Buying bike components? Just think Easton!
When you buy an Easton component, even the cardboard box it arrives in is cool. It reminds me of the type of box a fancy pair of Oakley sunglasses comes in. A simple thing - the box - but even that has a feeling of quality about it. It helps that it has the Easton logo on it. Plus you know it's a genuine part. It barely feels as if there's anything in it. And you've not even opened it yet!
Easton are a company from America that specialise in making bike components. So these folks know what their doing. My first foray into buying Easton 'things' is well documented - a pair of Easton EA SLX 90 wheels. I bought them last year and they are still brilliant. They are round, hand-made, stiff, have fabulous rolling speed, look good and have reduced the overall weight of my bike. What more can you expect of a wheel for goodness shakes (get it?, and no I don't own an Orbea) Basically, I would never buy another brand of wheels again.
Of course, herein lies my master plan. Currently we have a 7 month year old toddler sleeping in the front room. Therefore all bike purchasing and related accoutrements really should go on hold. Every now and then though I weaken and buy a new bit for the bike. The plan is of course that over time I shall 'stealthily' replace my original bike with higher end components and my wife, all being well, won't notice. The only problem with this almost infallible plan is that it's already failed, largely because she's not stupid. She's sussed me already. This was almost entirely because of the fuss I made when I tried to fit my EA 90 oversize stem........
I had (virtual) money burning in a hole in my pocket - what was I meant to do? You can't buy a week's worth of shopping with 'Wiggle' vouchers right? Anyway I decided I would invest (well you'd never throw it out would you?) in a new stem. Oversize, machined out of aluminium, matt black finish, very nice. Sold - to the man in Shoreham. However, what I didn't know was that you have to pre-load the centre fixing first before you tension up the side bolts. So when I tightened up the side bolts first and then did the top one, it wasn't very secure. In fact it rocked - alot. Luckily for me, a very pleasant young man in Evans in Brighton told me I had to do it the other way round (it simply had not occurred to me) and afterwards it worked just fine. By then though I had blown my cover - the swearing alone gave it away - and so my wife knew there was something else Easton being fitted.......
So then, a bit more about Easton. It was started by a chap called Doug (Easton) in 1922. It's base is in Van Nuys, California, arguably one of the best places to live in the world. Easton don't just produce bike components, but products for Archery, Baseball and Ice Hockey as well (none of which I know anything about). Actually to begin with Easton made arrows - out of aluminium - instead of the more traditional wood. This turned out to be quite a good idea with a chap called Larry Hughes winning the US National Championship with arrows made by Doug. It went from there.
In terms of cycling though, Cadel Evans uses Easton. So does the the whole of the BMC race team. And Team Bissel. Easton make a big deal out of using cutting edge technology to help enhance and continuously improve their products. They were at the leading edge of using machined aluminium for bike components - releasing the industry leading 'Hyperlite' handle bar in the late 1980s. From here Easton transitioned to using carbon fibre and continued to make top quality components - just lighter and stronger than before. These parts were good enough to be used by the finest competition riders in the world - and can be found on some of bikes equipped during this years Tour de France.
It's not just me either. Charles Starmer-Smith, a chap that writes for the Telegraph has also been talking about Easton. He says "I tried a pair of Easton EA SLX90 aluminium wheels and I am smitten. They......cost around £600, so you need to be taking your cycling seriously to justify the expense." Not only that he the starts talking about Conti 4000S tyres which I also swear by, so this man must know what he's talking about......
But why is it I like Easton components so much? Do you know what, I'm not sure. They are quality components. They are used by some top riders and pro teams. I like their logo too. But that's not really it. When it comes down to it there's just something reassuring, something high-end about their products. And until I find something better, I will continue to replace the parts on my bike with Easton products. Next stop....a new seat post!
To find out more about Easton, find them at www.eastoncycling.com
Thumbnail and slider photos - bikebritain
Saturday Telegraph 24th July 2010, Charles Starmer-Smith "Gearing up to go the distance"