Once again, the oh-so-spectacular display of craftsmanship known as NAHBS, or “North American Handmade Bike Show,” came to California— more specifically the state capital, Sacramento. Simply put, the North American Handmade Bike Show is a trade show in which framebuilders—both well-established and brand new—convene to show off their best work from the last year. From February 26 to 28, the former cow town’s Convention Center was filled with framebuilders the likes of Argonaut, Black Cat, Caletti, Chris King, Demon, English, Frances, Hunter, Map, Moonmen, Peacock Groove, and Soulcraft amongst an incredibly long list of others. Our favorite among the brands being Black Cat and the man behind it: Todd Ingermanson. (Note: Todd used to work at Art’s and started building frames just up the road from us before leaving the beautiful Central Coast for an apprenticeship with Rick Hunter. But I digress…)
For those who have followed the coverage of this year’s NAHBS or have browsed the photos below, you’ll notice one thing in common across-the-board: ENVE parts adorn almost every machine, head-to-toe!
The North American manufacturer’s presence at the show, and throughout cycling in general, is based on their incredible reputation. Most bikes at NAHBS sported not only an ENVE wheelset, but also an ENVE seatpost, ENVE handlebars, ENVE color-matched fork (the new Gravel Road (GRD) Fork is in high demand with the growing “adventure” contingent), and a color-matched ENVE stem as well. That pretty much left only the drivetrain as free game, though the overwhelming majority were SRAM’s eTap wireless group for road and SRAM’s 1x drivetrains for all of the rest.
I doubt I am the first one to notice this total dominance by one brand, but it was certainly enough to stop me, make me look twice, and then reflect on the question: Why ENVE? How did ENVE become the premier supplier of high-end components?
First and foremost, ENVE is great at reading the pulse of market trends. Noticing the dramatic rise in demand for “adventure bikes” and “gravel bikes,” ENVE presciently developed and released the GRD just before NAHBS. Also, have you taken a look at the ENVE Mountain Fork? Notice the built-in fender? Taking cues from the proliferation of Marsh Guards and svelte, low-profile fenders regardless of locale, ENVE designed their Mountain Fork with an integrated, but removable, fork fender.
When color-matching components and custom decals became a thing again, ENVE was smart enough to associate themselves with all of the right brands, with all of the right racing teams, at all of the right shows. Speedvagen, Santa Cruz Syndicate, Mosaic, and other premier bikes were suddenly showing up sporting color-corodinated frames and ENVE wheel decals. If these brands sound remotely familiar, and incredibly exclusive, that’s because they are. ENVE knew that if they hung out with the right people long enough, they were sure to get the exposure they wanted—and it worked.
Don’t take these observations as cynicism or slight against ENVE for either their approach or their product. I’d never blame anybody for being good at what they do. At the end of the day, we are all in the market to sell quality product, and ENVE is doing an exemplary job of it.
But surely anything that has received such critical acclaim and status amongst the most elite comes from somewhere other than strictly marketing, right? For starters, ENVE rims are made solely in the United States of America. This allows them better quality control, less lead time in product development, and supports the American economy—something that seemingly always needs a boost.
All ENVE product is also tested and backed by the top racers in all of their respective categories. Enduro World Series, World Cup Downhill, the ProTour Peloton, trialthlon, 24 Hour racers—the list goes on. You can blindly point at any podium in any category of racing and at least one of them will be supporting an ENVE rider. There’s obviously something there when most professionals and racers rely on these products to achieve their pinnacle of performance.
Not only is ENVE product functional, but it sure is sexy! Black on black decals, integrated, removable, fender systems, and beautiful curves all seamlessly work with the sweeping and minimal “ENVE” logo that brands their products. But, not all good-looking products are created equal. Take any ENVE rim, for instance. Rather than drilling spoke holes into the rim—standard industry practice—thus creating a break in the should-be continuous carbon fiber strands, ENVE precisely and painstakingly molds spoke holes directly into the rim itself, boosting strength and reliability while also allowing for better control of weight. Light and strong!? ENVE says, “Have your cake and eat it too!”
To round it all out, ENVE offers a 5 Year No Hassle Warranty as well as a Lifetime Crash Replacement Policy. This policy is literally unbeatable at the current time. No other manufacturer offers a similar policy, or one that even comes remotely close. So although the ENVE pricetags can seem a bit high at times, don’t forget that you’re buying quality, American-made product that comes with an amazing warranty policy. And better yet, should you just make a mistake that falls outside of the warranty, ENVE is still kind enough to hook you up with what you need at dramatically reduced pricing thanks to the Lifetime Crash Replacement Policy.
ENVE is driven to produce the best components possible so you can get the most out of your riding. Just because you’re not a framebuilder or aimed at the podium doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the best equipment to meet your needs. Road, mountain, gravel, randonneur, racer, or weekend warrior: ENVE delivers the best of everything in every category, and it’s available to you everyday.