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Since its inception, ENVE has had a strong reputation for making some of the best carbon cycling wheels and components available. Now, the Ogden, Utah-based company is going one step further, expanding from creating the parts that adorn a frame to making the actual frame itself. Meet the Custom Road, a frame with potential to shake up the high-end road bike market.
Frames Are Nothing New for ENVE
Most of us already know that ENVE is well versed in carbon manufacturing, but its expertise actually extends beyond the wheels, forks and other parts you see with an ENVE decal. Since its founding in 2007, ENVE has helped other brands with frame projects, including working on the front end of the Cervélo P5X triathlon bike, and the Santa Cruz V10, the first full-carbon DH mountain bike. Now, the brand has finally made a bike of its own.
The new frame, an aero all-around design, is called the Custom Road, and it’s actually two slightly different models, both made in ENVE’s Utah facilities. The first, the “Race,” offers a snappier geometry and is optimized around 25mm to 31mm wide tires. The second, the “All Road,” lengthens out the wheelbase and optimizes the geometry around 29mm to 35mm tires for a more stable ride across terrains. Both models feature an impressive 35mm tire clearance.
The Custom Road is designed to appeal to people who might otherwise seek out the big-brand, off-the-shelf carbon race bikes—the ones you see under WorldTour pros. It doesn’t take more than a cursory glance to understand that.
The design is very much in the style of the good-at-everything race bikes that have begun to take over pro races and local group rides alike. Taking advantage of both ENVE’s carbon manufacturing prowess and experience making aerodynamic wheels, the Custom road features a one-piece bar/stem which integrates into the front end, as well as a fork that is recessed into the downtube for smooth airflow. Other aero design elements include dropped seatstays and truncated airfoil tube shapes. Each of the Custom Road’s tube cross sections balances aerodynamic drag with structural efficiency for the best overall ride quality across conditions. And thanks to integration throughout, there is also hardly a cable in sight—only the ends of the cables are briefly visible as they enter the brake calipers and derailleurs.
Nothing Off-the-Shelf Here
Rather than take off-the-shelf components and design around them, ENVE has designed and manufactured many of the parts of the Custom Road itself, like the integrated bar/stem, fork and seat mast topper, which provides extra compliance with 35mm of adjustability. And where it made more sense, ENVE worked with industry leaders to design parts exactly for its bike.
Chris King, the legendary manufacturer of headsets, bottom brackets and hubs found on many an ENVE-adorned bike already, was tapped to help make the Custom Road’s headset. Called the Aeroset, it allows for full internal routing and integration while still providing precise handling.
K-Edge, which makes some of the best GPS computer mounts available, has made a mount specifically for the Custom Road, providing an even cleaner overall look to the bike.
There’s even a super-light ENVE x Selle Italia SLR boost saddle, just 122g to 129g, included with each frame or full build. Short of the drivetrain, ENVE has its hands on just about everything on this bike.
Custom Is the name of the Game
Making its products in smaller batches at its own facility in the U.S., ENVE’s advantage in the high-end race bike market is the ability to provide a customized experience. “The ability to customize and add that personal touch to each Custom Road is the crux of this project,” said Jake Pantone, ENVE’s vp of product and brand. “Our opportunity as a carbon specialist and U.S. manufacturer is to deliver a bike that can compete with the best high-end frame models available while also delivering a high-touch personalized experience to our customers.”
While there are two general geometries available, the Race and All Road, both geometries can be customized to perfectly fit the rider. ENVE and the customer work together, pulling from previous bikes ridden, professional bike fits, ENVE’s own “best fit calculator” and any other data available to dial in the right fit.
Further customization is possible because ENVE makes the bar/stem in-house. The stem is available in 5mm increments between 90mm and 130mm, while the bar is available in widths between 38cm and 46cm.
Paint Options Galore
While fit is at the core of a customized bike buying experience, most people would be lying if they said they weren’t most concerned about how the bike looks. With the standard options, ENVE has gone big, offering four different designs, two different finishes and 34 different colors. But if none of those designs do it for you, there are also four additional specialty colors, at an up-charge of $500 each, as well as the option to add a third color or finish for $500. Full custom paint is also available starting at $1,500, either from ENVE in-house or from one of many authorized painters across the country that ENVE works with.
Whether you want to keep things simple with one color, or fade together two colors, it will cost the same for paint.
While it’s certainly not cheap, the most impressive part of the Custom Road may be the price. The bike comes in three different options: a Chassis, a Rolling Chassis and complete builds.
The Chassis option, which includes the frame, fork, bar/stem, seat-mast topper, headset, bar tape, thru axles and hardware will probably involve the most sticker shock, priced at $7,000 for the most base paint option.
Add in wheels to the mix and you get the Rolling Chassis option, which comes with Foundation level wheels and tires for $8,500 or SES level wheels and tires for $9,500. Both represent a discount over buying the wheels and tires separately.
But where the Custom Road pricing goes from perhaps slightly shocking to a pretty good looking deal (all things being relative) is with the complete builds. Ultegra Di2 or eTap AXS Force builds with Foundation level wheels cost $9,950. Upgrading to SES wheels brings the price to $10,900. And complete Dura-Ace Di2 or eTap AXS Red builds with SES wheels come in at $12,500. For those keeping tabs at home, that’s as much as the likes of a Cannondale SuperSix EVO or Trek Madone SLR 9, and slightly less than a Specialized S-Works level road bike.
To sweeten the deal, and ensure that your bike arrives unharmed, ENVE includes a SCICON Aerocomfort 3.0 TSA Travel Case, a favorite case for air travel here at Peloton, and an over $500 value.
Paint and build options can be explored using the ENVE Bike Builder at ENVE’s website.
As of now, the Custom Road is available in the U.S. only. You can secure your spot in line with a $250 deposit.
More info: enve.com