When ENVE originally developed their M-Series wheels, they sought to design each wheelset around both where they would be ridden and the bikes they would be on. This included considerations for appropriate suspension and tire size, recognizing an opportunity to pair rims to popular tires on the market for the best ride quality. Tire manufacturers have since responded to riders’ desires for larger volumes with a variety of fatter, purpose-specific tires from 2.3in to 2.5in widths (look for more to come over the next few months).
ENVE has responded by adding two new rims to the M-Series line to best sync with this product, the 27.5 High Volume (HV) M60 and H70. They are wider than the existing M-Series product and designed specifically with newer higher-volume tires in mind with better functionality but without a significant weight penalty over their narrower counterparts…
To dial in the HV rims, ENVE engineers evaluated both ENVE and competitor rims against popular large volume tires either already available or coming soon to the market at several pressures. They measured tire width across casings and tread to observe tire shape across rim widths in order to evaluate the intended tire profile. They also evaluated rims against several tire volumes at two pressures to understand the spectrum of sidewall stiffness in each scenario for optimal performance. Then they test rode these combinations to understand the shape and stiffness factors in action. What they found was that no, wider is not necessarily better in every case. An M70 HV rim will not perform as well as the narrower M70 rim without high volume tires. There is a right tire for the rim for the application.
The High Volume rims are similar to the existing design, sharing the hookless bead, tubeless compatibility, and shallow, compliant profile. These rims, however, have gotten even shallower, which engineers estimate reduce pinch flats up to 10% due to increased rim compliance. The new, wider HV rim profiles are claimed to be less than 20g heavier than the originals.
On the road front, ENVE has added a climbing-purposed 700c tubular wheelset to their SES series. The SES 2.2 wheelset was developed like other wheels of the series in conjunction with British aerodynamics expert Simon Smart. The team worked to optimize the rim profile within the context of bicycle frames and using speed sweeps to ensure predictable performance in gusty conditions. Unlike the rest of the SES family, it is unique in that it was aerodynamically optimized to be matched with 25c tires for lower rolling resistance.Due to rim depth, the front and rear rims are the same profile (other sets in the series feature wider, shorter front rim profiles with narrower, deeper rear profiles to best interact with the frame).
These wheels also stand out within the SES line in that they feature an innovative in-mold brake track to improve stopping power over long descents. It features a nail file texture and is used in conjunction with new and improved brake pads. Combined, ENVE claims the braketrack has better longevity than its current style in-mold track, functions dramatically better in wet conditions, and requires 30% less force at the brake lever to use.
The new wheelset was tested successfully under Team MTN-Qhubeka at the Criterium du Dalphine and the Tour of California. Race fans can look forward to seeing it in action in the mountain stages of the Tour de France.
Wheel fans can look forward to all three wheelsets being available in August, 2015.