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Easton EA90 SL/SLX wheels

naivenaive Posts: 47
edited June 2013 in Road buying advice
Hi, I'm looking to upgrade/replace some Shimano RS-80 wheels. I love these dearly, but the rims are finally on the way out (>30000 miles of abuse down the road; someone really ought to replace the brake-pads more often). As I ride all year around and skimp on the cleaning and maintenance, I'm thinking about favouring sealed hubs over cheap-and-easy-to-maintain hubs (<12 GBP to fix trashed RS-(10/)80 hubs is incredible, but 2-days postage is intolerable!).
I've seen a favourable review of Easton EA90 SL wheels in a recent edition of Cycling Plus, and those were top of my short list (although still struggling to compete with just get new RS-80s!). However internet searching leads me to believe that I can get the Easton EA90 SLX wheelset for a similar (maybe cheaper) price to the EA90-SLs. Appearances and RRP would lead me to believe that this would be a bargain. However, I wonder if there are any advantages of getting the SLs over the SLXs, for example, do they ride more comfortably due to having more spokes?
Any thoughts? (Btw, light-ish rider but can't dodge potholes, bike nowhere near good enough for the RS-80s never mind better, not racing but going as fast as possible, one bike family, one gear bike at the moment).

Extra credit question: any ideas of a light-ish, racy, road-bike-not-track-or-messenger, single-speed(/fixed), disk-braked, all-weather, commute/weekend-100/mini-tour bike? Ideally to buy on a bike to work scheme. I realise that this is not a popular category!

Cheers
N

Posts

  • BikeSwanBikeSwan Posts: 260
    Reliability wise the SL's will probably be more reliable than the SLX's. With more spokes and non light weight hubs, they will most likely last longer without needing a truing. If your under 150 lbs then you shouldn't have a problem with any wheel, but if you're closer to 200 lbs then stay away from the uber lightweight wheel builds. The SLX's are quite a bit more MSRP than the SL's so if you can get the SLX's for the same price as the SL's then that's the one i'd go for, but for everyday abuse the SL's are probably better. Having said all that the SLX's are similar in weight to my Mavic Ksyrium SL's and my Mavic's are bomb proof, so maybe the SLX's will be too? Unless you've got your heart set on the Easton's, consider some Mavics, perhaps the new Ksyrium SLS? Great track record and every shop in the world as spares for them!
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Think you'll struggle to find a single speed disc bike at the rear (unless you use a chain tensioner) as moving the wheel around in the dropout will mess with your braking. But seeing as you will be doing most of your braking with the front brake anyway - not really a problem? That way you could get any single speed and pair it with a disc fork and bob's your mother's brother. You'd have to get the disc brake separately though - http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/a71588/bb7-road-mechanical-disc-brake-160mm.html?lg=en&cr=GBP&cn=gb £45 here

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=18196&gclid=CJq-qoTporUCFc_JtAodzGcAiQ for a fork.

    Alternatively - have a look at the on-one bikes - f'rinstance:

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FROOPO135/on_one_pompetamine_2012_frame

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FOOOP12/on_one_pompetamine_2012_fork

    They do cycle to work too - so would be worth giving them a call and seeing what they can do.

    This ain't going to be particularly light or racy, but will do the single speed, all weather commute/weekend aspect pretty nicely.
  • naivenaive Posts: 47
    BikeSwan wrote:
    Reliability wise the SL's will probably be more reliable than the SLX's. With more spokes and non light weight hubs, they will most likely last longer without needing a truing. If your under 150 lbs then you shouldn't have a problem with any wheel, but if you're closer to 200 lbs then stay away from the uber lightweight wheel builds. The SLX's are quite a bit more MSRP than the SL's so if you can get the SLX's for the same price as the SL's then that's the one i'd go for, but for everyday abuse the SL's are probably better. Having said all that the SLX's are similar in weight to my Mavic Ksyrium SL's and my Mavic's are bomb proof, so maybe the SLX's will be too? Unless you've got your heart set on the Easton's, consider some Mavics, perhaps the new Ksyrium SLS? Great track record and every shop in the world as spares for them!

    Hi, Thanks for your reply.
    I don't think I quite sneak in under 150lbs, but I'm comfortably less than 200! Neither of the Easton wheel-sets has a weight limit, and I don't trouble my RS-80s, which are lightweight and low spoke count too.
    The Mavics that you mention look good, but, in the UK at least, cost about half-as-much-again as the Eastons (which are 10% more than just new RS-80s, and I could probably eke a year or two more out of the rear anyway, as that rim is ok). At that price, I'd have a whole other carbon-aero-powertap dilemma to face... maybe I need to step up to that!
    Sounds like the SLXs would be better for me than the SLs at the same price.
    Cheers
    N
  • naivenaive Posts: 47
    mroli wrote:
    Think you'll struggle to find a single speed disc bike at the rear (unless you use a chain tensioner) as moving the wheel around in the dropout will mess with your braking. But seeing as you will be doing most of your braking with the front brake anyway - not really a problem? That way you could get any single speed and pair it with a disc fork and bob's your mother's brother. You'd have to get the disc brake separately though - http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/a71588/bb7-road-mechanical-disc-brake-160mm.html?lg=en&cr=GBP&cn=gb £45 here

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=18196&gclid=CJq-qoTporUCFc_JtAodzGcAiQ for a fork.

    Alternatively - have a look at the on-one bikes - f'rinstance:

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FROOPO135/on_one_pompetamine_2012_frame

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FOOOP12/on_one_pompetamine_2012_fork

    They do cycle to work too - so would be worth giving them a call and seeing what they can do.

    This ain't going to be particularly light or racy, but will do the single speed, all weather commute/weekend aspect pretty nicely.

    I like your thinking. Disk front, and whatever at the back... to be honest, my back brake hasn't worked for the past 2-years anyway (although that did result in an embarrassing off in the icy conditions earlier this year, locking up the front, and I'm too old for that! I've bought a replacement brake as a result, and one day, I'm sure I'll get around to fitting it.).

    I'm on a kinesis frame at the moment (with vertical drop-outs and a chain tensioner), so I'd favour a disk front fork from them, and the price definitely looks good. I suspect that there is probably a large selection of horizontal-drop-out frames that can work with one of those disc-suitable forks, so that's a winner.

    You're definitely getting some extra credit. There are a couple of details to sort out, those being the wheels. I guess I might want a mismatched pair, and I'm not sure what sort of performance road wheels that take disk brakes are available.

    There is also the question of whether I can get bits-and-pieces on the bike to work scheme, rather than a complete bike, but that doesn't worry me too much, as this budget is looking good!

    Thanks for your help (and please chip in with any more ideas).
    About to hit google for disky-roady-wheels....
    Cheers
    N
  • BikeSwanBikeSwan Posts: 260
    naive wrote:
    BikeSwan wrote:
    Reliability wise the SL's will probably be more reliable than the SLX's. With more spokes and non light weight hubs, they will most likely last longer without needing a truing. If your under 150 lbs then you shouldn't have a problem with any wheel, but if you're closer to 200 lbs then stay away from the uber lightweight wheel builds. The SLX's are quite a bit more MSRP than the SL's so if you can get the SLX's for the same price as the SL's then that's the one i'd go for, but for everyday abuse the SL's are probably better. Having said all that the SLX's are similar in weight to my Mavic Ksyrium SL's and my Mavic's are bomb proof, so maybe the SLX's will be too? Unless you've got your heart set on the Easton's, consider some Mavics, perhaps the new Ksyrium SLS? Great track record and every shop in the world as spares for them!

    Hi, Thanks for your reply.
    I don't think I quite sneak in under 150lbs, but I'm comfortably less than 200! Neither of the Easton wheel-sets has a weight limit, and I don't trouble my RS-80s, which are lightweight and low spoke count too.
    The Mavics that you mention look good, but, in the UK at least, cost about half-as-much-again as the Eastons (which are 10% more than just new RS-80s, and I could probably eke a year or two more out of the rear anyway, as that rim is ok). At that price, I'd have a whole other carbon-aero-powertap dilemma to face... maybe I need to step up to that!
    Sounds like the SLXs would be better for me than the SLs at the same price.
    Cheers
    N

    I didn't realize how expensive the Mavic's are in the UK, over here in Canada their only $150 (80 pounds) more than the Eastons. Like you said, if you can get the SLX's for a decent price, those are the ones to go for.
  • I have a pair of 2009 EA90SLs and have had lots of problems with spoke breakage. Hopefully its something they've resolved with later models but worth being aware of. There is an Easton forum on Roadbikereview if you weren't already aware
  • skyblue337 wrote:
    I have a pair of 2009 EA90SLs and have had lots of problems with spoke breakage. Hopefully its something they've resolved with later models but worth being aware of. There is an Easton forum on Roadbikereview if you weren't already aware

    Which is interesting, as they praise themselves for using straight pull spokes to avoid breakages and they do use Sapim race spokes, which have quite a reputation.
    My findings are that they are well built, tensions are spot on. Problem is the hub is designed in such a way that the spokes end up being severely bent at an angle, effectively being a lot worse than J spokes (which are bent at high temperature and heat treated for strength).
    The choice of building with round straight pull spokes is a bit odd, as they end up seizing in the nipple and there is no practical way to true a wheel, as the spoke freely rotates in the hub hole
    So good idea, terrible design.
    BTW: I have a few of those EA 90SL/SLX used spokes left if you need them
  • vanleapovanleapo Posts: 150
    I have a pair of EA90 SLX from 2009 and I've done 20,000+ miles on them.
    Over that time the only maintenance required has been truing, which I've had done 3 times at the LBS.
    The rims especially the front are starting to wear, but will probably make it through one more year before needing replaced. The hubs have been fine throughout (SLX have hybrid ceramic bearings), but I'm looking at replacing the bearings at some point this year. Replacement bearings aren't too expensive.
    However, I wouldn't advise them if you are much over 70kg.
    Tearfund Tour of Scotland 26th May to 1st June 2013
    http://www.justgiving.com/phil-godley
  • BTW: I have a few of those EA 90SL/SLX used spokes left if you need them

    Thanks for the offer. I'm pondering whether to have them rebuilt with a full set of new spokes given that that will likely cost in the region of £90-£100 (last time I was charged £1 per replacement spoke) and the rear rim has a flat spot in it that the LBS said could not be completely trued out. On the upside they were great when working and they are a pretty "valuable" wheelset
  • skyblue337 wrote:
    BTW: I have a few of those EA 90SL/SLX used spokes left if you need them

    Thanks for the offer. I'm pondering whether to have them rebuilt with a full set of new spokes given that that will likely cost in the region of £90-£100 (last time I was charged £1 per replacement spoke) and the rear rim has a flat spot in it that the LBS said could not be completely trued out. On the upside they were great when working and they are a pretty "valuable" wheelset

    There is nothing remarkable about the rims... get it replaced with something similar... Kinlin 27 mm will probably do the job and will be understated (no stickers)... and cheap. Only problem is if any of the spokes is seized in the nipple, then you're pretty much screwed and need new spokes, as they won't come off unless you cut them... the flange design is foul... :evil:
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    naive wrote:
    There are a couple of details to sort out, those being the wheels. I guess I might want a mismatched pair, and I'm not sure what sort of performance road wheels that take disk brakes are available.
    N

    Depending on where you are, you could speak to Ugo/Paolo about building you a set. He'll give you some decent advice about what you need to buy, if you got something like the Novatecs as your hubs, they'll look pretty similar front and back and he can build with same spokes and rims and make them look pretty matching. They'll be performance and strong too.
  • naivenaive Posts: 47
    Hi, Thanks for all the replies...

    So it seems that there is some doubt about the durability of the Easton SL/SLXs in terms of breaking spokes. Further research shows that the interneteratii have already mentioned this, although I didn't find a lot of recent examples... Might hold off a bit... no-one has broken a 2013 model yet have they!? (I tend to get excited about new wheels every year(ish) when I have to sort out my hubs, then forget all about it once my wheels roll smoothly again!)

    Regarding the speculative punt for a bike-2-work funded disk-braked-road-single-speed bike (I still don't get how this is not a best-selling genre), you guys might just get me there. Bike to work comes to our work but once a tax year, in April, so there is a bit of time. There doesn't seem to be much in the disk-capable road wheel category for sale in the UK, and it all looks driven by the cyclo-cross market. Maybe there will be more by April, but the cyclo-crossers seem to get grumpy and hibernate when it is neither snowing nor really muddy, so maybe not. Not sure where those guys stand on mudguards, either; I'm definitely in the "for" camp. Interestingly, Easton do do a disky, tubeless-ready SL-something for cyclo-cross, but it's not cheap, and presumably would share any hub/spoke issues with the SL(X).

    I'm in Hampshire, so not "handy" for London, but not impossible either. I would tend to err towards factory wheels over hand-builts, due to some--probably misplaced--sense of confidence in consistency plus the feeling that they could probably ship me an identical replacement if there is an issue for some reason. Also, I've never had hand-builts. One thing I did find was an example of a(n--you pick if you want to add the "n" or not to drop the "h") horizontal drop-out frame with rear disk brakes (and road wheels), so there is a solution to that issue out there, and two disk brakes would be better than one. (The bike I found was the Cooper Monaco, which is hub-geared rather than SS, but that would have the same alignment challenges for the disks. The website is very light on component details, and I guess some might be specially made/sourced: http://www.cooperbikes.com/bikes/2/Monaco

    I also need to do a bit more digging about frames and forks. I have a feeling that if I want disks on a road bike (at a reasonable price), I might end up with something a lot like a cyclo-cross bike.
    Cheers
    N
  • ellj22ellj22 Posts: 122
    Planet X offer a couple of frames that you may be able to build up to suit your needs and they also offer the cycle to work scheme.

    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/FRO ... rban_frame

    Most disk cyclocross bikes seem to use 135mm rear spacing so you can run mtb hubs, it wouldn't surprise me if most road bikes end up doing the same. This opens up a wide range of factory and handbuilt options as 29er mtb wheels have same diameter and wider rims are becoming the fashion. As for alignment issues I currently run horizontal dropouts with disks on my mtb (SS) as do a few of my friends and to be honest it has never been an issue. As the chain stretches you take up the slack in the droupouts and move the disk brake caliper to suit, its a 2min job once every couple of months.

    As for the Easton wheels I also have a set of the 09 EA90 SL's. Performance wise I am very impressed by these wheels. I have done thousands of miles on them and only ever broke 1 spoke which got replaced free of charge and in 2 days by the Easton UK distributor. The brake tracks do seem to wear quite fast but the braking performance is very good which is a bigger priority for me. I am 62 Kg and went for the SL's as I wanted the extra durability and stiffness.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    Sorry to resurrect this thread, but last weekend a drive side spoke broke on my rear EA90SL wheel, rendering the bike unrideable. I was just over halfway up a 2000m mountain pass at the time.

    The wheels have done 5000km. I previously had problems with the outer freehub bearing failing after the first wet ride, so I am not convinced about the reliability of this wheelset, or is it normal for spokes to pop at this mileage?

    I asked the LBS about repairing the wheel but they don't want to know and as it is less than two weeks away from the Maratona, I have had to bite the bullet and buy a new wheelset (Ksyrium SLS). At least this way, I'll be sure of having a pair of working wheels...
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