Review: Easton Haven Carbon wheelset

By Karl Rosengarth

Easton’s UST-compatible Haven Carbon wheels are designed for the abuse dished out by all-mountain bikes with 4-6” travel. The carbon rim is made from a hybrid carbon/HMPE (high modulus polyethylene) composite material that’s held together with resin that involves rubberizing and other impact-resistant components.

The UST-tubeless rims have a 21mm internal width and a solid tire bed made possible by using proprietary alloy nipples with threads that screw into the rim’s eyelets. The wheel is trued with a conventional spoke wrench. Both front and rear wheels are laced three-cross to aluminum alloy hubs with 24 Sapim 2.0/1.7/2.0mm straight-pull spokes. The hubs roll on cartridge bearings and pre-load is adjusted using cone wrenches. The cassette body is machined from 7050 aluminum, and its 3-pawl system contacts a 30-point gear ring for 12° of engagement.

The front hub comes in two versions: one that converts between 9mm QR and 15mm thru-axle, and another that converts between 15mm and 20mm thru-axles. Rear hubs come in a 135mm quick-release model, or a 12×135/142mm (convertible) model. My 29" wheels sported a 15mm thru-axle up front and a 135mm quick-release in the rear. Both wheels proved dead perfect on the truing stand. Bontrager tubeless-ready tires mounted in a snap with a scoop of Stan’s for good measure (and Easton’s removable valve stems).

Swapping the Havens onto a Giant Anthem X 29er (with 4" of travel) saved a jaw-dropping 645g over the stock Giant wheelset. These wheels felt fast from the get-go. I suspect that fast feeling was partly psychological and partly physical. Still, there’s no doubting that 1,565g is hella light for an all-mountain 29er wheelset.

The Havens felt flex-free over rugged, rocky terrain. Stiff, solid and sure-footed is an apt alliteration. Their tight, solid feeling inspired confidence when I leaned hard into fast corners. These wheels are as much about their rigidity and strength as they are about their light weight. After months of hard riding I put the wheels on the truing stand. The rear was still true enough to return to the bike untouched. The front had one small wobble that I corrected with a few minor turns of the spoke wrench. After all the miles they’re still just as light, and just as sexy, as day one.

My penchant for crashing ended up scratching the clear coat on both rims. The superficial damage did not affect the underlying carbon fiber structure. Still, it’s good to know that Easton stands behind these wheels with a two-year no-questions-asked warranty. Consider that an insurance policy for your $2,450 investment. Personally, that’s out of my price range; but if I had the cash and was looking for the ultimate all-mountain wheels, I would not hesitate to invest in the Carbon Havens.

Price: $2,450

Weight: 1,565 grams

Country of Origin: Mexico