Enve M-Series and Protective Rim Strip Technology - First Ride

Aug 30, 2017
by Paul Aston  
Enve Composites, from Ogden, Utah, have completely reworked their entire mountain bike line, the M-Series, for 2018 and onwards. Widespread changes in a rapidly evolving industry mean that requests for different wheel diameters, rim widths, and riding styles are more varied than ever – aggressive cross country, 29" downhill, plus sized and eMTB are all categories that have appeared in less than half a decade.

Enve are now attempting to offer choice to riders of all of the above and introduce their new rim strip technology that has been in development for over two years. The nomenclature has changed from the previous M-Series wheels – M5 is for XC use, M6 for the trail category, M7 and M9 are the heavy hitters for enduro, freeride and downhill, and feature Enve's new Protective Rim Strip. All the rims are still made in the USA, and this is reflected in the price with Chris King based wheelsets starting at $2,980 USD / £3,100 – ouch.






Enve M-Series and Protective Rim Strip Technology

Enve M-Series Details

• Carbon MTB rims
• M5, M6, M7, and M9 series for varying disciplines
• Protective Rim Strip on M7 and M9 series
• Available October 20th, 2017
• Made in the USA
• Five-year guarantee that covers all impact damage
• USA pricing: M5 & M6: $2,800 (DT 240 hubs), $2,980 (King hubs)
M7 & M9: $2,900 (DT 240 hubs), $3,080 (King hubs)
• UK pricing: M5 & M6: £3,100 (King hubs)
M7 & M9: £3,200 (King hubs)
• EU pricing: TBC
www.enve.com



Options

Enve have tried to meet all the needs of their athletes and consumers, and give them more independent options between weight, width, and protection. As World Cup XC racing gets more aggressive, riders asked for wider rims and Enve replied with a 25mm internal width M525 rim that can build a sub-1,350g wheelset. Moving into the trail sector, the M6 series is available in three rim widths, named the M630, M635, and M640 accordingly.

Harder hitting enduro riders should be looking towards the M7 series, which has two options of M730 and M735, Enve will also offer an E735 E-Spec wheelset for eMTB; the rims are the same but the wheels are built with heavier straight gauge spokes and a steel freehub body to deal with the added wattage from the pedal assist. The M7 series sees the introduction of the Protective Rim Strip along with the M930 downhill rim. All of the above are available in 27.5" or 29" diameter.


ENVE M-Series



What is the Rim Strip?

Enve M-Series and Protective Rim Strip Technology


ENVE M-Series


The rim strip is Enve's answer to pinch flat inserts and is integrated into the M7 and M9 series rims. We first spotted these two years ago at the Lourdes World Cup on Greg Minnaar's Santa Cruz V10 and it's basically a 'ghetto-tubeless' system on steroids. Since then, there have been a number of aftermarket products and inserts come to market that attempt to prevent pinch flats, rim damage, and tire loss, but Enve says they are not convinced by any of the systems available, suggesting that they don't solve the variety of problems and can be heavy and difficult to install and remove. Enve's rim strip is the first of its kind to be integrated and designed in conjunction with the rim itself; these rims cannot be used without the strip, and the strips cannot be fitted to other brands rims.

So what does it do? The polymer rim strip aims to seal against the tire independently of the rim, so in case of rim damage, air should not be lost. It also increases the width of the rim bead to 5mm giving a blunt object to strike against rocks, rather than a narrow rim wall that is more likely to pinch or cut tires when connecting with sharp edges.

The rim strip will also protect the rim to a degree, the plastic absorbing some force before the carbon rim hits terra-firma. Compared to previous wheels, in-house testing is said to have shown increased impact toughness of 10% on the M7 and 20% on the M9 rims, and over 100% improvement in pinch flat resistance – breaking rims before they could pinch a tire.

Good bye rim tape! The rim strip can be removed and reinstalled almost indefinitely, so anytime you need to change a spoke or true the wheel, there is no need to remove and replace sticky rim tape. There is a spare strip included with wheelsets just in case of damage.

ENVE M-Series

Sealing the tire against the rim strip will help to prevent burping and losing air pressure; there is a step similar to UST rims to retain the tire bead and provide a tight tubeless fit


ENVE M-Series
During in-house testing, Enve couldn't cause a pinch flat even at levels that would cause rim damage. Although Greg Minnaar showed us this weekend that even at the most extreme levels, nothing is foolproof.


bigquotesI haven’t met a guy yet who doesn’t love a great stripper! This technology has been both useful and crucial for me, at any point in a DH run you can go off line, slamming at high speeds into jagged rocks. The rim strip prevents pinch flats and ensures the tire has an independent seal from the rim, so regardless of what happens to your rim you will still have air in the tires at the finish line.Greg Minnaar, Santa Cruz Syndicate


Construction

Enve rims are made 100% in-house, including the new rim strip. One of the main things that Enve suggested that puts them ahead of the pack in terms of construction are the internal nipples. The spoke holes and concave recesses are molded into the rim instead of being drilled after curing. The wall thickness here can be made thinner to save weight rather than having to bulk up in this area in order to retain ample strength after fibers have been cut by spoke-hole drilling.


ENVE M-Series
On the left is a diagram of a traditional carbon rim. On the right is Enve's rim which can use less material at the spoke hole.

The internal bladders are also removed completely from the rim where some carbon wheels leave some or all of the bladder inside which can cause tension issues if the spoke nipples rest on top of the plastic bag. Enve removes the bladder from a large opening opposite the valve, which is then filled with a lump of carbon, enough to counter-balance the weight of the valve opposite.

Enve wheels have always been renowned to have an extra stiff ride quality, but the brand has invested lots of time into making their wheels more compliant through different resins and layups. Enve have tagged this process 'crafted carbon.' Every single wheel in the new M-Series has different ingredients including spoke counts dependant upon the type of use, diameter, and width to try and give the best ride quality for the rider, not just copying, stretching and pasting the layups across the range. Jake Pantone, director of marketing at Enve, says he can give anybody the ingredients to make the rims, but just like baking bread, it's the masters that produce the goods.

For example, the new M525 compared to the previous M50 had feedback from their XC racers that the wheels were too stiff vertically, and especially uncomfortable on carbon race hardtails, the new M525 is 40% stronger against impacts, but 50% more flat resistant thanks to the wide rim bead, but is still more compliant than the previous M50.


Enve M-Series and Protective Rim Strip Technology
Baking bread or whatever you do to make a pancake, I need more practice at both.


Riding the M730

We were invited to the superb Bike Park Wales in Merthyr Tydfil and had the chance to shred the trails using an M730 wheelset with the Protective Rim Strip. My first real experience on Enve wheels, apart from one run I did a few years ago, which resulted in a cracked rim and a long walk home – exactly the problem the rim strip has been developed to avoid.

A number of heavy rock strikes still supplied us with the queasy sound of pricey carbon connecting with rock, but despite our best efforts, there was zero visible damage – not even a scratch. Thanks to hundreds of well-shaped berms in the park, we caused plenty of tire rolls and couldn't burp any pressure from the tires either. That was two thumbs up from me.


Enve M-Series and Protective Rim Strip Technology


The M730's do feel very stiff compared to other wheels I have used, but riding a new bike/new wheelset/new trails makes it hard to draw a real comparison. The wheel did track superbly on smooth ground and seem to accelerate sharply and railing freshly shaped hard packed berms felt superb, but hitting angled roots and rocks did seem to throw me offline more than I am used to. A wheelset is on our way to us for further testing back to back against some much cheaper alternatives on our home trails.


Enve M-Series and Protective Rim Strip Technology







About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 31 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 75kg • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: astonator
Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously adding to the list of non-qualifiers at World Cup DH events, he attacked enduro before it was fashionable, then realized he was old and achy. From the UK, but often found residing in mainland Europe.



106 Comments

  • + 177
 Did not work so well for Minaar. Just saying
  • + 23
 A rock can still slash a side wall or puncture a tire. Those are not the same thing as pinch flatting.
  • + 4
 I thought he was running the system from his mechanic that is better than anything else? Anyway, it failed unfortunately. It would have made an exciting Saturday otherwise
  • + 8
 There's a big difference between a pinch flat, and tearing a tire off the bead.
  • + 1
 Glad they were quick to tell what it was that we saw hanging off Minnaars rim. When Gwin punctured in Leogang, they left us guessing for much longer. So you can still fail with those inserts like what Gwin had and you can puncture with all that Minnaar had. Have we already seen Schwalbe Procore fail in a race run? I'd guess that's still relatively safe as whatever cuts the tire sidewall doesn't immediately also cut the Procore tube.
  • + 8
 @SHARK555: and there is a big difference between attacking a track and your rim still holding up (Gwin, Leogang, DT Swiss) vs riding as slow and careful as possible and your rim crumbles away like a over dry cookie. The proof is in the pudding.
  • + 3
 @vinay: Yes, couple ProCore failures either last season or the one before. I think one was Neko Mullaly when he was on Scott but can't remember what race it was in.
  • + 15
 I was sure before clicking the article to find the name Minaar in the 1st comment. Made my day!
  • + 2
 @vinay: yeah I think Nico's or Brendan's procore failed at a WC race run last season.
  • + 2
 @gramboh: That was in Lourdes.
  • + 4
 it didnt work for Minnaar, so it surely wont work for me neither
  • + 5
 Minnaar proved ! Wait..
  • + 10
 "what is the rim strip?"

is it that thing that was hanging off Minnars destroyed back wheel at val di sole'?
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: right on my brother.

I can't wait to get me some of these new enve rims. Not.
  • + 2
 @gramboh: that mulally procure at Lourdes, they said he smashed the rim, that's why it failed
  • + 3
 @danielfox: If I recall it was right after Claudio was talking it up before their race run.

I seem to recall it was Brendan.
  • + 2
 Enve is a disgrace for "Made in USA" badge.

Apart from the cool design, their products are the worst in holle industry.
  • + 71
 Maybe the timing on this isn't so great...
  • + 20
 PB doesn't do refund
  • + 39
 £3100 for a set of wheels ahahahahahahahahaha
  • + 23
 Its the price of a fckin awesome bike
  • + 9
 i rarely see enves anymore, too many other options available like nox, nobl, derby, lb
  • + 0
 @LuvAZ: we are one looks promising, expensive but a long (5 year?) no questions asked warranty
  • + 0
 couldnt agree more. there are a lot better carbon wheels out there that do a lot better than ENVE's. I can easily find 2-3 articles of the various models of wheels ENVE has offered over the years. Sure they look good, but not worth the money
  • + 0
 @LuvAZ: all made side by side in the same Chinese factory. Just change the stickers. ????????
  • + 20
 Gwin tears tyre off alu rim and rides to finish line on bare rim. Minaar tears tyre off carbon rim and walks to finish line with a destroyed wheel. EWS riders on carbon rims... And so on. This rim strip, procore and insert nonsense are just bandaids for poor design, that is the use of a material that is clearly ill-suited for wheels that are given a punishing.
  • + 4
 YUP! Procore, Huck Norris, etc. still have a place for alloy though.

I just started running Huck Norris in my rear wheel (DT EX 511). I tore my rear tire bum-rushing down a rocky section last week resulting in my newly laced rim smashing on the rocks. Huck Norris saved the rim from certain disaster. Best $70 I've spent on my mtb.
  • + 1
 @ryan83: Have you been happy with the EX 511? I'm thinking of building a set for my DH. I've got FR 570 on my trail bike and I like those. But the 511 are a little lighter and wider.
  • + 1
 @RichPune: Not ryan83, but I just had a set laced up (because Santa Cruz specs stupidly noodly rims on their bikes that I destroyed in ~500 miles), and I love 'em. The width is great but not overkill, and they're bombproof. A lot of the DH guys use 'em (I've read that Gwin did/does, I know I saw a recent pit check where Finn Iles has them, etc.).
  • + 4
 Wasn't Gwin racing a bare rim at Leogang, a track that people call a "bike park", Minnaar was racing at Val di Sole, on elf the roughest rockiest tracks they use all year.
  • + 1
 @RichPune: Super happy with EX 511 on my DH bike
  • + 1
 @RichPune: So far so good. I only have 5 rides on it and it replaced an XM481. They are a bit expensive compared to the ex471, which is 5mm more narrow. In addition to the flat mentioned above, they've taken some good hits on the side and have yet to be phased. I'm happy with my purchase.
  • + 1
 @RichPune: I have the EX 471 laced to Hopes and I have been thrilled. Seriously abused these rims and they are still running strong. I swap them out with a set of I9 Enduro 305s (steel spokes) and the I9s feel a little better as far as trail feel and overall ride quality, but I think some of that is in the quality of the build (I have not rebuilt either, both came to me built). However, The DTs have been absolutely bombproof, and probably provide a more forgiving feel than the I9s. Just my $.02
  • + 4
 Funny thing is most of those inserts/cores bring the whole wheelset up to ALU weights, sometimes heavier.....
  • + 1
 @swassskier: yes perhaps, but Gwin is not the first person who has been able to roll off the hill on a bare alu rim. My point is that you have a darn sight better chance being able to finish a race/ride on alloy if shit hits the fan.
We've also seen all the articles saying to never ride cracked carbon wheels. And from a personal experience I've only ever seen carbon wheels catastrophically fail, never alloy.
  • + 1
 @jmrbauer: funny thing is you still dont understand it has nothing to do with weight
  • + 1
 @RichPune: Yes! They are very good rims! I've been on them (511s) for five months now and love the feel.
  • + 19
 Waste of money. Buy ex471 on hope pro 4 and with the money saved buya ticket to whistler
  • + 1
 You're riding an Ibis. You do both. Baller wheels and a baller trip. DUH.
  • + 14
 "I haven’t met a guy yet who doesn’t love a great stripper! This technology has been both useful and crucial for me, at any point in a DH run you can go off line, slamming at high speeds into jagged rocks. The rim strip prevents pinch flats and ensures the tire has an independent seal from the rim, so regardless of what happens to your rim you will still have air in the tires at the finish line.—Greg Minnaar, Santa Cruz Syndicate"

??????
  • + 12
 Many many 25mm ali rims made it down the Valley this weekend in one piece...
  • + 10
 Rim strip is great in theory. Will wait for (insert cheap Chinese carbon rim brand here) to copy it and get a set at 1/4 the price.
  • + 7
 26" inner tube over the rim before seating your tyre works a treat for me.
  • + 1
 1/6th the price
  • - 1
 @hamncheez: Except the ghetto tubeless doesn't provide the impact protection or wrap over the lip.
  • + 2
 @bsavery: Split tube ghetto wraps over the rim. So far no pinch flats in 7 years of use and lotsa rim dents.
  • + 8
 > For example, the new M525 compared to the previous M50 had feedback from their XC racers that the wheels were too stiff vertically, and especially uncomfortable on carbon race hardtails, the new M525 is 40% stronger against impacts, but 50% more flat resistant thanks to the wide rim bead, but is still more compliant than the previous M50.

Please ask them how they're measuring vertical compliance. That phrase is throw around in reviews like this with no context. Spokes preserve the shape of a wheel until they run out of tension. Are we only talking about vertical flex after this occurs?

The rim strip sounds useful, but incomplete. The problem with tires, particularly as the volume goes up, is that their spring rate isn't sufficiently progressive for the conditions they encounter. Traction and ride quality are inversely proportional to pressure, but you need a certain minimum pressure to prevent the tire from rolling or burping. Pressure optimized for this minimum will be ideal for 95% of the trail, but risk bottoming out on the remainder. That sudden giant rise in spring rate from the tire contacting the rim creates the jarring ride people complain about; it's like hitting a bump stop.

Huck Norris and Procore address this by creating a more progressive spring curve. The material they use serves two functions: reduce air volume (making the tire intrinsically more progressive) and then, if the impact continues to deepen, provide a compressible surface with its own additive spring rate.

The benefits of this approach are that you can run lower pressures while maintaining consistent response in heavy terrain, avoid rim strikes, and avoid rolling the tire over as it does in the Enve graphic. Enve's approach seems only to address rim strikes. Useful, yes, but more to the warranty department than the rider.
  • + 1
 Well said! One more additional feature of some of the inserts is dampening (at least claimed). There is some italian competitor to Procore that I can't find that uses a tubular insert instead of clincher+tube like procore, so its significantly lighter. While you would lose any dampening benefits of a foam, the weight savings are probably worth it.
  • + 1
 I personally would like to see both systems working in conjunction with each other (if possible of course). Could greatly reduce all of these issues
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: I've been running CushCore, and the bottom out protection is awesome, as well as the damping is very noticeable. The bike is calmer hauling ass over baby head rocks.
  • + 5
 I guess the people that drop 3 stacks on ENVE's just pay a shop to pull the tire, pull the super advanced rim strip, tighten the spoke nipples and put it all back together and it's never really an issue. For me, the internal spoke nipples aren't worth the trouble. They need to do a better job selling me on the benefit.
  • + 3
 When you don't have to tension the spokes for a couple years or more, that's not an issue. Good carbon wheels don't need to be tensioned all the time like aluminum.
  • + 8
 "The price isn't right".
  • + 3
 Weareones are $1700 USD for made in Canada rims on equivalent quality made in the USA P321 hubs; not to mention the addition of lifetime 50% off crash replacement after the 5yr no questions asked warranty.

Envelope are taking the piss.
  • + 3
 Val di Sole aside, Syndicate was running these rims at MSA this year. MSA seemed to be killing wheels at a prodigious rate compared to years past, and Syndicate had not a single failure. I saw racers and I will use Marine Cabirou as an example who had so many flats that they my as well have stayed home. She flatted both runs in Sunday practice and in the race. She had inserts flapping around that weren't helping any either. She's just one example, there were many others. With all that is spent on a race campaign (and I am talking more at the privateer level here), these probably are worth the money. Otherwise you spend half of your precious practice time walking down the track. Just based on what I saw at MSA, if I were paying my way to race a World Cup season I'd find a way to budget for these despite their cost and other drawbacks (such as the stupid hidden nipples!).
  • + 3
 It's a Minaarster !!!!! felt horrible for the GOAT to lose the championship in that form. Any how not to impress with Enve, this need tech may help however their price is just to high!! for that price you should get life time no questions asked warranty replacements
  • + 1
 When you buy Enve wheels, you are buying a wheelset made in America. The people who make those wheels are buying homes, raising kids, paying taxes, etc etc. Support American made shit. Everybody sings praise of American made bicycle frames, but what is the difference with American made carbon wheels? Why do so many people talk shit about the price when you're buying a hand made in America wheel? Of course it's going to be expensive.
  • - 3
 And it's a giant. I'd rather just have the wheels.
  • + 2
 No rim tape similar to UST.
Seals the tire against to rim similar to UST.

So exactly why did tire/rim manufacturers dump UST? Oh, that's right, because it was easier to market lighter tires and make consumers deal with flats with stupid sealant and other after market hacks.
  • + 1
 They'll be making the rims for $200-250 a piece, based on carbon cost and labour time. The mark ups are entirely in line with most manufacturing businesses that use a distributor. However you US guys are getting reamed on price. We expect to pay 40% to a distro....
  • + 4
 Actually, even when a shop buys direct from enve, the price is quite high. Disappointingly so.
  • + 4
 Minnaar... ????
Internet explosion
  • + 4
 The comments here should be interesting...
  • + 4
 Protective rim exploding technology. Fixed that for you.
  • + 0
 What does the internal diameter come out as with the rim strip installed? Looks like it will narrow the width by a few millimeters each side?

I've no personal experience with carbon rims and value is subjective but, all the polite mentions of harsh ride with only marginal weight saving and inconclusive durability records leave me scratching my head as to why they are so appealing. Obviously these are boutique and the price is set at a point where enve make the maximum profit for the volume they can produce. Id be interested to know the actual % of Pb users who ride carbon rims.
  • + 1
 Greg Minaar punctured in both the of the most crucial races of 2017 with these rims and protective strip, potentially losing him the overall world cup and world champs... #JustSaying
  • + 3
 Split-tube tubeless is back, with a new price point.
  • + 1
 Whoa whoa whoa. How much money is being made on these puppies? I'm all about Chris King ethical style but not about not riding cause I can't buy anything.
  • + 1
 Everyone I know with enve rims has broken them and how much weight do they save over aluminum for a ride some say is too stiff
  • + 2
 When one rim is more expensive than my entire bike.... oooo industry, where are you taking us!
  • + 1
 Nice to see some protection coming straight from the factory. I never had a problem rimming out my Enve DH rims, but its nice to have more peace of mind.
  • + 3
 ENVE socks cost 40 dollars, just sayin',...
  • + 7
 Still waiting for the collaboration ENVE X Supreme
  • + 3
 $3000?? Omg I'm about to cry.
  • + 5
 £3,200 = $4000 of your Freedom Dollars

Cry some more
  • - 1
 @darkmuncan: Incorrect, sir. US pricing is listed up there under the details section. It's around $3000
  • + 3
 @wpplayer18: So $17,000 CAD then?
  • + 1
 @wpplayer18: He means where he is he'll pay the equivalent of $4,000 American.
  • + 1
 @Levelheadsteve: Dammit, I win the Idiot Award today. I'll go neg prop myself.

At least the trophy is shiny.
  • - 1
 Aside Minaar, I really like this idea. It would be much less fuss if you could ditch the rim tape. It might add a few grams but you might be able to run lighter casing. I only wonder how the internal width is afected. I hope other companies come with something similar.
  • + 1
 Good thing they introduced this, I've always wanted my 3,000$ Wheel to break before getting a pinch flat....
  • + 1
 That rim strip is brilliant. I'd love to see other manufactures do the same. @noxcomposites
  • + 2
 Holy crap on a cracker! 3Gs!
  • + 1
 Thats about 42000 of my rather worthless currency - no doubt more like 50 000 once in the shop.
  • + 0
 Where does enve get its name from? If it's envious I ain't envious of idiots dropping that much coin on shit rims (I've had enve they failed so I call shit)
  • + 2
 Didn't we used to call this ghetto tubeless?
  • + 2
 Damn Enve why not just charge everyone a million bucks for these Eek
  • + 1
 Detail shots of the rim profile, spoke holes, decals ect. would have been sweet.
  • + 1
 How can they charge as much as a carbon frame from the top brands ?! 2000 plus of sheer profit ?
  • + 2
 Not quite as simple as that. Looking at the UK M& & M9 Chris King option at £3,200 which is without doubt a lot of money. However

The hubs are probably close to £800 RRP
There's £530+ of VAT included in the total price

Deduct that and you're left with about £2,000 net for the rims alone. From that you have to deduct

Shipping costs
Manufacturing costs
R&D costs
Advertising costs
Other taxes
Salary costs
Rent & utilities
etc

So no, there's definitely not 2k plus of sheer profit
  • + 3
 @boardinbob:

So basically the exact same costs as it would be to make an ally rim, the only difference is the manufacturing cost and R&D cost which given would be slightly higher as may take longer to test and moulds/ materials would be more expensive but on a whole you can not seriously tell me that results in a the massive increase in price over an ally rim.

I paid £3250 for my YT Capra CF 2 years ago so for an extra £50 I got a carbon full sus frame, front and rear BOS suspension (replaced with Fox under warranty), full mavic cross max wheel set (still straight as a die 2 years on), full 1x11 sram group set, renthal bars and stem, and sram guide rsc brakes. BARGAIN!!
  • + 1
 @Dave2183: There's no doubt there's more obvious VFM in a full carbon bike costing as much as a pair of wheels, but that wasn't the point
  • + 4
 @Dave2183: And to add, i wouldn't pay that for wheels. If carbon is a must then Light Bicycle rims on Hope hubs for £1k and spend the £2k saving on coke and hookers
  • + 1
 There's no cost to something you can't do yourself I guess. What am I going to do? Shit's going to end up like Japan.
  • + 2
 Im sorry did you say 3000 $
Just for rims.?
I see.
Who buys these?
  • + 1
 Haha, I'm sure that Minaar quote was taken before last weekend.
  • + 1
 And before he switched to the Marsh system he was using last weekend...
  • + 1
 When my secondhand enves die there's no way I can afford to replace!!
  • + 1
 No rim dimensions and weight throughout the line, really?
  • + 1
 just use a forklift tire and carve it into shape....
  • + 1
 For this price they have to lick my as...
  • + 1
 I'll stick with DT swiss thanks very much.
  • + 1
 I just blew up a set of ENVEs on their second ride, so yeah, buyer beware.
  • + 1
 Greg speaks the truth. I love me a good paint stripper
  • + 0
 No thanks.

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