We are old enough to remember when Pontiac had a whole marketing campaign built around the idea that “Wider is better.” Yes, we know that dates us, but it seems that the slogan is applicable to the carbon wheelbuilders of today as well as it did for Pontiac back then. Easton, in particular, has just released their wide-wheel offering, the EC90 Aero 55, coming in at a staggering 28mm width at the brake track, only to get wider down the wheel to nearly 30mm. To say that you’re likely to remove some spacers from your brakes is an understatement.
But that isn’t a bad thing – wider is, after all, generally regarded as being better, and Easton has the aero data to back it up, saying that when the drag data is averaged from 0 to 20 degrees, the Aero 55 is faster than most “80-90mm wheelsets.” This translates directly to the consumer in controlability in a crosswind with the reduction in crossection, as well as the pronounced toroidal shape of the rim, which is a welcome relief from fighting with a set of 90mm on the course. Furthermore, Easton has done all this at 1580g, and without the need for rim tape. When one factors in the additional weight of rim tape, the EC90 Aero55 comes in at a stone’s throw from a set of 404 FireCrests; no matter how you slice it, these are some technically impressive wheels.
Also new on the EC90 Aero55 are the Echo hubs, (which will be found on a number of new Easton wheelsets in the coming months). From the previous Echo hubs, the new generation has picked up about 5g, but have gained a fair bit of durability, as well. Also of importance in the new Echo hub is another number, 6.9, as in 6.9 degree engagement of the pawl internal to the hub. This means that when you step on the pedal, less travel is wasted in catching up to the next-available engagement point, and that means better efficiency. That’s something we can all get behind.
In the end, the only downside to the EC90 Aero55 is the price. At $2,800, the new Eastons are about $75 more than a set of 404 FireCrests, the de facto standard when discussing high end wheelsets. Based on Easton’s aero claims, these may well be worth it as a set of similarly deep wheels that are faster than a set of 808s in real-world conditions. Even without these claims, the number of technical advancements Easton has on display may very well sway you. Either way, if you are looking at a new high end wheel set, make sure to take a look at these new Easton’s they will definitely surprise you.