Enve's AM30 carbon wheels launched earlier this year, aimed at everyone from trail to enduro riders on bikes with between 110 – 180mm of suspension travel. Don't worry, they're hardtail compatible - that recommendation is Enve's way of making it easier to understand the wheel's intended use.
The rims are made in Ogden, Utah, where they're laced up to Industry Nine's 1/1 hubs with 28 Sapim spokes. There are 29” and 27.5” versions, and the $1,600 wheelset comes with Enve's lifetime incident protection, which covers everything from a poorly executed huck to accidents like leaving your rim too close to a hot exhaust.
My 29” test set of wheels weighed in at 1883 grams – 876 grams for the front, and 1007 grams for the rear. They were mounted to a Norco Optic for most of the test period, and have been ridden hard on a wide variety of terrain over the last five months.
Enve AM30 Details
• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• 29" and 27.5" options
• 30mm internal width
• 28 Sapim spokes, brass nipples
• Industry Nine 1/1 hubs
• Lifetime incident protection
• Made in USA
• Weight: 1883g; front: 876g / rear: 1007g (actual, 29")
• MSRP: $1600 USD
The AM30's carbon rims have a 30mm internal width, and an overall height of 20mm. That height is lower than many of Enve's previous rims, and was done as a way to give the rims more compliance. That low height also forced Enve to move the spoke nipples to the outside of the rim, a very welcome design change. Previously, it was necessary to remove the tire and rim tape just to true a wheel, something that made me grumble in annoyance every time.
28 spoke holes are molded into the rim, with a 3mm of offset to help balance spoke tension between the drive- and non-drive side. The rims uses a wide, hookless bead that's meant to help prevent pinch flats – the larger surface spreads out the force of an impact, rather than having the tire smash down onto a sharp ledge. I didn't experience any flats during testing, and I typically run relatively lower tire pressures. I also don't flat that often with any wheels, so take that as you will. Hub Design
Enve don't have their own MTB hub (at least not yet), so they handed that task over to Industry Nine. The US-made 1/1 hub use a six pawl driver and 45-tooth drive ring to achieve 4-degrees between engagement points. I'm not a fan of loud hubs, so I quieted the ratcheting racket down by adding some Dumonde Tech freehub oil to the drive ring. That made a big difference, and the sound while coasting was much more tolerable to my ears.Setup
Getting the AM30 wheels set up didn't pose any problems. I've had a few different tires configurations on them over the last few months, with widths ranging from 2.3” to 2.5”, and in all cases I was able to get them seated and sealed without an air compressor. Tire pressures during testing were typically 21 psi in the front, and 23 in the rear, numbers that work well for my weight and Pacific Northwest location.
The only setup related gripe I have has to do with the Centerlock-only hubs – I hate needing to use an adaptor to run SRAM or other 6-bolt rotors.Ride Quality
When carbon wheels first came out, stiffness was the quality that was most often touted as one of the main benefits. Nowadays, “compliance” is the new buzzword when it come to how a set of wheels feel on the trail. Why the change? Well, a set of super stiff wheels may feel precise and responsive, but they can also start to feel uncomfortable and harsh on longer rides, and can be more difficult to keep on line in really rough terrain.
Enve got it right with the AM30 rims, and there's no hint of the jarring, wooden feeling that accompanied their earlier offerings. They don't mute impacts quite as much as Zipp's 3Zero Moto wheels, but with the Zipps there were times I felt they were too compliant, while with the AM30's that was never the case. They're supportive enough for pushing hard into corners without any vagueness, while still remaining very comfortable in chunky terrain. They take the edge off chattery section of trail without muting things too
much, which is an ideal characteristic for a set of wheels in this category.
As far as the Industry Nine 1/1 hub goes, that 4-degrees between engagement points is more than quick enough for me, and they haven't made any concerning clicks or pops during steep climbs or other hard efforts.Durability Rims
It's no secret that we've broken a number of Enve rims during testing over the years here at Pinkbike. Their record isn't exactly spotless, so I made sure to put in enough miles on the AM30 to be able to offer an accurate assessment of their durability.
The verdict? My wheels have held up extremely well, and I haven't held back on them over the last five months. I haven't had to tension or true the wheels at all during the test period, and they've been subjected to plenty of rough, chunky terrain. In one instance, I came up short on a double, causing the rear wheel to hit the log at the top of the landing with a resounding “thwack”. I was sure I'd done some damage – it was an impact that would certainly have dented an alloy rim – but the wheel was still spinning straight, and the tire hadn't even lost any air pressure.
I don't fuss much over scrapes and scuffs on a set of wheels, but it's worth noting that the finish on the AM30 rims has held up very well. Hubs
The hubs have held up well too, and the bearings are all still spinning smooth. I did need to pull the freehub body off and do some cleaning and re-lubricating to get rid of an intermittent creak that began after a stint of extra-dusty rides. That process only took a few minutes, and after that it was smooth sailing once again.
I'm a fan of the leaf springs under the 1/1's pawls rather than the microscopic springs that were used in I9's older designs – those had a tendency to jump out and roll into the deepest corners of my basement as soon as I pulled a hub apart.Price / Weight
The chart above gives helps illustrate where the AM30s stack up. The fact that they're made in the US does raise the price, but the price is lower than Enve's previous offerings, and it's still not as much as those Zipp's, which are also made in America.