captain Bob and I, these wheels have always exhibited the best, smoothest rolling bearings I have experienced in a long time. That is something that I saw as a benefit when single speeding since I could carry momentum that much further than some of my other single speed wheels. This wheel set coasts like crazy!

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Now with 24 spokes in each hoop, I have to admit, I anticipated problems at some point along the way. Captain Bob and I both go over 200lbs, and with such a low spoke count, I was at least expecting to see the wheels come out of true, or worse. I am surprised that never happened. The rims are as straight and true as the day I unboxed them last fall. The other thing related to the low spoke count is lateral rigidity. I fully expected flex to be an issue when using these wheels. Well, this has always been a bit hard to explain sufficiently, but flex in these wheels was almost a benefit of riding them.

Many times I have hit a corner hard to only have a wheel sort of “snap”, or wobble in the apex of the corner. Rim/spoke deflection often is random, and will shake a riders confidence, causing the rider to ease back a bit, or a lot, depending how bad it is. Well, both Captain Bob and I agree that the Easton XC One single speed wheels flex, but in a controlled, fully predictable way that allows you to be comfortable with the flex. It makes the wheels seem less harsh, and smooths out the ride of a hard tail. This flex is a lateral flex, and does not seem to affect climbing or braking at all. How Easton wheel builders/designers figured this out is a mystery to me, but there is no doubt it is there. Flex that is good? Maybe. I liked it, Captain Bob liked it, maybe you will too.

What isn’t so good? Well, the flex! Some riders are just not going to feel comfortable with the springy, alive feeling the Easton XC One wheels exhibit. It just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That said, the only other things I see here are either personal nit picks, or things that we couldn’t ferret out during the testing period. One is the straight pull spokes. If one was to break a spoke, it may be an issue to get a replacement in some cases. Secondly, these are not tubeless ready out of the box. (I’ll keep banging on that until wheel manufacturers get that sorted. I feel it should be a standard benefit of pre-built wheels.) Finally, Captain Bob, in his final report on these wheels, made mention of a free wheel noise. A “pop”, or crack he heard at times. I never was able to hear this. After Captain Bob’s time on them, all my rides were flawless. So if there was, or wasn’t an issue with the free hub, we can not say. My feeling is that it was something unrelated to the wheels.

Conclusions: Here is an excellent choice for a racing single speed wheel set for the person who appreciates a wheel that is “springy” and comfortable to ride with bearings that seem to spin forever. Could you train on them? I think so, yes. They are not tubeless ready, so a Stan’s strip is in order here. From the single speeders perspective, the free hub engagement is acceptable, the noise is average, and the cog alignment is good with the short cassette body. Bigger, heavier, more powerful riders may want to look elsewhere for stiffness, but the XC One single speed wheel is up to the task.

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No Responses to “Easton XC One SS 29"er Wheels: Final Review”

  1. Willie Says:

    I see that they weigh 1700 grams, are around 24mm wide, but I do not see the cost??
    Or is it, “If you got to ask, you can not afford them”

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    Willie: MSRP is $799.99 but I am seeing several sales on these for much less. 🙂

  3. GreenLightGo Says:

    GT – I don’t know what bearings they use, but I will say that I have Easton road wheels and they roll for days. Better than my Kings or Hopes.

  4. Guitar Ted Says:

    GLG: I was told by an Easton rep that in Easton’s testing, their stainless steel bearings rolled out better than two top ceramic bearings on the market. 🙂

  5. GreenLightGo Says:

    GT – I’d believe that! I have relatively mundane EA50 road wheels and they roll exceedingly well. Better than XT hubs, better than my Kings, better than my Hopes. FWIW – Easton has opened my eyes to some good quality components.

  6. NHNiner Says:

    Willie –

    Looks like you can get a free Giro Helmet at that price too!

    http://www.eastonbike.com/wheelpromo.html

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