The Utah-based component manufacturer addressed the elephant in the room by finally launching a wheelset under $2,000.
This week, ENVE launched the Foundation Collection, responding to fans’ most common complaint with the brand: price. Up until now, the average cost of a pair of ENVEs realistically started at $2,550.
But the new Foundation Collection wheelsets sell for $1,600, placing them smack in the fray of competitors’ pricing. Best of all, the new wheels come with comparable aerodynamics, weights, technologies, and warranty protection.
ENVE Foundation Collection Wheels
ENVE Foundation Collection
- Diameters: 29” & 27.5”
- Rim depth: 20 mm
- Inner rim width: 30 mm
- Hole count: 28/28
- Hubs: Industry Nine 101 Boost and Super Boost
- Sapim Race spokes
- External black brass nipples
- Claimed weight: 1,852 g in 29” Boost, 1,748 g in 27.5” Boost
- Rim depth: 45 / 65 mm
- Inner rim width: 21 mm
- Disc brake-compatible only
- Aero optimized for 25c-28c tires
- Tubeless tire-compatible only
- ENVE Foundation Road Alloy hubs with Instant Drive 360 40t ratchet
- Sapim CX-Sprint spokes
- Claimed weights: 1,561 g for ENVE 45, 1,641 g for ENVE 65
ENVE Foundation Wheelset: Other Features
All Foundation Collection wheels sport ENVE’s patented molded spoke and valve stem holes. This both eliminates drilling and maintains fiber integrity within the rim. Overall, this should provide greater strength at lower weights.
ENVE boasts it has the only wheelsets with built-in flat protection, and the Foundation Collection benefits from this patented feature. A wide, hookless bead presents a broad leading edge (4.5 mm) to the tire sidewall, which dissipates impact forces. The brand claims more than 60% improvement in pinch flat resistance and over 30% gain in impact strength.
Foundation Collection wheels, like all ENVE wheels, come from the brand’s Ogden, Utah, facility. They also have a 5-year warranty and ENVE’s Lifetime Incident Protection program.
This means ENVE will replace wheels, free of charge, for the original owner if they’re damaged while riding, crashing, or otherwise (yes, even roof rack mishaps.) Of course, normal wear and tear is not covered.
Is the Foundation Collection as aero as other ENVE wheels?
The ENVE road SES lineup has always possessed excellent aerodynamic characteristics. And it looks like the Foundation Collection likewise benefits from the brand’s decade of rim shape research and development.
The brand claims the collection’s ENVE 45 and ENVE 65 deliver aerodynamic efficiency and crosswind stability to rival wheels twice the price.
But how did they do it? The critical cyclist will ask, “Where are they cutting costs?”
They are still made in Ogden, Utah, they’re still aero, they have the same patented molded spoke holes and flat protection. And they have the same warranty and incidence protection as the $2,550 wheels. What gives?
ENVE claims it gained manufacturing efficiencies through nearly 15 years of carbon manufacturing and by moving to a “state-of-the-art” facility in 2017.
When pressed for more details, ENVE added that simpler layups using fewer intricate pieces of carbon compared to its SES and M series wheels decreased manufacturing costs. On top of that, ENVE also limits wheel options and offers just a single hub for each category, another cost-saving strategy that helped reach the $1,600 price point.
So all in all, it looks like ENVE tackled the chief complaint assailing the brand since its inception — its high cost. And if it comes at just a nominal loss of quality, durability, or performance — while retaining patented technologies — we’ll be thoroughly impressed.
And the 5-year warranty and Lifetime Incident Protection program add to the impact the Foundation Collection could have on the carbon wheel market.