Today Enve composites put an end to speculations by officially announcing its sponsorship of the TotalEnergies WorldTour team, replacing Specialized.
Enve was already present in the pro peloton as a wheel and components sponsor. Tadej Pogačar and his UAE Team Emirates have been riding the SES line of wheels and SES Aero One-Piece Bars – which were designed to meet the team’s demands, specifically – and will continue to do so in 2024. Similarly, Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador’s project, Team Polti Kometa, also continue to make use of Enve’s wheels and components.
This is the first time, however, that Enve has supplied a team with framesets – a huge development for a brand that made its first bike frame just three years ago.
In 2021, Enve launched the Utah-made Custom Road bike, which then morphed into the Melee road racing bike —manufactured at their factory in China— in 2022. The MOG gravel bike, also made overseas, became the third bike in as many years, and more is to come in 2024. No longer a bespoke components manufacturer, Enve has steadily been evolving into a full-service bicycle brand. And what better way to get your products seen and tested then by putting them onto the world stage?
“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Enve’s Director of Marketing, Neil Shirley, who’s a retired pro racer himself, told Cycling Weekly. “The partnership allows us to broaden our presence in the pro peloton and put our products to the test at the world’s biggest events.
“The European road market is still very pro-driven. This will give us a lot of visibility as a brand. We’re a leader in wheels and components but also still a small Utah company. Partnering with TotalEnergies will be for the advancement of our bikes.”
Interestingly, while the Melee is a pure race machine, it’s not necessarily a pure roadie. With 35mm tire clearance, off-road pro Alexey Vermeulen proved that the Melee is perfectly capable of being raced on the unpaved roads as well, having emerged the victor of the Belgian Waffle Ride CA in 2022.
With that said, the Melee’s geometry and handling are “optimized” for 27-32mm tires. Aerodynamics play a factor, too, with Kamm-tailed tube shapes and full front-end integration. According to Enve, the Melee is “a no holds barred modern race bike built specifically to meet the performance demands of the discipline.”
Completing the Melee chassis, TotalEnergies riders will have their choice of U.S.- made one-piece or two-piece SES Aero Road Bar and SES AR Bar, and the full range of U.S.-made SES wheel models, including the disc wheel.
But while the Enve disc wheel will certainly be used for time trials, Enve does not currently have a time trial frameset nor does it have a prototype in the works, Shirley revealed.
“When it comes to outfitting a WorldTour team, we know we have holes in our products,” Shirley said. “We’re not tiny, but we’re certainly not one of the big guys either, and we’re fortunate that TotalEnergies were able to work around that.”
The work-around is that TotalEnergies will be using this season’s team bikes– the Specialized Shiv TT– in blacked-out paint for any time trials in 2024.
“We already knew [Enve for] their wheels, defined as the best in the world, and it made us very curious. Our technicians and riders were impressed by the responsiveness of Enve. The tests conducted by our riders were more than positive and everyone, unanimously, recognized the very high technology of the bikes,” says Team TotalEnergies Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau.
“I am delighted to associate our team with this innovative brand. We have many things to learn from our structures and have the same motivation to get great results through important R&D work. Between our two companies, this collaboration will contribute to future victories. It is a beautiful and ambitious collaboration which is starting,”
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