August 10, 2022

Enve launches Melee, its first production road bike

Today, seventeen years after opening its doors, Enve announces the Melee, its first mass-produced road bike.

Enve Composites has been through a lot during this time: a name change, a bailout from the brink of bankruptcy, and the construction of a bespoke 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 distribution of supporting accessories to enhance every part of a bike. It’s a cozy place, but there’s always movement in the industry; if it’s not forward, it will be backward. Enve clearly understands this and building on the launch of Custom Road last year, the scrum is the final part of this arc.

However, in many ways, today’s launch actually started with the establishment of its own manufacturing facility. Having design, engineering, production and testing under one roof allows a company to pursue new ideas.

Enve Mêlée by bike in an urban environment

Enve says melee is actually faster than custom route. (Image credit: Enve)

It was this flexibility that allowed the brand to look to the future and launch the Custom Road in 2021. The vision was to expand beyond the core business of wheel and component upgrades and something low volume had to come first. With all the tools in-house, it was possible to perfect a low-volume product without downtime. Each custom route is built by hand and each customer is guided through the process. The Custom Road was never able to achieve the volume that Enve ultimately wanted, but it did allow the brand to fine-tune the processes required for the next step. This next step is the scrum.

The Melee takes design, engineering and testing from its Ogden, Utah factory and puts it into production at the company’s Asian manufacturing facilities. It also takes lessons learned and applies them in an evolutionary way. As a result, Enve says the Melee is actually the faster of the two bikes due to a unibody design with narrower tube widths and refined tube shapes to improve aerodynamic performance.

Two Enve Melee bikes riding in Utah

The Enve vision of a modern road racing bike continues with the Melee and a maximum tire size of 35mm. (Image credit: Enve)

Despite this, Enve says the character of the custom road remains in the fray, 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’re not convinced of the bike’s off-road capabilities, keep in mind that at the end of April, Alexey Vermeulen won the BWR CA on this same bike. This dual use is further supported by groupset compatibility spanning mechanical Shimano, wired electronics, wireless electronics and 1x or 2x. There is also a T47 threaded bottom bracket for ease of maintenance.

Aerodynamics is the other aspect of modern bicycle performance. Again, the Melee has the specs without being too specialized. It’s not an aero bike, but it does have some aero considerations. Like many brands, Enve recognizes that an aero-optimized all-round bike better covers everyday riding needs, so to that end there are no visible cables at the front of the bike.

Unlike the Custom Road, the Melee comes with a separate bar and stem, and to make that possible, a new integrated Enve Road stem debuts alongside the bike. Cables, wires and brake hoses stay out of sight and out of the wind through the handlebars, stem and steerer tube. K-Edge will take care of fitting the accessories with the new stem.

In another departure from the custom route, the Melee will feature a seatpost instead of an integrated seat mast. Obviously, this change allows greater flexibility of adjustment, but it also gains in aerodynamics. The Melee features a dedicated aero seatpost with a kammtail design and a two-bolt seat rail clamp. Of the three options available for the bike, two will have zero setback while the third will be -20mm setback. All three will have 7×7, 7×9 and 7×10 saddle rail options.

Melee Envelope Chassis

The Melee isn’t exactly custom, but consumers will work with select retailers to specify the exact bike that’s right for them. (Image credit: Enve)

The Melee is semi-custom

While the Melee will be commercially available in seven sizes ranging from 47cm to 60cm, customers will still have the freedom to customize their new bike.

Instead of purchasing the Melee directly from Enve, a chassis will be provided to Enve Ride Center dealerships. This will include the frame, fork, headset, handlebars, stem, and seatpost, and customization will be available at every stage with these components.

For starters, the frame will have options for seven sizes: 47, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60cm. Stem options range from 80mm to 130mm, all with -7° rise. The handlebars will be the Enve SES AR bars in sizes ranging from 38mm to 46mm and, as already mentioned, there will be three seatposts available, all with saddle rail clamping options covering everything on the market and a recoil of zero or -20°. That is a total of 630 possible configurations.

To better support dealers and customers with such a range of options available, Enve has created the Best-Fit Calculator. The tool can help a rider (or bike fitter) identify exactly which frame size, stem length, spacer stack, and seatpost offset combination will meet their fit stack needs, adjustment range and saddle position. The final construction choices will then be the subject of 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 vehicle.

Strictly speaking, this is not a custom bike. There are no custom geometries available and at launch there will only be one color option available, which Enve calls Damascus. However, for almost everyone, there will be enough options that you can find the exact cut that suits you. Nobody should ever have to swap parts out right away and your bike will be perfectly suited to your needs.

Price and availability

The Enve Melee is now available in select sizes and markets worldwide. The ENVE Melee Chassis costs $5500, €5500, £5300 and includes the frame, fork, headset, stem, handlebars and seat post.