Enve has launched an all-new version of its delightfully excessive (but actually rather stealthy) Carbon Road Hubs for 2019. While they’re still expensive, they’re a good deal cheaper than their predecessors at $1,000 and they feature a number of updates and refinements.
Enve’s original Carbon Road Hubs used DT Swiss internals but the latest version drops these in favour of an unnamed 40t ratchet system with 9 degree engagement.
The hubs roll on stainless steel bearings which Enve reckons are actually better suited to the task than the ceramic hybrid bearings found in some high-end hubs. Enve claims that in simulated wet weather testing, its stainless bearings continued to run smoothly well after “industry leading” ceramic offerings had become crunchy.
Outwardly, the hubs haven’t changed a great deal but the flange design has been updated with a move to a paired-spoke configuration. Enve touts the benefits of running the spokes closer to tangent to the flange, a more mechanically elegant design.
It also allows greater scalloping of the flanges for weight savings, while the moulded (as opposed to drilled) spoke holes reduce the likelihood of flange failure. It’s a very marginal gain, but the design also means very slightly shorter spokes, another incremental weight saving.
Cartridge bearing hubs require some form of bearing preload and rather than going for an adjustable system or one with a fixed, built-in preload, Enve uses what it calls Perfect Preload. This makes use of a wave washer to maintain correct preload, much like many bottom bracket systems. If this works as claims, it should offer some degree of self-adjustment as the bearings wear.
Total weight has actually increased slightly with the new hubs. The front is fractionally lighter than it used to be at a claimed 70g, but the rear has gained a bit more for a claimed 185g. Overall that means an increase of 33g with a set weighing a still-very-light 255g.
The Carbon Road Hubs are available from now as a set costing $1,000 ($400 front, $600 rear) or in Enve wheelsets starting at $3,000. Pricing in other territories is to be confirmed.