Today, seventeen years after opening its doors for business, Enve is announcing the Melee, its first mass-produced road bike.
Enve Composites has gone through a lot in that time: a name change, a rescue from the brink of bankruptcy, and the building of a custom manufacturing facility, but Enve has continued to hone its craft and expand its offerings through the ups and downs.
Today it finds itself on more stable ground with a core business of wheels and a supporting cast of accessories to upgrade every part of a bike. It’s a comfortable place to be, but there is always movement in the industry; if it’s not forward, it will be backward. Enve clearly understands this and building on last year’s launch of the Custom Road, the Melee is the latest part of that arc.
However, in many ways, today’s launch actually started with the creation of its own manufacturing facility. Having design, engineering, production, and testing under one roof allows a company to chase new ideas.
It was this flexibility that allowed the brand to look towards the future and release the Custom Road in 2021. The vision was for expansion beyond the core business of wheels and component upgrades and something low-volume had to come first. With all the tools in-house, it was possible to hone a low-volume product without disruption. Every Custom Road is hand-built with every customer guided through the process. The Custom Road could never achieve the volume Enve ultimately wanted, but it allowed the brand to finesse the processes required for the next step. That next step is the Melee.
The Melee takes the design, engineering, and testing from its factory in Ogden, Utah, and puts it into production in the company’s Asian manufacturing facilities. It also takes the lessons learned and applies them in a way that’s scalable. As a result, Enve says the Melee is actually the faster of the two bikes due to a monocoque design with narrower tube widths and refined tube shapes to improve aero performance.
Despite that, Enve says the character of the Custom Road remains in the Melee, and that largely means the Enve definition of a modern road race bike. It’s not a gravel bike but Enve has built in a level of versatility through tire clearance, which it can take up to 35mm, with a claimed sweet spot of 27-32mm depending on use. If you are feeling unconvinced about the bike’s off-road capabilities, keep in mind that at the end of April, Alexey Vermeulen won BWR CA on this very bike. Further supporting that dual use is groupset compatibility covering Shimano mechanical, electronic wired, electronic wireless and 1x or 2x. There’s also a threaded T47 bottom bracket to ease maintenance.
The other side of modern bike performance is aerodynamics. Once again, the Melee has the specs without being overly specialized. It’s not an out and out aero bike, but it features some aerodynamic considerations. Like many brands out there, Enve recognizes that an all-around bike with aero optimization better covers everyday riding needs, so to that end, there are no cables visible at the front end of the bike.
Unlike the Custom Road, the Melee comes with a separate bar and stem, and to make that possible, debuting alongside the bike is a new integrated Enve Road Stem. Cables, wires, and brake hoses stay hidden from sight, and from the wind, by passing through the handlebar, stem, and head tube. K-Edge will handle accessory mounting with the new stem.
In another departure from the Custom Road, the Melee will feature a seatpost instead of an integrated seat mast. Obviously this change allows greater flexibility in fit, but it also gains aero credentials. The Melee features a dedicated aero seatpost with a kammtail design and a twin-bolt saddle rail clamp. Of the three options available for the bike, two will feature zero setback while the third will be a -20mm setback. All three will have 7×7, 7×9, and 7×10 saddle rail options.
The Melee is semi-custom
While the Melee will be available off-the-shelf in seven sizes ranging from 47cm to 60cm, customers will still be given the freedom to customize their new bike.
Instead of buying the Melee directly from Enve, a chassis will be provided to Enve Ride Center dealers. This will include the frame, fork, headset, handlebar, stem, and seatpost, and customization will be available at every step with those components.
To begin with, the frame will have options for seven sizes: 47, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 cm. The stem options range from 80mm up to 130mm, all with a -7° rise. The handlebars will be the Enve SES AR bars in sizes from 38mm up to 46mm and, as already mentioned, there will be three seatposts available all with seat rail clamp options covering everything on the market and either a zero or -20° setback. That’s a total of 630 possible configurations.
To best support the dealers and customers with such a breadth of options available, Enve has created the Best-Fit Calculator. The tool can help a rider (or bike fitter) identify exactly what frame size, stem length, spacer stack, and seatpost offset combination will meet their required fit stack, fit reach, and saddle position needs. Final build choices will then be a conversation between the dealer and the customer. Melee customers will even be able to design and order custom decals to add a personal touch to their ride.
Strictly speaking, this is not a custom bike. There are no custom geometries available and at launch, there will be only one color option available, which Enve is calling Damascus. For almost everyone though, there will be enough options that you can find the exact fit that works for you. No one should ever have to immediately swap parts and your bike will be uniquely suited to your needs.
Price and Availability
The Enve Melee is available now in select sizes and markets around the world. The ENVE Melee Chassis retails for $5500, €5500, £5300 and includes the frame, fork, headset, stem, handlebar, and seatpost.