In case you have never heard of ENVE Composites, it is a carbon fiber manufacturer based out of Ogden, Utah. Over the years ENVE has built a strong reputation with it high-end, handmade hoops. New for this year is the M525 for dedicated cross-country riders and racers looking for something lightweight and well-made. These carbon fiber rims are, of course, handmade in Ogden, Utah. ENVE was recently acquired by Amer Sports, which owns several outdoor brands, including Mavic. The M525 is part of a redesigned lineup of wheels that ENVE has released since the acquisition. We put the M525s through several months of testing on our local trails and racecourses to see if these all-American wheels were worth the coin.
Tech info: The M525 is part of a new lineup of wheels from ENVE, ranging from cross-country to downhill. Each wheel within the M-series of rims has different internal and external rim widths to accommodate different tires. The M525 is the narrowest, with an internal width of 25mm and an external width of 33.5mm for cross-country riding and racing. While the M525 is dubbed a cross-country race wheel, ENVE wanted the rim to be strong enough for everyday riding as well.
Previously, the M60 was ENVE’s more cross-country-oriented wheel with a larger, overbuilt rim that was known for its stiffness. The new M525 has a slimmed-down shape that saves some weight and makes the wheel more compliant. Compared to the M60, the M525 has more of a V-shaped rim designed around 2.1–2.4-inch-wide tires. ENVE designed this new rim with 24 holes and buried spoke nipples. While most companies leave the spoke nipples exposed for easier maintenance, ENVE claims this design makes the rim stronger.
It’s no secret that ENVE components are expensive, and the M525s are no exception. These wheels start at $2800 a pair laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs in 27.5- and 29-inch diameters. If you have some extra coin lying around, you can opt for the more expensive Chris King hubs. ENVE ships the M525s with a tubeless kit (tape and valves) and includes a five-year warranty. With tape and valves installed, our wheels came in at 1,361 grams.
On the trail: ENVE shipped us the M525 laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs (Boost front and rear spacing). While our wheels came with standard white graphics, ENVE does offer different-colored graphics aftermarket, so you can get everything on your bike matching. Pulling the wheels out of the box, we were impressed with the weight and the unique rim shape. After getting the rims taped for a tubeless setup, we installed a pair of Maxxis 29×2.25″ Aspen tires and used this tread for the majority of our test riding. Once inflated, the tire seemed to become part of the rim with a streamlined look.
Once on the trail, we immediately noticed that the M525s were more compliant than we were expecting. Over rough sections of trail and on longer rides, the 525s weren’t overly harsh. When pedaling hard out of the saddle, we did get some flex out of the rear wheel but only when hitting really steep sections of trail. The 525s were snappy on the climbs with their low rim weight and responsive DT Swiss hubs. On longer climbs and in races, the ENVEs were responsive.
We rode the M525s for several months to test their overall durability. After the first few weeks, both wheels had to be trued, which involved removing the rim tape and valves to access the spoke nipples. If you are a skilled mechanic, this process won’t be very costly, but if you plan to have a shop do it for you, plan on paying for new sealant and tape and extra labor.
While a lot of bike companies have shifted all of their production overseas, ENVE has been able to keep its manufacturing in the United States. The price tag reflects the company’s commitment to American manufacturing, and the quality of these wheels is second to none. If you are on the hunt for some lightweight wheels that are well-made and -designed, ENVEs should be at the top of your list.