These are not the words normally used to describe bike parts. In the case of the Cyclologic ENVE upgrade package, they are, however, entirely fitting. We took what was already an impossibly good looking bike, and not only improved the performance, but made it a damn site more sexy as well.
Pretty nice, eh? The upgrade consists of four things. The wheelset, handlebar, stem, and seatpost. There is a lot to cover here, so pour yourself an extra cup of coffee, kick your feet up, and settle in.
First, a brief word about the parts that came stock on the Orca. They consisted of very solid, and surprisingly lightweight, aluminum FSA compact bars, stem and seatpost, and the always fun Vision Tri-Max 30 wheelset. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these parts. They perform incredibly well, and Orbea deserves kudos for their choice in sourcing them. This isn't about any deficiencies in the stock parts, it is instead about how amazing, and totally worth it the upgraded pieces from ENVE are.
Got it? Good! Let's get going!
The wheels are perhaps the most eye-catching part of the package, so let's start there.
ENVE SES 4.5
These wheels are, in a word, stunning. They do everything well... and when I say, "well," I mean really, really well. Climb. Descend. Corner. Accelerate. Stop. You name it, and these wheels can do it. When it comes to weight, the ENVEs are pretty much king of the hill. They come in significantly less than their competitors. They are so light in fact (1328 grams) that in order to get something with a similar rim depth that weighs less, you would have to spend an additional $4500 for the Lightweight Meilenstein Clinchers. The Meilensteins come in at a gobsmacking 1105 grams (for the set!), but that weight savings (223 grams) will cost you a whopping $20 per gram!
Aerodynamics? Once again, the ENVEs more than hold their own. They consistently test at or near the top of every category in the wind tunnel. But we don't ride in wind tunnels, do we? What do they feel like in the real world? I've got a thousand or so miles on these in a variety of wind conditions, and I can say without question that they are flat out the fastest mid depth wheels I have ever ridden. In calm conditions, they accelerate like a shot, and once you reach speed they hold it with ease. But lots of wheels do that...
...in calm conditions.
It's easy to be aerodynamic in still air. What happens when things get more complicated? Well, this is when the ENVE 4.5s really shine.
Even in strong blustery conditions, they behave impeccably. Instead of being pushed around by the wind, it feels almost as if I am being shunted through it. There's no jarring panic filled moments when semi-trucks whiz by. They have had perfect manners in every wind condition I have encountered.
(Disclaimer: I am not a small rider. Depending on what time of year it is, I tip the scales at anywhere from 170-180 pounds. It takes a lot of air to move me! A lighter rider might do better on a lower depth wheel like the ENVE 3.4.)
Unlike most other feather weight wheels out there, the ENVE 4.5s are also super tough. I have had to bunny hop pot holes on multiple occasions, I've had pieces of metal and rocks kicked up by passing traffic smack into the carbon fairings, and I have plowed into and over tons of road debris that I didn't see coming until it was too late. The ENVE wheels? Still perfectly straight and true.
I can't recommend these wheels enough. These are last year's version. The new ones have been upgraded with a tubeless compatible rim, and start at $2700. Are they pricey? Yes. Are they worth it? You betcha!
ENVE SES AERO ROAD BAR, STEM, and computer mount
Clean lines. Ergonomic genius. Ridiculously light weight. The ENVE SES cockpit is simply as good as it gets.
Let's start with the clean lines...
I'm more than a little bit obsessed with simple, clean, well thought out, uncluttered work spaces. I'm the guy that doesn't have any app links on his cell phone touch screen. Same goes for my laptop desktop screen. I go to great lengths to have as few items as possible on my kitchen counters.
The ENVE SES bar and stem scratch that itch for me when I am on my bike. Intuitive internal cable routing, integrated computer mount and bar-end plugs, smooth transitions... Aethetically, there is nothing about this set-up that I don't love. We have a lot of bikes on our sales floor, but this is the one that people consistently stop and stare at. It looks that good.
And as good as it looks, it works even better! The ergonomics are impeccable. The flat top of the bar is super comfy while climbing, and was wind tunnel optimized for aerodynamic efficiency. The drop outs flare slightly, and slot effortlessly into your hands as you transition down from the hoods. The 77mm reach feels natural, and allowed me to run a 1cm longer stem than I normally would.
Normally, a bar with this much shaping would come with a weight penalty. Not this one. The bar weighs 233 grams. The stem comes in at a paltry 126 grams, and the computer mount adds an additional 20 grams. That's a grand total of 379 grams! That's less than many bars weigh all by themselves!
Because this is made by ENVE, you don't have to worry about the weight savings coming at the cost of stiffness or safety. This set-up is rock solid. In the year or so I have been riding it, there hasn't been a single creak or wobble to be found. Heck... If it is tough and stiff enough for a sprinter like Mark Cavendish, it should work fine for the rest of us!
The handlebar retails for $400, the stem for $265, and the computer mount for $45. Again, this is not the least expensive option on the market, but it is certainly one of, if not the, best.
Here's what I have to say about the ENVE seatpost.
I installed it...
...and I haven't thought about it since.
It hasn't slipped, budged, tilted, or moved.
Rock solid. That's exactly what I want out of a seatpost.
I want it to disappear and just let me ride.
The fact that it looks this good and weighs next to nothing are (very) pleasant bonuses.
The ENVE seatpost comes in at 178 grams and retails for $275. In my opinion? When you get something that works this flawlessly, it is worth every penny.
The Cyclologic ENVE Upgrade is the perfect compliment to my bike. It looks amazing, and performs even better. All told, it is 1885 grams of carbon perfection that will dramatically improve the performance, comfort and looks of your ride.
Is it worth it? Of course it is.