INTRODUCING THE FOUNDATION COLLECTION
ENVE's new $1600 Wheelset: the AM30
What follows is the press release announcing ENVE's new wheel line, called the Foundation Collection, which features a single mountain wheelset, called AM30 (and two road/tri wheel sets). They're positioning the AM30 as XT-level carbon wheels, backed by ENVE's 5-year warranty, and handmade in the USA, with Industry 9 1/1 hubs. After the PR, a few early impressions. But first, a little disclaimer:
The Sea Otter Classic may have been postponed until September, but COVID-19 can't hold back product launches that have been in planned for months (or years), so new product announcements are flowing in at a crazy rate, just like any other year at this time. We got word of ENVE's new wheels a little while ago but, as with the average household's amazon order for TP and flour, many of our sample shipments have been delayed forcing us to adjust. Our samples of these new wheels from ENVE only arrived on Tuesday afternoon, so I've only had the chance to ride them once so far (more on that below). After the jump, the release and details from ENVE. In a few weeks or a month, I'll update my very initial thoughts with a more complete review. -PR
ENVE Introduces the Foundation Collection and the All-New AM30–US Made Carbon Wheel sets at $1600 USD
April 9, 2020 –Ogden, Utah, USA–ENVE is pleased to introduce the ENVE AM30, a full-carbon all-mountain wheelset as capable as the flagship mountain offering in ENVE’s Foundation Collection. This is a completely new line of purpose-built, US made carbon wheels priced at $1600 USD, $2899 AUD, $2250 CAD, £1800 and €1800 respectively.
The AM30 pays tribute to ENVE’s roots and the original everyday-rideable, all-mountain durable, carbon mountain bike wheel, the ENVE AM.
“The Foundation Collection and its AM30 are exciting products for ENVE. Over the years, we’ve explored ways to make ENVE more accessible. Recently, efficiencies and capabilities gained in manufacturing, paired with new innovations in ENVE rim design, have allowed us to create the Foundation Collection. Not only does ENVE now offer wheelsets at the $1600 USD price point, but our Foundation level wheels are loaded with features, benefits, and a ride feel often reserved for wheels priced well above the Foundation Collection,” commented VP of Product and Brand, Jake Pantone.
ENVE Foundation MountainTechnologies
Each wheel in the Foundation Collection features a host of proprietary technologies essential to achieving the best-in-class designation.
New Shape, New Ride Feel–With a unique shape and tuned carbon laminate for gravity-oriented trail riding, the AM30 balances compliance and vibration damping for all-day comfort, while retaining quick cornering, acceleration, and gravity-rated strength. Additionally, offset spoke holes balance spoke tensions to prevent premature spoke fatigue.
The AM30 is a modern mountain wheel in every aspect. With a 30mm internal rim width, the AM30 is designed to support high-volume mountain tires between 2.3” and 2.6”. Given the wheel’s positioning as “trail to enduro”, the AM30 is best paired with modern110mm to 180mm travel trail bikes. The AM30 is available in both 27.5” and 29” models.
Impact Toughness –Along with the AM30’s new shape and ride-tune comes an increase in impact toughness. “When it comes to our mountain wheels, impact toughness is priority number one. Regardless of the discipline, an ENVE rim will always strike a refined balance between durability, weight, and ride quality dynamics. The AM30 is no different; in the crowded offering of all-mountain capable trail wheels, the AM30 strikes a unique balance between ride-feel and toughness,” stated Clint Child, ENVE’s wheel engineering manager.
Patented Molded Spoke Holes for External Nipples (Patent #US 8,313,155)–Carbon is unique in its ability to support loads under tension. ENVE’s molded spoke holes maximize these properties by running continuous fibers around each spoke hole and the rim. Because the spoke holes are molded, not drilled, the continuity of the fibers create a rim that is lighter without compromising strength.
The new AM30 features external nipples which area notable departure from ENVE’s current mountain offering. “At ENVE, we’re pushing the envelope for carbon rim performance as far as we can. When it comes to the wheel build, we value reliability over all else and our molded spoke holes deliver a better wheel-build. With the AM30, the main driver towards the external nipple is the shallow 20mm cross-section of the rim that is required to achieve the more compliant ride-feel we want. When a rim is this shallow, an external nipple is required to prevent the spoke from puncturing the tubeless tape under hard compressions or impacts,” stated Pantone.
Wide Hookless Bead –ENVE introduced its Wide Hookless Bead technology in 2016. This feature, is a larger-than-normal leading edge that dissipates the energy across a larger contact area, improving impact resistance and preventing slicing through the tubeless tire.
“Our carbon wheels are intended to inspire confidence and help riders progress in the sport. Over the years, we’ve seen how pinch-flats have negatively impacted riders' experiences both while riding and racing. The onslaught of tire-inserts is proof of the epidemic that is pinch-flatted tubeless tires. While there are a few insert systems that reduce the likelihood of pinch-flatting, most are ineffective. Additionally, inserts are heavy, hard to install or remove, and can reduce a rim’s ultimate impact strength. At ENVE, we honor our warranty even if a customer chooses to runs inserts. In short, there is very little about an insert that improves the ride experience. Weight still matters, as do pinch-flat protection and impact toughness. These attributes aren’t mutually exclusive. Our Wide Hookless Bead allows riders to save weight, skip the hassle of inserts, and run the tires and pressures they want to maximize their ride,” Pantone commented.
Lifetime Incident Protection and 5 Year Warranty –Services like ENVE’s incident protection program and warranty can influence a customer’s purchase decision as much as the product’s features, benefits, and price. The 5 Year Warranty protects buyers from defects in materials and workmanship. The Lifetime Incident Protection program protects owners from damage caused to their wheels while riding, crashing, or transporting their bikes. Proof of purchase is required. The Foundation Collection and the all-new AM30 are available now at ENVE.com and through ENVE retail partners worldwide.
Key Details of the ENVE AM30
MSRP: 2250 CAD / 1600 USD / 2899 AUD / £1800 / €1800
Intended use: Trail / Enduro (2.3 - 2.6" tires // 110 - 180mm bikes)
Wheel size: 27.5 or 29"
Spokes: Sapim Race (round, double-butted) - 28 front / 28 rear
Industry 9 1/1 hubs (90 pts & 4 degrees of engagement)
Weight: 1852 grams (29" wheel)
Inner width: 30mm
Asymmetric external molded spoke holes w/ 3mm offset
Wide, hookless bead w/ anti pinch flat tech
More details available at ENVE.com.
First Ride Impressions
As I mentioned, the wheels got hung up in delivery, so instead of a handful of rides, I only was able to log one on the AM30 before today. For that ride, I repeated the exact route I had ridden two days before, when I was rolling on Crank Brothers' new Synthesis Alloy wheelset. That proved to be an interesting back-to-back because the alloy Synthesis provide a nice trail feel, and if anything the AM30s felt better damped, and smoother than the 1/3-priced alloy CBs, not to mention stiffer, which would be expected. And on that note, ENVE has been carefully tuning ride quality and mentioned that they put a lot of work into the feel of the AM30, and were very proud with the results. First impressions hold up that view, but it's very early yet - and I haven't even had time to talk about the i9 1/1 hubs. More to come soon.