ENVE M60 29" HV Wheelset Review
In my eyes, wheels are consumables. Regardless of rim construction, spoke gauge, or lacing method, every wheel has a limited service life after which rims may bend or break, and spokes won't be able to hold tension. For these reasons, spending $2800 on a carbon wheelset hasn't made my To Do list. But, when I was asked to review ENVE's new HV 29er wheelset, you know I said, "Yes!" with a smile on my face and a healthy dose of excitement in my voice.
The most immediately notable and dramatic difference compared to aluminum wheels is the stiffness in ENVE's carbon. Through San Luis Obispo's exceptionally leg-taxing and chunky rock gardens, ENVE's HV wheelset tracked incredibly well, allowing me to hold better lines, even through the roughest bits.
The more time that I spent on these wheels, the more confident my cornering became, thanks to the wheelset's exceptional responsiveness. Anything that was put into the wheels was directly and predictably returned in the same way, with nothing lost in translation (read "flex").
One unforeseen surprise in going to a noticeably stiffer wheel was dramatically better tire feedback. When cornering, I could feel exactly what my tire's tread and casing were doing. Whether the tread was about to break free or the casing was beginning to flex in a high-speed corner, having a better understanding of exactly how my tires responded gave me more confidence in my equipment, and by extension, my riding.
The HV's wider (26.4mm) internal rim width gives tire sidewalls a "straighter" profile. This makes cornering more predictable by reducing sidewall collapse, and increases the tire's contact patch for more grip.
With the dramatic progression of carbon technology over the last five or so years, the long-term durability of carbon (or lack thereof) is no longer something to be feared. This point was driven home by the large handful of times that I bottomed out my rims on many of SLO's sharpest rocks. Not only did the rims refuse to crack or chip, but they remained perfectly true through it all.
After the first time I bottomed out my rim, I was extra careful about maintaining proper tire pressures. Should you prefer 18psi front and rear regardless of your terrain, then EVNE's 5-year warranty and 50% off crash replacement program will definitely pique your interest.
One place I didn't see long-term durability was in the decals. Through my short time with these wheels, the decals did not hold up well, thanks to rocks and my bike storage hooks. Though I was proud to display my semi-tattered wheels, other ENVE owners will probably prefer a visage reflecting the quality (and price) of their investment. If you are this person, then it might be best to have a second set of color-matched decals at the ready, which ENVE offers.
ENVE wheelsets roll around a baseline of about $2800. No matter who you are or what you do, that is a lot of money. But given the fact that carbon wheels have been true game changers for my riding, it's an investment that will pay out massive dividends in the long-term. ENVE wheels have undoubtedly made me a faster rider and continue to do so, and that's a hard thing to put a price on.
In truth, ENVE carbon wheels have ruined me. The performance benefits I've enjoyed on the bike and the progression I've seen in my riding have been, undoubtedly, the most drastic changes I've ever experienced from a wheelset. Although the price tag is large, the gains are equally so.
Very stiff and light, offers massive gains in performance to both you and your bike. Wicked strong build never goes out of true. Bombproof DT240 hubs.
The obvious: large price tag.
Although the price tag is daunting, the gains you'll experience in your riding will be just as big. These carbon wheels have been hands-down the best thing to happen to my riding.