The ENVE Melee is a $5,500 carbon monocoque frame with clearance for 35mm tires

The ENVE Melee is a $5,500 carbon monocoque frame with clearance for 35mm tires

The ENVE Melee is the brand’s new road racing bike and the second bike it has launched.

While the design of last year’s Custom Road was, as the name suggests, focused on allowing customers to tailor the bike to their specific needs, the Melee is “specifically designed for speed” and will be available in a more typical range of seven sizes.

Unlike the brand’s first US-made custom road bike, the Melee uses a unibody construction technique and is built overseas.

A chassis kit – which includes a stem, seatpost, handlebars, headset and frame – costs £5,300 / $5,500 / €5,500. Full versions will not be offered by ENVE.

5 things you need to know about the ENVE Melee

  • The ENVE Melee is the brand’s second road bike, following the 2021 Custom Road
  • The Melee is only available as a frame kit and finishing kit
  • Unlike the Custom Road, the Melee uses unibody construction
  • The Melee has clearance for tires up to 35mm wide.
  • Prices start at £5,300 / $5,500 / €5,500 for a chassis kit

“Real World” Aero

The Melee sees the Custom Road’s tube shapes refined for aerodynamic performance.

The new ENVE Melee was designed around what the brand calls its “Real-World Fast” aerodynamic philosophy.

With that, ENVE says it aims to optimize its wheels, components, and now its bikes, to perform best in what it considers real-world riding conditions.

The Melee saves about 6 watts compared to the Custom Road.

In the case of the Melee, it is optimized around driving speeds between 32 km/h and 40 km/h.

Compared to the Custom Road, ENVE says you can expect to save about 6 watts of drag at 30 mph, depending on yaw angle. This figure is closer to 1 or 2 watts at 32 km/h.

The frameset is subtly lightened compared to the Custom Road.

Speaking to BikeRadar, Jake Pantone – ENVE’s vice president of product and brand – explained that the time spent in the wind tunnel helped the brand identify “low-hanging fruit” that would enable it to optimize the existing tube shapes used on the custom route.

This resulted in a design that required thinner tube profiles compared to the Custom Road.

According to Pantone, this was only possible by switching to unibody construction.

The thinning of the tubes was made possible by the switch to monocoque construction.

This is because in ENVE’s interpretation of tube-to-tube construction, an extra layer of carbon is needed around the tube/lug joints to smooth out the joint.

It “takes up more room” but, when you remove those extra overwraps, having continuous draping allowed ENVE’s designers to use tubing with a thinner profile of around 1-2mm.

The bike features all the trappings of a modern aero road bike, including fully internal cable and pipe routing, lowered seatstays, streamlined Kammtail tubing and a narrow frontal profile.

An unpainted size 56cm frame without hardware would weigh 850g, with an expected variance of approximately +/- 2%.

No claimed weight for the fork was provided.

ENVE Melee Geometry

The geometry of the Melee is pretty typical for an all-around race bike.

The Melee is available in seven different sizes, from 47cm up to 60cm.

The geometry figures are pretty typical—albeit a bit taller up front—for an all-around race bike.

A frame size 54cm has a stack of 550.6mm and a reach of 386.7mm.

By comparison, a Specialized Tarmac SL7 of the same size has a 16.6mm lower stack at 534mm and about the same reach at 367mm.

The Melee shares its bifurcation with the Custom Road.

The Melee shares its bifurcation with the Custom Road.

This fork comes in five different offset options, with the offset decreasing as you move through the size range.

The majority of road bikes on the market will only see one or two offset fork options.

ENVE claims that offering such a wide range of offset options maintains consistent handling for riders across the full size range.

For those who really want to learn about the geometry, ENVE also provided track numbers for the full range of recommended tire sizes for scrum in each offset option.

Few brands provide such comprehensive geometric information, so ENVE deserves credit here.

What is fork offset and trail?

Fork offset – also known as rake – is the distance between the front axle and an imaginary straight line drawn through the fork steerer.

Increasing the offset pushes the wheel farther in front of the bike.

Increasing the rake can be useful on smaller bikes, as it reduces toe overlap without affecting a bike’s handling as significantly as slacking off the head angle – which has a similar effect – would.

Trail is the measurement of the horizontal distance between where an imaginary line drawn through the steering axis meets the ground and the point where the tire touches the ground. The track is affected by the angle of the head tube, the offset and the volume of the tires.

A lower track number will generally result in faster handling and a higher number results in calmer handling.

Chassis only

The Melee is only available as a frame kit.

The ENVE Melee is only available as a “frame” package which includes a stem, seatpost, handlebars and headset.

This package will cost £5,300 / $5,500 / €5,500. For comparison, the Custom Road in a broadly similar build package would set you back $7,000 (international price N/A).

No complete builds will be offered by ENVE itself, although the brand has suggested that individual international distributors may choose to offer build packages.

The bike is designed around ENVE’s new integrated road stem. It features hidden faceplate bolts and is available between 80mm and 130mm in length in 10mm increments.

A custom front rack is available with the bike.

ENVE worked with K-Edge to provide an integrated bike computer mount up front to complement the new stem.

The ENVE SES AR handlebar is available in sizes ranging from 38cm to 46cm in 20mm increments.

The Melee is compatible with all electronic groupsets in a 1x or 2x arrangement.

However, the bike is only compatible with Shimano mechanical road bike groupsets.

This is because the Melee requires continuous cable routing from the shifter to the front derailleur. Only Shimano front derailleurs have a proper cable routing path for this.

The bike is built around a T47 bottom bracket shell.

Permission to shred (rather)

The Melee can accommodate tires up to 35mm wide.

The ENVE Melee is designed to best handle tires between 27mm and 32mm wide, but has clearance for road bike tires up to 35mm wide.

While ample tire clearance is a common feature of modern road bikes, 32mm is generally the limit for most race-oriented bikes.

ENVE claims that increasing this figure to 35mm will make the bike better suited to mixed surfaces, adding that “versatility has become the definition of the modern race bike”.

Although this applies to fewer riders than before, ENVE does not recommend using tires narrower than 25mm on the Melee, as this will negatively affect the geometry and handling of the bike.

What is the next step for ENVE?

ENVE is working on other new bikes.

ENVE hasn’t made a secret of the fact that it’s working on other bike projects, but Pantone wouldn’t predict exactly what the brand has next.

He did, however, point out that “as a brand, ENVE serves all disciplines of cycling”, adding that by “looking at our range of wheel products, you can pretty much guess what’s next.”

With that in mind, we expect ENVE to most likely work on a gravel bike or mountain bike, but that is yet to be confirmed.

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