ENVE Twenty9 AM Carbon Wheelset $2,520.00
We're certain that, at this point, that there's no place left for pessimism in the 29er debate. No longer looking to gain acceptance from 26in users, niners have come into their own and are quickly starting to outpace 26in wheels in technological development. Case in point is the Enve Twenty9 AM Carbon Wheelset. With a flawless carbon layup and a stellar strength-to-weight ratio, the Twenty9 AM wheelset will silence the peanut gallery and leave them in your dust.
Enve's Twenty9 AM has a design philosophy that's easy to describe -- it was designed to take a beating. As the AM stands for all-mountain, the Twenty9 AMs will take you anywhere that has big hits, rugged descents, or terrifying step-downs. To achieve this, Enve took the approach of making the AM as the dark shadow of its brother, the XC. To start, the rim width was increased from 24mm to 30mm. This provides a wider stance that bolsters strength while maximizing stability. To illustrate this principle, think about the difference between someone pushing you with your feet together, and then again with your feet shoulder-width apart. You're going to be more stable with a wider stance, and this directly relates to improved tracking at speed on technical descents. The wider rim also accommodates larger tire sizes, and it minimizes the possibility of rolling the tire off on harsh turns or rocky terrain.
The Twenty9 AM also boasts one the highest strength-to-weight ratios on the market, and this is due in part to Enve's patented process of molding in spoke holes, nipple seats, and valve stem holes. Knowing that carbon fiber gains strength from continuous fibers, Enve routes the fibers around each hole in a 100% intact design. This design allows a lower weight at the spoke face, and adds overall rigidity to the rim. When built, the molded design enables both higher spoke tension and tension uniformity. Another aspect of the AM's light weight is due to Enve's use of removal bladders during the molding process. While most composite rim manufacturers leave the rim-shaping inflatable bladder in the rim, Enve spends the time and money to remove it. This time-consuming process reduces rim weight, and makes for a perfectly tensioned wheel.
For the wheelset, Enve laced the rims with 32 DT Swiss Aerolite spokes to DT Swiss 240 hubs. The DT Swiss 240 hubs are convertible with interchangeable endcaps, meaning this wheelset won't become obsolete with frame or fork changes. Each wheel is UST tubeless compatible, so you can say goodbye to pinch flats and high tire pressures. Going tubeless allows you to run around 30% less pressure, and accordingly, you'll roll faster, corner better, and take less of a beating from trail chatter.
The Enve Twenty9 AM Carbon Wheelset is available in the 29in size and in the color Black. This wheelset is being offered with a 15mm thru-axle in front, and an option of a standard 135mm quick-release or 12x142mm thru-xle rear hub. Included in the packaging, you'll find Enve's tubeless kit that will be needed in order to utilize the UST option. We highly recommend visiting Enve's official site for an installation tutorial, and while you're there, you can brush up on the details of Enve's five year warranty policy.
Reviews & Community
This wheelset rocks! Mounting tubless tires was extremely simple. It didn't even require the use of a tire lever. The set comes with a "tubless kit" which are a pair of presta valves and the tubeless rim strip (which is Gorilla tape). The Gorilla tape was simple to install along with the valves. DT Swiss 240S hubs and the Enve rims pair nicely. I plan to upgrade the engagement on the hubs to the 36 step star ratchets, an easy upgrade. The wheels ride extremely nice, lightweight, and very stiff. A noticeable difference on climbs. Climbing ability on my full suspension with these wheels approaches the ease of my hard-tail single speed (not exactly the same, but much improvement). Very satisfied so far, makes my full suspension bike feel very crisp and lightweight (24.45 lbs)
My only concern is adjusting spoke tension. The spoke nipples are inside the wheels, so adjusting the tension would entail removing the rim strip. Although this design makes for a very clean looking wheel with no exposed spoke nipples, this seems rather inconvenient for repair or adjustment purposes. Oh well, I haven't had to make any adjustments in that area yet, so 5-stars as of now!