Easton Havoc 26in Wheelset $899.95
Let slip the dogs of war—the Easton Havoc 26in Wheelset will chew up rock gardens and hucks while lightening your sled for long pulls uphill. These hoops are downhill-burly at all-mountain weight, and our favorite part is that Easton technicians build each set by hand, using a practice nearly as old as the wire-spun bicycle wheel itself: acoustic tuning.
Have you ever seen a mechanic plucking the spokes on a wheel with one ear close, listening intently? The sound a spoke makes when plucked is indicative of its tension (the amount it's being stretched) compared to the other spokes on that side of the wheel. Think of the common saying, 'a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.' A bicycle wheel is kind of like that—even if it's true in the stand, if the spokes are not equally tensioned, it won't stay that way on the bike. A determined rock or sketchy landing will find the least-tensioned spoke, exploit it, and you have the beginning of a degenerative process by which the entire wheel de-tensions and eventually tacos. Ensuring that spokes are evenly tensioned on each side of the wheel is one of the most important factors in building a wheel that will stay round and true, and acoustic tuning is a time-honored way to do it.
Adding to its on-trail reliability, the Havoc Wheelset is UST tubeless-compatible right out of the box. The UST standard means there's no messy sealant or complex bead-setting process needed to mount the tire. UST compatibility is achieved using Easton's proprietary Threaded Eyelet system. The spoke nipples are threaded internally and externally; thus, the outer rim bed doesn't need to be pierced aside from the valve stem opening, and the straight-pull spokes can be trued like any standard wheel.
Because strength is not only determined by a stellar build, the Havoc Wheelset uses sturdy components. Sapim double-butted spokes are laced in a solid three-cross pattern to cartridge-bearing hubs that are easy to service. 23mm aluminum rims (inner width) provide a nice seat for wider tires. The disc rotor mounts are six-bolt.
The Easton Havoc 26in Wheelset accommodates most all-mountain configurations. The front wheel comes equipped for a 20mm thru-axle. For the rear wheel, you can choose a 10 x 135mm QR hub or a 12 x 135/142mm thru-axle hub. The rear thru-axle option comes with end caps to accommodate either hub spacing standard. The Havoc Wheelset is available in two color options: Grey for a stealth look, and Grey/anodized orange for a little more bling.