American manufacturer Enve has done it again. After 2021's Custom Road (its first complete bike made in Ogden, Utah), it has added the Melee, a "purpose-built road racing bicycle," according to the press release, to its offer.
Custom Road's goal was to evolve from an aftermarket wheel and components brand to a full-service bicycle manufacturer. Now, with the addition of the Melee – produced overseas, unlike its older sister – Enve will offer seven stock frame sizes from 47 to 60. The Melee will also have five unique fork rakes to provide responsive handling to riders of all sizes.Bike fitting was also at the top of Enve's priorities when concocting the Melee. That's why it comes as a "Chassis Only", which includes the frame, fork, headset, handlebar, stem, and seat post (£5,300, not including the bottom bracket). However, the bar, stem, fork and seat post are proprietary to the Melee alone and can be selected à la carte to ensure that customers get the perfect fit they need.
"Your road bike needs to be an extension of your body, and we want people to achieve that seamless feel from the first pedal stroke," explains Enve's VP of Product and Brand Jake Pantone. Enve will also provide precise calculations to find the best fit for riders through its Enve Best-Fit Calculator software to achieve this target.
"Our calculator aims to simplify the fitment process for the fitter and customer alike. The calculator functions simply by pairing a rider's fit stack, fit reach, and saddle position numbers with a frame geometry, stem length, stem rise, spacer stack, and saddle offset. The output provides the rider with several frames and component configuration options that the rider and their fitter can analyse to determine the rider's 'best-fit' option," said Pantone.The Melee was also conceived for keen and demanding road racers, and Enve made sure aerodynamics, responsive handling, durability, and versatility were not forgotten in the development process. Enve wanted a bike that could do it all, from criteriums to classics, with a generous tire clearance to support that intent.
"The Melee is a no holds barred modern race bike built specifically to meet the performance demands of the discipline," explains Pantone. "The Custom Road, capable of racing at the highest level, prioritises customisation and personalisation over specific race performance metrics such as weight, stiffness, and aerodynamics."
On the other hand, the Melee wants to be the performance bike of Enve's fleet, featuring everything riders conceive as standards these days. That's why it's presented with geometry and handling that you'd typically find on bikes fitted with 27 to 32mm tires, but on the Melee, you can fit tires from 25 up to 35mm (though the recommended is still 27 to 31).It also features a monocoque construction which allowed Enve to refine the tube shapes, reduce weight, and increase the overall efficiency of the bike. In addition, Enve followed its Real-World Fast approach to bike design, meaning that the Melee has been conceived with a holistic approach to performance and the pragmatic goal of being performant in reality, not only on computer software. That results in a good balance of aerodynamics features, weight savings, stiffness and compliance.
Enve also designed the Melee tube shapes to complement their SES rim profiles. They say that the airflow transitions from wheel to frame surfaces are harmonic and guarantee a stable ride experience in variable or even wind conditions. And that means that with different Enve wheels, you could use the Melee in different scenarios, including climbing, road racing and lead out.
The Melee is available only in the colour Damascus. Still, as with its wheel decal program, Enve gives plenty of options to personalise the final decal kit (which is shipped with tools and instructions for installation). It is also compatible with most drivetrains on the market (1x and 2x too), and it has all cables routed. It looks clean and fast; at first glance, it sure looks like Enve did a proper job.