ENVE M70 Thirty HV 27.5” wheels
- DT Swiss 240 6B Hubs
- DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes (32, 2 cross)
Internal Rim Width (measured): 31 mm
External Rim Width (measured): 38mm
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Front: 794 g
- Rear: 863 g
- Total: 1657 g
Reviewer: 5’9” 155 lbs.
Test Duration 25 rides
Test Locations: Whitefish, MT
“Some people say money can’t buy happiness. Well, it buys a wave runner. Have you ever seen a sad person on a wave runner?”
I think that’s an ancient eastern proverb. Or a Daniel Tosh skit. But more to the point, money (a fair amount of it) will also buy a set of ENVE wheels, and to date, I’ve yet to see a sad person on ENVEs.
I took a look at ENVE’s more trail-oriented M60 HV earlier this spring, but more recently, I’ve been spending time on the M60’s slightly bigger brother, the M70 HV. The M70’s are the heaviest and burliest wheels in ENVE’s trail lineup. The full name of the wheels is the “M70 Thirty High Volume,” which means that the wheel is designed for 70% downhill riding, 30% uphill riding, and this is the wide iteration. The only burlier wheelset that ENVE makes is the M90, which is intended primarily for DH bikes.
I’ve been running the M70 HV’s on my Devinci Spartan, and much like my experience with the M60’s that I ran on the Evil Following, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that these things are really expensive, but also really awesome.
Like the M60 HV’s, the story here is that the M70 HV’s are substantially wider than the regular M70’s — 25mm internal width on the regular version, and an internal width of 31mm on the HV version.
We discussed the topic of rim width in our First Look of ENVE’s HV models, but essentially, ENVE did a bunch of research and testing to arrive at the conclusion that, for a 2.5” tire, there’s a point of diminishing returns at about 30 mm. The support for the tire beyond that width is nominal, but the increase in weight is substantial.
And the same can be said for a narrower rim and tire; the support for a 2.3” tire doesn’t appreciably improve beyond about 26 mm internal rim width — hence the 26 mm width of the M60 HV. In other words, the M60 HV is designed to provide optimal support for a 2.3” tire, and the M70 HV is designed to provide optimal support for a 2.5” tire.
I’ve been running the M70 HV’s with a 2.5” Maxxis DHF WT in the front, and a 2.4” Maxxis DHR II WT in the rear. Last fall, I ran those tires on some wider WTB Asym 35 rims, which have a 35 mm internal width. Based on my unscientific results from riding both rims with the exact same tires, I’d say ENVE’s conclusions are accurate; I can’t say that I noticed a huge difference in sidewall support between the two rims. The wider WTB rim makes for a slight difference in the tire’s profile, but even that was pretty negligible in terms of actual ride characteristics on the trail.
I talked a bit more in-depth about ENVE’s rim construction process in my review of the M60 HV, so if you’re interested, that’s worth a read.
In short, ENVE does a couple of things that few (if any) other brands are doing. First, they’re making their rims in the USA. Second, they mold the outer spoke holes rather than drilling them, which makes for a stronger, lighter rim. Third, they use a hookless rim, again because it makes for a stronger, lighter rim. Finally, they’ve found a way to remove all bladders from the rim, which makes for a lighter rim that has a more uniform weight distribution. Most hollow carbon products use an internal bladder to form the inner surfaces, but ENVE’s found a way to remove that bladder after they’re done with it, which is easier said than done.
And all of the above is just a quick overview of some of the rim’s features. There’s all kinds of carbon wizardry that goes into ENVE rims, and ENVE has been doing it for longer than most.
The Wheel Build
The M70 HV’s are handbuilt by ENVE at their Ogden factory, and laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs with 32 DT Swiss Aeolite spokes. Generally speaking, an easy way to assess the quality of a wheel build is to check the tension balance. A wheel with even spoke tension tends to hold up to abuse better and last longer. Usually, around 20% variation in tension is considered acceptable, although nicer wheels should be closer than that.
The M70 HV’s that I rode had spoke tensions that varied about 8% from the average tension, which is quite good. It’s also about the same variation that I found on the M60 HV’s that I reviewed, so it seems ENVE is pretty consistent in this regard.
So far, the wheel build is holding up quite well. There wasn’t any sort of settling in period, and they haven’t gone out of true at all.
The only complaint here? Those internal nipples. If you have to true the wheel in the future, you’ll have to pull the tire and rim strip off in order to get at the nipple.
One really nice feature of ENVE wheels is that you get a couple choices in your hub selection; on the M70’s, you get to choose between the DT Swiss 240 or the Chris King ISO. Briefly, here are the pro’s and cons of each:
Chris King ISO – They’re really well made, and every part of the hub (including the bearings) is manufactured in Portland, Oregon. They have a quick 72-point engagement, and the bearing preload is adjustable. Also, in my humble opinion, they’re some of the prettiest bike parts you can buy.
The downsides? They’re not that light, there’s no centerlock option (though I’m partial to 6-bolt rotor mounts anyway, since they’re cheaper, more common, and I’ve had centerlocks come loose on me), and servicing King hubs requires special tools. Plus, my particular King hubs have been somewhat finicky: they’ve come loose on me, and the freehub skips.
DT Swiss 240 – They’re simple, light, and have a longstanding reputation for durability. Depending on the exact setup, they weigh 100 g (at least) less than the Kings, and they’re available in both 6-bolt and centerlock rotor mounts.
The downsides? DT Swiss is apparently the only company that thinks that 18 points of engagement is acceptable for a high end hub. A $400+ hub shouldn’t require a $100 upgrade just to get the same engagement as a hub that costs ¼ as much. Of course, quick engagement isn’t everything, but it sure is nice on technical climbs.
It would be nice to see some other hub options available from ENVE. Personally, I’m a fan of the Industry Nine hubs; they’re lighter than the Kings, and they have better engagement than the DT Swiss. The only downside I’ve noticed is that the bearings don’t seem to last quite as long.
NEXT: Mounting and Initial Setup, The Ride, Etc.