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Easton EC90 AX wheelset review

Race-light and gravel ready

Photo by: Matt Stetson

Easton was an early adopter of the gravel riding/racing scene and one of the first companies to make specific products for the needs of a niche genre. It just makes sense, since they could draw knowledge learned from both their road and mountain bike lines of products. It’s no surprise then when a set of their EC90 AX wheels were first to roll across a famous finish line in Kansas. In case you hadn’t guessed, the race is Unbound gravel and Amity Rockwell was the rider piloting those wheels.

Mixed surfaces, combined heritage

Easton really did pull from both road and mountain bike camps to form the EC90 AX wheels. In fact, a similar Vault hub can be found on some of Race Face’s mountain bike wheels reviewed right here on this site. Luckily the Vault hubs used for the EC90 front wheel come with both 15mm and 12mm thru axle mounting options. A simple end cap can be easily installed or removed without tools to accommodate your fork’s needs. The rear hub sports 60 points of engagement thanks to three pawls, giving the EC90 AXs a six-degree engagement. The freehub is available in Shimano, Sram, and Campagnolo configurations which can also be changed easily without tools.

Easton EC 90 tubeless rim tape and valve
EC90 AX rims arrive set up tubeless. Photo: Matt Stetson

The carbon fibre rims have a 21mm depth and come all taped up with valves, ready to mount tubeless rubber. With a 24mm internal width, the wheels are best used with tires ranging from 35mm up to 50mm. The rims are a hookless design which seems to be the direction many companies are headed. Thanks in part to the weight savings of that manufacturing process, the wheels are claimed to weigh 1,470 grams for the pair.

Easton rims with 45c Schwalbe G-One Overland tires. Photo: Matt Stetson

Review: Easton EC90 AX wheels

Expect these wheels to spin up to speed quickly especially with lighter tires mounted. The rims are very light and don’t take a lot of effort to turn over. The 24mm internal width allows the tires to conform and roll over uneven terrain quite well when set up tubeless with the correct air pressure (I run 40psi). Even with the correct air pressure, rim hits are always possible. Luckily the EC90 AXs can take some abuse before getting bent or broken out of shape.

Easton EC90 AX wheelset. Photo: Matt Stetson

Above all, the characteristic that stands out is the wheel’s ride quality. The wheels strike a good balance between being stiff enough to stomp up climbs and feel responsive, but also supple enough to soften harsh surfaces while still maintaining control. It’s not just about comfort, though. EC90 AX’s suppleness will reduce fatigue on your hands over the course of a long, bumpy gravel race or ride when compared to harsher race wheels. Combined with their low weight and durability, the ride quality makes the EC90 AX wheels a race-ready gravel wheelset.

EC90 AX are covered by Easton’s Carbon Confidence Guarantee, and retail for $2,050.00 in Canada through Easton or dealers.