At ENVE, we put performance above all things. We live and dream about producing the strongest, stiffest, lightest rims possible. To accomplish this goal, ENVE rims have no paint, coating or finishing. The rim you hold in your hand comes out of the mold that way. The imperfections of raw carbon are beautiful to us… We hope that after reading about the ENVE process, you will feel the same.
Give ten different people the same laminate design and you will end up with ten different outcomes. With carbon, the process is critical in the outcome. Our claim that ENVE rims are strong, fast, stiff and light is not one we take lightly. The Enve engineering team lives by the mantra that strong carbon fiber is the result of innovative process and thorough design. ENVE’s product construction is founded upon this principle.
In designing ENVE wheels, our engineers set out to produce the strongest, fastest, stiffest, lightest and most reliable wheels on the planet. Through materials, tooling and finite processes, our engineers focus on designing features into each wheel that address the traditional weaknesses of carbon rims and ultimately result in a wheel that is strong enough to train on yet light enough to race on.
Molded Spoke Holes and Valve Stem Holes
ENVE Composites’ patented process of molding in spoke holes is one example of how running continuous fibers strengthens the rims. Because carbon fiber gets its strength from continuous, unbroken fibers, ENVE routes the fibers around the hole which increases the strength of each spoke hole. This technique pays large dividends in the final product by allowing for a lighter spoke face in the rim without compromising strength. Because of this process, our spoke holes are capable of resisting higher spoke tensions which greatly reduces the risk of spoke pull-through during wheelbuild and on the road. Molded spoke holes also improve the quality of the wheelbuild itself. Because the fibers around the spoke face of the rim are 100% intact, spoke tension is distributed more uniformly around the rim. This makes it easier to build a wheel with even tensions, as well as produce a higher quality wheelbuild that will require less maintenance down the road.
Along with molding in the actual spoke hole, ENVE rims also feature molded-in, conical, nipple seats on the inside of each rim. Carbon rims have historically been notorious for fatiguing spokes prematurely. The molded in nipple seat allows the Pillar nipple to articulate and align with the exit angle of the spoke. This ensures that the spoke will not be bound against the rim or bent; greatly reducing the possibility of premature spoke breakage.
Textured Brake Track
Smooth braking surfaces that manage heat are critical for carbon fiber rims. To achieve smooth braking, ENVE molds the textured braking surface into the rim. There is no coating or paint, simply a light sanding to finish the surface. This ensures that the rim’s braking performance will remain unchanged over the life of the rim. ENVE machines all tooling in-house to extremely tight tolerances which means that each rim is as flat and round as possible right out of the mold with every rim being measured before it goes into inventory.
The Smart ENVE System features a textured braking surface allowing for a more positive engagement and better braking in wet conditions.
It is rare to find a composite cycling component that is devoid of the internal bladder materials that were used in the molding and manufacturing process. These bladder materials are generally adhered to the inside surface of handlebars, stems, seatposts, and often rims. This bladder material not only adds unwanted weight, but in the case of a rim, it can make for a very difficult and frustrating wheelbuild. Through proprietary materials and processes, ENVE uses a removable bladder system with all the rims. This process, while not inexpensive or simple, ensures that our products are light and provide for the best wheelbuild possible.
US –Made ENVE Rims
ENVE Composites designs and manufactures all wheels in the U.S. in our own factory, right next to the engineers that design them. This allows for continuous incorporation of the latest materials and manufacturing techniques, fast prototyping and quality testing and an ability to bring the latest designs to market quickly.
ENVE has tested all our rims as well as other carbon rims on the market to create baselines of acceptable performance. From there, we have set an internal standard for performance for each type and depth of rim.
When it comes to creating a rim that can handle brake heat, ENVE not only uses the latest aerospace high temperature resin and fiber systems, but we also rigorously test each wheel design on a state-of-the art test fixture designed in conjunction with The Utah Center for Aeronautical Innovation and aided by a grant from the State of Utah. The machine works by spinning a wheel using a chain and simulated rider load and then applying braking force while measuring temperature at multiple points hundreds of times a second using laser technology.
The machine can also precisely measure wheel and tire width and see how these dimensions change as braking is applied and heat is generated.
ENVE has tested all our rims as well other carbon rims on the market to create baselines of acceptable performance. From there we have set an internal standard for performance for each type and depth of rim.
Over the last year improving the performance and longevity of braking on the 100% carbon-braking surface of our road rims has been a priority for ENVE. Part of this effort has been to develop a new brake pad compound that will optimally manage heat, minimize abrasion, modulate, and perform in wet conditions with our rims.
While machine testing is essential for research and development, nothing can replace real-world testing. Fortunately, ENVE Composites is located near the steep Wasatch Mountain range. Our local lunch rides include the North Ogden Pass (2.6 miles, 1500ft. descent), and Powder Mountain Road (8 miles, 3500ft. descent).
Using the brake testing protocol in conjunction with our ride-testing program we have determined that the ENVE Grey brake pads, which were developed as a result of our testing, manage brake heat and rim degradation in addition to having better modulation than the other pads and compounds that we have tested.
To ensure that ENVE wheels can be raced safely at the highest levels of the sport we submit all our wheels to the extremely aggressive UCI testing protocol. To assist in our development efforts, ENVE has built its own UCI test fixture to replicate the test in Belgium. Having an onsite test allows the ENVE engineers to quickly learn about the characteristics of various wheels and assess new materials during new product development.
ENVE has invented the patented molded spoke hole technology and through a series of tests and qualifications, ENVE can confidently say that our spoke holes can handle the pressure. Our testing ensures that the spoke hole is strong and wheel builders can pre-stress and build a wheel like they have always dreamed.