Easton hits a home run, first time at bat!
  • EC90 Cranks: MSRP $699.00
  • Ceramic Bearing Bottom Bracket: MSRP $199.00
  • Crank: 170, 172.5, 175 arm length, 53x39 chainrings (compact coming soon)
  • Crank weight: 574 grams including end cap
  • Ceramic Bottom Bracket Weight: 102 grams. Total 676 grams
  • 5 year warranty
Of all the upgrades, I was most excited about Easton's new carbon cranks. I've been using 9-speed Dura Ace with FSA Superlight Cranks (543 grams with bolts) and the reliable and light Dura Ace Octalink bottom bracket (175 grams). The combined weight of 718 grams seemed hard to beat; most of the newer 10-speed crank/bb's actually weigh more. But since I switched to 10-speed recently, I wanted a crankset that was optimized for the 10 cogs. Easton's crank was the one that was lighter without being quite as cost-prohibitive as some of the competition. Better still, the EC90 crank and bottom bracket weigh a total of 676 grams, a savings of 32 grams.

How does it compare?
So how can you objectively measure the relative worth of these cranks without riding them? To try and quantify this, I looked at the weights and MSRPs of the latest high end standard sized cranks (the FSA K-force Light TI was not compared because it is only available in compact). I then gave 100 points to the lightest and 100 points to the least expensive with proportionate weighting to each. Each crank is then graded relative to the best in class.

In the end, it's very clear that there is a huge price premium for ceramic bearings; the jury is still out if the maintenance is worth the claimed reduction in friction. However, and more importantly, along these two judging criteria, the EC90 with standard BB has the best overall score. With the ceramic BB, it comes in at 3rd.

Looking purely at $/gram, the EC90 with standard BB slips to 2nd with the Ceramic BB version still at 3rd.

Not a bad empirical showing for the EC90.


How do they ride?
Easton has truly done their homework, and it's impressive that this is their first commercial crank. The arms are noticeably massive, and appear even more so once mounted on the bike. The left, non-drive side, is particularly impressive as the bottom bracket end wraps around with opposing nuts keeping it fastened. Easton claims CNT "nano technology" is the secret to their light weight and strength as stated here:

"The weakest areas in a traditional carbon-fiber component are the tiny spaces between the fibers that contain only resin. To radically improve strength and toughness in these critical areas, Easton Scientists have developed an innovative Enhanced Resin System using carbon nanotubes (CNT). Carbon nanotubes are an array of carbon atoms arranged in a pattern of hexagons and pentagons (similar to the pattern found on soccer balls). These structures can be manufactured in tubular shapes one billionth of a meter in diameter, hence the name nanotube. Carbon nanotubes have been called "the strongest fiber that will ever be made". Nanotubes have a strength-to-weight ratio orders of magnitude greater than steel. Easton's proprietary process impregnates the resin/fiber matrix with evenly distributed carbon nanotubes. The addition of real carbon nanotubes greatly improves the toughness and strengthens Easton's already legendary components."

All I know is that these cranks are noticeably stiffer and the bike feels more "of one piece". Climbing on the already amazing Cervelo R3 became even easier. With the old cranks, when standing you could feel a slight "mush" as your foot pushed through the arc. Now there is no waste; everything is driving you forward.

Easton has finished these off with excellent quality chain rings; shifts were crisp and quick. Better still, they are traditional 5 bolt x 130 sizes so replacement rings are easy to come by. Some may complain that a compact size isn't immediately available but with the recent advent of wider ratio clusters, this seems like less of an issue. Regardless, compact sizing is reportedly in the works.

These cranks are gorgeous but a little "darth vader" on my bike; the mostly black matte finish disappears against the R3 frame. I added some red alloy bolts (hope they don't look too cheeseball) to brighten it up. All in all, these are very impressive cranks which I highly recommend.

Check back soon for the next part in the series, Fizik Antares saddle and KCNC quick releases!