ENVE Composites DH Wheels Review

Jan 9, 2013
by Brad Walton  
 
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TESTED
ENVE
CARBON
WHEELS
BYBRAD WALTON


It is probably fair to say that ENVE's carbon rims are hands down some of the most lusted after components that can be added to a bike. Like a fresh pair of Air Jordans, these trick hoops instantly elevate any rider to 'baller' status. Even riders who aren't familiar with these wheels will stop and ask, "Are those carbon rims?" All this attention is well-deserved after shelling out $2,888 USD for set of complete wheels identical to what's tested here, not to mention the rim-only price of $999 USD. There's no denying it - that's a hell of a lot of money, especially considering the fact that one can assemble a very decent wheelset for the price of a single 475 gram ENVE rim. Given their high price, what exactly are you getting after parting ways with all those hard earned dollars?


ENVE DH Wheelset Details

• Purpose: Downhill
• Rim: Uni-directional carbon fiber
• Hubs: Chris King (tested) or DT Swiss
• 32 DT Competition stainless steel spokes
• Rims made in the USA
• Width: 30mm (21mm internal)
• Rim weight: 475 grams (claimed)
• Wheelset weight: 1843g (claimed), 1922g (actual)
• Max tire pressure: 40psi
• 5-year warranty on rim
• MSRP: $2888 USD/wheelset, $999 USD/rim


TFBF (Total F'ing Bling Factor)

While the initial sticker shock may cause heart palpitations, the exotic combo of ENVE's carbon rims laced to Chris King hubs are the pinnacle of downhill wheel design and technology. The look of the deep-dish raw carbon rim alone is enough to justify the purchase for riders who want the latest and greatest, regardless of the cost. But whether you drool or scoff at ENVE's aesthetic accomplishment is largely irrelevant to the company that was founded to create no-compromise composite components. The appearance is a mere side effect to the mechanical advantages of properly molded carbon fiber, and ENVE knows the competitive athlete will stop at nothing for the slightest advantage over their opponent. Regardless of your reasoning for this purchase, you'll need to stand your ground as you become the center of attention. It's unavoidable when your rims cost more than many complete bikes, and nice bikes at that.

 Our ENVE tour wasn't able to expose much about how these rims are made due to some secrecy in the process, but we did develop a strong sense of pride in their hand craftsmanship throughout the manufacturing process. From production to inspection, wheel building to destructive testing, every part of the process is done in-house at their Ogden, Utah, facility.
Our ENVE tour wasn't able to expose much about how these rims are made, but we did develop a strong sense of pride in their hand craftsmanship throughout the manufacturing process. From production to inspection, wheel building to wheel destructive testing, every part of the process is done in-house in their Ogden, Utah, facility.

The ENVE Difference
Employing a patented and proprietary process for their carbon rim production, ENVE is confident their DH rim is up to the task of downhill riding and racing. Utilizing state of the art carbon production techniques, ENVE is able to create a rim that is not only lighter than most every rim intended for the same use, but one they claim is stiffer, stronger, and more resilient than any other comparable rim. The process is somewhat of a trade secret due to their utilization of a removable bladder, but we were able to see the basics during a recent visit to their manufacturing facility.

It all begins with a raw carbon mat that is laid up by hand around large, wheel-shaped metal forms manufactured on ENVE's CNC machines. To create the hollow rim internals, an inflatable bladder is incorporated into the carbon layup. Once the carbon goes through the curing stage, which involves adding heat and pressure (known as molding), the bladder is deflated and removed entirely. It's an easy concept to understand, but removing the bladder is much more difficult than it sounds. Some companies will leave the bladder behind as part of the rim, not only adding unnecessary weight, but also creating difficulty for wheel builders in balancing the wheel. There is no finishing work applied to the rim post-molding - what you see, aside from their added decals, is exactly how the rim came out of the mold. ENVE has the process down pat, and this predominantly hands-on, made in USA manufacturing methodology is exactly what makes these rims so expensive.


 ENVE's proprietary carbon layup process utilizes an inflated bladder that is removed after molding. The rim is then patched and refinished. Alloy spoke nipples are located inside the rim and require a specific spoke wrench for building/tensioning/truing.
ENVE's proprietary carbon layup process utilizes an inflated bladder that is removed after molding. The rim is then patched and refinished. Alloy spoke nipples are located inside the rim and require a specific spoke wrench for building/tensioning/truing.


Wheel Stiffness
Besides the basic rigidity advantage over aluminum that is possible when carbon is laid out with stiffness in mind, ENVE has employed several other points into their wheel builds to further add to their solidity. A 2-cross spoke pattern is used, which is not necessarily stronger than a 3-cross pattern, but is said to be laterally stiffer. This is mostly due to a shorter spoke with less slack than a 3-cross build. Spoke tension is also unusually high, with ENVE going beyond the upper limits of what would typically be seen on an aluminum-rimmed, 32-spoke wheel build. Traditional wheel builds registering 1,000 Newtons of spoke deflection are considered to be at the upper limit of spoke tension, but our test wheels meter in at 1,200-1,300 Newtons. To get away with this extreme figure, ENVE utilizes a large and proprietary alloy spoke nipple that precisely interfaces with the internal shape of their molded spoke holes.

Rather than drilling the spoke nipple holes through the rim wall, ENVE's uni-directional carbon fiber strands are routed around the spoke holes and continue around the molded rim. These unbroken fibers not only reinforce the spoke hole to withstand higher spoke tension, but also serve to spread the load of each hole to the neighboring hole on either side. Distributing this load uniformly around the rim makes it easier to build a wheel with even tension, as well as produce a higher quality wheel build that will require less maintenance down the road. On the internal side of the spoke hole, molded nipple seats on the inside of the rim allow the alloy Pillar nipple to articulate and align with the exit angle of the spoke. This ensures the nipple will not be bound against the rim or bend, greatly reducing the possibility of premature spoke breakage.


 Handmade in USA is only part of the cost of these rims. ENVE's research and development has led to a rim that they say is unsurpassed by any other material in wheel stiffness, dent and flat-spot resilience, and damping characteristics.
Handmade in USA is only part of the cost of these rims. ENVE's research and develpment has led to a rim that they say is unsurpassed by any other material in wheel stiffness, dent and flat-spot resilience, and damping characteristics.

In-house Testing
ENVE has a test lab where they evaluate their own designs and conduct batch testing. Rims and wheels from every manufacturer are tested with the same variables against ENVE's own carbon rims to establish their production standards. As seen below, ENVE tests how a competitor's rim holds up against their own in the square-edge test. 85 lbs of weight is dropped from various heights until the failure point is found for every rim.


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Riding ENVE's Carbon DH Wheels


We've ridden a lot of different wheelsets in our time, but never before has one felt so obviously different than the carbon-rimmed ENVE set. The difference in acceleration was night and day, something that we would usually attribute to lighter weight (they were 1/4lb lighter than the wheelset they replaced ), but we didn't feel the advantage on the sustained climbs required to access our gravity trails. Instead, it was the outright stiffness that made the difference. The rigidity of the carbon rims, paired with the super-high spoke tension, is so ridiculously different that it actually took some adjustment on the trail. ENVE's stiff wheels simply transfer energy better. Corners are more predictable, steering is more precise, and every part of our bike felt tighter while riding with the ENVE wheels bolted on. It is often said that a high-end wheelset is one of the most beneficial upgrades one can make to a bike, and this has never been more true than when talking about the ENVE wheelset.

 Stiff wheels inspire confidence in all situations.
Stiff wheels inspire confidence in all situations.

The un-parallelled stiffness comes with a learning curve, however, as we found the front wheel to cause a touch more deflection on rough and rocky portions of trail. This was mainly noticed on straight, high-speed sections where a rock edge was encountered, with the stiff wheels not being able to provide as much lateral flex to dampen the impact. This is a trait we had never considered with our traditional hand-built wheels, but also something we missed while riding the carbon wheels. This feeling never disappeared during our time on the ENVE wheels, but even still, we're betting that the benefits of the overly stiff wheel will outweigh any adjustment period for most riders. The much talked about vibration damping qualities of carbon aren't quite as apparent when a 2.5" tire and 7" of suspension travel are thrown into the equation, which isn't surprising given ENVE's pursuit of rigidity over forgiveness. One of the best qualities of using carbon for a rim material is that it can be configured to resist impact damage much better than an alloy rim. This impact resistance allows riders to run lower air pressure without worrying about flat spotting or denting the rim's sidewalls. Interestingly, we never suffered a single pinch flat during testing, something that we were half expecting given the rim's stiff nature.


We were very surprised when we cracked the rear ENVE carbon rim on a hard G-out while testing at Whistler. We can't stress enough that you should never continue to ride any damaged component, despite us giving in to being curious as to just how long the rim would last after cracking.
Our rear carbon rim couldn't handle a big G-out in uneven bedrock. A carbon component should never be used after a crack like this becomes clearly visible.

We took the ENVE wheels to the proving grounds of Whistler Bike Park for some high-speed lift-accessed riding over rocky terrain. One of the fastest runs of the day had a large G-out compression mid-run, bottoming the suspension and causing the bike to emit a strange "popping" sound. Nothing was immediately noticeable, but upon inspection at the bottom of our run a crack was clearly visible that ran down both sides of a spoke hole. We presume that an aluminum rim would have at least had a large dent, if not a massive flat spot from such a harsh compression. In a race situation, both the aluminum and carbon rim would likely have been able to continue to finish the run. It goes without saying that a rim of any material should be replaced after this, but purely out of curiosity we decided to continue riding on the ENVE rim. Part of our reasoning behind continuing to use the rim boils down to that fact that it would be easy for many riders to not spot the original crack in the first place. We wanted to know just how long the damaged rim would last, and if it did fail, in what manner.

We made it through a few more runs in the bike park, but after coming up a short on a jump during another ride, the pre-damaged carbon rim exploded into multiple pieces. There's no guarantee that an alloy rim, pre-damaged or not, would have survived a miscalculation such as this, but it is possible that an alloy rim subjected to this type of punishment could still be ridden out of the woods. In our case, it was a two hour hike out, carrying the bike. ENVE evaluated our wheelset to determine the cause for the initial crack and claims this to be the first consumer warranty on their DH rims as of yet. Since the carbon layup is done by hand, there could have been human error involved in the patterning of the directional strand fibers before molding. The intact front wheel was also tested to see that it met ENVE's standards, which would eliminate any possibility of a batch-related error during the molding process. In general, we were pleased to see that ENVE does care so much about their product and were hard critics of their own suspect rear rim, and it should be noted that the rim was covered under their 5-year warranty program.

ENVE had this to say about our damaged rim:

The rims initially delivered for testing were from a batch of lighter weight pre-production prototypes developed for smoother World Cup courses and lighter weight racers. Under extreme G-out compression or impact the light weight proto rims were susceptible to cracking at the spoke face as the strength of the tire channel would over power the lighter weight sidewalls and instigate a compression fracture, which is exactly what happened during the failure of Pinkbike's test rim. It is of note that the rim returned to ENVE exhibited no damage to the actual hook bead and tire bed of the rim. ENVE replaced the test rims with current production rims that are 30 grams per rim heavier than the version reviewed here. The current production rim available to the public is the same rim that the Santa Cruz Syndicate raced during the 2012 season and that Greg Minnaar won the 2012 World Championship on. While ENVE has brought to market a carbon downhill rim capable of withstanding the harshest riding conditions in the world, they are close to indestructible but not totally. As such, we stand behind our product 100% and extend our 5-Year Warranty and Lifetime Crash Replacement to the original owners of all ENVE DH rims and wheelsets.


Technical report
• The ENVE wheels did not require any maintenance, tensioning, or truing during our test period. Even after the rim cracked, the wheel remained perfectly true.
• Most riders and home mechanics will not have a Pillar nipple wrench on hand. Though readily available through a bike shop, it seems like for the cost of these wheels ENVE could throw in a spoke wrench.
• King hubs have a bit of a break-in period. Though the axles are adjustable, we found ours to either be too tight or too loose during the entirety of the test.



Pinkbike's take:
The wheelset's incredible rigidity adds up to superb cornering and acceleration abilities, making them ideal for a racer who is looking for that split second advantage on race day, but we have to admit that we would prefer to ride a more traditional wheelset for day to day use. And while we certainly respect and appreciate domestic manufacturing, the original crack that we experienced proves that carbon reliability often boils down to the human touch regardless of which country the component is produced in. Would we have had years of trouble-free use if we simply replaced the damaged rim by way of ENVE's 5-year warranty? Possibly, but then again we know with near certainty that any consumer who paid for these wheels with their hard earned money would feel quite let down by the failure in the first place. The real benefits of ENVE's DH wheelset comes from added stiffness, flat-spot resilience, and some possible weight savings. None of this will matter to the average rider, but then again, this isn't your average product. Those looking for the competitive edge just may see the value. -Brad Walton



www.enve.com
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355 Comments

  • + 71
 Good write up Brad, Im glad that someone has exposed the fact that carbon truly does have faults and is not the wonder material for the mountain bike industry. I am extremely happy with my easton havocs though and they have been pretty much bomb proof
  • + 5
 I still haven't had the pleasure to test ride my Havocs 2012 as hard as i can. But the weight is the same as the ENVE's, if not better. And wonder - Havocs have straight-pull spokes. Isn't their tension higher than normal one and probably equal to the ENVE's ones?
An the price is ridiculous!!!
  • + 61
 Just saying, this link should be higher up. www.pinkbike.com/photo/8921632

if you wanna see this broken
  • + 4
 havocs do have a hub issue, right? of course you can replace the bearings though.
  • + 2
 not convinced in slightest, not when i run mavic rims for a year at 20 quid each and 531 grams, some reason any hard built wheels i try just die, only soft built last for me
  • + 6
 Why can the rims only take 40psi ? will they fail if high pressures are achieved ?

I inflate mine to over 40 quite often to get them to seat properly , then let some out after of course.

Also are they OK to be run tubeless ? Does stuff like stans tubeless gunk have any negative affect on the carbon ?
  • + 5
 funny the king hubs are yet again not so high end after all.. i'd build the set with hope hubs imo..
  • + 44
 its a shame that these teo photos didnt make it in, i dont know why they cut them out.

http://lp1.pinkbike.org/p5pb8921632/p5pb8921632.jpg

http://lp1.pinkbike.org/p5pb8921708/p5pb8921708.jpg
  • + 81
 kev1n- It really is a shame. As a matter of fact, it's BS. As a product tester I find it insulting that a company would claim to have sent me a pre-production prototype without telling me. These rims cost me a separated shoulder. When I wrote the review, these pics were included, but the editor cut them out. What is included is the ACTUAL weight of the wheelset, which is heavier than the company quotes it to be, which means that these 'proto' rims are not any lighter. Trust me, had they told me these were pre-production sample carbon rims for testing, I would never have put them on my bike. Carbon has it's place, which is for race use only. If you ride hard every day, forget about it.
  • + 13
 Not that i don't respect you because you seem like you have a legit profile.. but isn't that what a product tester does? Test shit to see if it will hold up before they sell it to the public? either way, thanks for sharing... looks like a clear fail for those hoops..
  • + 2
 @taletotell, @mnorris122 - what issues do you refer to regarding Havoc hubs? I'm talking about 2012 hubs, the 12x150mm rear one to be precise.
Been going through forums checking how people feel about them, cause i am unable to test ride them properly, and everyone has been stunned as to how good of an entire wheelset it is. Smile
@bradwalton - agreed, but only if we are talking frames or wheels. In other areas, such as cranksets, handlebars, seatposts - why not? Smile Aren't new technologies good enough so that you can be a weekend warrior and rely completely on your carbon bars, for example? Smile
  • + 23
 Fair enough the rims did fail but you knowingly rode them AFTER you found the crack . so the rims didn't ' cost ' you anything , the shoulder injury is a result of you riding a broken product.

Yeah they might of given up anyway later on but still you can't really blame the rims.

( I'm assuming you mean you got injured when the rim failed )

But still it was a great review , seemed very honest to me , I was not expecting a failure.

And you are right to be mad at ENVE , they must be crazy to give a pre-production wheel set out for it's 1st (?) review , I think they are bullshitting you personally unless they thought you/readers would be more impressed with a slightly lower weight not expecting the rim to fail.
  • + 3
 Nothing like some good old fashioned BC/Northshore/Whistler R&D !
Too bad about the consequence I've been there...
  • + 0
 I do agree bigburd- I did knowingly ride them after having found the crack. However, I don't like carbon to begin with, so to say that these are prototypes after having injured myself as a result of their collapse is insulting.

And @ hitarpotar- good enough is all relative. Carbon is not good enough for me. I've posted enough content to this site that viewers should know if their riding relates to mine, and that if so they shouldn't ride carbon ANYTHING.
  • + 2
 Not UST?
unbelievable
  • + 4
 Carbon wheel, f*ck me right?
  • + 1
 +1 i have carbon levers on the Maggie sl's on the xc bike.. for the rest ...no carbon for me..rather bend something than break it.. i have some faith in santacruz its carbon frames.. but even at 75kgs i would not ever choose a carbon bar or seatpost .. or whatever.
  • + 1
 I have these wheels on my bike:

www.pinkbike.com/u/spoiledgoods/blog/sam-hill-crash-fort-williams-2010.html

Just a few dents, but not broken yet.
  • + 2
 @Brad... here have a plus
@rocnriderider we need a link with it Wink
  • + 23
 The photos of the destroyed rim were removed due to the fact that the tester knowingly rode them after damage was found, not something that we can recommend but we were very curious as to if the rim would continue to be useable after the initial damage was spotted. What do you do when you find a broken part on your bike, let alone one so important as a rim? You replace it. The complete failure is still included within the review for all to read, but the smashed rim is a little sensationalist given the circumstances of it being ridden knowingly broken already. The photo has been linked a number of times in the comment section, though, which was expected.
  • - 8
 Bradwalton's statements that he does not like carbon is VERY clear in his review. The rim did not cause the crash. He noticed the crack after he stopped, when the wheel was still round and in rolling condition. The fact that he hit a G-out hard enough to crack a rim that has a higher resilience than ANY current aluminum rim suggests EXTREME rider error. Would you rather break the rim, which is under warranty, or the frame? Bottoming the suspension that hard in a rocky area is simply unacceptable. These are DH rims, not freeride rims, and are typically expected to be used by riders who ride smart and smooth. The description of the failure event does not include either of those two parameters.
  • + 5
 People putting too much faith into carbon. Don't get me wrong, it is good but not for every application. And 1,000 on the wallet? Stupidly overpriced in my eyes.
  • - 1
 My son has not had a positive experience with the Easton Havoc DH wheelset. They dent up quite a bit, and seems like every 3rd ride the spokes are loose and the hoops wobbly. Have since replaced them with Outlaws. www.pinkbike.com/photo/8585034
  • + 2
 I thought i saw the hub issue in a PB review. I remembered because I like easton and thinking of getting some. still might if the issues are resolved and I can replace bearings as needed.

www.pinkbike.com/news/Pinkbike-Product-Picks-june-15-2012.html : "Unfortunately, we experienced repeated loosening of the front hub bearings during our time with them"
  • + 14
 Brad and Mike, I think you handled this well, the review and image selection. It's a legit review and honest. and Not showing the broken rim was the right thing to do under the circumstances. I'm sorry to hear about your shoulder Separation and the 2 hour walk out of the woods, Brad. That must have sucked. I hope it heals quickly and you're back out on the bike soon!

Let's hope that the take-away for the readers is: If your carbon component shows cracking, discontinue use immediately.
  • + 19
 @ Esstinkay,

Those are the OLD Havoc's. We are talking straight 2012 version which have been revised in multiple aspects (new hubs/bearings? 1800g'ish, New Decals). And yeah, you're good to get the Azonic Outlaws..imo the best/strongest wheelset for the price. You do get a bit more weight, but that's all negligible for a super durable product that lasts years and years of abuse.

About the article.
1) If Enve really did send tester Proto-Rims, the test is all BS, right from the start. You don't give a tester a product that IS NOT GOING TO BE USED by the NORMAL CONSUMER. What's the point?

2) I understand Rider/Tester wanted to ride more after the cracked rim, but after that point, the test DOES NOT HOLD, or should not be considered in a positively objective way. That part was purely for "fun". If you ride a broken part...it's already broken and the consequence should already be known.

2b) Tester does not like Carbon..sure I have my own reasons and ideas, but any test should be relatively subjective/bias-free. Whether you like Carbon or you don't, having certain feelings in one direction will cloud the main/final result of the test, which is the point of testing the in first place.

3) Leads me back to point 1, the test was not good/set if Enve really sent you Prototype rims. But, it could be an excuse as always...who knows.

Carbon has a much higher strength per weight vs. Aluminum, but Aluminum naturally has a more 'lenient' durability...people need to remember that the stiffest equipment isn't a good thing. You ALWAYS need a degree of flex/compliance or things will crack, snap, etc.
  • + 2
 nice one mike.. i like this discussion.. one of the few here tbh
esp about the flex.. its a 50/50 deal..
  • + 4
 Spicy-Mike, as always, I love your comments and I completely agree that having a tester who admits to hating carbon test a set of carbon wheels is pretty pointless.

Carbon isn't perfect. Believe me, I know. I've done my fair share of damage to an ENVE rim (at 5'8" and a solid 150) as an aggressive rider, but I've never flatted out because of my rim failure, nor did it cause me any physical harm, even after riding LCC on a damaged ENVE rim... It had five cracks and would have failed soon, but I chose the wiser route and sent it back to the company, rather than risk my personal safety.

Their product is solid, as it should be for that price, and I've raced and ridden (hard, by the way -- i'm not nice to my equipment) on these wheels with complete satisfaction.

Are they a perfect, guaranteed safe, you-can-pummel-all-you-want wheel? No. There's no such thing, unless someone starts making diamond wheel sets. Carbon can fail, depending on how it has been built. Are they damn great wheels for a professional (or aspiring pro) rider who wants this certain technology and the edge that technology will provide? You bet your ass they are.
  • + 1
 @ Cyberhawk, Same. Good to know there's people like you who know about it and don't fall for the whole Flex-Is-BAD idea. hahaha

@ Ambatt, thanks. And what you said is very very true. The expectation level is very very high, but for that price it is somewhat called for. But carbon is a material that should generally be trusted given that it's tested/perfected. Also, it's very important with CF to never take it beyond its capabilities that it was intended for.

And got an offer for you..that thing you said about the diamond wheels....want to start a new company? We'll call it "Diamond Composites Inc." haha Wink
  • + 3
 Stans Flow rims are lighter.......
i know you will going to say that Enve its stronger,but remember nothing is unbreakable

sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/6354_186667318142725_859132380_n.jpg
  • + 2
 Yeah gonna get me some of the new flows. They still arent DH FULLY specific, but a good choice for sure. Remember ur getting CK hubs as well with the set so theres definitely a performance difference vs. Normal hubs.

Have u tried the new stans flow?
  • + 2
 @mikelevy and @bradwalton

I think it was a major flaw to let out those two photos as well as some info I know i read in the initial article. It is a review of a product that we trust our lives and our shoulders with, sorry to hear brad, and the truth should be exposed. Not im not saying riding a severly damaged product is good but what brad encountered with the demolition of these wheels is something i could see another rider or myself doing. I would be quick to see that crack in the rim and i would actually still probably ride as did brad. If that crack creates possibilities for such a dangerous outcome, i think us readers should know about it. Brad attempted to expose the truth that carbon is not the wonder product weve been looking for and i stand by my very first comment on this review, at the same time i think it was a poor decision on mikes part to tamper with the review and try and hide the photos and some content to the public. Sounds like something the government would do... Regardless, i hate to pick at these small issues that bother me and its a pain to type this out on my phone, all in all i think the point has been made that mountain biking is a hostile enviroment regardless if your parts are plastic or metal, its just a choice of how you would like to torture your bike and how healthy your wallet and time is.
  • + 4
 Hey, diamonds are carbon.
  • + 2
 I have seen enough broken mech cages at the megavalanche this year.. I suggest you keep it to spacers only
  • + 4
 Tbh, I think Carbon hasn't been introduced to "Real-World-Testing", only been tested in 'Theory' or just plain old Maximum Strength testing. We all know Carbon when molded correctly can have a much higher maximum yield strength per that same weight of Aluminum alloy..however, it's not about maximum strength in most cases when you actually take that product out for a ride. You all of a sudden introduce SO MANY new variables that aren't even conceivable by a tester and his test machine.

We've have seen that Carbon even with its really high PSI threshold failure rate, people are still achieving this kind PSI rating/failure with not too crazy examples. These examples we all thought were "too extreme" for even the rider to handle (that they would die before the CF product even remotely cracked)..but it looks like that isn't true. Even so, we all know as well that Carbon has a tendency to not be flex compliant and instead translate all that stress into a violent failure or clean snap. That's an issue that will plague rims, handlebars, etc and make them more susceptible to cracking/failures.

So, there's a future for Carbon, however, more testing has to be done, more R&D, etc. It seems like the idea is good in theory but there are a few problems with it once you introduce it to the real-world variables.
  • + 7
 @mikelevy: Most of the people I know do not carefully inspect dirty rims for cracks after every run. It is perfectly honest to test what happens when a hard to detect crack appeared - wheel was running true and not making sounds. Most users will NOT notice that right away.
  • + 2
 To my mind, there isn't a great deal of carbon fibre in that rim... and what there is seems to be laid up in a direction mainly across the rim, rather than circumferentially...
Either that, or the resin used is 1) brittle and 2) bonds TOO strongly to the fibres, resulting in a fast fracture, rather than absorbing energy in splitting the fibre from the resin. Poorly made. Carbon requires real attention to detail to be effective.
  • + 1
 im sure they pay lots of attention to detail, more of a learning curve on carbon than a error on there behalf.
  • + 0
 Since this old review,Steve peat has run 1 set of these rims for an entire race season. I think their strength and durability is now proven.
  • + 3
 How do you know he has used only 1 set of wheels for the entire season?
Kinda hard to believe it while watching the mechanics build wheels after wheels for some of the more rocky races.... Razz
  • - 1
 Cause it's written I their advertising in several locations. He used other wheels for practice but the same set for every race. Use Google you'll find it.
  • + 1
 Over both seasons, ENVE say there wasn’t a single catastrophic failure. “It was only eight up until the world champs,” Jason Schiers, ENVE’s founder told BikeRadar. “We were hoping to keep it under double digits for the year, which would have been huge. Steve Peat raced the same set of wheels all year long, which was unheard of [he used a separate set of practice wheels].”
  • + 1
 It means nothing. Steve Peat has pro mechanics checking it over every single run. Durability for a pro means little for real life use.

And of cause ENVE would say that. What do you expect them to say?
  • + 2
 Prisewise, ENVE is a disaster! Big Grin I still can't seem to understand why someone would buy them (except for people with deeeeeeeeep, deep pockets)... Smile
  • + 1
 Your both talking arse here,a pro rides harder than anyone here ever will and to not break a rim is truly uheard of. The mechanics state the major benefits of these wheels are they are pretty much fit and forget,no trueing needed no rim dinks and only the very rare failure to deal with. I have run their am rim for a year and a half now in some of the roughest destinations without so much as a blip,I have not been gentle on them. Why would they offer a 5 year no questions guarantee if not bombproof? As regards price yes they're pricey but compared to another higher end wheelset,deemax ultimates for example,they are about twice the price and for that your getting ck hubs and as a rule a rim that will far outlast any alloy plus 5 year piece of mind,worth the extra in my eyes. This test did have negative results but I know of no other negative test result ,period. I also know friends who run them on amateur race circuit and praise them endlessly.
  • + 1
 Bollocks. The facts are in front of you, silly to pretend it did not happen. Stop being a pathetic shill.
  • + 1
 What's bollox then mate? This is one test that I am not disputing,my argument is just that,this is one test. Don't call me pathetic you don't know anything about me,your my age so about time you grew up I think. Make a point if you have one instead of trying to be abusive,it makes you look pathetic.
  • + 1
 They offer a 5 years no questions guarantee? :O Didn't know that!
Also, what is the price of a single rim, without hubs, spokes, nipples, just a rim? Smile
  • + 2
 Uk prices are £850 dh £750 am,got a good relationship with you lbs I'm sure you'll get a better deal I have. If you happen to break a rim by misadventure,eg: car runs over your bike they'll replace it at half original cost,that alone is a goods deal I think.
  • + 1
 Still, pretty steep a price for a bare rime.... And not to mention you need 2 of them for the bike. Big Grin
That's (refering to the 850 GBP mark) more than twice the price i paid for my barely ridden Easton Havoc 20/12x150 2012 wheelset. Still rolling despite several minor dents, and the replacement rims are around 240-250 USD, postage not included. I still can't seem to find the advantage of the ENVE against the Havoc, even with the 5-year warrantee.... :?
[Reply]
  • + 46
 I enve anyone who can afford to put these on their bike....
  • + 5
 I see what you did there
[Reply]
  • + 22
 No offense to the writer, but you really have to be an idiot for riding the rims after that initial crack, and even more so for doing any big jumps on it. It was cracked more than halfway through for Christ's sake. Would you ride/jump an aluminium rim in that condition? It just boggles my mind that you would ride this severely cracked rim, yet dismiss the possibility of riding a pre-production prototype out of hand. Do you really think that riding damaged equipment is safer? It's not like you would ride/jump a cracked frame (aluminium, carbon) either. Anyway, I really hope you didn't get hurt because you don't deserve that. However, you really shouldn't disparage a company for a failure that is clearly your fault.

Having said all that, the initial crack is disturbing and I would want to know a bit more about the likelihood of this happening, but as an unusual failure that shouldn't be enough to sentence carbon wheels to death in my opinion.
  • + 7
 I agree that knowingly riding a cracked carbon rim is a bad idea. But the reason Brad said he did it made sense. Personally, I dont check my rims after every run. It might be a week or more until a crack like that is noticed by the average rider. And if it goes unnoticed, he wanted to show the possible failure. It was good not to put the pictures in the article, but a good experiment to do just to test what would happen. It shows what could happen if someone didnt realize their $1000 rim was cracked. Sucks that he got hurt though.

Also the part about sending prototype rims without telling him makes me lose any faith in the company. Especially because these "lighter" protos still weighed more than the claimed weights for the normal rims.
[Reply]
  • + 21
 The photos of the busted wheel seem to have been taken out of the original article (links here and here).
  • + 6
 Woowwzaaas ! Thanks for that!
  • + 1
 Thanks dude , was about to ask for photos of the fucked rim.
  • + 0
 I would feel much safer on these: www.pinkbike.com/u/spoiledgoods/blog/sam-hill-crash-fort-williams-2010.html

As you can see, I could have ridden out on these, but no way could the carbon rim with the crack be ridden out.
  • + 1
 The caption says 'after a nasty crash'. Much different than 'caused a nasty crash'.
[Reply]
  • + 17
 Oh, so Enve's claimed weight is 1843g and Pinkbike's test set was 1922g, and still those are claimed to be 'lighter weight pre-production prototypes developed for smoother World Cup courses and lighter weight racers'? So after we add 30g per rim, it's already almost 2000g per set? Oh?
  • + 7
 glad someone caught that
  • + 3
 You seem well vexed,i'm surprised you managed to give such a unprejudiced write up,hats off to ya !
  • + 5
 Pigman, you can probably thank the editor ;-)
[Reply]
  • + 16
 Great review! I just think that when you're paying almost $3,000 dollars for a wheelset (a DH one too) getting a crack like that in DH conditions is ridiculous. Sure if it was a pair of am wheels it wouldn't be that big of an issue, but when the wheels are supposedly designed perfectly for downhill abuse and with such a hefty pricetag, a crack like that is almost unacceptable. I understand that it was a prototype and it might not have been perfect but still, it was designed to ride g-outs and hit jumps whether a proto or not. It just shows that composites have a little ways to come before they make their way to wheelsets.
[Reply]
  • + 16
 And your alloy rims don't crack? I'm not Brad Walton (who rides harder than 99.9% of the world) but I've personally ruined countless alloy rims in the last 10 years of riding, including cranking through rims from Sun, No Tubes, TBC and Easton. At lease Enve will send you a new rim for 5 freaking years!!!
  • + 12
 ya but they dont cost a fucking grand to replace lol
  • - 1
 Enve will send you a new rim for free according to this review and their stated 5 year warranty policy. I did a 85ft drop in Virgin on these and knocked out all of my teeth disfiguring my face for life; the rear wheel was damaged and they send me a brand new rim under warranty!
  • + 7
 Wish teeth had the same warranty
  • + 1
 So there you have it, the kind of guy who'd buy Enve DH wheels is the kind of guy who'd jump off a cliff if you told him to... ... not that I wouldn't consider jumping off a cliff for a set of Enve wheels.
  • + 2
 Did you mean to to the 85 foot drop or was it an accident ?

Surely no ones crazy/foolish enough to do a 85foot drop ?
  • + 9
 I live 20 minutes away from virgin and I have never seen an 85 ft drop. The biggest I have seen out there is about 45 ft. Good try though
  • + 10
 hey grutzmac...BULLSHIT.
  • + 1
 k tell me why you did an 85 foot drop? betcha didnt tell enve that lol
  • + 5
 Grutzmac - EIGHTY FIVE FOOT drop! Come on. you can't just go round casually claiming you have done an 85ft drop without backing it up!
  • + 13
 he meant he did 80 five ft drops. in a row. like a staircase. lots of bouncing all the way down.
  • + 2
 its explicitly states he did a 85 foot drop lol
  • + 2
 Its on the internet. It must be true.
  • + 3
 I know grutzmac. It's true. He did it on a hardtail too!
[Reply]
  • + 18
 That chick can do my rim any day :-D
[Reply]
  • + 14
 what a f*cking cop-out ENVE. your product breaks under normal riding (the original crack), then completely implodes on itself later that SAME day. then, instead of saying, "our product is intended for WC racers that don't purchase their own wheels because it is brittle" you make up this BS lightweight pre-production crap instead of taking responsibility and being honest with your consumers, when in fact the rims you gave them were HEAVIER than you list the production models at. kudos to the PB guys for continuing to ride that rim that day; a crack that small will go unnoticed by many, and you have since raised vital awareness to riders to check their incredibly expensive rims with a magnifying glass after each run to ensure they don't risk serious injury.
  • + 8
 That pretty much sums up what I have to say about this.
[Reply]
  • + 14
 Thanks for a honest review PB.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Interesting seeing how this review has changed from it's initial version a few weeks ago, they've since removed the photo of the torn and mangled rim. A bit dissapointed that they would send the non production version to be tested and then show us a video of bench marking what was presumably the 30g heavier production version.
  • + 3
 The photos of the destroyed rim were removed due to the fact that the tester knowingly rode them after damage was found, not something that we can recommend. The complete failure is still included within the review for all to read, but the smashed rim is a little sensationalist given the circumstances of it being ridden knowingly broken already. The photo has been linked a number of times in the comment section, though, which was expected.
  • + 1
 mikelevy if you're looking for someone to be a little more responsible in their journalism, you got my username Wink
  • - 3
 I would be happy to take a job editing this crap, keeping the facts, and removing the opinion. The review should have included a caution that the product failed, and there was not time to review the replacement, and a long term review will happen to follow up.

A cracked rim is not at all sensationalistic. If the review was left at that, and a replacement obtained for further evaluation, then Brad's review would have not come across as such shit.

Of note, the front wheel required almost no maintenance. How many aluminum rims of any brand can manage that after 5 weeks in Whistler?
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Some of this doesn't add up. In the review Walton said he was on "one of the fastest runs of the day," but in the comments he said it was a green run (PS Fantastic is a blue run). In any case, the fastest run of the day, behind pro level racers, was on an intermediate trail. Sketchy at best, dangerous at worst.

Review says: "We presume that an aluminum rim would have at least had a large dent, if not a massive flat spot from such a harsh compression."

Walton's comments say: "I was following Morland and Billinghurst. Both of them had alloy rims, neither of them had a problem" So, which is it? Carbon fail and alloy success, or did they hit a different line?

Review says: "A carbon component should never be used after a crack like this becomes clearly visible."

Comments say: "These rims cost me a separated shoulder." Which is it? Brad, I'm sincerely sorry you separated your shoulder, but it was because you cased a jump with a compromised wheel. Products should cover us to some degree during rider error, but there's a point in there somewhere that it becomes our fault.

Brad, you did a good job sounding neutral in the review, but I think it would be better if you stated your biases up front. In the comments you said, "I've posted enough content to this site that viewers should know if their riding relates to mine, and that if so they shouldn't ride carbon ANYTHING." I have to wonder why they had you review these rims. Basically, you've said, "I hate carbon and I should never ride it, now here let me ride some carbon from a company that only does carbon, and do a review for you." This just shows how unreliable reviews can be. I hope you try to destroy every product you ride, but are you tempted to save such effort for products made of materials that you've already decided you hate? Come on, you kinda wanted to make these pretty-boy rims look bad, didn't you? Wink

I'm skeptical of the rims, but I think I'm more skeptical of reviews now.
  • + 3
 Perhaps Brad wasn't a fan of carbon before he got the rim and was willing to give them a try, but after his experience with a $3000 set of carbon rims that cracked on a Green/Blue run, he absolutely hates carbon?
  • + 12
 My mistake, you are correct Fantastic is a blue circle run. Not sure you what you mean about the sketchy/dangerous comment. It was the fastest run of the day because that trail has no obstacles to slow you down. You can't go much faster at Whistler than on that trail. There is no different line, it's just a bedrock section with a big compression to it.

Most riders would not even notice said crack. I just happened to be looking to see how the rims were holding up. I kept riding to see what would happen. I have ridden plenty of cracked aluminum rims for up to a year. Heck, one of the editors at PB has been riding a broken carbon frame for nearly a year.

I didn't ask for these wheels. I was given the wheels by Pinkbike along with the quote "Let's see how long it takes you to break them." I do not care to 'make products look bad'. My job is quite the opposite. I stated the facts up front in an unbiased manner. Regardless of the exploded rim or my injury, the rim cracked on an easy DH run after only 5 weeks.

My written review reads quite different than what you've read here. Everything gets heavily edited. Enve was allowed to add their thoughts on it as well, without any mention to me, ever, of these rims being 'pre-production prototypes'. Based on the weight of the rims, I doubt they are. All the evidence is laid out before you to make your assumptions about me and my reviews, but you should be thanking me for writing something honest.

And regarding my views of carbon, that is a recent decision, largely based on these rims and a few broken cranks and bars.
  • - 8
 The wheel broke after 5 weeks? It sounds like they broke after the first day in the review/comments. What a bunch of BS. Did you damage them in storage or transportation? Spill solvents on them in the shop?

I will never thank someone who writes as you do. Its arrogant knuckledragger drivel. Steve Peat didn't break the wheels in a full season. Either you are a hack (which isn't likely) or you broke them to prove a point, since many others (myself included) have been unsuccessful in breaking carbon wheels. I weigh 265, and am not a great rider. I think my wheels experience unusual stress and don't break.

Iamamodel- are you in a relationship with brad or something seeing how you defend the clearly poorly written and biased review.
  • + 3
 are you in a relationship with enve?

Brads reviews are the only ones I pay attention to on here because I know he rides hard and many of the same places I ride. Seems you've had good luck with your xc carbon rims he had a different experience let it go. Take a brake man you've been defending this company all day.
  • + 5
 How many times do I have to say that the rear rim cracked on an easy run at Whistler, after 5 weeks of use? No, I didn't try to break them or do anything weird to them. Just Riding Along...
  • + 0
 Thanks for the clarification Brad. Just from your additional comments it sounded like you were super anti-carbon going into the review. The review also sounded like it was pretty short term, so your clarification helps. The sketchy/dangerous comment was in regards to your fastest run being on an intermediate trail. I don't know Fantastic, but I know, for example, that other blue runs like Crank it Up can be sketchy at super high speeds (overshooting stuff, etc. potentially dangerous for me and my bike).

I do appreciate honesty. I didn't know your stuff got edited a bunch, because if anything I would like to see reviewers be more honest. With the review plus your comments, I got a much better view of where you were coming from and what your experience was. Carbon doesn't seem to be for everything or everyone, but I hope Enve gets this sorted out. I think we need companies to push, even if they sometimes push in the wrong direction. Thanks for putting yourself in their path!
  • - 1
 My Dad could ride down Fantastic on his 1993 Muddy Fox.....
  • - 5
 Too bad Brad couldn't LOL!!!
  • + 3
 lots of butt hurt here over a broken rim. to the guy claiming walton is a hack and steve peat rode the =m all year, who says peaty rode only one set or that he wasn't on a beefed up pair?? for $1000 a rim i want them to last a lifetime. they aren't worth the money imho. if i had limitless cash, sure i'd ride some, but i need to make smart purchases and these aren't one unless you are a sponsored dh rider. the performance upgrade just isnt there for the price. spend the money on a custom tuned shock and fork before dropping it on bling wheels.
  • - 3
 Its not about the rim or product, but the generalizations about carbon that are simply inaccurate. Yes. Peaty rode the same wheels all season (in race runs.) They of course used several sets for training.

I agree they aren't worth the money. Its the 1 cracked rim= carbon is useless in DH. Trek, Specialized, GT, all use it very successfully. Carbon will break, just less frequently than aluminum.
  • + 1
 I live in Whistler and bought these rims early last year as i got fed up of breaking my Mavics all the time. So I bought these thinking they where the strongest ones money could buy. And after using them for a year I can say they are the best wheels I've ever ridden, they really do feel amazing to ride.....however. I've broken 2 since I've had them (had them replaced in 2 weeks both times). They really really don't like rocks. I'm now thinking of putting them on my AM bike instead as they would be awesome on that.

When they work they are the best wheels on the planet.... when they work!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 People get too hung up sometimes on articles like this. Just because somebody somewhere broke their wheel doesn't mean you will. I kind of think that with Greg and Steve riding as hard and fast as they do and never having a problem with the wheels is a big enough testament to the strength of the wheels. 99.99% of the time, the rims will be perfect. Everything has its breaking point, and nothing is invincible.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 For me, just having that 5 year warranty says it all.

We have demo Enve wheels going round New Zealand at the moment, Downhill to Road, and no one has managed to break one, the rep brought (A DH wheel) it into our store and aside from a few scratches, it looked as perfect as the brand new one in his other hand.

If I had the money, I'd buy a set, no problems.
  • - 4
 This is consistent with the majority of carbon wheel users. If carbon had the same failure rate as aluminum rims, there would be no way a company could offer the warranty that they do with Easton, or ENVE rims. If we believe all innovation is crap, then we would still be riding 50lbs Konas and Banshees. I personally am glad we are living in an age where composites can shift the strenght/weight balance for those who can afford it.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 hmmmmmm, spending 3 grand on a enve wheelset that weighs 1900g or 800 bucks on easton wheelset that weighs 1850g.....Sorry enve, you gotta do better than that.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Narrow rims, behind the times, waste of money. Get a new frame instead. My spank stiffys, havocs and flow exs are all better with wide tyres and miles cheaper than my haven carbons which have the same 21mm internal width as these enves. Look good though, must be the main point?
  • + 1
 Agreed on the rim width, personnally.

But howcome these top level WC riders ride narrow rims like the deemax ultimates without issues? I guess it's only a problem for us slow riders haha
  • + 1
 21mm internal? Really? Too narrow, sticking with the 729s.
  • - 1
 Most still use tubes because of the narrower rims. Wider makes more of a difference with softer sidewalls and tubeless setups. I rode AM on 17-19mm rims a few years ago, before I switched to tubeless. As tubeless grows in popularity, wheel widths will expand as well.

Spank actually narrowed their race rims to 28mm external from 30+. Everything is a tradeoff, and the initial turn in is more vague when on a more squared off tire (wider rim.) What pros need is familiarity. If they have used it for a while with success, they will keep using it until the new feel is intuitive.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Every brand uses wonder materials/manufacturing processes to shed weight... terrific on an XC bike or road bikes where races are won/lost in the CLIMBS, or BMX bikes where its in the sprinting out of corners. But on a DH bike... I'd rather see them use superior strength to weight ratios to make shit stronger and better support tires in the case of rims.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Great write up! I like how they explained "the first consumer warranty' they don't mention the WC or race team failures. When watching the drop test video the test rim appears to have a crack in it just to the right of the drop area from a previous test?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Kind of disapointed with the reviewer Brad Walton after reading through the comments, its understandable that bias will always exist, it is impossible to completely remove all bias. But when a reviewer blatantly states their disregard for a product on forums it kind of sours my respect for the entire review. Seems a bit unprofessional. When I try a new product either on suggestion from a friend or hearing about it on the internets, I generally try to keep an open mind as I use the product, and set aside any preconceived notions. The reviewer seems kind of spoiled, I'm guessing that of the thousands of pinkbike subscribers, if you asked any one of them if they would like the opportunity to test some out of this world expensive carbon rims, they'd all be pretty happy too, and sure not everyone will like the product, but from all indications it would seem that the wheels did perform!
  • + 8
 I was thoroughly excited when I received these wheels (nearly one year ago!), and had no bias whatsoever. I've broken plenty of carbon parts, plenty of aluminum parts, and plenty of steel parts. I was not biased at that time. I rode them until they broke, maintaining an open mind all the while. I wrote the positive points. I wrote the negative points. That's how I ended it. Then my review got edited. I blatantly stated my disregard for this product after Enve stated that they sent me prototype rims, without ever telling me that, thereby making my review largely irrelevant, when in fact that is not the case. THAT IS UNPROFESSIONAL.
  • - 7
 Brad, are you making things up after the fact as you claim ENVE is doing? Who to believe, who to believe?
  • + 3
 I really don't care who you 'believe'. I write facts and then comment on them. You should be able to weigh whether or not that makes a difference to you, and in this case, for you, it doesn't. I am very happy for you that you are reaping the many benefits of this product, and hope that you continue to do so. As I have stated over and over again, it does not work for me. It is very easy for you to look into my previous reviews and see if the type of use you will elicit on a product will relate. The wheels were tested by myself because of all the testers I ride DH the most. It sounds to me as though you prefer product promotion over actual feedback, and if that is the case, perhaps just skip over my content.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 ARE YOU F***ING SERIOUS? 3 LARGE FOR A F***ING SET OF HOOPS!?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Of course pinkbike are the first to experience a problem with these wheels...Nobody can afford them! I like carbon components and frames but everybody I know that uses a carbon wheelset has destroyed them at least once so I think I'll stick with some good ol' Mavic stuff for now.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 1922g actual weight, with rims 30g lighter than production wheels... that puts it at ~1980g... which is still very light for a wheelset this stiff. *

BUT.

A similar combo with Flow EX / CX rays / Chris king hubs would come in at ~1815g. I'm sure the stiffness cannot be compared, but still, you could get the Flow EX wheelset for approx. 750€.
I've been running a Flow EX on CX rays / Chris king on the front for a whole DH season and could not fault it... but no carbon bling, and the stiffness is probably below what can be observed with the Enve rims. But at this price the choice was easy for me!
  • + 1
 not sure if you'll know the details of this, but: my understanding is that you have to build Stans rims to a lower spoke tension than many other wheels on the market. For instance, the old style Flows I built up last year, they recommended not to exceed 100 KgF, looks like the EXs are more in the normal range, 125KgF.

So, any idea what yours are actually built to?
  • + 1
 Since I have built the wheel myself, yes, I know the tensions Smile

Disc side I have built it up to 150kgf (yes, 150), it has been holding up just fine for one full DH season, you just have to make sure that the tension is really even across the wheel ( half a mark of fluctuation across all spokes on the TM1 tensiometer). Chris King hubs can really take a lot of tension before failing.

Had a really big crash with the rim, not even a slight wobble. Really happy with it.
  • + 1
 I recently built up a set of Flow EX/hadley hubs/dt competition spokes at 125KgF on the non-drive side, and 120KgF on the drive side (weight came out to 1950g). Put them on my Devinci Wilson slc, couldnt be more pleased, the perfect combination of stiffness and flex.

I previously ran mavic 729's (over 12 flat spots throught it's 2.5 year lifespan) so i was a little worried to go with such a lighter weight rim. zero complaints, hands down the best feeling wheel set iv ever ridden. i dont know if id go any higher on the spoke tension but it seemed to me 125/120KgF is perfect
  • + 2
 The other question, of course, is how much you weigh: there's a reason why the people who ran old school flows at WC level were all 100lb women. I've been hesitant to go with too light a rim just based on my considerable weight, and tonka truck style (read:none at all) riding.
  • - 1
 Flows are a great rim, but they are not intended to be a DH rim.
  • + 1
 I am 135 pounds and ride stuff like this www.pinkbike.com/photo/4440861, www.pinkbike.com/video/116371, www.pinkbike.com/photo/7590626. The flow EX's have served me perfectly for 3 months now, a worthy DH rim IMO
  • + 2
 carlmontnative, you should understand that you're about 40lbs lighter than what most bike manufactures design to.
  • + 1
 i can see how heavier people may want higher spoke tension, however lighter weight riders are still capable of putting wheels through the ringer. would a heavier rider think 125KgF is too low for flow ex's?
  • + 1
 no, the damage caused by heavier riders is usually to the rim itself. more weight means more force applied when the rider loads the wheels (after a drop, g-outs, etc) how "tonka truck" a rider is makes a big difference as well, but if you put a higher load on the rim than it's designed to withstand, you get a failure. 125KgF is the recommended max for those rims, so if you try to lace them to a higher tension, you just end up transferring the load to the nipple seat instead of the rim body, so you get spokes ripping out of the rim, instead of the rim bending. That's what the recommend tension is for: they're saying that if you lace it tighter than this number, you're transferring too much load to the nipple seat, and increasing chances of failure there.

They always tend to quote a bit low, though.
  • + 1
 itll be interesting to see how these rims hold up over time then. in terms of feel in corners and rough high speed sections, these rims make me smile every time. ya they may not be the most resilient after head on impacts but im able to build wheels and get these rims at a fair price. this probably makes my worry a little lower than others
  • + 1
 same reason that I've been considering them: being able to build your own wheels gives you a lot more freedom for this sort of stuff.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 There's a crack under the num 10 in the video!!! Ill stick with ally rims for now
  • + 7
 Exactly, the carbon rim ($999) did NOT take more abuse than Sun MTX 33 ($50).
Except that, Enve's is cheating with claimed weight on $2888 wheelset, that's unacceptable!!!
  • + 2
 Yeah, there's a big crack under the #10. I would prefer my rims to bend rather than crack or explode.
  • - 1
 Those SUN RIMS are sooooo weak--- if you even said " BOO" loudly ........those rims would bend ! LOL
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Thanks Brad. You're review was welcome and actually provided value. At the end of the day, most of us (non-sponsored riders) don't tear down our frames between runs. That makes Brad's review both fair and relevant. Shame PB tried to bury it. (Lame)
[Reply]
  • + 2
 BTW, sicklines has the Actual Weight of the ENVE DH wheelset as 1808g (842g front and 966g rear). Not sure how this wheelset is over 100g heaver when weighed by pinkbike, but maybe the scale is off?

www.sicklines.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=21262
www.sicklines.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=21263

www.sicklines.com/weights/mtbwheels
  • + 2
 In the description of those pics it says DT Aerolight spokes. Enve does not spec this spoke on their pre-built wheels. I use a US Postal digital scale, calibrated at the Post Office.
  • - 11
 are you sure you didn't exaggerate a bit like in the rest of your comments?
  • - 9
 Brad, everything you post is now suspect because you CLEARLY stated your bias. Scales can be calibrated. I have them and know this. Your posts just leave your motives clear, and the results of this review are suspect in all areas now.
  • + 1
 Thanks Brad. Maybe that accounts for the differences in weight for the prototype v. heavier rims? The wheel weight on the ENVE website is based on the use of the dt aerolites.
  • + 2
 The weight difference between the DT aerolite and DT comp spokes is ~100 grams which explains the difference in weight between the claims on the ENVE website and the weight measured by pinkbike. Your scale seems accurate Brad. But, this also means that this could easily have been a prototype rim without making the posted weights ridiculously off.

While I don't think Brad was very enthusiastic about carbon wheels, I also don't get the impression that Brad wanted to make a point that the wheels are bad. There may have been some unlucky confluences at work. And, as I mentioned earlier, the initial crack is worrisome. However, I think you can get those on aluminium rims as well. It would be nice to see some longer term testing of the ENVE wheels.
  • + 1
 My apologies, Brad. The weight for the ENVE DH rim is supposedly for a wheel with the DT Comp spokes. Maybe ENVE made a mistake and based it on a wheel with the DT Aerolite rims instead. Sorry, I should have re-read the website.
  • + 2
 Actually, quite the contrary- I was very enthusiastic about the wheels. I had no doubt they would be great, which is where the disappointment stems from.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The first thing I noticed was the rim width; 21mm inside dim.
Are you kidding? How can you call this a DH rim? What size tires are you planning on running with them?
My XC race rims are wider than that.
And lighter.
Keep in mind, I'm a big fan of carbon but these are just stupid.
  • + 3
 Yeah I had that thought too... a 21mm inside / 30mm outside width rim in a 26" size at 475 grams is NOT what I'd consider a DH rim.
  • - 1
 I think any modern DH rim should be 25+mm internally. My trail/AM rims are 23mm internal.
  • - 5
 Interesting use of neg props to a person (this was at +4 before) even though it is an idea that is supported by most people. The maturity here is unbelievable.
  • + 3
 Sarcasm will be lost on the immature...
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Great to see an honest review rather than the typical everything is wonderful bs. It would be nice to see some honesty about race equipment mainly that it should not be durable and is not a game changer for non racers.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This thread is a demise of bradwalton as product reviewer. Sad to see.
Brad must fail to understand that Enve pays to have their product "reviewed" and publicized on a website like this.

The article appears to bear a good balance of showcasing the manufacturer as well as the experience of the product.

The comment section is a disaster.
  • + 7
 Knowing where most of the 'reviews' originate now, I'd rather not be associated anyways.
  • + 3
 Except for a handful of monstrously butthurt individuals, who apparently spent mucho dinero on bling bling themselves, comments are adequate.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Good write-up! Finally a review that doesn't only praise a product but expose its weaknesses as well. That said, this seems like a wonder-product for the serious DH racer. It would be Awesome to see another version, a heavier burlier version built for the freerider in mind. Id also like to see a side by side test of a good variety of DH rims out there. ie: DeeMax, MTX 33, Havocs, etc . . . And just for ultimate strength test it would be cool to see how it compares to some of the monster rims out there: MTX 39, Halo SAS, Doublewide, stuff like that.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 With carbon we are at the mercy of some manufacturer's secret home brew carbon mix whereas with titanium and aluminium they have a long history in the space and aircraft industry and are graded and certified still this is a risky obsession we share with seemingly endless ways of breaking stuff in freak or otherwise accidents. Its a shame you got hurt heal quick,but 4 months wait for a replacement wheel is too long for the price paid
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Does anyone get the fact that enve says that this was a lighter weight DH model for racing, yet heavier than the clamed weight? Something a little fishy with what Enve says. And why did pinkbike take the shattered wheel off the article?
I have been running carbon bikes, inbis HD and it is very tough. Some bike makers have carbon down and its getting better all the time, but enve's BS here is a little thick.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great write up but, this was disappointing to read:

"The rims initially delivered for testing were from a batch of lighter weight pre-production prototypes developed for smoother World Cup courses and lighter weight racers."

Kinda makes the testing results "moot" IMO...

Anywho, unless your racing or like to spend extra money, it doesn't seem there is a justifiable value to the consumer.
  • + 11
 This is BS. Read the company's claimed wheel weight on their wheelset and the tested wheelset weight. The wheelset tested is heavier. No one ever told me these were pre-production prototypes. Had they told me that, I never would have ridden them. Carbon sucks, they'll get over it someday.
  • + 0
 damn, props to brad for keeping it real.. too bad it was outta your jurisdiction to include those fotos... although all the REAL info i needed to read was in the comments (the bs about them being a 'lighter' proto/sample)

with that said, whoevers decision it is to leave out that stuff, SHAME ON YOU.. i know your probably just trying to keep another shit storm from happening, but the people deserve to know the truth.. esp, when these rims are that pricey.
  • + 2
 The photos of the destroyed rim were removed due to the fact that the tester knowingly rode them after damage was found, not something that we can recommend but we were very curious as to if the rim would continue to be useable after the initial damage was spotted. What do you do when you find a broken part on your bike, let alone one so important as a rim? You replace it. The complete failure is still included within the review for all to read, but the smashed rim is a little sensationalist given the circumstances of it being ridden knowingly broken already. The photo has been linked a number of times in the comment section, though, which was expected.
  • - 7
 Is the claimed weight for the DT hubs, or the King hubs? The DT hubs are a fair bit lighter than the king hubs. Were the weights specific for your configuration?

Brad, I am assuming you have never broken ANY aluminum components? Saying "carbon sucks, they'll get over it someday" suggests you are not the appropriate tester for these products. It is REALLY unprofessional. It also suggests you were looking to make sure they fail- possibly indicative of line choice from a rider who is quite experienced and should know better.
  • + 2
 Yes, everybody who says carbon sucks should never tests any carbon products.
  • + 2
 The cost benefit ratio is right out of whack before considering their potential weaknesses. The risk of injury thrown into the equation makes this a no-brainier. No thanks, no matter how much cash I have. Injury sucks.
  • + 4
 It's been a busy couple of weeks for PB... Sam Hill, Aaron Gwin, now a broken rim! The drama. Think I'll go ride my 29er.
  • + 2
 Brad, a friend of mine cracked a set of Enve XC rims. He was a wheelbuilder who had purchased many Enve rims for customers who happened to be in Utah at the time. When he called them they told him to come 'round.

When he got there, they saw the rim and said "This is the first cracked rim we've seen."

I wonder if that's what they say EVERY time they see a cracked rim? Like a prostitute that says "Oh baby, you are the first man I've ever been with." to make you think her goods are better than they really are.
  • - 5
 Considering they were just released, and the set is a prototype, it is quite possible this is the first warranty on this product. Time will tell if it is repeatable.
  • + 2
 to mikelevys post I would have to say that a few years back I had a similar crack on a set of ringle' ADD wheelset wheels ( the rear ) I rode it hard all season and have the still un broken wheel in my shed ( though its not true and dented to hell )
  • + 3
 I actually found this article before the broken rim picture was removed (I even think my original post got edited). I think it is BS that the pictures were deleted I and many others have smashed or cracked rims during a race run or day of riding and continued to ride it knowing or unknowingly until the end of the run or the day it happens all to often and is just a part of gravity riding.

What if this crack had happened during a race run or had not been seen and the wheel exploded would it have still been edited out? Why just to kiss enve's arss?

I think including (the pictures) is totally valid and should be placed back into the article to show what can happen in the event of damage. This is one of the inherent dangers of carbon parts and should be documented. Knowingly or not the damage caused it to exploded and that could happen to anyone at anytime and that should be seen by all!

Pinkbike grow some balls and put them back in...Thank you
  • + 8
 Willie, do you work for Enve?

You refuse to accept that Brad cracked a rim under normal circumstances AND you refuse to accept that this was NOT a prototype set of rims - Brad says they weighed more, not less which does not compute with Enve's statement about the prototypes weighing less.

Sure, Brad has not made a secret of his hatred for carbon, but when he writes that he cracked a rim, Enve has lots to lose, so out come their spin doctors.

Sure, I'm sitting half-way across the world, but I can smell the bullshit - and it ain't coming from Brad.
  • + 8
 I agree with the irrelevance of the busted rim photos with the article, except for that most riders would not have noticed the crack and would have kept riding until the rim exploded. I thought the 'pop' sound I heard was from my frame. I checked my frame at the bottom of the run, didn't see anything, then kept riding for a few more laps (which is why I say a cracked rim would likely make it through a race run). It was only after, while cleaning my bike, that I noticed the crack. Had I not noticed it, the review would have ended up quite differently and no one would have known the difference. I've had a few cracked Sun alloy rims that have lasted a full season. Let this be a lesson then to the carbon users to check your goods every time you ride - something I'd rather not have to do.
  • - 14
 It was either a warranty issue, or the conditions were outside of the normal. I own four carbon wheelsets, none envy, and know first hand how reliable they are.

Would you accept a test review from Car and Driver, on a mustang from a test driver who states he hates Fords, especially after redlining the engine then complaining about sketchy Ford engine quality? Its laughable. The test is not unbiased. I have no dispute that the rim failed, but this failure is in contradiction to the proven reliability of the majority of carbon products. I hope ENVE sues for slander with BS that is reported by Brad. Its unprofessional.
  • + 5
 Dude, I am just reporting on what happened. How is it biased?
  • + 11
 @ Willie1 "but this failure is in contradiction to the proven reliability of the majority of carbon products."

I find it laughable that you make such a comment seeing you are SO BIAS You are a hypocrite carbon wheels have not been in the field long enough or in high enough volumes to even make that statement and you base it solely on your nut swinging love for your carbon wheels. Please let go of Enve's nuts and you might find other uses for your hands besides jerking them off on the interwebs...sues for slander really? you are amazing stick to riding your bike
  • + 8
 " I hope ENVE sues for slander with BS that is reported by Brad. Its unprofessional." oh for gods sakes Willie? So much for it being hard not to find asswipe douchebags in Canada.
  • + 4
 Wilie1 has the willy of ENVE in his mouth I think!
  • - 11
 This has nothing to do with this specific product, but the lack of professionalism in Brad. Its appalling.
  • + 1
 Willie; no offense, but I think you need to give this up. Lee; you just made my morning with that comment. This argument between bradwalton and Willie1 is very entertaining.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 "the first consumer warranty on their DH rims as of yet" I find that funny as I've bust 2 this year and i wasn't even riding much.
  • + 3
 Pics or it didn't happen!
  • + 1
 @immature: A friend of mine also got the 'that's the first time we've seen a cracked rim' story from Enve too (though it was for an XC set of rims). Perhaps that is what they always say because they don't want to let on that their rims aren't as strong as the price suggests?

@Circes: Firstly, I hate the "video/pics or it didn't happen" crap - how about a bit of trust for your fellow man? And secondly, if you look at immature's profile, you'll see he at least runs Enve rims and doesn't seem short of cash. He's not some 16 year trying to big-note himself by hoping readers will think he has a) the money for Enve rims, and b) what it takes to crack two of them.
  • + 0
 Model bro. It's the internet. Pics or it didn't happen. Got it? K thnx.
  • - 6
 People post all sorts of crap they can't verify. I have read comments on bikes and components that weren't released yet. People spread rumours on products or materials.
  • + 8
 "People post all sorts of crap" - Yep, and you've hit a record today.......
  • + 1
 Well said wallheater
  • - 6
 Critical thinking is "crap?" Challenging biased motives and lack of professionalism is crap? Its a sad world.
  • + 1
 Just noticed these reply's so I've uploaded some pics. These pics are from the second time I broke them. Three cracks.
  • + 2
 Hey, thanks for posting these. Really appreciate being able to see where and sort of how the damage occurred.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks really pretty but No thanks, i really dont think worth that much....Well, worths if youre a pro and sponsored and dont need to pay for that Big Grin
ill keep my aluminium Generator Race(nukeproof)...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 A bike shop on the shore told me years ago that he Whistler bike park was the best thing that ever happened to their business. I think this review clearly demonstrates why....guys wreck alot of parts (including body parts) up there; and the fact that the whistler bike park should be an important testing environment for all serious equipment. .

While I consider this review interesting and useful, it can be more valuable in the context of other users. Frankly some guys are tough on equipment. I have never wrecked a wheel, even at 220lbs, while lots of lighter guys destroy them regularly. It is regretable that enve took so long to replace the rim, which demonstrated a lack of confidence in the outcome (perhaps of the review or maybe the rim itself) , at least to me. I think this, rather than the explanation was more problematic; because a 5 year warranty that takes months to honor isn't worth much.

Hopefully PB will have additional reviews on these wheels. A follow up under the circumstances, to confirm or compare results would be informative.

tw
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The Pillar nipples in Enve rims need a special tool? How about a 3/16" or 5mm deep wall socket, with your choice of handle, maybe a ratcheting T-handle? Super easy. It's wise to pull off a tire anyways when truing traditional wheels, as installed tires, especially those still inflated, will affect tension readings.
  • + 1
 Tried it, but traditional socket sets are too thick outer diameter and won't fit into the opening. For a road racing wheelset, maybe, but I doubt you'd find much difference in tires on/off for a DH mtb wheel.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "ENVE evaluated our wheelset to determine the cause for the initial crack and claims this to be the first consumer warranty on their DH rims as of yet."
Saw one ENVE DH wheelset at Whistler this season (many months ago) and watched the rear rim fail after only about a week of riding in the park. The rider got an alloy rim and continued to ride the rest of the season. Either the rider was happy to fork out $999 for something that in my opinion wasn't really his fault, or ENVE are liars. Also, considering how few consumers actually use these wheels for DH, even a few failures spell bad news.
  • + 1
 They have to lie to protect their business. It doesn't seem right, but I can see why they would lie about this. This discussion about their wheels is not good for their business.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I kinda feel like he got a Ferrari, treated it like a toyota and got a little butt touched when it broke, carbons not for every one and every thing, i hate to say it but i think road bikers know it better then mountain bikers, road bikers get a pair of race day wheels like zipps or enve's for that matter, AND a pair of training wheels for the shitty weather and the abusive miles, and dear god the dumb*ss that rides cracked carbon, its kinda like noticing the brake lines in your car are cut and saying what the hell lets see how long it takes till i crash, this review is well disappointing to say the least, I only hope they do a follow up and review what these wheels are truly for.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This article is a nonsense - wrong spec product, inbuilt anti carbon bias*, tested and used when clearly broken* and unsuitable, a crash that shouldn't have happened accompanied by blame and whining and apparent macho heroism (he-man crash culture/look at me syndrome) despite the fact that most sensible riders would not risk using broken components (neither of the two mentioned elements *should have made the final copy). Just a total shambles. The article has no intrinsic value other than some product data that could already be found via the ENVE website.

Articles such as this reflect the immaturity, hype, subjectivity, and general childish unevolved nonsense that makes up 90% of mountain biking content.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have been running ENVE Rims on my AM bike and my DH bike for 4 years now and i have never once had an issue and actually the durability has been well above my previous Al rims. I weigh 200 lbs and found myself breaking at least one rim a year when i was running Non-Carbon alternatives. It was really frustrating. Not only have i not damaged an ENVE rim but i haven't even had to true a wheel in 4 seasons which is huge for me. This must have just been a bad wheel. Unfortunate for sure but my ENVE rims were worth every penny IMHO.
  • + 2
 Gotta let you know... awesome username!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 your competitors, a sun mtx.. really??? you cannot compare a mtx as a competitor the rims cost a fraction of the price of the enve's of course the sun ones will break before the ultra expensive carbon ones, like the idea have the price most people cant afford to spend this kind of wedge on a bike let alone a wheelset and ok it is covered by a warranty but at this price you would expect it to never break!! so they are better than deemax ultimates but for the price difference you could afford another set of the mentioned wheels and fully kitting it out with tyres rotors and cassettes etc so you can just swap wheels, im all up for performance gains by reducing weight but there is a point where it becomes uneconomical even if they do look pimp most modern dh wheelsets are good enough these days, this is a bit far for everyone except the very top racers.. love the idea enve but come on make it afforrdable!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 they say that the syndicate runs them all season and that minaar won the world champs on them, it would be interesting to know how many carbon rims they go through in a race weekend? or the whole season even?
  • + 2
 I could certainly be wrong, and unfortunately I forget where I read it, but the first season the Syndicate was on the MSA they only went through one set for the weekend. I don't know if this was hype or note, but that always struck me as interesting.
  • + 1
 You are not Greg Minaar. I am a case master. What works for pro's doesn't work for us. These are race wheels for race day to be ridden by guys who get them for free. Still Pink bike should try to break some more and get video this time, that picture is awesome. Has anyone got a pic of some broken Intense Mag 30's or double tracks? I tried so hard to break those but, even when my bushings failed and my wheel hit the frame doing stair gaps all I got was a few busted spokes. I think that rim out weighed these wheels.
  • + 3
 Those Mag30 should be worth $999 for how strong they are.
  • + 1
 I have set of mag30s on sun abbah hubs (OOOOOLLLLD SCCCCHHHHOOOLLLLLLL) and got them weighed recently: 7 freaking pounds(3178g) and they can be mangled a bit, I got them used, and the sidewall of the rear rim has a slightly buckled section, right where the sidewall meets the inner wall. still true up good, though.
  • + 1
 @drsource169 a couple of days late here, but Syndicate used a set for training and a separate set for racing, I believe.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i literally just ordered a set of easton havoc ust 150's 2 days ago. i almost pulled the trigger for enve/king setup, and decided to save the $2000...thank god!!!!!!!! carbon frames great, carbon rims for dh- back to the drawing board. save ur money people! eastons are lighter AND cheaper. amazing
  • + 1
 You will really like them - light and stiff with good deflection and they roll really smooth. Enjoy.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The test wheels were laced up 2X instead of 3X. I would bet that 3X is way more reliable than the way Enve has them factory built. Also there crash replacement policy is impressive
  • + 1
 3 grand for the wheels, how about 500 for a bar and seat post!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Is 2 cross spoke pattern worth the stiffness and weight advantage over 3 cross? I've never broken a dt competition spoke so I was wondering if that would be a good upgrade without starting to pop spokes.
  • + 1
 I just bought a enve DH wheel set and had my wheel man rebuild em with 3X. even Kong( my mechanic) was like f*ck it man 3x all the way
  • + 1
 Yeah that's what everybody says and I guess 3x may not be stiffer laterally but at least it's stiffer when it reacts to braking forces.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If you live in a country where warranty programs (and even mail services) work, I don´t think it´s bad that the rim breaks, you keep it up to date and new with each warranty replacement!
  • + 1
 Unless of course you're without the wheel(s) as you're waiting for the warranty replacement rim, and a race happens to come up in the meantime....I remember twenty years ago, when one of the only companies actually making full suspension frames was Verlicchi in Italy, and Chris Lawrence was a local rider/racer (yes, the same C.L. who was one of the judges at redbull this year) who used one of their frames and over the course of one summer, every three or four weeks he'd show up at the sunday group rides with a frame that was gaining more and more gussets and reinforcing braces and re-welds over cracks, as he kept breaking it, and they kept trying to keep up with warrantying it and redesigning it to last better. I don't know if he missed any races but I do know I swore off ever wanting one of those frames.
  • + 4
 If you can afford 3k for a wheelset, you can afford to have a backup set.
  • + 1
 When I rode DH and BMX, I had spare wheels, spare tubes, spare spokes, spare bars, derailler and casettes. I had spare brake pads. Shit breaks when we push components.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 This is a piss poor review. You cracked them, ok. Then you rode them afterwards? That is completely ignorant. Then you never truly said whether it was a warranty issue or what happened. I'd be interested to see if you got another one back at the supposed "full weight" and what would happen. Until then, this "review" is pointless. Good to see the excuse mill is going full steam at Enve though! Good job on thrashing them too. But again, a worthless review.
  • - 5
 I agree 100%.
  • + 8
 Yes, the rim cracked on an easy run after 5 weeks. I rode it afterwards to see how long it would take to break it. There is plenty of other information in there, such as the added stiffness of the carbon rim, to make for relevant review content. Apparently it was a warranty. The rim that was received as a replacement, after 4 months, appears to be the exact same. Weight is the same. I revealed to Enve that I would like to test the new one at Whistler on the same run again, but oddly enough the replacement did not arrive until after the bike park was closed for the season.
  • + 4
 You may disagree with Brad's choice to knowingly ride a damaged rim, but there can be no argument this is one of the most informative pb reviews. I feel it would be very easy to overlook that crack, especially if you had recently dished out 3 grand for the rims. Now we know what would happen if you overlooked such a crack. Enve's response has been most telling, as has the subsequent editing of Brad's content. Is the image of the busted rim too gory?
  • - 3
 Riding cracked carbon is ignorant. The reason it is ignorant is it can lead to unbelieveably catastrophic failure and the only people who don't know this are therefore IGNORANT. Lacking the knowledge of this. I dont' even know why you would write about something like this, as its terribly unsafe and there are alot of idiot 15 year olds who read this website. Cracked carbon will shatter. Like so happened with you. That will always be the outcome. Carbon is only strong in its entirety, that's why its a strong material but also a weak material. There is a ton you can do with the same amount of weight in a carbon lay up. It's sad and shameful that others have to dump on your worthless review and generally super unprofessional manner in this. That's like sticking a jammed gun in your mouth, dude. Not safe. I really have no understanding of why the hell you would do that. NEVER EVER EVER EVER ride a cracked carbon rim. There is only one outcome.
  • + 3
 kmg- Yesterday, in this thread, you asked a certain PB editor for my job, since you can apparently do it better. Well, that editor has been knowingly riding a cracked carbon frame for months. Good luck with that job prospect, seeing as how you just called him ignorant.
  • + 2
 That was a joke, bdubs. I don't want to deal with a bunch of mouth breathers like myself arguing constantly, haha. But yeah, I don't know why you'd do that either. Return on investment isn't worth it considering you can get it repaired in weeks. Is it an XC frame? I suppose there are levels to the superficiality of a crack but typically composites have a terrible failure rate once they've been compromised. I know some paints crack easily on carbon depending on how hard they cure or something. Not exactly sure why it happens, flexibility differences? (seen some white nomads, and colnagos do it). I know sometimes that can appear to be a crack...but yeah I'd never ride it. Just not worth it. I cracked a Top Fuel frame a few weeks back and have to get it repaired. Having the downtube sheer from under me just doesn't seem worth it when I have another bike I can ride in the mean time. I think it's ENVEs fault as well for their excuse mill reasoning of proto bs, which I agree is lame. All of that adds up to a pretty useless article in my eyes from both sides. Oh well. I am happy to see the king of carbon dethroned through. Having answered calls for another company, you often get people thinking the grass is greener. Granted, I believe Enve probably has the best carbon rims available but people need to not think they are infallible. $3000 wheelsets are for someone & something but its not usually joe blow who maxes it out constantly.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 3k a re way too much. for 3k i got 4 sets of mavic deemax ulitmate. how long live 4 sets of deemax ultimate on same bike - and how long lives one set of enve carbon wheels???
  • + 0
 lol I got my old cracked stock alexrims on my commencal dh v3, still going strong, my point being you can run cheap wheels cuz you'll break em anyway its dh not xc
[Reply]
  • + 3
 its amazing how many people were "just about to pull the trigger" on a new set of ENVE wheels before they saw this article!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Great review Brad. Honesty and realworld testing don't always dovetail in reviews. Keep it up brutha.
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  • + 4
 haha, I love the photo booth shots of the carnage.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 3,000 for a set of rims....... I could use that for one boob on the wife to get sexy BIG implants and sell a bike to buy the other sexy boob,.....something to consider ???? :>Wink
  • + 2
 consider a new wife or a mistress?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Anybody else see the enve rim crack on the test vid?
  • + 0
 When zoomed in it looks like the tire folding over on impact. I doubt they would actually show it if it had. Sweet write up!
  • + 1
 No it's defiantly a crack looks like it pushed the spoke up through the rim causing it to crack!
Another point is carbon fibre in raw form is relatively cheap so I can't justify a company that moulds it to a certain shape and call it the best thing since sliced bread and bang a price tag of £3000 on it!! Ridiculous.........
[Reply]
  • + 1
 21 mm internal width dh rims, wtf? too narrow for tires bigger than 2.3. what are the designers thinking. Oh yeah, narrower rims weigh less. Ill stick with my 32 mm wide heavy but absolutely indestructible halo SAS.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Very good for a Proracer, but for a Hobbyrider it's too expensive. 'cause when you hit a stone you might need a new rim.... count your dents in your rim and now you how many rims you need.Wink
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Great product, great craftsmanship, great innovation, crazy F1 price. I'll stick to mere mortal alloy rims and have a spare set for the same price.
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  • + 2
 wow good that this review just popped out I was about to pull the trigger on a set of am wheels but then I guess I will stick to my flows for now. Nice review, though.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 meh, they should've molded in some metal interface in the rim for the nipples to spread the pull on the rim better, this looks like the spoke managed to pull the nipple through the rim hard enough to crack it.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The roadbikeification of Downhill is upon us. When are carbon DH drop bars coming out?I would also like a 1.0" wide DH tire please.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Or just buy a set for 300 USD from the Chinese directly. I rode the Enve's and I can't tell the difference. And if you crack a rim 150 USD hurts a lot less then 10x that amount.
  • + 2
 Yep, lm waiting for the hour where l can build up a set!
  • + 2
 I've been running the Chinese Wider carbon rims on my Enduro setup for almost 4 months now, they have been nothing short of AMAZING. truly tubeless with the Bontrager strip (45g), mine came in at 390g a rim, built up with Tune King MK and Hope pro 2 hubs and CX-Ray spokes:

http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/9079805

Stiff (more than a Flow EX), wide (no burp at 1.9b, the only rim that never burped for me as tubeless setup), light, relatively cheap ($140 a rim). Would buy again even if the price tag was double.
  • + 1
 Where do you buy them from?
  • + 1
 Where'd you buy them?
  • + 3
 Most people are buying them from Light Bicycle in China. I asked RC if he could look into building a set and comparing them to the ENVE and Reynolds. Check MTBR or Google LightBicycle.
  • - 1
 I have the 650b version of the wider carbon rims. Very well built.
  • + 1
 Yes, light bicycle. Will buy their XC version soon for my light setup.
  • + 1
 Yea, figured they were the light bicycle ones, just wanted to confirm. the only negatives I've heard about them so far is they have less than stellar QC: some people have gotten great rims, some people have gotten stuff with obvious manufacturing defects. The defects do seem to be the minority, but trying to get a warranty replacement on them seems to be about as hard as you would expect from a Chinese website.
  • + 1
 They CCC rims ARE cheap and they do ride really well since they build a light, stiff wheel with a wide tire footprint. But they do break just like any other rim, and in my experience maybe a bit more easily if you are unlucky (probably due to QC as stated by groghunter). My broken CCC rim was not a warranty but I have three friends who all broke rims as well and DID manage to get them replaced for the cost of shipping. Still not bummed I own them (2 sets) but that MTBR thread that goes on and on about how amazing they are seems to skim over the part where the bead hooks seem to crack fairly easily when you ride hard.
  • + 4
 And let's face it, nearly everything carbon comes from China - your Ibises, and even your 'Italian' Pinarellos.
  • + 1
 You almost have to buy it from there: bike companies who have tried to outsource carbon production in the US have run into the fact that there is almost all carbon production is in asia, and there just aren't very many people in the US with the skills. The problem with the direct from china stuff (for all sorts of stuff, not just carbon) vs the brand name stuff is that lots of it is run in the same factories as the brand name stuff, just on a second shift with less QC. So the direct stuff is being made by workers that are paid less, and aren't required to meet the same standards as the guys who work the "brand name" shift.
  • + 0
 The best carbon manufacturing is in the east, from the reputable factories. There is a lot of garbage there as well, but North American carbon is not a positive. Asia has the best aluminum welders as well. That's not to say there aren't great welders in NA, but the best are the ones who do it the most, and welders in Asia don't have the same labour restrictions we have. The majority of the products we use and trust have been manufactured in Asia.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 ill stick with my havocs thanks they aint bent yet and i weight 130kg
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Im so sick of carbon crap. My buds carbon moto has a nice crack at the bottom bracket. It doesnt hold up and costs way too much
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Why did Pinkbike cut those photos out?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The butthurtness knows no bounds, comin' at ya from every conceivable angle
[Reply]
  • + 3
 hahaha 3k for wheels you can shove them where the sun don't shine.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks like flexiblility leads to longer life. Maybe rigidity doesn't allow for disapation of energy.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Wow, my comments were deleted when I made reference to Pinkbike's editing of Brad. Either they support him (not likely, since they edited his review, or I hit too close to home.)

I guess the important people agree there is liability with Brad's crap.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i dont even care wheter they are good or not, because the price is just too damn high
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Wheels are so sick...not sure I would be ready to drop such serious coin though
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Hmm Lets see it costs as much as my bike and lasts as long as one ride.... srry not a fan
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Lol @ carbon rims, Go alloy! Good quality alloy rims are as good as carbon, Nice review tho, I'm not a big fan of carbon myself, only at places that are NOT critical carbon can aid in lowering weight afaik.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 How long do the graphics last, after 18 months of use they still look amazing on my set.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 A 2.9k non UST wheelset? Enve you must be kiddin me!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks like an overpriced piece of shit to me.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 So, it costs more than my bike... Yeah it must be damn indestructible
  • + 2
 Except it isn't
  • + 3
 I meant to say that it should be indestructible
[Reply]
  • + 2
 how long do those stickers last...? they are nice looking, though
[Reply]
  • + 2
 New boewing 787 is made of carbon. It isn't going so well either.
  • + 1
 The carbon isn't the problem, its everything else (batteries, wiring, generators, engines etc).
  • + 1
 true, but funny.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 People ride cracked rims all the time. I've seen the old mavic 321s now 729s with multiple cracks and flat spots and they were ridden hard for years running pretty damn straight. The tester finishes his day with one crack that the majority of riders wouldn't even notice and its his fault? No way and weak of pb to edit his work
  • - 5
 There is a level of professionalism that is expected. Brad has expressed his bias against carbon, and now it is suspect if he damaged the wheel before riding it to make sure it would fail. Read his comments. He is angry at Enve and says "carbon sucks." Hardly an impartial review. I think Pinkbike is trying to minimize legal responsibility. Sensationalistic comments can be slanderous.

People CANNOT ride cracked carbon. It lost its structural integrity. Any time a bike makes a "Pop" sound it should be inspected. That just seems to make sense.
  • + 3
 Look at the crack. It is more than halfway through the rim. It's not just a flat spot or minor crack.It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that isn't safe.
  • + 1
 The rim cracked within 5 weeks on a green circle run at Whistler called Fantastic. I kept riding it to see how long it would take to break it. And carbon does indeed suck. It should not have cracked. Broken after the crack, yes, but it should not have cracked during the course of normal riding in such a short time.
  • - 8
 Brad you are a joke. Any professional cannot be this biased. I am really thinking you damaged the product to prove a point.
  • + 6
 How would you feel any different after repeatedly breaking parts made of a certain material, yet not of another material?
  • - 4
 I have broken aluminum parts, steel parts, but NO carbon parts. There are a lot of factors that go into failures, including the competence of the installer. When carbon is installed by those who don't use torque wrenches, or use the correct assembly paste etc, they will fail. Just because someone breaks something, it doesn't always mean it is the component's fault. Using DH parts for freeride, or AM parts for DH result in failures. I think professional reviews should include this type of information when there is a failure.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 IM not sick to spend $3000 on a wheelset... but if I have the money I will haha except I see the crak on the test :/
[Reply]
  • - 2
 For the sake of argument, every component fails at a certain point. The reality is the same g-out that destroyed the carbon rim would have destroyed ANY aluminum rim. I have 4 sets of carbon wheels, and a set of carbon/aluminum rims. They have all been more reliable than the aluminum rims they replaced at equal or lighter weight.

The interview with the syndicate mechanics indicated they went through way fewer carbon wheelsets than aluminum over the course of the year, but they did bust them, just less often.
  • + 4
 Disagree. It was on Fantastic, a green circle run at Whistler. I was following Morland and Billinghurst. Both of them had alloy rims, neither of them had a problem, and they were riding MUCH faster than me.
  • - 4
 You hit the same smooth line as them? To say they were the exact same conditions is rediculous. Also, time will tell.

From the review: "We took the ENVE wheels to the proving grounds of Whistler Bike Park for some high-speed lift-accessed riding over rocky terrain. One of the fastest runs of the day had a large G-out compression mid-run, bottoming the suspension and causing the bike to emit a strange "popping" sound. Nothing was immediately noticeable, but upon inspection at the bottom of our run a crack was clearly visible that ran down both sides of a spoke hole. We presume that an aluminum rim would have at least had a large dent, if not a massive flat spot from such a harsh compression."

Now it was just a green run? Whether it was green or not, the line choice was poor, and the wheel was subjected to forces beyond its yeild point. This is not an issue of whether carbon is strong enough, as it has been demonstrated many times over that carbon tolerates more stress than aluminum. In the video above, the aluminum wheel dented at much less force than the carbon one, which has been demonstrated in numerous components over the past few years.

Nice sensationalistic review. I am cuious to see how many fail in long term reviews.
  • + 5
 I personally respect Brad Walton's opinion as just that, a very well informed and subjective one. He has a lot of experience both riding and reviewing. I feel like this review was very fair. He rode the rim until failure, by choice. It sounds like ENVE responded just about as well as any company could have. Although I'm not sure if saying that the rim was a proto means they were confident in it's strength or they were just back pedaling. The issue of whether or not carbon is superior to aluminum is kind of moot. It has a smack of 26 v. 29 to it. This review seemed to pose a sort of value added question to me. Can you justify the cost of the wheel set? It has strengths and weaknesses and everything you buy is a trade off in some way. This review is just information for anybody who asks that question.
  • + 5
 Willie- We were hoping to do a long-term review, but it took 4 months to get the replacement rim after having broken the original within 5 weeks. Yes, I hit the same line, I was right behind them. There isn't much to the 'line', it's just a large piece of bedrock in the middle of a ski slope. To say it's a poor line choice would be to call the trail poorly designed - there is only one place to go. Of course the wheel was subjected to forces beyond it's yield point, that's why it broke. It is entirely an issue of carbon's strength, or more precisely, it's weakness. Carbon has no give, therefore it cracks. The aluminum wheel did indeed dent, but the carbon one broke. One material may leave you inconvenienced, the other, stranded.
  • - 4
 So Brad, you are an engineer now too? Any force that breaks a carbon wheel will completely fold an aluminum one. Keep your biases to yourself. Only report facts, not your biases.
  • + 4
 Watch the video in the review bud. That is what happened, so that makes it a fact!
  • - 4
 What is it you are pointing out in the video?
[Reply]
  • - 2
 $3000 carbon rims labeled DH cracks on first run - my $400 Novatec Sun MTX wheels dont dent, crack, stay true and they saw massive use over 2 years. Same with Scott branded Alex. Also - tubeless does not belong on Dh-bikes, not safe. Those wheels are a joke.
  • - 3
 The reviewer wasn't clear in the article. The wheel cracked after 5 weeks in whistler, after who knows what type of use. He indicated he was trying to break them. We know for sure there was a massive G-out and a cased jump on an already damaged wheel. There may be a design flaw, or maybe the wheels were severely abused. You have to read the several hundred replies to see the "full" story (holes and all) Brad has to tell.
  • + 1
 "tubeless does not belong on Dh-bikes, not safe" Holy crap man, are you living under a rock?
  • + 3
 I never once indicated that I was trying to break them. The wheels were not abused, it was normal use.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wow this makes me want some MTX33 rims. Did anyone else see the cracking in the testing video?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/7388054
A years trouble free running for me!
  • + 1
 On a dirt jump bike with micro-knobbies? Sure.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 HELLO! why buy these when the easton havocs are $1500 cheaper AND lighter weight!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i'm perfectly happy on my D MAX's
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  • + 1
 I didn't read any of the write up I just looked at the pictures cause I know I can't afford those rims Frown
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Price, Material, Artikel...Rediculeness in his cleanest form Razz !!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Is this a review or an advertisement? Why were the pictures of the focused rim removed? Really... I would like to know.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 carbon wheels for DH = wasted money
ill stick with deemax+ hope pro2 hubs
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Can't accept this overly biased review as credible in the slightest. Could have happened as a fluke during manufacturing with any product wheter it be carbon, aluminum, ti, whatever. This would be covered by your warranty and replaced with a new wheel. Say you break multiple in a row, and so do others- then you can come to a conclusion that the product is faulty by design. Bottom line is that carbon carries a much longer viable lifespan and is significantly stronger overall compared to any aluminum product. I'd like to see another long term test with another writer to prove multiple failures before I can consider accepting this.
  • - 5
 Well said.
  • + 6
 I tried to get a replacement in time to test it on the same run at Whistler, but it took 4 months to get the warranty rim, and by that time the bike park had closed, so it didn't work out. I had to report with the material I had.
  • + 2
 I really doubt the run matters... Failures on mountain bikes are generally either due to a single massive event like casing a 60 foot gap or the compounding of many different stresses, which can appear from something random- like the minor g-out you hit. It still seems to me like this was just a fluke. I think a long term test should take place with the replacement or a completely new wheelset. Prove me wrong.
  • + 11
 I could care less about proving anything to anybody. Could have been a fluke, I didn't say it wasn't. I just reported on what happened, and now everyone is mad because it didn't work out to their liking.
  • + 2
 So swilson from now on with bike test if theres an issue it needs to be replaced by the manufacture multiple times if it continues to fail,(could be a fluke) then if others have that same problem then that can be printed in a review? I prefer the current style of " heres a product, ride it for this amount of time and report you're findings"

I doubt the tester would even want to try a product after 2 failures. Its a pain in the ass and possibly dangerous.
  • + 2
 Not necessarily. But a product with a price tag like this that is so heavily in the spotlight and drooled over deserves a bit more insight and longer term review just like any ultra high end frame that sells for $3k+. I don't think you can wrap this review up like this without testing a replacement. Just makes me feel like this review was preemptively released due to a bias against the product.
  • - 8
 Brad, you do need to prove things, that is the responsibility that comes with professional journalism. ITS YOUR JOB!!! I REALLY hope you get sued from this, just out of principle, not because of any component, material, or manufacturer.
  • + 10
 Willie - I am suffering damages from reading your tripe. Everything you utter makes everyone who reads it feel sick. Therefore I am commencing a class action lawsuit against you. There.... that's no less ridiculous than what you say.
  • + 2
 Willie- hoping he gets sued is pretty harsh... Think ya need to calm down a bit here
  • + 5
 My job is to present facts and write my opinions about them. I do not have the ability or make attempt to prove anything.
  • + 4
 This Willie1 fellow is crazy!
  • + 3
 Could he be eldest troll ever on pinkbike? He's sure got a twisted nut over this review.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 jesus if i bent that rim id have to take out a loan to pay for it
  • + 7
 good luck bending it, its a pretty cracking deal for carbon
  • + 1
 HA that was a good one
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ok I hooked !! When where and whata I got to pay Canadian !!?!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 great review. Unbiased and objective.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 So you can't even do a quick tension/true every once in a while without taking the tire off? Is this correct??
  • + 1
 True, but you don't really need to, from what I understand. They don't go untrue near as much as alloy rims.
  • + 0
 I understand that a good wheel & build will need less tweaking initially, but surely the spokes will stretch with time and use? I guess by that time you're probably replacing tyres anyway, although ripping off rim tape to re-tension spokes would shit me. Anyway, they're not my cup of tea.
  • + 3
 I would agree it would be annoying, and I'm no expert, but from what I understand we're talking about a significant difference between alloy and carbon when it comes to spoke tension and wheels going out of true. As in, it doesn't really happen. But again, I'm no expert and don't know the details. That's just what I've been told by some people who work with carbon component manufacturing.
  • - 1
 I have 4 year old carbon wheels that haven't required ANY truing or re-tensioning after the initial break in period. I was really skeptical of the carbon rims when I bought them. I was cautious, avoiding rocks and square edges, but now I just plow into everything. a 400g carbon rim is about as stiff as a MTX 34 (about 700g) and has not required the maintenance the alloy wheels do.
  • + 2
 I agree that the carbon rims required no truing or re-tensioning. I checked them many times and they never required any adjustment whatsoever. I have had the same results with the DT 1750 alloy all-mountain wheels under the same conditions, and with a testing duration nearly 6x longer.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Vaya dinero tirado!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Hadley hubs boyeeeees and girls.....that is all.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Baller status" haha
[Reply]
  • + 0
 They cost more than my car? I need to resign now
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ill take a set please!
[Reply]
  • - 2
 I will take carbon anyday!
  • + 2
 You are welcome to it.
  • + 4
 ask brad for his set.. im sure he'll give em to you.
  • + 0
 Send them my way!
[Reply]
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