Today, seventeen years after opening its doors to business, Enve is announcing the Melee, its first production road bike.
Enve Composites has gone through a lot during this time: changing its name, bailing out of bankruptcy, and building its own manufacturing facility, but Enve has continued to hone its craft and expand its offerings through its ups and downs.
Today, it is on firmer ground with the core business of wheels and a subset of accessories to upgrade every part of the bike. It’s a convenient location, but there’s always movement in the industry; if not forward, then backward. Enve clearly understands this, and building on last year’s launch of Custom Road, Melee is the latest installment of this arc.
However, in many ways, today’s launch actually began with the creation of its own production. Design, development, production and testing under one roof allows the company to pursue new ideas.
It is this flexibility that has allowed the brand to look to the future and launch the Custom Road in 2021. The concept was to go beyond the core wheel and component refurbishment business, and something low-volume would have to come first. With all the tools available, it was possible to hone a small-scale product without failure. Each Custom Road is built by hand and each client is guided by the process. Custom Road was never able to reach the volume that Enve ultimately wanted, but allowed the brand to refine the processes needed for the next step. The next step is hand-to-hand combat.
Melee takes design, engineering and testing from its Ogden, Utah plant and puts it into production at the company’s Asian manufacturing facilities. It also takes lessons learned and applies them in a way that allows for scalability. As a result, Enve says that the Melee is actually the faster of the two bikes due to the monocoque design with narrower tube widths and improved tube shape to improve aerodynamic performance.
Regardless, Enve says the Custom Road character remains in Melee, and that pretty much signifies Enve’s definition of a modern road racing bike. It’s not a gravel bike, but Enve has achieved a certain level of versatility with tire clearance that can go as high as 35mm, with a claimed optimum of 27-32mm depending on use. If you are not sure about the off-road capabilities of the motorcycle, keep in mind that at the end of April, Aleksey Vermeulen won the BWR CA on this very motorcycle. Further confirmation of this dual use is the compatibility of Shimano groupsets with mechanical, electronic wired, electronic wireless, and 1x or 2x. There is also a T47 threaded bottom bracket for ease of maintenance.
The other side of the characteristics of a modern bicycle is aerodynamics. Again, melee weapons have stats but are not overly specialized. This is not an aero bike, but it does have some aerodynamic considerations. Like many other brands, Enve recognizes that an aerodynamically optimized all-round bike better suits the needs of everyday riding, so there are no cables visible on the front of the bike.
Unlike the Custom Road, the Melee comes with a separate handlebar and stem, and to make that possible, a new Enve Road integrated stem is debuting with the bike. Cables, wires and brake hoses remain hidden from view and wind, passing through the handlebar, stem and head tube. K-Edge will handle installing accessories with a new stem.
Another departure from Custom Road, the Melee will feature a seatpost instead of a built-in seat mast. Obviously, this change allows for more flexibility in the fit, but also improves aerodynamics. The Melee features a custom aero seatpost with a kammtail design and a two-bolt saddle clamp. Of the three options available for the bike, two will have zero offset and the third will have -20mm offset. All three will have 7×7, 7×9 and 7×10 saddle options.
While the Melee will be available in seven sizes from 47cm to 60cm, buyers will still be given the freedom to customize their new bike.
Instead of buying Melee directly from Enve, the chassis will be provided to Enve Ride Center dealers. This will include the frame, fork, head tube, handlebar, stem and seatpost, and customization of these components will be available at every stage.
To begin with, the frame will be available in seven sizes: 47, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60cm. Stem options range from 80mm to 130mm, all with -7° lift. The handlebar will be an Enve SES AR handlebar in sizes ranging from 38mm to 46mm and as mentioned three seatposts will be available, all with seat rail clamp options covering everything on the market and offset from zero to -20 °. There are 630 possible configurations in total.
To best support dealers and customers with so many options available, Enve has created the Best Match Calculator. The tool can help a rider (or bike builder) determine exactly which combination of frame size, stem length, spacer set, and seatpost offset will suit their desired fit set, reach, and saddle position needs. The final choice of assembly will be subject to discussion between the dealer and the buyer. Melee customers will even be able to create and order special decals to add a personal touch to their ride.
Strictly speaking, this is not a custom bike. Custom geometry is not available and only one color option will be available at launch, which Enve calls Damascus. However, there will be enough options for almost everyone so that you can find exactly what is right for you. No one will ever have to change parts immediately and your bike will be perfectly matched to your needs.
Price and availability
Enve Melee is already available in some sizes and in select markets worldwide. The ENVE Melee Chassis is priced at $5,500, €5,500, £5,300 and includes the frame, fork, headset, stem, handlebars and seatpost.
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