The new MSeries M50 wheelset from ENVE at Sea Otter 2014. © Cyclocross Magazine
ENVE announced the MSERIES this week, a new collection of mountain wheels featuring four rim models developed for specific rider profiles: the M50, M60, M70 and the M90. These four models consider a rider’s propensity towards descending versus ascending and are named accordingly: the M50 represents a ride that would be about 50 percent uphill and 50 percent downhill, while the M90 is created for 90 percent downhill. Does the M90 come with a lift ticket? Not yet.
Each model in the MSERIES features what ENVE describes a “revolutionary design that results in a lighter, stiffer, stronger, and more predictable rim.” If the new wheels can turn a cyclocross lap into 90% downhill, or make our race result more predictable, we’d agree the wheels would be revolutionary! But ENVE says they’re not just lighter but are “significantly more impact resistant than its comparable first generation predecessor.”
By any measurement, the new M50 rim, the one most relevant to cyclocrossers, is light, with the carbon clincher (tubeless compatible) rims shaving grams off most carbon tubular rims. The new tubeless 29” M50 rim tips the scales at 320 grams (compared to the first generation equivalent, the 29 XC which weighed 385 grams). Certainly a rim this light is evidence that the “tubulars are lighter” argument isn’t always true (it’s worth noting that this rim is disc brake specific).
Designed for 50% up, 50% down: the M50 ENVE at Sea Otter 2014. © Cyclocross Magazine
In order to further refine the ride tune of the new MSERIES, each rim model features a unique depth and width. Rim width is determined by pairing each rim model with the predominant tire widths used for the defined ride application. By optimizing the rim and tire interface, handling predictability and traction are improved.
Additionally, the new MSERIES features an improved tubeless design that refines the union of tire and rim creating a more reliable seal and reducing the possibility of “burping.” This new level of tubeless performance is made possible in part by a new “hookless” bead design. Lead Engineer Brett Satterthwaite stated, “Our hookless bead design has performance implications that include better tubeless performance, pinch flat resistance, and impact durability. It is a design that truly plays to the strengths of full carbon construction.”
Cyclocross potential for the M50 from ENVE? © Cyclocross Magazine
The move is consistent with a trend in the industry to offer high-end carbon tubeless mountain bike wheelsets (some costing more than a full bike), with companies like Reynolds announcing its new Black Label mountain wheels earlier this year. With the shift of cyclocross bikes towards mountain bike technology including disc brakes and thru axles, mountain bike wheels are now becoming more of a go-to choice for cyclocross wheel upgrades—a big change from a few years ago when the most popular option was Ksyrium road wheels from Mavic.
The big question: can they ’cross? According to Jake Pantone of ENVE, they can. “The wheels are amazing and optimized for larger tires, but yes they can ’cross,” he told us.
Stay tuned, as we hope to give a set a test with cyclocross tires.
Enve M50 Specs:
- MSRP: $999/rim; wheelset with DT 240 – $2718; wheelset with Chris King – $2750; wheelset w/ DT 180 – $3298
- More info: www.enve.com
Check out all of our tech goodies from Sea Otter 2014, and keep checking as we start to get rolling into the long weekend.