Since its founding in 2007, ENVE’s brand has always been synonymous with the upper echelon of quality which also meant higher-priced. The price tag obviously didn’t put a damper on its popularity as they are consistently one of the most sought after hoops.
But the markets have changed quite a bit since ’07, so what if ENVE can bring its state-of-the-art carbon know how to a friendlier price point? Is going offshore going to be the answer?
ENVE’s latest release, the Foundation Collection, is the Utah company’s answer to the ever-changing landscape: $1,600, made in the USA hoops for road and mountain. This ain’t no April fools joke.
Composed of three models, the Foundation collection is meant to compete in the middle segment. Think of it as the Ultegra/Force/Chorus of carbon wheels, complementing the flagship SES/M series, along with plenty of tech that go into each set. This is by no means an older, repurposed design, nor a compromised, simply cheaper design. Instead, ENVE achieved the price point by increasing its manufacturing efficiency. Simply put, the Foundation Collection is not a water-downed ENVE.
The three models are: ENVE 45 & 65 for road/tri, and AM30 for mountain.
First, the rims. The series features ENVE’s signature molded spokes and valve stem holes which ENVE claims makes a stronger structure by eliminating the need to drill, thus cutting the carbon fiber.
The hookless, tubeless optimized rims come with an anti-pinch flat design built in with a wider leading edge designed to improve as much as 30% in impact resistance and 60% improvement against pinch flats. For extra peace of mind, each wheelset is backed with ENVE’s lifetime incident protection and five year factory warranty.
The road/tri part of the collection comes in either 45mm or 65mm tall rims measuring 28mm externally with a 21mm internal rim width. Both wheels are disc brake only with 24 Sapim CX Sprint spokes on both front and rear. As for the aero profiles of the rim, ENVE is said to be taking cues from data collected from the SES line, minus the front/rear special rim profile but still competitive similar or better than its competition. Both wheelsets are optimized for 25mm-28mm tubeless tires, but one could also run an innertube only with a tubeless tire. The 45 is said to weigh 1,541 grams complete and 1,621 grams for the taller 65.
Both the 45 and 65 will also be built with its own Foundation Road Alloy hubset (124g front, 252g rear with Shimano or 232g with SRAM XDR) featuring a 40t ratchet. They are center-lock only with full-contact sealed NTN steel bearings throughout. A Campy-compatible version is also available.
As for the Trail/enduro-focused AM30, there will be a 29” and a 27.5” version.
Diameter difference withstanding, the 3mm asymmetric rim will be 20mm tall with a 30mm (internal) and 39mm (external) width, with 28 double-butted Sapim Race spokes front and rear threaded to black brass external nipples paired with Industry Nine’s excellent 1/1 hubset.
The AM30 weighs 1,852 grams. The full collection is available today.