The new ENVE M-series mountain bike wheels debuted at Eurobike last fall, showing off wider beads and protective strips that aimed to eliminate pinch flats. They also reworked the sidewall thickness, layup and shape to improve radial compliance so their wheels would be more comfortable without losing lateral stiffness. On paper, that all added up to the perfect feature set for a hardtail race bike heading to a rough, rocky course.
For tires, Schwalbe made a big deal about their Addix lineup improving on grip, durability and rolling resistance. The revamp introduced new compounds to their entire mountain bike tire line, with color coded performance indicators to ease selection. I pulled in five of their most popular XC and trail patterns, waiting until the last minute to choose.
ENVE M525 SPECS & ACTUAL WEIGHT
The ENVE M525 is the narrowest of the bunch, with claimed dimensions of 25mm internal, 33.5mm external, and 25mm deep. Rim weight for the 27.5 is 349g, and the 29er rim is 367g. Both come only in 24 spoke hole counts, which sounds low, but they’re good for riders up to 240lbs.
Claimed weight for the 29er wheelset is 1,350g. Our test set with XD driver body came in a 634g (F) and 722g (R) for a total of 1,356g before tape, valve stems, etc.
The parts needed to make them rideable add a little:
- Centerlock-to-6bolt adapters (50g / pair)
- Valve stems (16g)
- Tubeless tape (18g used)
Total riding weight for my wheelset 1,440g. If you’re running Centerlock rotors, your weight would be a bit less since you’d only need the lock rings and not the 6-bolt adapter part.
Inside width measured at exactly 25mm.
The rim’s interior profile shows off shaping that made setup extremely easy. A deep center channel helps get the tire into place and just about sealed it off well enough to inflate with a floor pump, sans sealant. Once inflated, the dropped bead seat locks the tire into place. The hookless bead rounds off at the top, both inside and out, which along with it’s thick wall, is the secret to its claimed pinch flat prevention. As the sidewall gets pressed against it, there’s no hard edge to slice the rubber.
The M525 series is built on DT Swiss 240s CL Classic hubs, which use their virtually silent Star Ratchet engagement system rather than standard pawls. The “CL” refers to Center Lock, which is the only option for this model.
I requested these wheels for this build because I knew the course would be rocky, and without the benefit of suspension or oversized plus tires, the rims would play a key role in keeping me rolling flat-free while using lower tire pressure. And with claims of improved compliance, I’m hoping they actually help smooth the ride themselves, too.
The new ENVE M-Series has four ranges, some with multiple widths, offering the new design for everything from XC to downhill. The two wider 7- and 9-series collections use their new rim strip, which acts as the rim tape for even easier tubeless setup. Find them all at ENVE.com.
SCHWALBE ADDIX MTB TIRE ACTUAL WEIGHTS
Schwalbe’s entire premium mountain bike tire line is now called Addix. Like some F1 racing tires, they get colored stripes to indicate usage, with red being Speed and blue being Speed Grip. There are two softer, grippier options, but the red and blue were the right starting points for an XC bike.
Actual weights for the Snakeskin Tubeless Easy options are:
- Racing Ralph 29×2.35 – Addix Speed – 677g
- Thunder Burt 29×2.25 – Addix Speed – 579g
- Nobby Nic 29×2.35 – Addix SpeedGrip – 799g
- Racing Ralph 29×2.25 – Addix SpeedGrip – 676g
- Rocket Ron 29×2.25 – Addix SpeedGrip – 624g
I requested these tire options because the weather forecast was showing potential drizzling rain…or sunny and dry. On the day I need to ship the bike, things were looking sunny, so I opted for the two Speed tires. When dry, Utah’s rocks and dirt are mostly hardpack, so fast rolling rubber made the most sense.
The Racing Ralph is a mid-height knob with ramped center sections to keep it rolling fast, but reinforced side knobs to hold in the corners.
The 29×2.35 measured out to exactly 2.35″ on the ENVE rims.
The Thunder Burt could almost be called a semi-slick, except the small center knobs have useable height. Each is pockmarked with a small hole in the middle, helping them mold and conform to the ground when needed, but mostly just fly over it quickly and smoothly. This seemed like exactly the right tire for maximizing the contact patch on slick rock climbs without giving up cornering grip on the rest o fate trail.
The Thunder Burt 29×2.25 measured a bit narrow at ~2.15, which was a bit of a bummer since I wanted as much cushion on the rear of the bike as possible. But close enough, and the decision was made. Find the right tire for your trail at Schwalbe.com.
That concludes the bike build. Coming up next are all the gear, tools, and small bits used during the race. Miss something? Here’s the rest of the build: