ENVE wheels have a reputation as the pinnacle in carbon mountain bike wheels, and with a price tag to match. With the new addition of the AM30 wheels, some of that premium-price has been chopped off, and buyers can now get a set of ENVEs for $500 less than the starting price of their other wheels.
The US-made rims are entirely designed and manufactured out of their facility in Ogden, Utah, which ENVE says gives them better control of their quality assurance with everything under one roof. Because of the manufacturing efficiencies that ENVE has gained, they say that it’s made a more affordable wheelset possible.
“At ENVE, our mission is to create a better ride experience by offering products that are best-in-class. The Foundation Collection is no different. Because of the investments we’ve made in our manufacturing capabilities and technologies over the past 5 years, we can now deliver ENVE’s core technologies to more riders,” said ENVE Managing Director Jeremy Venz.
There’s more to the wheels than a streamlined process for making them though. The AM30s have a unique shape to them and have a tuned carbon laminate for gravity-minded trail riding.
ENVE sought to keep the traits that all their wheels are known for with the AM30. Compliance, stiffness, and vibration damping are a part of the design, as are offset spoke holes to prevent premature spoke fatigue. The AM30 also have molded spoke holes for external nipples. By molding, rather than drilling, ENVE says that the carbon fibers remain continuous throughout the rim, and they can make the rim even lighter without sacrificing strength, which is a huge factor.
External nipples are a change from how ENVE typically builds rims, but were necessary to deliver the AM30.
“At ENVE, we’re pushing the envelope for carbon rim performance as far as we can. When it comes to the wheel build, we value reliability over all else and our molded spoke holes deliver a better wheel-build. With the AM30, the main driver towards the external nipple is the shallow 20mm cross-section of the rim that is required to achieve the more compliant ride-feel we want. When a rim is this shallow, an external nipple is required to prevent the spoke from puncturing the tubeless tape under hard compressions or impacts,” stated Jake Pantone, ENVE brand manager.
“When it comes to our mountain wheels, impact toughness is priority number one. Regardless of the discipline, an ENVE rim will always strike a refined balance between durability, weight, and ride quality dynamics. The AM30 is no different; in the crowded offering of all-mountain capable trail wheels, the AM30 strikes a unique balance between ride-feel and toughness,” stated Clint Child, ENVE’s wheel engineering manager.
A wide hookless bead on the AM30 is designed to reduce pinch flats. The tire insert market has grown widely over the past few years, with claims that they reduce the likelihood of pinch flats, with extended foam protection over the rim bead. ENVE says that most inserts, however, are ineffective, and also heavy and hard to install or remove.
“In short, there is very little about an insert that improves the ride experience. Weight still matters, as do pinch-flat protection and impact toughness. These attributes aren’t mutually exclusive. Our Wide Hookless Bead allows riders to save weight, skip the hassle of inserts, and run the tires and pressures they want to maximize their ride,” Pantone added.
The AM30s include a lifetime incident protection program to original buyers and a five year materials and workmanship warranty.
Still though, there is no shortage of carbon fiber mountain bike wheels on the market that already beat the AM30 price point, and some that would at least beat the “budget” Industry Nine 101 hub offering on the AM30, with 4° of engagement. The 1,852g claimed weight on the AM30 is heavier than other options as well.
ENVE says that the AM30 features and benefits still exceed competitors’ wheels at similar price points, or even higher.
As far as the wheel details themselves, the AM30 is available in 29- and 27.5-inch diameters, with a depth of 20mm, and an internal width of 30mm. The spoke count is 28H both front and rear, and the wheels come with Industry Nine 101 hubs front and rear, available in both Boost and Super-Boost.
For more information, check out the ENVE website.