ENVE M7 29" WHEELSET ON CHRIS KING - COMPONENT TEST
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
There is most definitely an essence of expense and showboating when seeing an Enve wheel bolted to a bike. Most sets would go to owners of the fanciest built bikes or the production builds rolling out near the 10k mark.
However the price used to out-weigh expectations in performance. Previous models were something that I would have steered clear of owning, having had a few bad experiences with them. This new and most definitely improved M730 wheel set could be something to sway my opinion.
The new design now has something called "Dynamic Impact Design". There are two different designs with the same overall goal in mind. The first of these is fitted to the M730, 735 and 930 rims which is a sleeve that goes over the rim and in between the tyre. This allows for a less harsh rim construction to achieve a more forgiving, smoother ride. It also gives extra protection from pinch flats and saves that expensive hoop of carbon from taking the brunt of the abuse.
The other is used on the M525, 630, 635 and 640 rims. The design is a wider hookless bead. This improves pinch flat resistance over other hookless rims and gives the ability to run lower tyre pressure to improve traction and rolling resistance. This gives the option to run lighter weight tyres if wanted.
The Enve M730 rim on the new Chris King boost hub really do look the business. The grey on grey colour scheme has a real air of class to it and could easily be bolted to any bike of any colour and look the part. Enough about looks, how does the wheel actually compare to others on the market?
The wheel that was being used as a comparison is a current favourite of mine, the Roval wheel from Specialized. The first thing to note on the Enve is the ease of seating a tyre on the rim when setting the wheel up tubeless. This is partly due to the snug fit of the tyre and the help from the wheel protection sleeve fitted to the M730. After getting to the trail it’s instantly noticeable that the rim has more flex built into it than the previous wheels. It has a forgiving and more 'aluminium rim' feel to the ride. This helped profusely when it came to the fatigue that a wheelset can implicate on a body. This also changes the whole dynamic of the bike. Complimenting the Specialized Enduro that they were fitted to instead of making the bike feel harsher than it actually was. They really did feel as forgiving as the Roval wheelset that has less spokes in. The Enve's light weight build aided towards the get up and go that the bike had. There was a more direct feel when picking up and accelerating.
With the statement that the rim protector helps to hold the tyre on, this had to be put to the test. At 6'6"and built like a brick sh....(you know what I mean) Big Jim seemed to be the right man to put the Enve wheel through its final paces. Jim usually runs 40 psi to keep the tyre on the wheel, we opted for a mere 25 psi in the front and 27 in the rear. This did make the whole rim insert idea come to life as the tyre was still up at the same pressure after the day in the saddle.
These wheels may very well be expensive but they could now have the performance to match the price tag. With options of different widths and strengths, Enve are offering plenty of choice. For the first time in a long time, I would happily run these wheels on a bike that I own. To the average Joe, it would be hard to pay the £3,099 when its the wheel that is the first point of contact when riding. Typically, its the wheel that takes the brunt of the abuse when riding. I have never seen an issue with someone building a bike to the ultimate specification possible. If you have the money why shouldn't you. At least these new and vastly improved hoops will bring some great performance too.
For custom builds or anything Enve in the UK visit www.saddleback.co.uk
PRICE - £3,099
WORDS - Ieuan Williams
PHOTOS - Ieuan Williams