The ENVE Melee is the brand’s new road race bike, and the second bike it has released.
While the design of last year’s Custom Road was, as the name suggests, focused on allowing customers to configure the bike to their specific needs, the Melee is “purpose-built for speed”, and will be available in a more typical range of seven sizes.
Unlike the brand’s debut US-made Custom Road bike, the Melee uses a monocoque construction technique and is built overseas.
A chassis kit – which includes a stem, seatpost, handlebar, headset and frameset – costs £5,300 / $5,500 / €5,500. Complete builds will not be offered by ENVE.
5 things you need to know about the ENVE Melee
- The ENVE Melee is the brand’s second road bike, following 2021’s Custom Road
- The Melee is only available as a frameset and finishing kit package
- Unlike the Custom Road, the Melee uses a monocoque construction
- The Melee features clearance for tyres up to 35mm wide
- Prices start at £5,300 / $5,500 / €5,500 for a chassis kit
The new ENVE Melee has been designed around what the brand dubs its ‘Real-World Fast’ aero philosophy.
With this, ENVE says it aims to optimise its wheels, components, and now bikes, to perform best in what it deems to be real-world riding conditions.
In the case of the Melee, it is optimised around riding speeds in the 32km/h to 40km/h range.
Compared to the Custom Road, ENVE says you can expect to save around 6 watts of drag at 48km/h, depending on yaw angle. That figure is closer to 1 or 2 watts at 32km/h.
Speaking to BikeRadar, Jake Pantone – ENVE’s vice-president of product and brand – explained wind-tunnel time helped the brand identify “low-hanging fruit” that would allow it to optimise the existing tube shapes as used on the Custom Road.
This resulted in a design that called for thinner tube profiles compared to the Custom Road.
According to Pantone, this was only possible by switching to monocoque construction.
This is because, in ENVE’s interpretation of tube-to-tube construction, additional carbon layup is required around the tube/lug joints to smooth the join.
This “takes up more space” but, when you remove these additional overwraps, having one continuous layup enabled ENVE’s designers to use tubes with a profile around 1 to 2mm thinner.
The bike features all the trappings of a modern aero road bike, including fully internal cable and hose routing, dropped seatstays, Kammtail-profiled tubes and a narrow frontal profile.
An unpainted size 56cm frame with no hardware is claimed to weigh 850g, with an expected variance of around +/- 2 per cent.
No claimed weight for the fork was supplied.
ENVE Melee geometry
The Melee is available in seven different sizes, starting at 47cm and topping out at 60cm.
The geometry figures are pretty typical – albeit a touch taller at the front end – for an all-rounder race bike.
A size 54cm frameset has a stack of 550.6mm and reach of 386.7mm.
By comparison, a Specialized Tarmac SL7 in the same size has a stack 16.6mm lower at 534mm, and approximately the same reach at 367mm.
The Melee shares its fork with the Custom Road.
This fork is available in five different offset options, with offset decreasing as you move through the size range.
The majority of road bikes on the market will only see one or two fork offset options.
ENVE says offering such a wide range of offset options keeps handling consistent for riders across the full size range.
For those who really want to geek out on geometry, ENVE has also supplied trail figures for the full range of tyre sizes recommended for the Melee in each offset option.
Few brands provide such extensive geometry information, so ENVE deserves credit here.
|Top tube length (mm)||510||524||537||548||563||578||597|
|Fork rake (mm)||55||51||47||47||43||43||39|
|Seat tube length (mm)||431.2||451.8||470.5||484.6||510||527.1||552.3|
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||75||74.5||74||73.8||73.5||73.2||72.8|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||71||71.5||72.2||72.4||73.3||73.3||73.7|
|Head tube length (mm)||105||120||130||145||160||180||200|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||75||75||75||73||73||71||71|
|Chain stay length (mm)||410||410||410||410||410||412||412|
|Front centre (mm)||581.9||585.1||584.3||592||593||604.7||610.6|
|Standover height (mm)||701||721||738||753||777||795||819|
|Bottom bracket height with 29mm tyre (mm)||268||268||268||270||270||272||272|
|Trail – 27mm tyre (mm)||58.1||59.3||59.1||57.9||56.8||56.5||58.1|
|Trail – 29mm tyre (mm)||58.8||59.8||59.7||58.4||57.3||57||58.7|
|Trail – 31mm tyre (mm)||59.4||60.4||60.2||59||57.8||57.5||59.2|
|Trail – 33mm tyre (mm)||60.2||61.2||61||59.7||58.5||58.2||59.9|
|Trail –35mm tyre (mm)||60.9||62||61.7||60.4||59.2||58.9||60.5|
What is fork offset and trail?
Fork offset – which is also commonly known as rake – is the distance between the front axle and an imaginary straight line drawn through the fork’s steerer.
Increasing offset pushes the wheel further out in front of the bike.
Increasing rake can be helpful on smaller bikes because it reduces toe overlap without impacting the handling of a bike as significantly as slackening out the head angle – which has a similar effect – would.
Trail is the measurement of the horizontal distance between where an imaginary line drawn through the steering axis meets the ground, and the point where the tyre touches the ground. Trail is affected by head tube angle, offset and tyre volume.
A lower trail figure will generally result in quicker handling and a higher number gives calmer handling.
This package will cost £5,300 / $5,500 / €5,500. For comparison, the Custom Road in a broadly similar build package would set you back $7,000 (international pricing N/A).
No complete builds will be offered by ENVE itself, though the brand suggested individual international distributors may choose to offer build packages.
The bike is designed around ENVE’s new integrated road stem. This features hidden faceplate bolts and is available between 80mm and 130mm lengths in 10mm increments.
ENVE has worked with K-Edge to supply an integrated out-front bike computer mount to complement the new stem.
The ENVE SES AR handlebar is available in sizes from 38cm to 46cm in 20mm increments.
The Melee is compatible with all electronic groupsets in either a 1x or 2x arrangement.
However, the bike is only compatible with Shimano mechanical road bike groupsets.
This is because the Melee requires continuous cable routing from the shifter to the front derailleur. Only Shimano front derailleurs have a suitable cable routing path for this.
The bike is built around a T47 bottom bracket shell.
Clearance to shred(ish)
The ENVE Melee is designed to handle best with tyres between 27mm and 32mm wide, but has clearance for road bike tyres up to 35mm wide.
While increasingly large tyre clearance is a common feature of modern road bikes, 32mm is typically the limit for most race-focused bikes.
ENVE claims boosting that figure to 35mm will make the bike better suited to mixed surfaces, adding that “versatility has come to define the modern race bike”.
Though this will apply to fewer riders than before, ENVE does not recommend using tyres narrower than 25mm on the Melee because doing so will adversely affect the geometry and handling of the bike.
What’s next for ENVE?
ENVE has made no secret of the fact it is working on further bike projects, but Pantone wouldn’t be drawn on exactly what the brand has planned next.
He did, however, point to the fact that “as a brand, ENVE services all disciplines of cycling”, adding that by “looking at our wheel product line you can take a pretty good guess of what’s coming next”.