Easton XCT – Tubeless wheels

Ahead of my first XC races I was keen to do a few tweaks to help my Giant Anthem to be a little faster and a bit lighter… basically increase my chances of completing four hours of cross-country reasonably unscathed. And the wheels seemed an obvious place to start.

The stock Giant rims have been absolutely fine and I was planning to keep those as my training rims – on the basis that a heavier, slower bike for training would make me appreciate the tweaks when I swapped to race-mode!

Going tubeless on the mountain seemed a logical way to go for a number of reasons:
o – Lighter – no tubes involved.
o – Less punctures.
o – Easier rolling – so I was told.

So I started looking at the options. The Crank Brother wheels are beautifully designed and I came so close to clicking the Buy button on those, especially at a heavily discounted £300. I’ve also always liked the look of the Easton wheels, but they seemed to pick up a lot of bad press, so I put them to the back of my mind as well and convinced myself that some Hope hubs and Stan’s rims were the way to go (with that lovely clicky ratchet sound to soothe all of my outings), with Mavic Crossrocs or Crosstrails as another option. But those options were going to cost over £300 and closer to £400 for the Hopes… so a revisit of the Easton options seemed sensible.

Chain Reaction Cycles had some huge discounts on Easton wheels in October, probably driven by that bad press, so I posted a few questions to various forums and came back with some positive news… so I took a very close look at the Easton XCTs.

First impression out of the box are of a well constructive lightweight set of wheels… they seem light, but the proof will be how they compare with my stock Giant rims once they’re set-up.

[8th Nov 2013] They’re now all set-up and ready for a spin. They’ve had 160mm Alligator Aries rotors installed, along with my preferred tyre Schwalbe Nobby Nics.

The weight has dropped by 504g (which is just over a pound in old weights)…

o Rear – dropped from 2419g to 2090g

o Front – from 1690g to 1515g

I’ve also swapped the standard Easton skewer for a Hope one.

Just for the record, the tubeless set-up was a dream, but I’ll cover that in another post.

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