Easton EA90 Aero wheelset

Superb all-rounders

Easton’s EA90 Aero road wheels offer an impressive combination of reasonably light weight, mild aerodynamic enhancements, aluminium clincher versatility and outstanding build quality to justify their £422.99 retail price.

Easton’s own label is slapped on both the R4 hubs and Gen4 aluminium clincher rims. The welded and machined hoops use a differential profile – 32mm deep on the rear, 28mm up front – to help cut through the air but maintain better handling in crosswinds, while the aluminium hubs feature sleek shells, oversized axles and alloy freehub bodies easily interchangeable for use on Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo-standard cassettes.

Easton uses a 31mm-deep aluminum clincher rim out back but a slightly shallower 28mm section up front for better crosswind performance. : easton uses a 31mm-deep aluminum clincher rim out back but a slightly shallower 28mm section up front for better crosswind performance.

The hubs roll on mundane-sounding steel cartridge bearings but they’re fitted with high-quality SKF grease, custom seals and adjustable preload – a rarely seen and highly undervalued feature. Though not as fashionable as hybrid ceramics or even stainless steel, the R4 hubs yield one of the silkiest rolls around, as long as you take the time to set them up properly. 

Straight-pull Sapim bladed stainless steel spokes and easily trued external nipples (brass on the rear drive-side, alloy elsewhere) join everything together and build quality is superb. Our wheels arrived dead straight and round, but more importantly, with fantastically even spoke tension – as measured with an FSA spoke tension gauge – that bodes well for long-term durability. 

The smoothly contoured front hub shell  is fitted with 18 radially laced sapim bladed stainless steel spokes.: the smoothly contoured front hub shell  is fitted with 18 radially laced sapim bladed stainless steel spokes.

Actual wheel weights are 666g for the front and 910g for the rear, plus another 118g for the included skewers. 

The total package delivers a firm, responsive and communicative ride quality on the road. Though never harsh, the EA90 Aero still might be a tad too stiff for lighter riders, those looking to temper an overly rigid frame or cyclists cursed with poor roads. In those cases, something with a shallower rim profile like Easton’s EA90 SL or EA90 SLX might be a better choice.

Power delivery on the EA90 Aero is very good with minimal wind-up when you’re really on it and relatively lively 12-degree rear hub engagement – Mavic’s FTS-L measures a positively comatose 20 degrees in comparison. Once up to speed, the modest aerodynamic enhancements and ultra-smooth hubs seem to help the EA90 Aero stay there, too, as they cruise noticeably well on long, fast sections of road.

The rear hub boasts a similarly smooth shape  and both hubs offer adjustable bearing preload.: the rear hub boasts a similarly smooth shape  and both hubs offer adjustable bearing preload.

The medium-section rims’ extra stiffness relative to shallower hoops undoubtedly contributes to the ride but the downside is their so-so 475g/490g front/rear claimed rim weights. Save for accelerations from a dead stop, the extra mass is essentially unnoticeable, though, and only the most ardent climbers are likely to complain. 

As the even spoke tensions suggested, our test set has held up admirably well over nine months of abuse with nary a quarter-turn of a single spoke nipple required in spite of the dirt roads, curb jumps and brief ‘cross stints we threw at it. Mix that in with the good overall performance and reasonable cost and you’ve got a winner all around.

Aluminum freehub bodies are available  to fit shimano, sram and campagnolo-style cassettes.: aluminum freehub bodies are available  to fit shimano, sram and campagnolo-style cassettes.

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