Manufacturer Profile: Easton Wheels Review
Like Mavic, a lot of wheel innovations, now commonly used by many of their competitors, can be credited back to an innovation found in early Easton/Velomax wheels. Some examples:
• Mass use of straight-pull hub and spoke design.
• Nickel/brass spoke nipples on the drive side rear wheel spokes to maximize strength while using alloy on the rest to minimize weight.
• Conical alloy axle caps that not only help seal the bearings, but also stiffen the wheel at the axle.
To Easton’s credit, if one lesson can be learned from their acquisition of Velomax Wheels in 2005, it was that sometimes leaving well enough alone is the best decision. Velomax had literally blossomed from a garage business to a notable player in the bicycle wheel market and when Easton bought them, there was some notable worry about what would become of a wheel company that had become a bit of an iconic example of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” success. Luckily, the answer was not much was changing at Velomax Wheels except for the decals on the side of the rims. Easton’s acquisition of Velomax was one of the few cases where a very established and respected big company (Easton) actually hurt itself (at least for the first few years) by putting their name on a product that had been considered more of a niche player. Even though the wheels did not change at all during the first two years of Easton’s ownership, Velomax wheels had developed such a reputation for quality and value that consumers were actually skeptical in many cases of the newly labeled Easton wheels. In some regards, Easton may never be able to capture the specialty niche that Velomax had. This being said, we’re not going to dwell on this as what we are concerned with is the performance, ride and durability of the products and not the name on the side.
So, what do we like? Easton continues to progress their wheels with innovations like their ultra-wide and stiff Echo hubs and carbon Fantom rim. Easton hasn’t taken away what made Velomax wheels great when they came out and yet they have continued to push the needle forward with their current designs.
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