NCFWD: Enve 4.5s

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Thread: NCFWD: Enve 4.5s

  1. #1

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
    ME: Suhr Modern 7
    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
    MB: Dingwall Afterburner 5
    Rig: Mesa Roadster, Recto 4x12

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    NCFWD: Enve 4.5s

    So, my local shop does carbon fiber wheelset rentals, and since I was riding the MS150 again this weekend and looking at absolutely hammering day 1's century with a buddy of mine, I figured I'd rent a really nice wheelset to see if it made much of a difference. I was going to grab a set of Zipp 404's, but turns out my shop had recently started carrying Enve and just hadn't updated their website, so instead I took out a set of Enve 4.5s for a week.


    These things are just better than my stock wheels. Lighter, stiffer, more aerodynamic, they feel sturdier somehow, and the real surprise - the ride was just much smoother. The bike felt more upright, too, like it wanted to keep pulling itself back to vertical. And did I mention they're fast?

    Within the first ten minutes of the first test ride I knew where this was going to end, but over the week I had them I banged out a whole slew of PRs, and rode my first sub-5 hour century, 100.2 in 4.58 with an average pace of 20.1mph.

    So, my bike now looks like this:

    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

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  3. #2

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Austin, TX
    ME: 90 RG570
    Rig: Digitech GSP2101

    iTrader: 5 (100%)


  4. #3

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Jacksonville, FL

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    That is one badass looking bike you've got there dude.

  5. #4

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Boston, MA
    ME: JP6 / Carvin CS4
    MA: Martin DC-1E
    Rig: Axe-Fx II XL

    iTrader: 34 (100%)

  6. #5

    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: Wisconsin
    ME: Schecter Loomis
    MA: Ibanez classical
    MB: Ibanez SR400QM
    Rig: Fenders

    iTrader: 0

    Damn, you took a great-looking bike and made it even better looking? Congrats.

    I'd love to get some nice carbon wheels but the price always stops me. They look SO much better than the stock ones.

  7. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
    ME: Suhr Modern 7
    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
    MB: Dingwall Afterburner 5
    Rig: Mesa Roadster, Recto 4x12

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    Yeah, they're fucking awesome - really, what sealed it for me was just how well they rode.

    A colleague of mine has a set of Vision Metron 40s on the way for his cross bike. You can snag them for just under a grand, and they're supposed to be pretty solid wheels - he's also got a set of Zipps on his tri bike, so a couple weeks from now I can get his sense on how they stack up.

  8. #7

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Manhattan
    ME: Warmoth Warhead
    MA: Blueridge BR-40
    MB: Dingwall ABI, Kubicki
    Rig: Budda SD30

    iTrader: 12 (100%)

    Mm, carbon fiber.

    Funny, though; a buddy of mine who does a lot (and I mean a LOT) of enthusiast biking and was very involved in the industry tells me that, in double-blind tests, the only variable people (including "pros") seemed to be able to easily pick out was tire pressure
    Too much focus leads to tunnel vision
    Too much faith leads to religion
    Too much knowledge leads to confusion
    Too many guitar lessons lead to jazz-fusion

  9. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
    ME: Suhr Modern 7
    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
    MB: Dingwall Afterburner 5
    Rig: Mesa Roadster, Recto 4x12

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    With a few reservations, I disagree. First, the reasons you shouldn't trust me:

    1) This was nowhere near double blind. Though, to be fair, I don't know how you do a double-blind road test in real world conditions.

    That said:

    1) Tire pressure was very close to what I was used to when I first took these out, so it wasn't just pressure. What MAY have made a difference in ride quality, however, was the wider rim, which makes the tire a little more oval than what I'd been previously used to, and would give a wider contact point.
    2) Objectively, they're lighter, and cutting rotating resistance (as well as increasing rotational stiffness) definitely nets you faster and snappier acceleration for a given power output. There's a firm scientific basis for that.
    3) Measurably, I was riding faster on these wheels than I was without. I can thank Strava for that - there's a sprint segment I've been hitting on our local rail trail for a while, a half mile at an average 1% grade, where I've been chasing the KOM for about a year now. I'm not sure if you can see my previous segment times on it, or if that's only if you're logged in as me, but the segment is below:

    Last year, I gradually worked my way up to a split of 1:18 on the segment, good enough for at the time 8th or so overall, in mid-October. The KOM was 1:10, so on one hand I was close, but on the other, nine seconds' improvement is a LOT for that kind of distance. I peaked there for a while, came within 1-2 seconds of my best on a couple occasions, but never exceeded that. On June 11th of this year, after a spring spent riding pretty hard, I managed to shave off three seconds. I expected to plateau there for a while as well, but a week and a half later I rented the Enves, and on a ride with fairly shot legs, shaved another three seconds off my best, dropping me down to 1:12, good enough for second overall. There's a little bit of subjectivity here since I'm comparing the 1:15 on a day I felt pretty good with my stock wheelset to the 1:12 on a day where I felt my legs were pretty solidly blown up, but I shouldn't have been able to take that kind of time off my PR so soon after making a pretty big improvement. I'm kind of cautiously optimistic that if I take a few more days off and hit that stretch on a day where the trail is open, I may actually be able to shave another 3 off and take the KOM outright. There's also a matter of the century on the MS150 on saturday, where I added 1.9mph to my previous best average pace. I kind of don't WANT them to be faster, the egalitarian in me doesn't want a fancy set of wheels to matter, but they certainly appear to be faster.

    That said - how much of the ride quality is due to the carbon construction vs the wider rim is something I don't think I can really answer for sure one way or the other. I'd actually be curious to find out.

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