Let me start by mentioning that these wheels retail for $2,600. Two thousand, six hundred American dollars. For wheels.
With that out of the way, Enve makes their wheels out of carbon fiber using a highly specialized, propriety process at their facility in Ogden, UT. This process allows them to create a wheel as light as 1,352 grams for a 29″ XC wheel, and 1,306 grams for 650b. Even with the insanely light weight, these wheels are still incredibly stiff.
At Outerbike, Enve was on hand with a variety of wheels available for demo. I was able to try out a pair of their 29er XC wheels on my personal bike, the Giant Anthem X 29er. The Enve mechanics moved over my rotor and cassette and set the tire pressure to my liking. After a quick check, I was off to ride the North 40 trail.
I’m already testing some Easton EA70 XCT wheels that are substantially lighter and stiffer than my stock wheels, but these take it to a whole new level. Putting these on a 29er noticeably reduces the rotating mass when pedaling as well as the gyroscopic effect that most 29er wheels exhibit when coasting at higher speeds. As for stiffness, I thought I was crazy, but I could swear my fork was working more than usual. I asked the Enve guys about it when I got back, and they said they have heard the same thing from other riders. Basically most wheels have a bit of vertical flex that works in conjunction with the suspension. Enve wheels have no discernible vertical flex, so that movement gets fully absorbed by the bike suspension.
Here is Michael demo’ing the Turner Burner with 650b Enve wheels:
Given the price tag, these wheels are obviously not for everyone, but for discerning riders with a fat wad of cash, or racers who don’t want to maintain multiple wheelsets for training and racing, these top-of-the-line, American-made hoops are where it’s at.