Enve has announced its first line of road bikes, placing its focus on custom geometry and small batch production, with the manufacturing process due to take place within the brand's own Utah based headquarters.
Wheel brand Enve is a carbon specialist in its own right, it has been employed by some household name brands as a third party contractor, having been involved in Santa Cruz's first full-carbon downhill bike as well as the front end of the unconventional Cerveo P5X. Enve has long supplied the custom frame building community with tubing and forks - and now, it's decided to start making the bikes, too.
The brand is clearly taking aim at a sweet spot between 'mass produced' carbon frames, and small batch custom steel and titanium bikes. There is no denying that the bikes look absolutely stunning. However, interestingly, unlike much of the custom market which tends to focus on standard 'standards', Enve has gone very much the other way - to the point that each bike will be shipped in a Scicon 3.0 TSA travel case to avoid the need for any disassembly.
In other words, Enve probably doesn't want anyone who is not mechanically minded fettling with the machine at the other end - which does make us wonder if Enve expects the new owners to avoid home maintenance altogether.
The brand will offer two distinct 'styles': Race and All Road bikes, with 35mm tyre clearances across both but the former optimised for narrower rubber. Each frame will be custom, with tubes cut to the customer's spec. Customers can either supply geometry following a professional fit, or supply their likes/dislikes and co-ordinates of a current bike, allowing Enve's Bike Builder to crawl a database of geometries to determine the best fit. Or, a 'stock fit' from Enve can be customised based on the rider's preferences.
The brand says it has carried out its own wind tunnel and CFD analysis, optimisation includes a fork crown which extends the head tube's truncated airfoil shape, and a flattened downtube. It also promises to have completed its own in-house quality and strength testing.
Happily, the frames all come mudguard ready - which is good news for stalwarts of the Great British club run.
It's not all about the frame with a set-up like this, Enve has made its own one-piece bar/stem combo, the SES AR Handlebar, and customers will be able to choose their bar width (38 to 46mm) and stem length (90 to 130mm) for every build. As a fan of a 36cm bar I'd like to see a little more inclusivity, but perhaps Enve measures outside-to-outside.
The brand has worked with the legend that is Chris King to create an 'Aeroset' headset, which is designed to deliver a clean but integrated aesthetic. The brake hoses and wires are routed through the stem and into the headtube, between the upper 1.5” bearing and a standard 1.125” steerer.
The bikes also come with an integrated seat mast and topper, similar to that seen on the top flight Giant TCR. In this case, the clamp allows for 35mm of height - Enve says this saves weight and makes for a more comfortable ride, but we can only hope you're not going to want to sell the bike at a later date (which, since it's custom geo is perhaps a given).
The Di2 junction box has been housed nearly in the handlebar, where relevant, and Enve paired with K-Edge to offer a proprietary computer mount.
Whilst all of the bikes will have space for 35mm clearance, the Race models will be tuned for tyres labeled 25-31mm and the All Road for tyres labeled 29mm-35, with a longer wheelbase.
Enve is already shipping the first few bikes to "select customers," and it's aiming to make the process easy for perspective customers via the 'Enve Bike Bilder', where riders can select their specification and colours - with four different template designs and 38 colour options available. Enve has also partnered with a handful of paintshops, with the option to have a 'ready to paint' chassis delivered for something a little more custom.
Jake Pantone, ENVE’s VP of Product and Brand said: “The ability to customize and add that personal touch to each Custom Road is the crux of this project. Our opportunity as a carbon specialist and US manufacturer is to deliver a bike that can compete with the best high-end frame models available while also delivering a high-touch personalized experience to our customers.
“While customization at any level is a challenge, the ENVE Bike Builder allows customers to virtually paint and build out their dream bike, streamlining the process and allowing us to focus our direct interactions with customers on getting their fit and geometry defined,” he added.
The bikes will be shipped in a custom Scicon Aerocomofort 3.0 TSA case, a model we've tested at Cycling Weekly and can confirm requires minimal disassembly.
“With performance features like the integrated seat mast and one-piece bar/stem combo, travel and transport of the bike become inherently complicated. Most shipping solutions require the removal of the handlebar and seatpost to fit them in a bike case. In our personal experience, this greatly increases the risk of kinking brake lines, cutting wires, and damaging the bike in transit. To solve these problems, we include the Scicon travel case with every configuration of Custom Road," Pantone said.
How much do they cost?
In case it wasn't abundantly clear, Enve is pitching its offering at a premium audience. Customers can buy a built bike, a chassis only, or a 'rolling chassis' which comes with a set of Enve Foundation wheels.
Enve asks customers to book a production slot by making a $250 deposit at the end of the Bike Builder process, with a 50 per cent deposit taken once the paint, geometry and build specs are signed off.
- Chassis Only (Frame, Fork, Bar/Stem, Seat Topper, Bar Tape, HS, Axles & Hardware, Travel Case) $7,000.00
- Rolling Chassis Premium (Frame, Fork, Wheelset, Tires, Bar/Stem, Seat Topper, Bar Tape, HS, Axles & Hardware, Travel Case) $9,500.00
- Rolling Chassis Foundation (Frame, Fork, Wheelset, Tires, Bar/Stem, Seat Topper, Bar Tape, HS, Axles & Hardware, Travel Case) $8,500.00
- Complete Dura-Ace Di2 Premium $12,500.00
- Complete Ultegra Di2 Premium $10,900.00
- Complete Ultegra Di2 Foundation $9,950.00
- Complete AXS Red Premium $12,500.00
- Complete AXS Force Premium $10,900.00
- Complete AXS Force Foundation $9,950.00
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