With an update promising better performance and stronger wheels, ENVE’s carbon road brake hubs arrived laced to their SES 5.6 aero carbon rims ready for review. First introduced in 2015, the hubs use a made-in-the-USA carbon hub shell that was slightly updated to reshape the flanges and make them stronger. The insides received more intensive updates to make them roll and engage more quickly, and improve long term durability. Here’s how all those changes faired on the rolling hills outside Bikerumor HQ…

ENVE carbon hubs actual weights

what is included with an enve road bike wheelset

In the box were premium machined valve stems made for them by Silca, rim tape, and skewers. The hubs are only available with standard quick release end caps. Brake pads are also included, which are designed specifically for their textured braking surface (shown further down).

enve carbon road bike hubs and wheels actual weights

Claimed weights for the hubs are 70g (F) and 185g (R), which when built into complete wheels with mid-height aero rims come in at 673g (F) and 828g (R) for a total wheelset weight (without tape or valves) of 1,501g…very light for a deep aero wheelset.

enve carbon road bike hubs and wheels actual weights

Add tape (usually about 20g) and valve stems and you’re at about 1,550g rolling weight. The included skewers are respectably light at 89g, which is especially good considering the cammed lever mechanism that helps keep them closed once installed.

The focus here is the hubs, but rims are a necessary part, so here’s their measurements:

  • Internal width: just over 20mm
  • External width (brake track): 27.5mm
  • External width (widest point): 29mm
  • Depth (rear rim): 56mm (front is shallower, not measured, claimed at 48mm)

What’s inside ENVE’s carbon hubs?

what are the mavic id360 ratchet ring internals used in enve carbon road bike hubs

One of the big updates to the insides was the switch to Mavic’s ID360 ratchet ring. This is a 40-tooth set of rings that use a flat coil spring on the outboard side to maintain contact. It’s not overly loud (not even what I would call “loud”), but offers decently quick engagement for a road bike.

what are the mavic id360 ratchet ring internals used in enve carbon road bike hubs

The other aspect of the Mavic system is a wave washer on the non-drive side to maintain even pressure on the bearings. This eliminates the need for any bearing preload system, which adds weight and complexity (read: opportunity for user error).

The rims use their molded spoke holes and flat-top molded valve hole on the exterior…but internal spoke nipple access holes are made the old fashioned way.

ENVE’s road tubeless rims still use a bead hook for higher pressure applications, and have a small bead shelf bump to help keep the tire in place.

How do they ride?

enve carbon road hubs review

I mounted the wheels to my sole remaining rim brake road bike, a Culprit Arrow One, and hit the road. After a couple test laps, Watts and I headed 70 miles east on rolling terrain to meet our families at Haw River Farmhouse Ales in Saxapahaw, NC, for a big lunch and a few well-earned bevvies.

enve carbon road hubs review

One of the goals in the updated hub design was to make the rear wheels laterally stiffer to reduce brake rub. ENVE’s textured rim braking surface makes noise when you brake -not a bad noise, I think it’s cool, kinda like a turbo spooling down, but it’s a noise nonetheless- so reducing flex means quieter sprints. Without having ridden the first generation, I can’t say if they’ve improved it, but there is still a bit of brake rub under standing efforts ranging from slow, exaggerated grunts to full-on city limit sprints. It’s not too bad, and adjusting my calipers outward just a little eliminated most of it. And I didn’t hear any rubbing during cornering.

Having gone almost exclusively to disc brakes on all of my bikes, any rubbing is noticeable. But if I try really hard to remember what it was like back in the old days, in terms of lateral brake rub, these seem on par other high end wheels.

enve carbon road hubs review

Which means it really comes down to the rolling performance to justify the hubs’ $450 price jump over their alloy hubs (retail for this clincher wheelset is $3,000, up from $2,550 built with ENVE alloy hubs…but same as $3,000 built with Chris King R45 hubs). Well, that, and a 98g savings over the alloy ENVE hubs.

And they do roll smooth. Very smooth. Put the bike in the stand and spin them and they just keep spinning. Roll along a country road or coast down the hill and they feel effortless. Sure, they’re broken in now, but not every wheel I’ve ridden feels so frictionless.

enve carbon road hubs review enve carbon road hubs review

Up front, I didn’t notice any brake rub during the standing sprints and grinds, even when intentionally leaning the bike waaaay over.

It’s hard to say much else…I haven’t ridden them long enough to see how they wear (metal on carbon, afterall), but ENVE offers a lifetime warranty on everything they make now, so that’s not something I’d worry about, either.

Conclusion: If you’re in the market for a high-end rim brake wheelset and are already considering ENVE’s wheels, these new hubs offer an exceptionally lightweight way to upgrade any rim depth you want to ride. With a price that’s equal to other upgraded hub options but still lighter, and “system engineered” specifically for their rims, it’s easy to recommend these.

ENVE.com

20 COMMENTS

  1. ERRG!

    “Put the bike in the stand and spin them and they just keep spinning.” This is nonsense

    That has VERY little to do with the hub quality. Fill your tubes up with water and they will keep spinning even better. Its called rotational inertia. A spinning mass is a flywheel. If you had the exact same hubs and built one up with your lightest possible aero rim while the other you decided to make the same rim profile out of a solid piece of lead, the lead wheels would spin 10-20 even 30 times longer. You could probably get the thing to spin for 10+ minutes. Does that mean the solid lead rim is the better option? Of course not. PLEASE STOP USING THIS LINE.

    The benefit of light weight wheels is they have less rotational inertia so they climb better, accelerate faster, etc. Thus when spun in a stand, the lightweight wheel will spin less because good old Newtons Laws. An object in motion in will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Since Force = mass*acceleration, the forces are (roughly) the same being bearing drag (mainly a function of the seal quality, bearing preload, followed by grease drag and friction from balls to races. Since the heavier object would have a higher radial force and friction is the normal force*coeffient of friction, the heavier object would have a slightly higher drag since the bearing is radially loaded), and aerodynamic drag, with vastly different mass, the acceleration (deceleration or slowing down is still an acceleration, just in a negative direction) of the heavier rim would be much less, thus would maintain spinning longer.

    That being said, can we PLEASE stop spinning wheels in a stand to determine their quality. It is the equivalent of kicking tires in a car.

    • “Put the bike in the stand and spin them and they just keep spinning.”

      Yep, testing bearing friction under no load is beyond ridiculous. It would be like testing 0-60 mph times with the speedometer of your car when the car is up on jack stands.

      Seals and grease are the biggest cause of friction. Unfortunately, there is a tradeoff in terms of bearing longevity.

    • I get what you are saying but this whole review is just based on feel and no actual data. If the wheel makes you feel faster because it can spin on the stand for a long time and feels smooth on the road, the psychological effect can actually translate to real world time gains. So, whether or not the science is right is irrelevant if the speeds go up and the times go down.

      Now, just to be argumentative regarding the wheel spin test, if the two wheels you proposed were spun with the exact same amount of force, wouldn’t newton’s laws tell us that they should stop at the exact same time? because the force needed to overcome the greater resting weight would result in the wheel rolling at a slower speed to begin with… not too dissimilar to dropping a feather and a bowling ball in a vacuum.

      So, if my 10th grade physics knowledge is correct, and the two wheels would theoretically stop at the same time, then we can isolate any difference in spin time to the actual hub. If the enve hub were to spin longer, it would indicate less internal drag which would obviously be an advantage.

      Obviously, lab conditions would be necessary to perform this experiment. So, to your point, the set the bike in the stand and spin the wheel test means nothing… but it could if you really wanted it to.

      • If these stories go unchecked then people will believe that “this new confidence inspiring product is the fastest bestest EVER!”

  2. You know you’re going to get called out, never point your rear skewer lever straight back like that.
    Pretty wheels.

      • makes it possible for a following rider to inadvertently open the release with his front wheel. Also further exposes the release to impact from a rock etc when laid down on NDS.

        • @Tom I actually saw that with my own eyes racing in ’70.
          Russian guys used to do it, to the monkey who would let it like that.
          Not pretty picture hahahahaha
          BTW they would also open your just released (seventies) Campagnolo brakes quick release, what was on the caliper
          lol was that funny times

    • The only reason not to put your skewer straight back is if you ride/race in groups a lot there is the potential for a following wheel to pop it open or get stuck causing one or both to crash. But the likelihood of that happening is rare and it’s not an issue worth getting called out for.

      • Yes but when you don’t have any deadly disc brakes that are literally slicing people’s legs clean off all over the peloton as they are designed to do, you have to complain about something.

        People need to find fault somewhere in these posts they get for free. Without it their lives might not be complete! I am sure if the skewer was the opposite direction someone would have said “the ENVE logo is upside down”. The only time I have issue with a QR skewer is if it is pointing forward especially on mountain bikes or pointing down and that only because I had a very trusted and skilled mechanic I worked with who told me “down = out” and so I just went with that.
        Really though if you are running rim brakes or traditional skewers the DT Swiss RWS skewers are so much better. No more fiddling with tightening a lever it is almost like a wingnut type of deal but you can move the lever to any position once tight.

  3. I’m sure the hubs are nice and all, but it seems like a pretty big premium over the alloy set. But if you don’t mind paying $5/gram, more power to you.

  4. > ENVE’s carbon road hubs… roll super smooth

    I have a big secret for you… That’s what bearings do… They roll super smooth. Amazing!

    What are the size, number, and seal type of the bearings? Bearing size and seal type is important to longevity. Also how common a bearing type is affects it’s price and availability.

    Are the bearings pressed directly into the carbon fiber, or is there an aluminum shell molded in?

  5. Ah. Enve. Still going strong selling 2012 wheels at 2019-2020 prices. Hope they don’t explode like the Mavics used to. And I hope the people wealthy enough to buy them win, because they’ll look awfully silly spending all that loot and coming in third. But then, those bearings are super smooth… wonder how they’d roll if we took the grease out and put vegetable oil in…

  6. > One of the big updates to the insides was the
    > switch to Mavic’s ID360 ratchet ring.

    The ENVE website claims: “While this isn’t our first branded road hub, the latest ENVE Carbon Road Hub is the first hub that is 100% ENVE inside and out,”

    Which is correct?

  7. Man, anyone on here complaining about the claims about the smoothness of the bearings must not have experienced the first gen hubs that were built on DT internals. THOSE WERE TERRIBLE. Like I spun a front wheel in my hand at one point and found that the end caps would spin on the axle before the bearings would spin. The problem was that the bearings were pressed right into the carbon shell and were no where near parallel. I had a set with hubs that hardly spun, so then sent me a new pair of hubs to lace in. Same thing. Same as well with the two or three pairs we had for sale in the shop. Finally just had them send me some R45’s, which I have on all my other wheels.

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