If you’re in the market for high-tech, high-end carbon fibre components, then there’s a good chance you’ll be having a long hard look at the numerous wares from ENVE Composites. Based out of Ogden, Utah, ENVE Composites has been one of the biggest proponents of carbon fibre technology for mountain bike rims over the past decade. In fact, ENVE was really one of the big players that helped to popularise the adoption of carbon fibre for mountain bike wheel construction, and particularly back in a time when the mere thought of carbon fibre wheels sent shivers down most mountain bikers spines. Nowadays carbon rims are commonplace, and ENVE has a lot to thank for due to that shift in perception and trust.
Of course if you’re familiar with the brand, you’ll also know that ENVE is responsible for designing, prototyping, testing and manufacturing its own carbon fibre rims in its own facility in Utah. And it’s something they are very proud of. We’re quite familiar with ENVE products here at Singletrack, having tested a whole bunch of different wheels, stems, bars and seatposts over the years. Recently, ENVE dropped us a line about their new M60 plus wheels, which are the widest rims that the company has ever produced, and purpose-built for the emerging plus bike market. During a recent visit to local ENVE distributor Saddleback, we had the chance to get all touchy-feely with a set of the chubby wheels on an Intense ACV. We also got our hands on updated pricing on ENVE wheelsets and cockpit components, as well as a good look at some very, very lightweight hubs…
The M60 Forty Plus wheels slot into ENVE’s M-Series mountain bike rim range. What initially began as a four wheelset lineup (M50, M60, M70, M90) has now expanded into seven options (M50, M60, M60 HV, M60 Plus, M70, M70 HV, M90). Standing for High Volume, the HV rim options became available last year as slightly wider versions of the existing M60 and M70 wheels, but they’re still designed for regular tyres. The new M60 Plus wheel comes in to the line as an entirely new rim that’s purpose built for plus tyres.
Carbon rims aren’t cheap to buy, and they sure as heck aren’t cheap to produce. There’s a lot of tooling costs behind the scenes that go into making these things, so you know that ENVE has done the maths in producing the M60 Forty Plus rim. Clearly there’s enough demand out there for a high-end plus wheelset, and anyone thinking that plus bikes is just a passing fad might see things pan out a little different in the near future…
Aside from pushing the rim width out to cope with fatter rubber, ENVE tweaked the design of the M60 Forty Plus rim to achieve several aims. One was strength. With 4.5mm thick sidewalls, the rim has masses of impact strength built into it. The second is pinch flat resistance. Thanks to those thick, rounded sidewall edges, the rim is much less likely to bite into the tyre casing when you hit something really hard. The result is less damage to lightweight plus tyre sidewalls, which is typically an issue for the current tyres on the market when riding rocky terrain.
The ENVE Composites M60 Forty Plus features:
- Available in 27.5in and 29in diameter
- 40mm internal rim width
- Designed and engineered for 2.8” to 3.0” Plus tires
- Hookless bead design
- Tubeless compatible
- Improved pinch flat and impact resistance
- Patented Molded Spoke Hole Technology
- 27.5” rim weight: 455 grams
- Complete wheelset weight: 1760gm
- 28 spokes per wheel
- Chris King Hubs
- RRP: £2900
Another design feature of the ENVE M60 Forty Plus wheelset is its depth. Or lack thereof. At 25mm deep, the M60 Forty Plus rim is quite shallow compared with previous ENVE rims. The idea here is to build in more compliance into the rim. Build a carbon rim with a huge oversized profile and thin walls, and while it will be light, it will also be bone-shakingly stiff too. Build it with a shallower design with a tweaked layup, and some compliance and ‘give’ can be engineered into the rim profile. ENVE claims the result is a smoother ride, and if that’s true, expect to see more of that shallower profile in the future.
Also on show at Saddleback’s in-house dealer show were the complete line of ENVE cockpit items, including this £250 carbon fibre stem. Don’t worry though, it has titanium hardware too. 31.8mm clamp diameter only, and available in lengths from 55mm to 70mm. Claimed weight for the shortest length? 92 measly grams.
Since they were first introduced, ENVE’s carbon handlebars have been growing in width to match consumer demand. The Sweep and Riser bars are designed for XC, trail and all mountain riding, and come in a 760mm width. The Riser features a 9-degree backsweep, a 5-degree upsweep, a 23mm rise, and a claimed weight of 194 grams. The Sweep features the same angles but with a 0mm rise, and comes in at 189 grams.
Price for the ENVE Sweep and Riser bars is £155. ENVE also makes wider downhill bars that go up to 808mm for the Greg Minaar singature edition.
As the distributor of both ENVE and Chris King, Saddleback build all of their complete ENVE wheels in house in their new Bristol facility. If you’d prefer your ENVE rims to be laced to something else, they can make that happen too, but when a Chris King hub sounds and looks like this, then really, why wouldn’t you??
Not actually for mountain bikes, but highly interesting nonetheless is this pair of ENVE carbon road hubs. Built with DT Swiss internals, these superlight carbon hub shells offer a very strong overall construction that means they can take some mega spoke tensions. They’re also mega light too, at just 232 grams for the pair!
We poked the Saddleback guys about whether we’d be seeing a disc version of the carbon road hubs anytime soon. As it turns out, ENVE has some in development right now, so there’s every chance they’ll be bringing this superlight hub design to the world of mountain bikes too. When? We’ll just have to wait and see…