ENVE 29 XC Wheel Review

So ENVE makes some nifty products.  They make the SES 3.4 Smart Carbon Clincher, for example.  They also make the Twenty9 XC carbon rim.  Tubeless compatible, carbon clincher, 24mm wide, 18mm wide inside the bead hook.  The rims weigh in at ~380 grams.

Here they are, built up on the Superfish.

Rim detail

Very standard tubeless stem.

The ENVE branded tubeless tape is a bit heavier than Stan’s tape, and very, very nice.  Easy to work with, seals well.

Looks?  Out of this world.

Even dirty.

These were built up for me by Chad at North Central Cyclery.  DT240 hubs, front and rear…adapted to the 12x142mm rear and 15mm thru-axle front for the Superfish.  DT Aerolite bladed spokes.  My DT240s have the 36T rear hub upgrade…albeit with a bit heavier grease, so as to not scare small mammals in adjoining counties.

How do they ride?

Let me start by saying that riding carbon rims is a different experience.  Frankly, I’d be a little worried about having my first carbon rim experience be with a mountain bike rim.  When I started riding the Smart 3.4s on the Ridley, I was nervous at every crack in the road.  With a couple thousand troublefree miles on them, I now trust them, and know how strong they are.  (They’re strong).

With the XCs, I came into riding them with that level of trust and confidence.  I’m not a heavy guy by any means, but I’ve put them through their paces.  They show absolutely no signs of any issues–as you’d expect for a product this premium.  Again, I’ve only had them for a couple of weeks, so my mileage on them is limited.  But let me say this–they inspire absolute confidence.  No weird noises, no pops, no worries.

How do they ride?  Otherworldly.  Any scintilla of power that you generate gets put down.  Now.

Mounted with a set of lightweight Maxxis Ikon EXOs, tubeless, feels almost like cheating.  They spin up with no effort.  And spin.  And spin.  And spiiiiiiiiiin.

I have no doubt that, for a rider my weight, who rides as I ride, the extra 60 grams per rim to go to the 29AM makes no sense.  The XC is where it’s at for me.

The Ikons mounted up nice and easy…albeit with an air compressor.  But since mounting, I’ve unmounted and remounted with a floor pump, and had no issues.

Lateral stability?  Impeccable.  Rigidity under braking?  There is simply no play.  No flex.  No wasted energy.

Ride quality?  I’m curious to see how this plays out.  They are so high performance during riding that I was curious to see if they rode harsh.  Since the wheels are so quick–so responsive–I wondered how they’d compare head to head against other wheels.  While I haven’t ridden any other wheels on my Superfish, I have ridden other Spearfish with the stock Stan’s wheels.  I cannot say that the rigidity of the ENVEs contributes to any diminution in ride quality.  In large measure, I suspect that’s because, in addition to being super-rigid, they’re also: 1) super light; and, 2) made of a material that’s great at dampening vibration.

This is, again, a premium product from one of the best carbon manufacturers out there.  They built up well, set up tubeless easily, and ride like the dickens.  How many pieces of gear make you faster?  These do.  I can say, with no fear of contradiction, that I can ride faster and further because of how well these perform.

Wheel upgrades.  Worth every penny.

ENVE.  The name…it’s apropos.


5 thoughts on “ENVE 29 XC Wheel Review

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  5. Also been on my enve xc29ers for 2 months and did my first ride on them with another cape epic. Had to adjust tyre pressure, and they did feel twitchy compared to my previous stans355’s. They are simply a great ride and I have now come to terms with the money spent (the exchange rate did not help!). Just be very careful, they don’t like heat and keep them away from the cars exhaust pipe!! My riding partners melted from the heat of the exhaust while on the bike rack, at a distance of 400mm! Crazy stuff!

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