ENVE 29XC v. Stan’s Crest

Here’s the technical nitty gritty.

On the Vaya, I use DT Swiss’s ratcheting skewers–in Ti.

42 grams.

My 11-32 XX cassette:

186 grams.

Avid HSX 2 piece rotors.

108 grams with bolts.

Stan’s Crest, set up for tubeless, with DT240 hubs and CX-Ray spokes, brass nipples

730 grams in the front.

Same setup for an ENVE wheel (taped, with valve stem).

750 grams in the front.

Fully assembled, the Crest wheels with Bontrager CX0 38c tires, tubeless, come in at 1260 grams (front) and hte ENVEs are 1280 grams.

The rear is a slightly different story.

The Crest in the rear, no cassette or brake rotor, comes in at…

830 grams.

The ENVE comes in at 824.

The complete rear build comes in at 1568 for the ENVE…with a bit too much sealant in it.

The tires mounted up and seated perfectly on the ENVEs, first time.  I did about 90 seconds of shake and bounce, and they’re holding air perfectly.

Knowing the weights, is the ENVE wheelset an upgrade?  That’s a rider-specific thing.  For me, the ENVEs win out for a couple of reasons:

1.  They look amazing.

2.  From a ‘pick the ultimate part for your bike’ perspective, there is no question that the ENVEs are more desirable.

3.  Most importantly, the Vaya isn’t the lightest bike out there.  If I wanted the lightest bike, I’d be building up a Carbon Fiber gravel grinder.  What I want is a bike that will do whatever I ask of it, hold up to any punishment, and never let equipment be a limiting factor.  I have absolute confidence that the ENVEs will be more durable, withstand more punishment, stay truer, and never cause an issue.  My confidence in the Crests is not as unending.  If this was for a mountain bike, the added durability of the ENVEs would be a critical, critical component–no weight limit, no worries. On a gravel grinder, the durability should not be understated–with some frequency, you crash through potholes, washes creeks, gopher holes, farm fields, and various other impediments.  The ENVEs are simply better suited to the task.

I’ll be the first to admit: 2 of the 3 reasons I prefer the ENVEs are aesthetic-because the Crests are pretty darn good, and pretty darn light.  From a cost/benefit analysis, the Crests are hard to argue with.  From a “pick the very best part for the job” perspective, I don’t think there can be any doubt about the ENVEs.  I posted those reasons in that order intentionally, as I readily acknowledge the ENVEs are a little pie in the sky, at roughly double the cost of the Crests.

The ENVEs are 24mm wide with an 18mm ID and 31mm depth.  The Crests are 24.4mm wide with a 21mm ID and a 15.8mm depth.  I have not noticed a difference in handling with the 38c tires mounted on 18mm wide ENVEs versus 21mm wide Crests.  I do wonder if the double depth of the ENVEs contributes to the perceived aerodynamic change in handling.

And they’re soooooo hot.


13 thoughts on “ENVE 29XC v. Stan’s Crest

  1. Id love some Enve rims but they are just too expensive. You mention that the Enve build is twice the Stans, that because your build is so damn pimpy, the spokes alone cost more than the crest rims!!!

    Since your really only comparing rims (the builds are the same) you should probably point out the Crest rim is around $85 each and the Enve rims are…. $845… each!!!! slightly more than ‘twice’ the cost. Are they really 10x better than crests?

    • Just a set of rims won’t get you very far. You need spokes and hubs as well, right? I’m comparing apples to apples–a premium build of both wheelsets.

      You could build either set cheaper or more expensive, by changing the spokes and hubs. I’m very fond of the DT240s, having great performance from them now on 4 bikes in varying conditions, and the CX-Rays are about as good as it gets.

      But yes–to your point, the ENVEs are significantly more expensive. And as I noted, from a cost/benefit perspective, they are hard to justify. If cost was no object, the ENVEs are clearly a better product, in my opinion.

  2. If you were to build up a carbon fiber gravel bike, what frame would you select? I’ve been pondering the idea, but haven’t found one combining lots of tire clearance, lower BB, slacker head angle, etc. I’d also prefer a threaded BB. I did see one Simplon bike that might fit the bill; unavailable in the US to my knowledge…

    • Disc brake or Cantis?

      In Carbon, there aren’t a ton of options at present that meet your demands. If I was building a carbon gravel grinder, I’d probably wait a few months and see what Trek comes out with to replace their current line of carbon cyclocross bikes.

      But if it was me, I wouldn’t be getting carbon. I’d be getting Ti. I’d look at a Ti Warbird (or a Ti Fargo if I wanted more tire clearance), and if cost wasn’t an object, perhaps a Moots Psychlo RSL.

      • I’m at he point where I don’t even look at bikes that don’t have disc brakes – it’s automatic in my mind so I didn’t think to mention it.

        I love Ti, but I’m not enthused about the geometry of the Warbird or Fargo. I wish the Ti Vaya hadn’t been discontinued. Moots too $$$.

        Anyway, I enjoy your site – keep it up!

  3. Pingback: SSStan’s Crests. | ridingagainstthegrain

  4. As a follow-up to your Ti thought, above, a Moots Psychlo X vs Psychlo X RSL question:

    Definitely a noticeable weight difference between the X and the X RSL, but perhaps at the cost of losing the very qualities sought in a Ti bike (dampening and material durability)? With the RSL’s more aggressive geometry (i.e., less comfortable for 200+ rides, like DK or TI), lack of an option to allow for a 40mm rear tire, no option for disc brakes (at least for 2014), and thinner tubing to allow for the weight savings, it seems like the standard Psychlo X is the way to go. Almost seems like the X RSL is Ti version of a high-end carbon competitor’s bike.

    I completed last year’s DK on a Cannondale Super X. Awesome bike. Got me to the finish line. No problems. No complaints. BUT … that bike took a beating; dozens (hundreds?) of rock strikes on the bottom of the down-tube, the chain stays, the crank arms, the fork, even the wheels/spokes from laterally-squirted rocks from adjacent racers. A lot of those rocks were the size of small dessert plates. It never left my mind, especially on some of those 35- and even 40-mph gravel-road descents: “I wonder if the next rock impact will crack my frame?” Just for peace of mind, Ti seems a slam dunk. Now, the big question, which Ti?

    For what it’s worth, having been to the Moots factory in Steamboat, would love to make the Psychlo X RSL work (for the weight savings, alone), but it seems the Psychlo X is the better of the two bikes for gravel grinding (traditional Ti “feel”, disc brakes, wider tire clearance).

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Many thanks.

    • There’s not that much of a geometry change between the Psychlo X or the RSL…neither will take 40c tires in the rear. If you want to go that big, you’re in Minotaur country (and that’s a great bike). If you’re looking for longer wheelbase and more tire clearance, that’s exactly why North Central Cyclery designed the Minotaur. The Psychlo is a little faster handling and zippier.

      But there’s no tire clearance difference between the RSL and “regular” PX.

      That said, I’m looking forward to the updated geometry on the 2014 PX. Looks like the best of all worlds.

      • Thanks for your comments. And for pointing out the geometry differences, or lack thereof.

        I’m familiar with the Minatour (awesome build).

        Check out the Moots’ options for the 2014 Psychlo X (non-RSL). There’s an option for adjusted chainstays to allow for a 40mm tire. With that option, and the now-standard oversized head tube, there’s little difference between a “stock” Psychlo X (with options) and the Minatour – which does offer space for an even wider tire in the rear, but 40mm should be plenty wide for gravel grinding 99% of the time.

  5. I’ve been thinking about getting a pair of ENVE’s for my Warbird. They are really expensive but would almost certainly be the last wheelset I buy for the bike.

      • Right now I have a set of Velocity Blunt SL’s which are a good set of wheels. You can run them tubeless and they are strong but they do flex, but those ENVE’s have caught my eye. Just need to get my tax refund then I will really start thinking about them.

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