Tracing the roots of the first modern mountain bike shows its origins in the USA and likewise, the newest two-wheeled dirt discipline that's blossomed in the States is that of gravel riding and racing. Its growth has spread beyond just stateside and now cyclists abroad are joining the movement providing the impetus for bikes and components designed for gravel. Just take a quick peek at any magazine or website and you'll learn of its popularity with riders clamoring to the bikes because of their versatility and ability to tackle such varied terrain. And just like other cycling disciplines, tire widths are dictating rim designs and like road and mountain, gravel tires are getting wider, necessitating wider internal widths. The wider rims help increase the volume of tires for more floatation over loose terrain and more traction and comfort over chunky B-roads. ENVE Composites latest rims, the US-made G23, are built in-house and becomes an all American affair when laced to 24h Chris King hubs with 11-speed Shimano/SRAM freehub and 12mm thru axles front and rear with centerlock rotor mounts. These are ENVE's first gravel specific rims and represent the lightest 700c tubeless hoops the company has ever produced which are on average, 330-grams per rim. That's unbelievably light making quicker work of repetitive climbs that total to those 5-digit elevation days or if your climbing consists of settling in for hour-long chunks. This particular set of wheels are for bikes that accept 700c hoops and if you're looking for a wheelset that's tough enough to train on but still light and fast enough for race day, the G23 Disc Brake Wheelset with Chris King Hubs - Tubeless is one of the few that does it all.
As we stated above, this is the first rimset from ENVE specifically built for gravel training and racing. It received valuable feedback from its in-house riders and racers as well as sponsored racers with a goal to build a super lightweight set of hoops with the durability needed to prevent you from getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. Another key feature carrying over from its mountain bike tech is the inclusion of its wide rim bead that virtually says goodbye to rims cutting lightweight tires during bottom out. These are lofty goals to achieve, but ENVE isn't one to rest on its laurels.
Hookless rim beads first appeared on ENVE's last generation M-Series and are currently used on all of its mountain rims. They provide a vast improvement over the former XC, AM, and DH rims offering easier tubeless setup, improved rim durability, and increased weight savings. After a few seasons, the only complaint is the narrow bead hook can prove sharp on bottom outs, often leading to sliced tires. With the G23, it employs a wider hookless bead that's the culmination of over 2 years of development met to address both rim and tire durability. The rim shape features a broader leading edge on the bead which creates a more forgiving platform for the tire to bottom out, thus reducing the likelihood of pinch or snake-bite style flats. The design also allows for greater impact resistance for the rim when smashing it through washboard descents and chunky gravel. You can now confidently run lower tire pressure improving traction and decreasing rolling resistance without fear of a dreaded pinch flat miles away from civilization. The 23mm internal width on the G23 is designed for gravel tires between 35-45mm wide providing the ideal profile for improved cornering stability, braking, and rolling efficiency.
What we find so remarkable is how durable the rim is given its feather weight. The team and its sponsored athletes put countless miles on samples and absolutely refuses to drop weight if it means a drop in durability and the testing yields the exact carbon laminate, resin, layup, spoke counts, and even lacing patterns to achieve the desired durability, weight, and all important ride qualities for the wheel's intended use. The end result builds the G23 which is a no-compromise gravel wheelset and the lower rim depth, relative to its road offerings, offers greater vertical compliance helping to reduce fatigue over the long miles in the saddle without losing its prized lateral stiffness which corners like it's on rails. The 24-hole count further improves the ride comfort and sheds every gram possible.
Unique to every ENVE rim is the patented molded in-spoke holes, nipple seats, and valve holes, offering the highest strength-to-weight ratio in the industry. The nipple pocket is super strong and pull through is a thing of the past. When laying up the rim, ENVE places pins in the layup at the spoke hole locations so it can maintain continuous fiber integrity versus the industry standard of drilling post cure, which cuts into the fibers and weakens the structure. This results in increased rim rigidity, a stronger anchor point for the nipples and weight savings at the spoke face.
The internal nipples are able to articulate in their pockets much like a ball-and-socket joint. This yields a higher and more uniform spoke tension key to strong, true wheels from day one and throughout the many years of ownership. To save every gram possible, ENVE removes the bladder after curing where other composite manufacturers leave the rim-shaping, inflatable bladder in the rim. This process takes more time and expertise, but the end result is a lighter wheelset and one that is more perfectly balanced.
This particular build sees the 700c G23 rims laced to the smooth rolling and supremely durable Chris King R45 Disc hubs. The Portland made hubs are noted for their bomber construction, excellent made-in-house bearings, and serviceability. It only comes ready for 12mm front axles, so check your current fork's dropouts or that future dream build. These hubs are for centerlock rotors and can be used with 6-bolt rotors with the proper adapters. Standard HG 11-speed road freehub works with Shimano and SRAM road cassettes. ENVE recommends tires greater between 35-45mm and offers a 5-year warranty and lifetime crash replacement for the original owner.
- Achieve gravel greatness with this wheelset for 700c bikes
- Rim bead width optimized for tire and rim durability
- Lightweight carbon construction for stiffness and fast acceleration
- Laterally stiff for sure tracking
- Chris King R45 disc hubs engage quickly and roll effortlessly
- ENVE no compromise wheelset for gravel riding and racing