Monday, February 16, 2009

The Nuclear Option

As much as I hate doing this, I am going to put another post thus moving down "Pot, Meet Kettle" down a bit. That is one of my favorite posts thus far on this blog for some reason.

Anyway, I have delayed posting about these wheels long enough. I have had these on order since early December when I sold my Ksyrium ES wheels (at a profit no less). They finally arrived last month. I bought a cheap Campy cassette (13-29) and cheap Tufo tires (the low TPI Cubus tires) and after a bit of glue and and waiting for planets to aline...They have finally been sullied. In a good way though.

What are the wheels? Ah, this is where the title of the blog comes from. I went for the 2009 Easton EC90 SLX wheels. I went straight to the top, I don't know of a better stronger lightweight wheel that would be good for cyclocross. These wheels are the nuclear option.

These babies will be the svelte hot Ashley Judd when compared to the beefier Neuvation C50 wheels, AKA the Wynonna Judds of my carbon wheel family. Not that there is anything wrong with Wynonna Judd or my Neuvation Wheels. But really these Eastons are really hot. Almost in a naughty way. I know I am weird, but there it is.

Ok, back to the they are after a few miles on the bike today. They were soon much much dirtier.

Vital stats:
Weight with Campy freehub body: 1140 grams
Weight with Shimano 10 speed freehub body: 1155 (I bought an extra freehub to swap)
Bearings: Ceramic
Rims: Carbon

Why didn't I go for the Easton Aero or other similar deep carbon wheel? For one I had great luck with the my 50mm deep Neuvation wheels this year. I will be running them again on days where the mud is deep or I need to run a deep mud tire. Plus the EC90slx has external nipples and the deep rim wheels have hidden nipples which can only be messed with after ripping off the tubular tire...pass on that. By the way, the Neuvations also have external nipples. The Eastons will be for just about everything other sort of course except the muddiest. I have not yet decided what tire I will be running in the fall, but for now I am checking out the Tufo Flexus Cubus (the cheaper 60tpi version)

These wheels are just plain sick. They spin up incredibly fast. The really gave me the impression that I could rail them and that they would help hold the line well. Not too flexy. I just didn't have to even think about them. I bunny-hopped logs with them. I blew down the rock-strewn and washed-out Firelane 10 on them. They were great. I never worried after the first few miles.

I was riding with two guys on full suspension 29ers and I rarely had to worry about them dropping me on the descents. I just let it fly and these wheels did their job--they didn't fold and they weren't noodley (if that is a word). Just awesome. Freakin' amazing really that a wheel this light felt so strong.

Before ordering them I talked to other riders, to racers, and to Easton on a couple of occasions. I told Easton what I weighed, what I was going to do to them if I bought them, and where I lived. They said ride them. "If they give you trouble we will stand behind them" they said. They said none of their cyclocross pro's had any issue with them and they have no weight limits for them. They said that the wheels would be great for my intended use.

My intended use? Cyclocross and some occasional trail riding since I will be sans mtb for most if not all of this year. Seriously, this wheelset is awesome. Especially when one can pick it up for the EP price, which I did.

Regarding the Tufo Cubus tires: The performed much better than I thought they would in the slop. Still, they don't like to be leaned over too much in the slick stuff. In a straight line they seemed to climb pretty well, and I had plenty of opportunities to test that aspect today. They did shed the mud in Forest Part incredibly well; better than the tires my friends on mtb's were running. Not exactly as supple as my Challenge Fango tires, but not bad. I am running Stan's Sealant in them too. So far so good.

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