Could Enve's CX be the ultimate carbon tubulars for 'cross racing?

Cyclocross-specific tyre bed shape, ultra-low weight, softer ride, disc-only

High-end carbon tubular wheels for cyclocross racing have historically been little more than little more than repurposed road items (not unlike the sport of cyclocross itself, in fact). The new Enve CX wheels, however, are fully purpose-built for the task with a rim shape designed specifically around high-volume tubulars.

According to Enve, three factors make its new wheelset ideal for cyclocross.

As compared to typical carbon tubulars that are sized for road tires, the tire bed on the enve cx rim is perfectly matched to a 33mm-wide cyclocross tire:
As compared to typical carbon tubulars that are sized for road tires, the tire bed on the enve cx rim is perfectly matched to a 33mm-wide cyclocross tire:

The tyre bed on the new Enve CX wheels is perfectly matched to 33mm-wide cyclocross tubulars

First, the shape of the tyre bed has a larger radius than what would typically be found on a wheel primarily designed for road use. At least in theory, this equates to better contact between a 33mm-wide tubular ’cross tyre and the rim for a stronger and more consistent bond that’s also easier to glue.

Related: Effeto Mariposa Carogna tubular glue tape

Second, Enve says the lay-up for the new rims has been tweaked for a softer ride on rough terrain. As compared to a wheel that’s stiffer radially, this should not only make the new Enve CX more comfortable for the rider but also potentially deliver improved traction.

Finally, the Enve CX rim profile also features corners that are more bluntly shaped than the company’s more road-oriented wheels. Although pinch flats are rare with tubulars, they’re not unheard of – and Enve claims this modification will lessen those chances even further.

The larger-radius cross-section on the enve cx should - at least in theory - yield a better bond with õcross tires and also distort the casing less than on wheels designed for the road:
The larger-radius cross-section on the enve cx should - at least in theory - yield a better bond with õcross tires and also distort the casing less than on wheels designed for the road:

The rim measures 28mm wide (external measurement) and the edges are blunted to reduce the chance of pinch flats

While the ride quality and flat resistance claims may come across to some as suspect, the larger-radius tyre bed is fantastic in this application – and long overdue for a sport that continues to grow.

Regardless, Enve’s new CX wheelset is shockingly light with an actual weight of just 1,269g  (583g front, 686g rear) with a Shimano-compatible freehub body and thru-axle end caps throughout. Keep in mind, too, that that’s with light – but not exotically so – DT Swiss 240s hubs. Riders who want to go even lighter can instead choose DT Swiss 180 hubs while those who want a quicker engagement can opt for speedy Chris Kings.

Enve is offering its new cx wheelset with dt swiss or chris king hubs. the rims will be available separately as well:
Enve is offering its new cx wheelset with dt swiss or chris king hubs. the rims will be available separately as well:

Enve will offer the new CX wheels built around DT Swiss or Chris King hubs, or as standalone rims

Claimed weight for the rims alone is 285g apiece.

The price of entry for the Enve CX wheels is expectedly high but not any more so than usual for the segment. Retail price for the set is $2,420-3,000 depending on hub choice, while the rims will cost $875 each. International prices are to be confirmed.

We've got a fresh set on hand here at BikeRadar's US HQ, so stay tuned for an in-depth review over the coming weeks.

For more information, visit www.enve.com.

James Huang

Former Technical Editor, US
James was BikeRadar's US tech editor from 2007-2015.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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