Bontrager Write-a-Review Contest Winners – Week 2!

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Congrats to “speedsterR” and “Cormac”, the Week 2 winners of Bontrager’s Write-a-Review Contest!

Bontrager Write-a-Review Contest - Weekly Prizes!

“speedsterR” winner of a Bontrager Evoke Saddle and “Cormac” winner of a Set of Bontrager Tires were chosen at random for their reviews of the Easton Haven Carbon wheels and the Sette Element MTB shoes!

User Review: Easton Carbon Haven Wheels
by speedsterR

Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 3 of 5

Bottom Line:
For reference I am coming from a set of Bontrager Rhythm Elite wheels. I am running the same tires, Maxxis High Roller UST’s, 2.35 in a tubeless setup on both wheel sets.

Setup: Simple. Traditional 20mm front, 142x12mm rear setup on my wheels, all other axle options available. UST setup is fantastic. The inside of the rim is completely seamless, no holes for nipples so no need for tape. UST tires mount easily and seat the first time, even with a hand pump (this is also tire dependent). Cassette mounting is traditional. UST valves seal well against the rim.

Rotational Weight: Not as noticeable as I thought it would be, but still an improvement. During spinning I can’t feel a difference, but during out of the saddle sprints, especially from low speed corners to a full sprint, it is very noticeable and the bike gets up to speed faster. Note, my tires at 900g literally weigh more than the wheels and being the furthest point on the wheels makes a big difference when it comes to rotational feeling, I think that is why I can’t feel a big difference when spinning. This will sound obvious, but the lighter the tire you have the more you will notice the rotational weight advantage of these wheels.

Stiffness: By far the most noticeable difference with these wheels is the stiffness. Laterally they are so stiff that you have telepathic line choice on a technical trail. The input from your bars to the wheel, depending on your overall setup…I have easton haven carbon bars, haven 55 stem, fox 36 van and these wheels…is so fast it took a few technical rides to get used to. It’s like going from a 32mm fork to a 36mm w/20mm axle in terms of front end stiffness improvement. Very direct steering, and from a rear wheel advantage it tracks very well on fast bumpy corners and berms and feels very consistent regardless of how hard I throw it into turns. Some have commented about them being too stiff, I can see how some would say that is a negative because in order to get back to the “feeling” most are used to you have to decrease tire pressure and let it take more of the impact force, which for some people is not an option because your tire will roll slower. I for one run my tires on the lower side, 23/25psi on my all mountain bike, and I have been getting used to the stiffer feeling and find it advantageous to have the tires take the deflection and not the wheel. I can really notice a difference with varying tire pressures now and can dial it in better than ever.


Rotation: This might be due to the hubs for these wheels, which may or may not have reliability issues which they are known for, so far mine have been perfect, but these things roll forever! So smooth, so straight and balanced…they just keep going.

Overall feeling: There is a slight dead feeling to the setup which carbon is notorious for. It’s not a bad performance issue, just a noticeable change from materials. It’s good for vibration into our hands, but also sounds quite different on big hits. Gone are the pings and they have been replaced by thuds…almost sounds like the tire is flat. Just different.

Durability: Bullet proof so far. The carbon rims have been surprisingly durable. Sure, that’s what they are supposed to be like, but when you blast down a trail at almost downhill speed and fully commit to a rock studded line without issue you will sit back and nod in approval. Some, perhaps more, have had durability issues with the hubs. This seems to be a case by case basis and although Easton has said they have solved this issue I still have my reservations. This is because the “fix” is a minor axle/bearing design change, not an overall hub redesign. If you love the Easton wheels, don’t let this stop you from buying them, if you’re hesitant about Easton in general there are great options from Reynolds and ENVE. I have not had any issues with my hubs so far with over 200 hours of riding time. They are the updated model with the “fix”.

Conclusion: I love these wheels. They are incredibly light for the abuse they are designed for. Back that up with a two year unconditional guarantee from Easton and prepare to shred on any all mountain terrain and then some without hesitation. Some will complain about the cost, they are expensive, but there are many other great wheel options out there for those that don’t want to, or can’t afford carbon wheels. Nothing, however, matches the weight/stiffness benefit carbon wheels can offer and in general the all mountain wheels being sold now all hover around the same price range.


Strengths:
Weight, Stiffness, UST setup, Bling factor

Weaknesses:
None so far


User Review: Sette Element MTB Shoes Shoes
by Cormac

Overall Rating: 4 of 5
Value Rating: 5 of 5

Bottom Line:
They seem like they’re a heavier shoe, I’m sure you could find MTB shoes that are much lighter and just as durable, but not for the price. 5 chillies since the price is right but 4 overall as I can’t seem them lasting forever. I have no complaints after a couple weeks with em though. No loose stitches and the velcro still holds strong for the duration of the ride. Also once your feet get used to em they are comfortable enough. My right foot gets sore from these shoes. It was bad at first, but now it’s gradually getting better. Maybe I just had to get used to the fit or maybe it was the shoes. Either way it’s a non issue now. I wear a size 12 shoe so I ordered a size 12 and it fits like I would expect a size 12 to fit. So order whatever size shoe you normally wear and you’ll be good to go. Good shoe for hike-a-bike sections. With pretty good traction off the bike.

Again for the price you really can’t do any better. A good entry level shoe for sure. I’ll probably pick up something better when these wear out, but until then I can see wearing these for as long as it takes to wear em out. I picked em up as part of my clipless experimentation and I’m glad I did as they helped get me hooked on riding clipless. Pun intended I guess…

Strengths:
Durable

Weaknesses:
weight? Kinda ugly.


Reviews by community members are the foundation of Mtbr.com. Share your experience with other cyclists by writing reviews for your bikes, gear, and other related accessories. You don’t have to be an expert – everyone’s opinion counts.

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About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 14 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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