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Wintry aftermath – the hard-frozen trails allowed the ENVE MTN fork to show how comfortable it really is.

ENVE MTN carbon rigid fork– verdict: by c_g

(related articles:  ENVE MTN fork – Intro and Ride Impressions)

By now some more time has passed since we have been riding and enjoying the PIVOT LeSS single speed project. A good part of that enjoyment has been due to the ENVE MTN carbon rigid fork. While my first impressions had been based on me riding it on mostly frozen or snowed over trails, with plenty of muddy and wet conditions in between – the oncoming spring time has blessed me with great riding throughout.

All this time has only further confirmed my prior statements which I can pretty much leave unchanged: The ENVE MTN fork is the current pinnacle of what a rigid fork can be. The handling and compliance is next to none. The options with the adjustable offset by the 15mm thru axle, plus the great hose routing and included mini fender / clip accessories and, last but not least, the huge tire clearance, sets it apart from all those other very good rival rigid forks. This fork is simply in a league of its own.

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… At the beginning of the test with 52 mm offset – the eccentric axis in the forward position.

The only thing I had not been tinkering with is the adjustable offset. The fork had come to me with an offset of 52 mm, but can be changed to 44 mm by via the eccentric axle inserts. In order to see how easily this would be and to immediately feel the effect, I made that change right out on the trail.

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The tapered aluminum insert is form-locking in the carbon fork, requiring some force to remove it – no danger of ever accidentally coming loose.

The procedure is rather simple: Take off the front wheel and push the inserts out towards the outside. As they fit very tightly and are secured by an extra rubber lip, this takes quite a bit of strength, but is really simple. Once out all you have to do is rotate them by 180° and push them back in.

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… And after reconstruction with 44 mm offset (axis in the rear position). Notice the small aluminum spacer between the adapter and fork, which are installed to compensate.

To compensate for the altered axle position, the fork caliper needs to be changed by the same amount. For that purpose the fork already came with a set of spacers, that need to be mounted between the fork and caliper (or as in our case, between adapter and fork, as we run our fork with a 180mm rotor).

All in all the procedure takes about 10 min and was easily done out on the trail, but given you are working with quite a few loose pieces, should better be done at home, just to be safe.

26-ENVESo, how does the ENVE MTN fork ride with the offset altered to 44 mm? When I thought about it prior to the change, I envisioned it to feel slower, but to be honest, I couldn’t really sense any of that. Instead I found myself constantly correcting my steering impulses, riding along, almost like I had lost my confidence. Those readers, that know me, know how I strive to be as accurate and precise as possible, but in this case I am lacking in proper ways to describe it other than by saying “The ENVE MTN fork with the 44 mm offset simply felt wrong on the PIVOT LeSS. If it was not for the sake of really giving it a chance, I would have changed it back to 52 mm right after the first ride, but I forced myself to keep riding it for a while to see if or how I would adapt. After about 5 rides, I started to not mind it that much anymore, but even after some more rides, the bike never felt as ‘perfect’ as it had before. Somehow I had to acknowledge that this bike simply felt and rode better with the offset at 52mm, which is where I rode it in the last phase of the test … and simply loved the bike again.

So, while I am still not able to pinpoint the changed offset down to a specific handling quality, it is very obvious that it has a major effect on how a bike rides. While in my specific case this clearly reduced my enjoyment of the ride, it may well be possible, that on another bike it could be just the other way around. Therefore it is good to have options and in the case of the ENVE MTN fork it is the only option I know of where you can alter offset numbers directly. It is another feature that sets it apart from the rest.

So with this last experiment completed, my time on board the ENVE MTN fork draws to a conclusion  – at least for the PIVOT single speeder speaking, since we plan on putting it on another bike – a 29+ project where it may well work better with the 44mm offset. Who knows?

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As a final verdict to this review, I can only repeat myself: “The ENVE MTN fork is the most advanced carbon rigid fork that you can currently get your hands on.”

Be it the super simple and effective cable routing, the 2 position offset settings on the thru axle or the fantastic tire clearance, this fork is a winner in every aspect. At this point it sets the new benchmark on ride quality. Its handling did fit perfectly on the PIVOT LeSS and gave me such a confident yet agile, fun ride, that the only way to describe it would be ‘perfect’. When it comes to comfort, it still is a rigid fork, but it had enough compliance that it will have many riders stopping in astonishment, seeing how far rigid forks have come along from those unforgiving sticks we had been riding only some years ago.

RIDE ON,
c_g

Note: This product was sent over for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches-DE. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.