Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
3x Ironman Champion/ 2x 70.3 Champion

ENVE Composites: Fast, Versatile Wheels!

When I was talking with the Maverick Multisport team director this past fall about the team sponsors, I was extremely excited about the fact that we would be riding ENVE Composites. He told me the group of sponsors that he was putting together was going to be the ‘Best of the Best’ and when it comes to wheels, he wasn’t lying. I had been looking at ENVE wheels for a while, and their support of the Maverick Multisport team was one of the many reasons I tried so hard to get on the team. ENVE Composites are extremely fast wheels, a fact demonstrated by their recent female podium sweep at IM 70.3 St. George in a VERY stacked field.

20140105_173812I picked up my ENVE wheelsets in Maverick mini pro camp in January when we did our bike fitting and met with a lot of our 2014 sponsors. Unfortunately, we were hit with a snow storm while we were there so I didn’t get the opportunity to ride them. Once I got home, I was again tortured by a brutal winter. It seemed such a shame to see such a great looking set of wheels stuck indoors. However, it was great to know that the wheels are built strong enough to be put through the ringer on an indoor trainer, and to be used as an everyday training and racing wheel. ENVE wheels have the highest strength to weight ratio in the industry and, according to their website, are the lightest, stiffest, and strongest wheels on the market.

20140308_064328The weather has finally turned around a bit here so I am able to get out and put some miles on the wheels. I have been really impressed with the rides that I have been on so far, especially the handling in the wind. My first race was Galveston 70.3 which was definitely a high wind day. This spring has been incredibly windy so far, I have not been on outdoor ride yet with winds less than 20 mph. I honestly can’t tell the difference in handling between the 6.7s and the 8.9s when riding in cross winds. The hubs roll as smooth as can be and the wheels are very stiff and responsive.

bike 5There are four things that make ENVE Composites different than other carbon race wheels. First, the in molded spoke (rather than drilling in the rim) ensures strength and stability. Second, they have an aerodynamic profile which is claimed to decrease drag and increase the overall quality of the ride. They also use a uni directional ultra high modulus carbon graphite. Finally, the process by which the wheels are built (referred to as bladderless molding) leads to high composite compression as well as reduced overall weight (**Information received here). Many wheels with carbon brake tracks have had issues with braking while riding in wet conditions. The ENVE Composites have a textured braking surface which makes braking in wet conditions virtually the same as braking during normal conditions. I have had multiple rides in the rain (and one in the snow!) so far and have had zero issues with braking.

I am training on the ENVE 6.7 clinchers and race on either those or the ENVE 8.9 series clinchers. This gives me quite a few options to select the best wheels to suit the course and weather conditions.  These wheels are a huge leap forward in aerodynamics. According to the website, “On a flat course, 80% of your power is used to overcome wind resistance (“drag”), so improving your wheel aerodynamics has the most significant impact on racing faster.” The chart below depicts the aerograth based on wind tunnel data comparing the ENVE 6.7 and 8.9 to but Zipp and Hed wheelsets. ENVE wheels have shown to  have the stability and aerodynamics to find podiums at multiple levels in both bike racing and triathlon.

Not only do the wheels have great aerodynamic results, they also look absolutely stunning. Another reviewer referred to the wheels as the “Air Jordan’s” of wheels. I liked the analogy. I personally have the black on black look and really like the way the raw carbon looks with the black decals. As I was walking my bike into check in at IM 70.3 Galveston, I saw a lot of heads turn and follow my bike. It was a lot of fun to hear so many people comment about how the wheels looked with the Argon bike. ENVE Composites have really developed a great all around wheel. The look, the feel, and the function are what set these wheels above the rest!



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