Enve M730 Wheels
Long Term Review

Enve M730 Wheels

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date May 29, 2018

Enve released the updated M-series of wheels late last summer. Optimizing the wheel and updating to wider internal rim widths to meet market demands were goals of the new wheels. Where things got really interesting was with the integration of a protective rim strip in the M7 and M9 series. In addition to the protective strip, Enve claimed to have increased impact resistance using a patented “impact and anti-flat sidewall construction”.

The M730 wheels have an internal rim width of 30mm and weigh a claimed 1,778g for the 27.5-inch set*. Enve recommends a tire width from 2.3 to 2.5 inches, which covers most aggressive tire choices currently available. Similar to their past rims, the internal spoke nipple remains. Why they choose to do this has been well documented but to summarize, Enve believes this design provides a stronger connection for the nipple, producing a lighter, stiffer wheel. My test set was built up with bladed j-bend spokes. A set of Enve M730 wheels with DT Swiss hubs, like tested, retails for 2,900 USD.

*The 29-inch wheels with DT Swiss 240 hubs weigh a claimed 1,955g

Enve M730 Protective Rim Strip

Enve’s Protective Rim Strip

Enve’s new Dynamic Impact Design tackles a number common issues riders experienced with carbon hoops; hookless carbon rims have resulted in stiffer, harsher riding wheels prone to flatting. Developing the protective rim strip allowed Enve to update the rim’s layup. The improvements on the trail were immediately noticed compared with the previous version, but more on that below.

The rim strip can be a head-scratcher. To think a thin film of plastic between the tire and rim would prevent flats seems unlikely but in my experience it works. These wheels haven’t suffered from a single flat during testing despite plenty of poor line choice and rim bottom-outs, some that I thought would damage the rim. When pressures fell below my preferred range the tires remained seated and I didn’t experience any burping.

Trying to understand how the rim strip achieves this, I asked Enve for more information. Their engineers found that the old ghetto-tubeless setup helped prevent pinch-flats, but it needed improvement. The small layer between the tire and rim disperses energy from impacts and they discovered that a firmer, thinner material performed better than having a soft material in its place.

Enve Protective Rim Strip

The protective rim strip fits securely to the rim, forming an independent air chamber from the rest of the wheel.

Enve Protective Rim Strip Removal

Using the provided levers and aiming for the slits in the strip, it's easily removed. Some plastic tire levers should work too.

Enve Protective Rim Strip

Off the rim, the protective strip is light, makes for easy access to the spoke nipples, and is quicker to work with.


The rim strip works well to prevent flats, but I’ve found it beneficial when mounting tires as well. Tubeless setup with the M730 wheels is one of the simplest to date — it's close to a proper UST rim. Mounting tires without a hint of sealant and a floor pump is possible and required minimal effort — just make sure to get some sealant in there somehow. If the rim is damaged while riding the independent seal should allow the tire to stay inflated.

Another benefit of the system is how quickly rims can be prepared for truing. It’s a problem that other wheels don’t have because they use externally accessible spoke nipples, but for Enve ease of access to internal nipples is a big improvement. Removing Gorilla Tape and following up with a new strip, all to touch up spoke tension, was painful.


Ride Quality

As mentioned above, Enve has optimized the ride quality of the M730 wheels and when compared to the M70 the improvements are immediately noticed. Personally, I found the predecessors too stiff on the trail. The old versions tended to deflect off obstacles and unless riding a machine-built track with berms, the stiffer hoops became overbearing. Feedback through the bike and into the rider was higher with the old wheels and flat tires were more frequent.

Enve M730 Details

The 30 in the name is for their internal rim width. The wheels are still made in the USA.


The updated M730 wheels are more forgiving and there’s less deflection, improving comfort and control. When things got extra wet and slippery I noticed the wheels skipping off obstacles more than an alloy wheel, but the improvement in trail feel and control is impressive. Line holding is improved and accuracy with line choice is excellent.

A possible downside to the improved comfort is a reduction of snap out of corners, but it’s a worthy sacrifice for the comfortable ride. The M730s are more predictable on the trail and they respond more calmly when really loaded up into a corner. Compared to an alloy wheel, they provide more snap out of turns and they’re comparable to other carbon hoops, rewarding an aggressive ride. The wheels provide a crisp feel under power and accelerate briskly, but the balanced ride quality means a loss in perceived acceleration when compared to the previous version.

Enve M730 Wheels

The M730s were built with bladed, j-bend spokes. The combination of spoke type, rim profile and layup updates have resulted in a better tracking, more comfortable riding wheel.

The updated Enve wheels provide a more comfortable ride out of the box. They ride with a similar comfort to the e*thirteen TRSr and the Spēd Precision Maul TR wheels (Spēd wheels get the edge for comfort). Throughout the duration of the test, the M730 wheels stayed perfectly true and spoke tension remained solid on either side of the wheel. Visually, the rear wheel shows signs of wear from rocks and debris but they’re both structurally sound. The rim strips are still in one piece despite having been removed a number of times.

Kudos to Enve for listening to riders because the improvement in ride quality is amazing. Add in flat prevention and simplified tubeless setup thanks to the rim strip and you get an excellent wheel. They remain a premium product with a price to match, but if you’re looking for comfortable, high-performance carbon wheels they’re worth considering.

Head to the Enve website for more on the M7 series of wheels.


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Comments

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - May 29, 2018, 1:05 a.m.

I can vouch for ghetto (split tube) tubeless helping prevent pinch flats.  In the 7-8 years I have been on ghetto I haven't pinch flatter despite having some big dents in my rear rim.

Reply

Lynx
+2 Cam McRae Chris Kimberley
MountainBikeBarbados .  - May 29, 2018, 5:07 a.m.

I'm curious if any journalist have asked Enve about their reversal on how adamant they were that you didn't NEED a wider rim than they were producing a few years ago, all the graphs and charts they produced to back that BS up? Maybe them doing some more design and testing and making their wheels not rattle fillings out might help them sell more wheels, but I'm thinking not so much at full MSRP ok $3k, that's as much as an entire frame from one of the big players with shock, don't know how they justify that price when you look at it like that.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - May 30, 2018, 3:51 p.m.

That is a good point MBB.

Reply

Heinous
+6 Darryl Chereshkoff Tim Coleman Endur-Bro Merwinn Shoreboy AJ Barlas
Heinous  - May 29, 2018, 6:42 a.m.

How good are external nipples?!?

Reply

kos
+1 sansarret
Kos  - May 29, 2018, 6:55 a.m.

To me, these seem a bit on the heavy side, and they are inarguably super-expensive.

And those internal nipples.  Sheesh. 

Not sure where the market is.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - May 29, 2018, 7:49 a.m.

i'm with you but i do see them around on occasion. i don't get it either but i think it's up there with 

luxury cars and trophy homes.

Reply

grambo
0
grambo  - May 29, 2018, 11:22 a.m.

I wonder what their sales are like over the past few years. With e13, We Are One and then all the Light Bicycle rebranders, I'm not sure who is buying ENVE anymore?

Reply

xy9ine
0
Perry Schebel  - May 29, 2018, 12:07 p.m.

with WAO selling at fully 1/2 the price for a ~equivalent wheelset (DT hubs, domestically produced rims), it certainly becomes a difficult sell. i suppose the enve brand still has significant cache for some, so there's that.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
0
Niels  - May 29, 2018, 12:38 p.m.

For some, just the fact that something is more expensive than anything else is a reason to buy.

Safe to say I'm not in Enve's target audience. Last year, I bought a complete bike (including decent DT wheels!) for less than what the Enve wheels cost.

Reply

xy9ine
0
Perry Schebel  - May 29, 2018, 1:01 p.m.

my daily driver (which is fairly dialed) also cost less that this wheelset. pretty sure i'm the target market for pretty much nobody, alas.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - May 31, 2018, 11:56 a.m.

I've had the opportunity to put Enve wheels on every bike I've recently built.  I've went with two sets of LB rims (240s for one set, Hope Pro2 for another) and a set of WA1 Composite on Onyx now. I might consider them for a road bike, but other companies offer carbon for less.

Reply

ac
0
Ac  - May 29, 2018, 11:41 a.m.

How does the ride quality/comfort compare to your favorite alloy rims?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Ac
AJ Barlas  - May 29, 2018, 3:33 p.m.

Good question Ac. As I touched on, they're stiffer and introduce more feedback to the rider as a result. They're really impressive and among the most comfortable carbon wheels I've ridden, but I am enjoying having the alloys back on. 🙂

Reply

alexdi
0
Alex D  - May 29, 2018, 12:49 p.m.

This wheelset weighs and costs more than a dozen other sets with inserts. Were I concerned about flats or impact damage, I'd be more likely to throw money at Schwalbe ProCore (or whatever) than fancy rim strips.  

But then, I haven't ridden either. Which would you rather have?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 29, 2018, 3:36 p.m.

Truth be told, I'm yet to try inserts. Aside from something like the Cushcore, which thanks to the shape has a greater effect on how the tire moves under rider weight, I'm not that interested. Give me a tire with some firm, but not quite DH casing, a good suspension setup and a wheel that isn't harsh and I'm happy. If I flat on a casual loop I'll plug it, pump it and get back at 'er. 👌🏼

Reply

alexdi
+2 AJ Barlas natbrown
Alex D  - May 29, 2018, 8:30 p.m.

Sounds like a comparison might be in order. These inserts work a little like volume tokens. You get to run less pressure for better grip and less chatter, but with a steeply increasing spring rate and no chance the tire will fold or bottom on the rim. Might be more compelling than a heavy casing alone. I've started to see reports of their use even from weight-weenie XC racers.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - May 30, 2018, 3:54 p.m.

Something that Cushcore gives you that high pressure and DH casing doesn't is run flat capability. In most cases I'd say you could run flat without doing any serious damage to your tire and your rim should be even safer. The ability to finish your ride or your run without installing a tube is pretty sweet. Oh - and you can ride with pretty good control as well.

Reply

alexdi
0
Alex D  - May 31, 2018, 8:05 a.m.

Indeed. The future, to me, looks like increasingly lighter rims (XC and "flyweight" layups) paired with varying levels of inserts to make them suitable for anything. The lightest 260g-280g carbon rims are still stronger and stiffer than anything aluminum; it's only impact resistance they lack for DH use. 

It would also be attractive, I think, from a manufacturing perspective, to standardize on one or two layups for a given width and customize inserts instead. Enve's already sniffing at this approach with these M730s.

Reply

DBone95
0
Darryl Chereshkoff  - June 1, 2018, 7:36 a.m.

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