by Marc Basiliere
April 8, 2014
Lighter, stiffer, tubeless-er- and just as carbony
Today, Utah carbonsmiths Enve announce their latest range of carbon fibre mountain bike rims: the M-Series. A re-thinking of the company’s dirt offerings, the M-Series offerings are each designed with a specific rider profile in mind. The M50Fifty, M60Forty, M70Thirty, and M90Ten are named for their intended user’s ratio of descending-to-climbing inclination.
Never slouches in the durability department, Enve claim have to upped each model’s impact resistance and durability when compared to their first-generation counterparts. With widths designed for tyre widths common to their intended uses, the rim:tyre interface has also been improved. Notably Enve have moved to a Specialized-style hookless interface. It’s an approach that allows for a simpler, stronger rim, better pinch flat resistance- and one that holds on to tyres just fine.
“…a rim that is too stiff or soft can cost precious efficiencies in rolling resistance.”
In a departure from the common ‘stiffer is better’ mentality, Enve is highlighting the M-Series’ vertical compliance characteristics. By optimising each model for its anticipated environment, the company is attempting to synchronize rim and tyre performance. This is said to “foster increased traction and control through rough and variable terrain.” Further, “tuned vertical compliance produces lower rolling resistance and less rider fatigue as the wheel is working more efficiently as a system.” We know this to be true of tyres, so why not of the wheels themselves?
While Enve hasn’t gone to the sidewall-baring extremes that some companies have, M-Series inside widths are up a bit and should provide plenty of support for their intended uses. Weights are impressive across the board: the M50Fifty comes in at 330g- amazing for a 29er rim. The trail-oriented M60Forty comes in comfortably under 400g- with 27.5in wheelsets building up in the 1,360-1,550g range. In the future, 26in options will only be offered in gravity-oriented models.
Leaning toward enduro and all-mountain, the M70Thirty allows for a stout wheel at climbing-friendly weights. More finesse-oriented riders will be able to get away with this for downhill racing as well- bruisers would do well to stick with the M90Ten.
Never cheap, Enve are holding the line on their US-made rim and handbuilt wheel pricing.
As with existing models, rims will retail for US$999. Built wheels range from $2,718 using DT 240 hubs to $3,298 using DT 180 hubs. Several stock decal colours will be offered and custom colours will be available at additional cost.
Generation 2 (M Series rims) will come in at RRP £850 per rim available from Saddleback