San Diego and Utah
I upgraded to the EA70 XC's from the wheels that came stock on my Specialized Camber 29er about 18 months ago. I've got nothing but good things to say about the EA70's, if you don't feel like dropping a grand on a wheel upgrade then these are for you. They aren't as light as the latest-and-greatest composite wheels, but they handled aggressive trail riding and 2-3 foot drops under my 245lb rear end for almost two years without complaint. That's pretty remarkable as I exceed the maximum recommended weight limit for most of the higher-end and high-dollar wheelsets on the market in my birthday suit. I recently upgraded to a burlier wheelset and sold the EA70's, they did not need to be trued either during or after being rallied for over 1,000 trail miles.
Now the bad: The bearings in the rear hub did show some signs of wear when I sold them, the freehub still spun smoothly but there was a noticeable difference from when the bearings when new. However, my experiences with Easton's customer service have all been fantastic, they sent me replacement rear hub bearings (which I passed along to the purchaser) under warranty without me even providing a receipt or proof of purchase. While I can't speak to this, I have heard about problems with riders snapping spokes and having a difficult time replacing them. The spokes, nipples, and hubs are all proprietary Easton products that are incompatible with third-party products, however I can't imagine that it would be difficult to obtain replacements from Easton, either under warranty or not.
In summary, the EA70's feel like a much more expensive wheelset, are fairly light, hold up well under heavier riders who make other wheelsets cry, and the parent company has excellent customer service. They are really the perfect budget wheelset ugprade.
The XG-1099 is an impressive feat of engineering. This thing is significantly lighter than the XTR M980 10-speed cassette, and I feel confident in stating that it is probably the sexiest cassette ever made. The cogs on most cassettes are bolted to an aluminum spider or carrier. Here, all but the largest and smallest cogs are machined from a single block of steel and are thus connected to each other rather than being affixed to a central piece of metal. I've found that it shifts slightly better with SRAM derailleurs than with Shimano derailleurs, but I would happily use it on all of my bikes if not for the mayfly-like life span of the large cog.
Unlike the interconnected billet steel middle cogs, the largest cog (32t or 36t) is made of aluminum. I don't doubt that SRAM chose the aluminum to save weight in this weight-weenie's-wet-dream of a cassette, but the aluminum is much more malleable and wears out in an unacceptably short period of time. Worn out cogs can cause the chain to skip, shift poorly, or fail completely. Despite SRAM's representations to the contrary, this large aluminum cog is not replaceable. To clarify, perhaps the cog is theoretically replaceable, but SRAM has never released or sold the replacement cogs. I've worked on class actions that have been filed over less. A simple Google search will produce several forums and threads filled with rants from riders about how quickly the aluminum cog died on their $400 cassette, one chap claims his XG-1099 was only a few weeks old when it gave up the ghost as he power-shifted on a steep climb.
To summarize: If you are a racer who counts every gram, then buy this and put it on your race bike. It's awesome, but don't put it on your training bike and expect it to survive. If you are a weekend warrior who has the means and motive to spend $400 on a cassette, expect to spend another $400 in 4-6 months. Or just never shift to your big cog.
I purchased the Havoc 35 bar and stem in black. This stem is a work of art and the machining work is top notch. If you like to build pretty bikes, then this is the stem du jour for you. However I would also recommend this stem if you like to thrash your bikes, since it's also burly, stiff, and light. The stem is much lighter than it looks like it should be, nobody at my office could believe how little it weighed after picking it up. Not quite down to Thomson weight levels, but Thomson doesn't make a 35mm stem yet so there is nothing to compare it against.
Now the bad: the Havoc 35 is the widest carbon bar on the market, I'm a very tall rider so the extra width works great for me. However, the Havoc 35 bar is only compatible with the Havoc 35 stem since Easton is pioneering the 35mm over-over-sized bars and no other manufacturers have gotten on board with the new size yet. Easton only makes the Havoc 35 in a 50mm length, so your only options are orange or black. If you need or prefer a longer stem, wait to buy this until Easton starts making more length options or until Thomson/Race Face/Truvativ/Ritchey/Hope/etc adopt the 35mm size .
UPDATE 8/29/13: MRP just announced a 35mm stem and handlebar at Eurobike 2013. No word on sizes yet, but at least one other component company is following Easton's lead. Scroll to the bottom of the article below for coverage.
Easton's carbon handlebars are all great products, and this one is no exception. I run these bars on my all-mountain bike. I'm a little taller than the average bear so the 800mm width fits me perfectly, others might find it too wide for non-downhill applications. It's stiff, wide, and light, everything you want in a handlebar and nothing you don't. Dampens vibrations on a par with my carbon Haven bar. The downside to the new Havoc bars is that I no longer trust the 31.8mm Haven handlebars on my cross-country bike because they look so skinny compared to this 35mm monstronsity. My only real complaint is that there is only one stem in the world that is compatible with this bar, and that stem only comes in one length (50mm ). At the moment, you are out of luck if, like me, you prefer running a longer stem. Hopefully other manufacturers follow suit and we'll start seeing other 35mm stems soon.