Enve’s AG25 Gravel wheelset is a fantastic set of rolling stock, shod with 40-45mm tyres they have survived all my poor line choices and haven’t gone out of true, burped a tyre, worn a bearing or done anything other than spin freely for the duration of this long-term test. Sure, the price is on the high side but so is the performance. These are, unquestionably, bona fide challengers for the best gravel wheelsets crown. Scroll down to read about how they performed during testing.
- Parlee Sky Ridge Carbon Gravel Wheelset review
- Specialized Diverge STR Expert review
- Best tubeless sealant 2023 - tyre sealant for MTB, gravel and road
Enve AG25 Gravel wheels - Technical details
The AG25 gravel wheelset is part of Enve’s Foundation line and uses trickle-down technology from the more expensive wheels in the stable. Most noticeably, the hookless rim architecture allows for closer tolerances in construction delivering a positive tubeless performance for each and every user. Its wide lip also reduces the chance of pinch flats should you bottom the tyre out against a rock.
The rim has possibly one of the shallowest depths in the Gravel wheel market, of only 21mm which Enve has specifically designed to smooth out the terrain and deliver a more comfortable ride.
Both the valve holes and the spoke holes are moulded as part of the rim’s continuous fibre lay-up process. Rather than cut any fibres for these holes, the long carbon fibres are woven around the holes allowing a much stronger rim to be built. Enve has patented this manufacturing process which results in lighter rims that can cope with higher spoke tensions and therefore less truing is required.
The Enve AG25 rims are 33.5mm wide with 25mm internal dimensions and are laced with 24 Sapim CX-Sprint spokes in a standard two-cross pattern. These spokes are elbow-shaped and are fitted with standard nipples in the rim for truing and convenient servicing without the faff of magnets and feeding them around inside the rim.
Enve recommends a minimum tyre width of 36mm and a maximum of 50mm with this wheelset and even provides a selection of pressures that you should run a particular tyre size at for your given rider weight. With a 45mm tyre and weighing 82kg, it recommended that I should run my Schwalbes at 31psi. The air pressure list offers pressure advice for rider weights spanning 40 - 113kg.
The Enve Alloy CL hubs are both 12mm thru-axle designs with 100mm front and 142mm rear spacing. The rear foundation hub features Enve's 360 engagement system which offers instant engagement via a 40T ratchet system. The system is made up of a pair of ratchet rings – one atop the other with teeth on both their faces to slip or grip each other and more teeth on the outer edge of the ring to grip the hub shell and freehub to deliver drive. It’s a simple system, one which is very easy to take apart with simple tools and clean and one which relies on a single spring. (Take a look at this simple hub maintenance video).
The AG25 gravel wheels are supplied with two Enve valve stems including one valve core tool cap, two anti-crush valve stem nuts and tubeless tape.
Enve Wheels are handbuilt in the UK by Saddleback to Enve’s exacting standards and are covered by Enve’s five-year Factory Limited Warranty programme and the Incedential Damage Protection Policy that sees you handsomely looked after if you damage the rim yourself. You'll get a free replacement rim inside three years of original ownership if you accidentally trash one, although you'll have to pay for spokes, nipples and the build.
That seems like a solid deal, especially if you have a habit of breaking rims. After three years, they will help with discounted replacement rims with a discount that drops to 30% off MSRP after five years. That's a lot of peace of mind, whether you need it or not and significantly helps justify the initial cost.
Enve AG25 Gravel wheels - Performance
Sublime performance is the simplest way of summarising these wheels. They are actually easy to forget with their UD carbon and dark reflective grey colour scheme as they do everything right. There have been no creaks, squeaks, no odd freehub slack or dead spots. They are easy to set up tubeless and the rims are pretty much unmarked. Aside from cleaning them, I’ve barely had the need to look at them.
The rim has moulded flat spots for the valve stem to poke through and the anti-crush nuts to tighten up to make light work of setting these wheels up tubeless. I’ve used both Panaracer Gravel King SK 43mm and Schwalbe Overland 45mm over the test period with both setups being straightforward fitting with no swearing. Tyres were inflated using a Lifeline Airblast floor pump and Stans sealant on the first attempt.
The AG25’s delivered mile after mile of comfortable gravel riding smothering the worst surface imperfections and letting you just get on with blasting along your favourite trail. That flatter (than most) wide rim profile with its patented construction allows it to be thinner with no strength loss and delivers a more comfortable ride than deeper section carbon gravel wheels.
The pick-up from the freehub is near instant. You push the pedals hard and the wheels catapult you forward like you have been cattle prodded. This immediate response is produced by the 360-degree engagement system with its two 40T ratchet rings meshing together resulting in zero freeplay in the system.
When freewheeling there is more noise than I would like, although it is of a lower pitch and less noisy than many buzzing or clicking systems I have used. It is still a useful noise to back-pedal to alert walkers you are behind them.
The high tension build is evident when you push the wheels hard. Whether in root-infested gullies or drifting off-camber corners, the wheels track exactly where you want them to displaying no untoward flex. The wide rims offer lots of sidewall tyre support allowing them to dig in and bite so you can hold your line. I have been surprised by how good the Overlands have been on these wide rims making maximum use of their edge grip has become a bit of a game for me to see what I can get away with.
All my wheels take a battering with my personal ‘style’ of gravel riding which sees me regularly pretend my gravel bike is actually a cross-country mountain bike. A recent rock-strewn Drovers trail on the Quantocks was taken at full gas but the Enve’s laughed it off, as they have on every other ill-advised trail detour I’ve put them through over this long test period. Enve has anticipated these types of ‘trail deviations’ and the AG25 wheels are actually tested to their mountain bike wheels' impact specifications, so sit back, you should be fine getting a little rowdy with these.
No matter where I have chosen to ride and how many roots, rocks and potholes I have been unable to avoid the the wheels have recorded zero pinch flats and no broken spokes. The front wheel is as good as new and the rear is less than a mm out of true, so negligible really.
Sure there are a few signs of wear showing up now but nothing that has required the attention of a spoke key or a phone call to Saddleback for a deeper check.
Enve AG25 Gravel wheels - Verdict
If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m rather taken by these wheels. They spin up fast and hold onto as much of that speed as possible regardless of the surface you are on. The wheels are lightweight at 1,498g (with valves and rims tape fitted), which is excellent but not outstanding at this price – £1,800.
There are lighter wheels for less money but possibly not as tough or available with Enve’s enviable crash replacement warranty which offers varying levels of support from FOC to assisted. That is of course on top of the five-year manufacturer warranty and no rider weight policy which is not to be scoffed at.
At £1,999 Parlee Sky Ridge Carbon Gravel Wheelset costs a little more than the Enve but the performance was very good despite the narrower rim and a slightly heavier weight –1,520g (including valve and tape). Matt was especially impressed with the Industry Nine Torch hubs.
At £1,500, FFWD Drift gravel wheels offer a lot of stiffness for a little less money and a little more weight. Running on fantastic DT Swiss 240EXP hubs was a plus.
At £870, Scribe’s Carbon Gravel Wide++ 700 Disc is seriously worth consideration if lightweight is the number one concern – we weighed them at 1,360g and Matt was very impressed with them, but they do have a rider weight limit of 95kg.
Enve’s AG25 gravel wheels are an excellent set of lightweight, fast, stiff and comfortable gravel wheels designed for tyres 36-50mm with simple easy-to-service hubs and Sapim spokes. Their wide hookless rim lip provides support for tyres increasing off-road confidence as well as preventing snake bites. Sure, £1,800 is a lot of money for a set of wheels but Enve has got your back should you damage them with their Incidental Damage Protection scheme.