As more and more cyclists seek adventures off of pavement and away from traffic and onto gravel and B-roads, we've seen an explosion of frames, wheels, tires, and other equipment specific to the discipline. And with that comfort, safety, speed, and overall enjoyment get a huge boost with material suited to the task at hand. We don't really see the momentum dropping off either since gravel bikes are a huge portion of new bike sales, and cyclists are recognizing the versatility and ability to handle a wide range of riding situations these bikes can handle. ENVE Composites took a long hard look at other wheels on the market and did its own testing to see what its contribution should be. It started with the cross-country M525 rims and laced them to 24h Chris King hubs creating the perfect all-road wheelset. The M525 is a perfect choice for gravel and versus the outgoing M50 rims, these new hoops are on average, 20 grams lighter so long climbs and rough roads are a little more manageable. This build is for 700c bikes and if you're looking for a wheelset that blends the quality of an American made rim with the precision of silky smooth and quick engaging hubs, the M525 G Disc Brake Wheelset With Chris King R45 Hubs - Tubeless is worth a look.
When ENVE redesigned the already excellent M50 rims, it received valuable feedback from sponsored racers and its own in-house testing. It quickly became aware that the rims were not only great for cross-country, they were ideal for gravel too. After all, with the M525, its goal was to drop weight and prevent the possibility of the rim cutting lightweight tires during bottom out. Of course, these attributes are valued on singletrack and on open gravel roads.
It went about doing so by modifying the hookless rim beads that first appeared on the last generation's M-Series. Previously, the former XC, AM, and DH rims used hooked beads and when ENVE went hookless, it promised easier tubeless setup, improved durability, and increased weight savings. With the M525, 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 the fear of a dreaded pinch flat miles away from civilization. The internal width has grown from 21mm internally on the M50 to a healthy 25mm on the M525 G. For gravel tires 32c and larger, profiles are improved offering better cornering stability, braking, and rolling efficiency.
With all those changes, it would be fair to question whether ride quality was affected. We can say wholeheartedly no, it hasn't. The team rides samples, blind, to help evaluate the exact carbon laminate, resin, layup, spoke count, and even lacing patterns to achieve the desired ride qualities for the wheel's intended use. The M525 G is a no-compromise gravel wheelset and for its construction, greater vertical compliance was considered for reducing fatigue during the long hours in the saddle without sacrificing the impressive lateral rigidity that corners like it's on rails. The hole count is reduced from 28 to 24 again to improve the ride and shed 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 M525 G rims laced to an in-house favorite Chris King centerlock R45. These hubs come equipped with axles of the 12mm variety with 100mm front and 142mm rear spacing. These hubs are designed for centerlock rotors and can be used with 6-bolt rotors with adapters. Standard HG road freehub accepts Shimano and SRAM 11spd cassettes. The King hubs are beautiful, offer quick engagement, and sound freaking cool while coasting. ENVE recommends tires greater than 32mm and offers a 5-year warranty and lifetime crash replacement for the original owner.
- A performance driven carbon fiber wheelset for gravel
- Rim bead width optimized for tire and rim durability
- Lightweight carbon construction saves grams
- Laterally stiff for positive handling
- Chris King R45 road disc hubs for smooth rolling
- ENVE continues to redefine the carbon fiber bicycle wheel