After reviewing all the available options for rigid Carbon Fiber mountain bike forks, the Enve Mountain fork was at the top of the list for our 29″ MTB XC hardtail to Gravel Conversion project. It sits at or near the top of its class for lightweight, features a proper axle to crown length, plenty of tire clearance, plus two settings for Rake to fine-tune the ride. For a fork that is meant to simplify the riding experience, there’s a lot of stuff going on here.
Out of the Box
The mountain fork arrives with all the parts needed for installation, most notably a range of brake mount adapters for 160mm and 170mm rotors, as well as spacers for both the 44 and 52mm rake settings.
Features (via Enve)
|Steerer Tube Length||300mm|
|Axle to Crown||470mm|
|Axle Compatibility||15mm x 100mm|
|Max Rotor Size||180mm|
|Max Tire Clearance||3.4in|
|Crown Race Diameter||1.5|
|Torque Spec: Steer Tube||5.5 Nm|
|Torque Spec: Axle||8Nm|
|Weight||711g (w/ fender), 686g (w/ clasps)|
Enve provides documentation and support for installation that is easy to follow for experienced mechanics. Given the high price point of the Enve Mountain Fork, we wouldn’t recommend a home mechanic perform this themselves unless they’re already experienced and possess the proper tools for the installation.
At the very least a proper fine tooth hacksaw and a steer tube cut guide is recommended. A crown race setting tool is crucial as well, though I did manage to install ours with a block of wood. I make an effort to keep the Bermstyle bike shop up to date and my 1 1/8 crown race tool is essentially useless now that tapered forks are the standard; it’s time to add a 1.5″ race setting tool.
The bike: BMC TeamElite
The bike we selected for the 29er XC to gravel conversion is Inga’s BMC TeamElite hardtail mountain bike. With the addition of a BMC Agonist, the TeamElite has been a bit neglected. Converting it to a dedicated gravel bike fills a unique niche in her quiver, and should serve this use very well.
It’s technically a softtail, utilizing an integrated elastomer bumper on the seat stays to add vibration damping and a small amount of suspension travel that BMC coined Micro Travel Technology. The small amount of travel makes the TeamElite a solid platform for gravel riding; so much so that BMC’s new URS Gravel Specific model evolved out of the TeamElite platform.
We see a lot of cross bikes and gravel bikes with flat bar conversions and it really doesn’t make sense from a geometry perspective. Drop bar bikes are designed accounting for integrated reach of the bars as part of the equation. Replacing a drop bar with a flat bar and maintaining the same cockpit length and fit would mean adding a rather long stem, which is exactly the opposite of what is desired in a bike being taken off road.
With the Enve Mountain Fork installed, the BMC dropped a significant amount of heft, weighing in at under 22lbs. After riding 1x drive trains for the last few years, Inga’s finding the double front chainring to be a bit off-putting, so reducing a bit more heft with the 1x conversion was the next step. After a few more tweaks it’ll be time to log some miles on our local urban to dirt gravel route for a real shakedown.
In terms of the Evne Mountain fork, it looks great on the bike. The integrated front fender and cable routing is cleverly implemented and looks seamless. It complements the look of the BMC and the drop in the weight of the bike is very noticeable.
The final step of course is to swap out tires to dedicated gravel treads.. more on this front coming soon.
With the Mountain Fork, Enve has crafted a beautiful piece of componentry that should provide years of service. That said, we’re looking forward to pounding out some miles on it. The Enve Mountain Fork lists for $625. Learn more at Enve.com
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