Stuff Fatty Loves: ENVE

04.3.2015 | 1:05 pm

A Note from Fatty: Be sure you stick around for the end of today’s post; I’m dropping some serious hintage about the contest that launches tomorrow.

A Full Disclosure Note from Fatty: ENVE has provided me with some product at no cost, and some product at a discount.


Jake was not there. 

I had driven for nearly forty minutes to the beautiful ENVE World Headquarters in Ogden, Utah to meet with Jake — the marketing guy at ENVE Components — and Jake had gone on a ride instead.

Imagine: going on a ride, instead of hanging around the building, waiting for me to show up.

The nerve.

And yet, I maintained my composure, thanks to three things:

  1. If given the choice to show me around my workplace or go on a ride, I would choose “go on a ride” every single time. How could I begrudge another person that exact same choice?
  2. Jake was doing important R&D stuff. Jake’s job at ENVE is technically to market stuff, but he’s also a huge part of product development. See, Jake is a serious rider with the outrageously fine-tuned cycling sensibility that comes from having ridden all the best gear, pretty much all the time. And in short, Jake has a dream life.
  3. As I stood in the lobby, my friend of 20ish years, Ryan, came out to see me and take on impromptu tour guide duty:

     IMG 1349

See, I met Ryan long ago, when I was just beginning to get bitten by the cycling bug. Ryan, meanwhile, was the genius mechanic at the bike shop I went to, as well as an incredibly gifted cyclist.

Nowadays, Ryan is a QA Engineer at ENVE, having recently left his former job doing the same thing at an aerospace firm. His job: try to break stuff,  understand how and why it breaks, then figure out how to make it harder to break in the future.

You can kind of see from the mad gleam in his eye that Ryan likes his job. (Maybe too much.) Which is peculiar, because the better he does that job, the harder it’s gonna get to do it.

But enough about Ryan (for now). Let’s talk about me and my visit to ENVE. 

And also, let’s talk about something mind-bendingly awesome I’m going to be doing with ENVE. 

Dream Warehouse

Alison and Ryan took me around the ENVE offices, where employee bikes line the halls:

IMG 1344

They also walked me through the manufacturing area, letting me take pictures in a few places, like where workers were cutting long sheets of carbon fiber before magically transforming them into wheels:

IMG 1346

You know what looks really cool that I had never seen before? a sheet of carbon fiber:

IMG 1351

And then, on to the wheel-building machine, which I was not allowed to photograph, but which quickly does the preliminary work of turning spokes, a hub, and a rim…into a wheel:

IMG 1353

With the preliminary building done, each wheel gets personal old-skool TLC from human wheel builders:

IMG 1356

The truth is, though, ENVE walked me past more of their facility than they walked me through, saying, “Sorry, we can’t let you see that.”

Which is pretty unfortunate, because I’m exactly the kind of guy who would be able to recognize manufacturing secrets when I see them.

Still, I did get to see the Warehouse of Ten Thousand Dreams:

IMG 1362

And the company president — Sarah — joined me, Ryan, and Alison for a post-tour selfie:

IMG 1374

And then she stuck around and talked with me (by then, Jake was back, though I punished him by not letting him join in for the selfie) about ENVE for about an hour.

Stuff Fatty Loves

One of the really nice things about being a fake journalist is that when I really really really love something, I don’t have to pretend to be objective. I can just say, flat out, that I love it. 

Not that I need to say anything, really. All you need to know about what I think of ENVE can be gathered by checking out a photo of the four bikes I am riding most often this year.

IMG 1776

From left to right, in that photo you see:

As you can see, if there’s such a thing as ENVE Kool-Aid, I’ve had a man-sized drink of it. And here’s my verdict: that ENVE-flavored Kool-Aid is delicious. 

Here’s the thing: one of the nice things about being a beloved, award-winning cycling blogger for tennish years is that while you don’t make any actual money by writing, you do get bikes and parts at a pretty good price most of the time. Which is to say, I can ride whatever frame I want, with whatever parts I want.

So what am I picking when I get to pick what I want? Take a look at that photo up there. There is something special about the way ENVE wheels ride. If I were James Huang or Lennard Zinn or something, I’d probably be able to fool you into thinking I understand why ENVE has an incredible ride to it. But I’m not, so I’ll have to go with, “ENVE wheels feel fast and light and strong and surefooted, to an unmatched degree.” 

They’re just crazy-good.

Where does that crazy-goodness come from? It comes from people who know bikes and love what they do to an almost unhealthy degree. Let me tell you a couple short little stories about some of the people there, to show you what I mean. 


A couple years ago, I was trying to decide what wheels I should get for the Tarmac I was going to be building up. I had looked long and hard at the ENVE site, and had settled on the SES 3.4 Clinchers. I called Jake and told him what I wanted to get. 

He listened, then asked me a few questions about how I’d be using the bike and how I ride. 

“I’m not going to send you the 3.4s,” Jake said. “You should be riding with the 6.7s.” 

Then he told me why they were the best wheel for me.

And he was right. These have been the most amazing road wheels I have ever ridden.

This year, as I was getting ready to build up my cross-country superweapon — my Felt Nine FRD — I told Jake I wanted to put ENVE XC wheels on it. 

“No,” he said. “You don’t put XC wheels on that bike. I’m sending you the M50 Fifties.” 

And, once again, he was right.

This is what happens when your “marketing guy” is, in fact, a hardcore racer. A guy who actively contributes to the company R&D because he can sense tiny little differences in how a wheel is built. A guy who started at ENVE, in fact, as a wheel builder (and later admitted that, yes, he also has a marketing degree). 

Not a marketing guy who happens to currently be marketing wheels. A bike guy — a wheel guy, a racing guy — who is in charge of marketing. 

The distinction shows through.


Ryan knows bikes. A lot about bikes. When I bought my first real mountain bike about twenty years ago, Ryan was the guy who built it up. He’s also absurdly technically accomplished. And he’s smart.

And when I saw him at ENVE, it was obvious that he’s also incredibly happy. He’s good at what he’s doing, for one thing, but as we sat and talked about how he tests ENVE wheels and competitors’ wheels and how he’s always working toward making these wheels better and better…well, it kinda sounds like he has religion.

You hear companies talk about being “passionate” about whatever they’re selling. It’s annoying, really. But Ryan is the real deal. And I saw that a lot at ENVE. 

A Triangle of Awesome

When Jake, Sarah, Ryan and I were all chatting in the ENVE conference room, Jake mentioned that he had just gotten back from a training camp with the pro cycling team, Team MTN-Qhubeka. Why? Because ENVE is sponsoring Team MTN-Qhubeka this year.

Which is going to make for some pretty nice rides for this team:


This is awesome for a slew of reasons, some of which may not be immediately obvious upfront. 

Screenshot 2015 04 06 06 42 49

So. Allow me to enlighten you.

  1. Team MTN-Qhubeka will be racing in this year’s Tour de France
  2. Qhubeka” is actually part of World Bicycle Relief. Yep, same people, same mission, just a different name in South Africa.
  3. As it turns out, as an athlete ambassador, I am fundraising for World Bicycle Relief

So, as a sponsor of MTN-Qhubeka, ENVE is excited to help with World Bicycle Relief’s mission. 

And I…well, I have some experience with that. 


It seems like there might be something here worth exploring between ENVE, World Bicycle Relief, and Team Fatty.

And here’s the part I’ve been leading up to: ENVE is going to partner up with me this year as I fundraise for World Bicycle Relief

What does this mean? It means that when I do my Grand Slam this July — not coincidentally, overlapping with the Tour — you can expect to see some magnificent wheels and components on some of the bikes. 

It also means that you might see a really cool Team MTN-Qhubeka replica bike as one of the prizes.

And it means that you ought to check back tomorrow, because ENVE and I (and some other very good Friends of Fatty) are going to be kicking off a season-opener contest you simply will not want to miss. Without giving away too much, let me just say that it involves a dream frame, dream components, dream wheels and cockpit from ENVE…and more. 


  1. Comment by pbrmeasap | 04.6.2015 | 8:45 am

    Awesome news. Does ENVE make wheels for TRUE FAT CYCLIST? 240+

  2. Comment by Tom in Albany | 04.6.2015 | 8:46 am

    My birthday’s coming up. I’m about a year older than you. This would make for an EPIC win! My friends would be ENVEous! (It had to be done. I know YOU understand!)

    I can’t wait til tomorrow for the announcement of whatever it is you may announce!

  3. Comment by zeeeter | 04.6.2015 | 9:02 am

    Awesome! It’s going to be another great year :)

    By the way, you should probably redo the “Buy FC Gear link” at the top of the page. I think it’s going to get a decent amount of “clickage” over the coming weeks!

    Fixed that link. Thanks! – FC

  4. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 04.6.2015 | 9:09 am

    CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO PRONOUNCE “QHUBEKA”???? Is it “Q-Becka”? “Kwa-becka”? “Ka-Hu-Becka”?

    The second one! I think. – FC

  5. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 04.6.2015 | 9:57 am

    Thank you! And sorry for the shouting! :) Can’t wait for the next grand slam! Very excited about the upcoming contests and fundraisers!

  6. Comment by Isaac | 04.6.2015 | 10:26 am

    Regardless of FC’s clarification, the only way “MTN-Qhubeka” could possibly be pronounced is “Mountain Chewbacca”.

  7. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 04.6.2015 | 10:34 am

    I am not a world-famous, award-winning, super-fundraising blogger, so please forgive me if my suggestion here is too forward.

    If I’m not mistaken, today is the LAST DAY to order this year’s Team Fatty kit. So, perhaps some sort of big flashing notice at the top of today’s post would be in order?

    Oh, wait, never mind, if you do that, you’ll decrease my odds of winning.

  8. Comment by KRW | 04.6.2015 | 1:07 pm

    I am trying to sneak in a last minute order. Does anyone know if the DNA FC hoody fits like real clothes (where I would wear an XL, or cycling clothes, where 4XL seems to be my size?

    Fits like real clothes in this case. But (I’m giving a little away here) don’t worry too much about last-minuteness. We’re placing an order for all the orders that came in…but there’s gonna be an extension on ordering for pre-order 2. This will all make sense tomorrow. – FC

  9. Comment by BostonCarlos (formerly NYC) | 04.6.2015 | 1:49 pm

    Also, can we talk about the ridonkulous fork you are running on the Felt? Is that a loaner, or did you buy a $2200 fork?

    Remember how in 2013 we kept crushing goal after goal in the Grand Slam? The RS-1 is the plushest “thank you” I have ever received. I need to talk about that fork more in my blog, because it is genuinely the single nicest piece of suspension I have ever used. – FC

  10. Comment by Ryan | 04.6.2015 | 3:30 pm

    @pbrmeasap the answer is Yes we make a wheel for you. No weight restrictions on any ENVE wheels. Any Authorized Dealer can help you select the perfect wheel for your needs.

    JFYI, @pbrmeasap, that’s a verified answer from Ryan at ENVE. – FC

  11. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 04.6.2015 | 5:57 pm

    I traded messages with Jake at ENVE back in ‘13 when I was lucky enough to win the Trek/ENVE/SRAM bike. I am riding the 6.7 wheels, and I can vouch for them. Great components, and a great group of folks to work with.

    I look forward to tomorrow’s post, and I’ll be in , one way or another.

  12. Comment by Sylvia S. | 04.6.2015 | 7:45 pm

    Hmmm…. “No weight restrictions on any ENVE wheels.” Thinking…

  13. Comment by Sem Esuvidha RTU Results Portal | 04.6.2015 | 9:43 pm

    Great News. ENVE is doing awesome work.

  14. Comment by Kristina | 04.21.2015 | 9:56 pm

    Hello all! I am new to cycling and just wanted to know if anyone else gets annoyed with having to say left or right to get people out of your way? Or even the fact that the bell scares most people when rung. Maybe it’s just me! Any suggestions??


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