ENVE initially launched the M Series in 2014. At the time, one of the main goals was to just convince the riding public that carbon was a reliable material to use for rim construction and was here to stay. It was also designed to be the first reliable hookless carbon tubeless rim.

Obviously, a lot has changed since then. Carbon is pretty much accepted as a rim material, and for the most part, tubeless reliability isn’t really an issue. So when it came time to rework the M Series, ENVE looked at is as a chance to completely reimagine what carbon mountain bike rims could be. The result is a completely new design across the board from XC to DH with rims that are more compliant, have better impact strength, and may just make pinch flats a thing of the past.

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

Calling it their Dynamic Impact Design, the new wheels are all about the reworked profile. Divided into two categories, rims on the XC and trail side of things go with a wide hookless bead that is all carbon, while the Enduro and more aggressive rims benefit from their new Protective Rim Strip design.

According to ENVE, one of the biggest factors to pinch flat resistance is the width of the leading edge of the rim, but shape of the leading edge is important as well. Moving from 3.3mm on the previous M Series to 4.5mm for the Wide Hookless Bead and 5mm for the Protective Rim Strip, the change has a massive effect on pinch flat resistance and impact strength. ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series
ENVE was demonstrating the incredible pinch flat resistance at Eurobike, breaking a rim in the process and showing that the tire still wouldn’t flat. It should be pointed out that the rim that broke, had been through this test process multiple times through the course of the show.

After testing previous M Series against the new generation and even an odd M70 HV with a Cush Core insert, the results speak for themselves. The Wide Hookless Bead of the new M525, M630, and M635 offer a 30% increase of impact strength and impressive 60% increase in pinch flat resistance. The Protective Rim Strip design on the other hand found on the M730, M735, M735 E-Spec, and M930 results in an incredible 100+% increase in pinch flat resistance and a 10-20% increase in impact resistance.

Basically, ENVE simply hasn’t been able to cause a pinch flat with the Protective Rim Strip design with their current fixtures. That doesn’t mean they aren’t trying though – they have the ability to drop a heavy enough weight that it is cracking the rim, but the tires still won’t flat. And since the rim strip seals the rim channel completely, the tires maintain their seal even if the rim is damaged. ENVE says this is really more for the gravity racers who can’t afford to flat out on their run, even if they hit something hard enough to break the rim.

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

Both rims are designed with a more triangular profile which uses thinner walls than previous M Series. According to ENVE, this along with a refined laminate has had a profound effect on ride quality with the new rims offering better compliance across the range without sacrificing stiffness. The shape is also better for the manufacturing process.

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

The Protective Rim Strip wheels use a similar shape, but include a protective plastic rim strip that must be used with the rim, and is specific to each rim. Included with the wheel is a special rim strip lever to remove the strip to service spokes, but the strip come pre-installed on complete wheels. ENVE says that the biggest barrier to this design was the making of the strip itself – having it made overseas would simply be too expensive in terms of tooling, so the strip is made in Ogden along with the rims.

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

Essentially split into two categories, anything with a 5 or 6 falls into the Wide Hookless Bead territory. Anything with a 7 or 9 is the Protective Rim Strip Design. In terms of the naming structure, it’s pretty simple – the first number is the series (5 – XC, 6 – Trail, 7 – Enduro/AM, and 9 – DH/FR), while the second two numbers is the actual inner width of the rim. Based on the inner width, ENVE has recommended tire sizes, and hole counts are based on use. All eight models are available in 27.5 or 29″ versions, and ENVE expects them to ship by October. And yes, there is a M735 E – for ebikes with plus tires.

ENVE all but eliminates pinch flats with completely redesigned M Series

It’s taken ENVE years of development and testing and over 800 rim prototypes this year alone, but if all (or even half) of their claims turn out to be true, these rims have the potential to be a big improvement not just for ENVE, but for mountain biking as a whole.

enve.com

30 COMMENTS

    • All bike tires are bias-ply, even the ones marketed as “radiale.” Bias-ply tires all tighten themselves to the rim when inflated. That’s why spoke tension drops measurably when you inflate your tires. It’s intentional, and it helps keep tubular tires on the rim and makes clinchers hold tighter. The tightening force is surprisingly strong. It can be overcome, of course, but you’d be surprised by how much force it would take. These strips will not roll off the rim with an inflated tire.

  1. What happened to last week’s Enve “Wide Right” messaging about how their narrowish rims were actually better than everyone else’s wide rims?

  2. I went to buy some Enve’s and my local bike store made it a point to let me know that they have to deal with more warranties for Enve carbon rims than all the rest of manufacturers combined.

    • Sounds like your local shop was trying to sell you something else. As someone who has worked for both shops as well as bike manufacturers that spec ENVE often my experience is the exact opposite. The last ENVE failure I saw was on a one of their classic rims in probably 2014. Surely failures happen, but in my anecdotal experience of handling at least 100 sets of their wheels, failures are rare to non-existent since the Classic wheels went away.

    • Sounds like a case of confirmation bias. That’s a bold claim with virtually no way to prove either way, but conveniently follows a butthurt/jaded narrative. Our shop deals with more Bontrager warranties than all other brands combined…. Oh.. wait… we’re a Trek dealer. Do you see my point?

    • I know my local bike shop well and selling Enve’s is good given they are at the top end of the $ range. Enve is a hot company with a lot of good marketing behind them. Just do your research as opposed to relying on marketing hype.

    • I own 2 sets of Enve rims (originally XC and AM) and the XC rims were warrantied twice for cracks and once for a nipple pulling through, while the AM rims were warrantied once for a nipple pulling through. So, you could say that I’ve broken 4 Enve wheels personally. Most recently, they upgraded both sets of my wheels to M60 / M70 HV’s respectively. We’ll see how they hold up compared to earlier models.

      With that said, I also own 3 sets of Light Bicycle wheels and 1 set of Nextie wheels on DT240 hubs as well. None of the ‘China’ wheels have cracked or suffered any defects in the same time period as the Enve wheels and quite honesly, I ride them more often and much harsher because they are cheap. If it wasn’t for all my wheels being non-boost, I’d sell the Enve’s and buy more LB or Nexties to save some cash.

    • “Both rims are designed with a more triangular profile which uses thinner walls than previous M Series.”

      No thanks. I had a rock kick up and hit the sidewall (not the bead) of my M60s hard enough to cause a small crack (still rideable but only a matter of time). I’m not looking for thinner walls. Back to Chinese carbon for me. Never had an issue with my Light Bicycle rims.

    • So, when you bottom your rim out on a rock, and it cracks, who’s fault is that? Can’t really blame them for aiming their solution at a potential problem.
      The pinchflat marketing spin is odd, for sure. Especially when they mentioned testing a Procore setup. Isn’t that tubeless only? Weird. Who buys modern carbon mtb wheels and DOESN’T run tubeless?

  3. 14″ drop can crack the rim but not flat the tire. That weight doesn’t look like a 200 lb rider. So if I bunny hop or drop off something barely over 1 ft tall I and land on a tiny rock I will crack my rim… This is basically every ride. If I buy alloy rims that are wider I can buy a new rim each year for 10 years for the same price as a rim that I can drop over 14″ – that doesn’t seem like a good deal, maybe there is more to it than that?

  4. Literally every single person I know with carbon mtb rims has ended up cracking them. Enve, no-name Chinese, oem, and everything in-between, they all eventually crack when you hit a rock at the wrong angle. The killer feature seems to me to be “don’t crack when you hit a rock”. The company to figure that out will do well.

    • We don’t know each other, but I have never cracked any of my carbon rims. I have ridden on Giant’s carbon for XC, rivals for all mountain and road. I have hit these things so hard that I thought I cracked them, but usually not even a scratch. Also, after having ridden carbon, going back to AL feels like riding on noodles.

      • Rovals, not rivals. !2$# you autocorrect. Anyways, one last thing about AL, even though they do feel noodley, there was a rock bed I went through a while back while riding my friends AL rimmed bike and I have to admit that the compliance was nice. I think this can be somewhat achieved with suspension set up and tire pressure though when using carbon.

  5. what’s the likelihood that they’ll eventually introduce these rim strips for their (now legacy) M70 rims? being that they are rim specific

  6. You know what all but eliminated flats for me? Bontrager Hardcase tires. Using 32c and the things are insane. I’ve beaten the hell out of them on hilly, rough gravel. Never once have I gotten a flat on them in 10+ years. Just change them when they look sufficiently worn out. They also have ridges along where they meet the rim to avoid pinch flats.

    Once I even heard a small noise for days, that I couldn’t pinpoint until I finally saw a 7ish mm piece metal lodged a bit into the outer layer of the tire. I pulled it out and continued on. That was in November and I’m still running that same tire.

    It kind of bugs me too. I want to avoid Trek since the whole Lance thing, if for no other reason than how they shafted Greg. I really want to find better tires.

    • Continental 4 season. They make them in a 32c. I ride the 25c and 28c versions… Gravel, potholed roads, etc… they NEVER flat. Absolutely incredible tires that last forever.

  7. If you can’t cause a pinch flat without breaking the rim, I dare say the rim isn’t very strong. If anything, this shows that their engineers have cut the weight to be right on the envelope, such that a “load event” a fair margin greater than bad enough to normally cause a pinch flat causes rim failure. This can be a good thing, because in such an event your fragile little flesh prison is at risk and you want everything else to fail by absorbing as much energy as possible before your meat and bones, which are terrible shock absorbers; IOW if Kelly McGarry’s (rip in peace) wheels hadn’t collapsed when he overshot the canyon gap, he probably wouldn’t have walked away. That said, rim failure isn’t wheel failure. If the rim had the right material properties you’d see the wheel taco before the sidewall is crushed.
    And no, you wouldn’t be able to cause a pinch flat if the rim fails first, because it’s no longer being pinched. The rim has turned to mush and no longer opposes the force from the foreign object; try throwing a single sheet of tissue paper in the air and slicing it with any blade… spoiler: it’s not going to cut.

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