Enve Carbon Stem Review
Enve might be the most aptly named company in the bicycle market. Every one of their products has serious lust factor, and this stem is no different. But the Enve stem does come at a cost. At the end of the day is it worth it?
Let’s get something out of the way. The Enve stem is downright sexy and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the shear looks alone might have affected my judgment in other areas of the stem’s performance. It just looks so much more robust on the bike without being bulky. It’s charcoal grey bare carbon finish matches almost any frame and looks exceptionally nice if your frame has a matte clear coat over unidirectional carbon.
The Enve stem weighed in at 125 grams for a 120mm length. This is competitive with most other high-end stems, and is the lightest of the full carbon models we carry. However there are lighter stems on the market such as the Ritchey C260 Alloy Stem in the Matte Black color scheme, which is also less expensive. It’s important to note that in general, switching to a carbon stem won’t make your bike lighter. Most full carbon stems – not to be confused with alloy-carbon-wrapped models – are heavier than a given brand’s alloy models. However carbon stems are almost always stiffer than alloy models.
Carbon is renowned for having the ability to dampen road vibrations if it has been properly laid-up. The Enve stem is no different. I went from a relatively nice alloy stem that can be found on bikes in the pro peloton to the Enve stem. During the test the Enve stem definitely offered a smoother ride, making it more comfortable than most, if not all alloy stems. There might be a few exceptions, but those would be so flexy you wouldn’t want them on your bike.
This is where full carbon stems shine and the Enve stem is no different. The Enve stem made my noodly FSA Energy Traditional Bars feel plenty stiff without any loss in comfort. Although I don’t have any official stiffness numbers to give you for comparison, in my experience there are only a handful of stems that are stiffer than the Enve’s, and none of them are alloy.
This is a tough one to rate. While the Enve stem is more expensive than most, it’s very competitive with other full carbon stems. When you approach it from a different angle, its value is easier to see. The Enve stem’s combination of attributes makes it one of the best on the market. It’s much lighter than the stiffest stem, much stiffer than the lightest, and more comfortable than both making it a great value for it’s overall performance.
The Enve Stem is stiff enough for hardcore sprinter use and plenty strong for mountain biking, yet is surprisingly forgiving. It’s one of the few stems to be approved for both cycling disciplines and maybe the only one to look the part on either a road or mountain bike. It isn’t overly stiff like other carbon stems, making it comfortable for long days in the saddle. Its high price may scare some buyers away, but if you are after serious performance, or are the type that wonders if there is a better option out there compared to what you have, stop wondering and pick up an Enve stem.
Adds instant street cred to your rig, Stiff, Slight dampening feel over alloy stems.
Not Cheap, Not as light as some alloy stems.
A stiff stem that won’t beat you up while adding some serious style points to your cockpit.