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Road Gear

ENVE releases the Melee, its second road frame

The aerodynamic stock-only frame is made overseas, deviating from the brand’s other fully custom made-in-Utah model.

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A year on from ENVE’s entry into road frames, the Utah-based brand is expanding its horizons with an aerodynamic model called the Melee. Looking to reach more customers, ENVE has created the Melee as a stock frame produced overseas, as opposed to the Custom Road, which is made in its Utah factory. 

Positioned as a road racer, the Melee foregoes the customizable geometry of the Custom Road, but gains a heightened focus on performance including improved aerodynamics.

Aerodynamic focus

ENVE doesn’t claim to have made the fastest road bike with the Melee, but the brand does claim aero efficiency on par with the fastest. To achieve this, ENVE has incorporated more aerodynamic tube shapes, including ones that complement the brand’s own SES rim shapes, creating a faster overall system.

The Melee has been designed to work best with the brand’s own wheels.

ENVE incorporates its own aero components as well, including a cam-tail seatpost, an SES AR handlebar, and a brand new integrated road stem which allows all brake cables and wires to route internally through the stem and head tube for a clean look. A 1.5-inch upper bearing and 1.125-inch steerer tube provides enough space to route the cables internally. And if you’re looking to continue that clean look up front, a special K-Edge combo computer/accessory mount is also available.

But speed isn’t solely about aerodynamics. The “real-world fast” philosophy ENVE developed for its wheels finds its way into the Melee frameset. In practice, this means approaching bike design holistically and balancing factors like aerodynamics, stiffness, and ride quality so no one quality outweighs any other. 

Geometry

The Melee is available in seven stock frame sizes: 47, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60. The rake changes throughout the range of sizes to keep a consistent ride quality. At 410mm-412mm, The chainstays are a touch longer than some other road bikes, but that helps the Melee offer a more versatile ride. 

Versatility

ENVE has built in a healthy amount of versatility through a generous tire clearance. It’s rated for tires up to 35mm wide, pushing it into all-road territory, and has a geometry optimized around 27mm-32mm tires. ENVE recommends going no lower than 25mm because that will begin to negatively affect the handling of the bike. 

Pricing and builds

Having started as an aftermarket component and wheel manufacturer, ENVE’s big advantage making bikes is its ability to supply industry leading components as part of the frameset. As of now, the frame is only available as a “chassis,” which in addition to the frame and fork includes a handlebar, stem, seatpost, and headset. Customers can configure which size SES AR handlebar and integrated road stem they want at purchase to get the correct fit. 

The Melee chassis costs $5,500 and is only available in the chassis configuration.

When it comes to color, ENVE has made the choice quite simple by eliminating any choice at all. It only comes in one rather tame dark gray color, called “Damascus,” with custom decal options available to add some personal flair. 

The Melee chassis costs $5,500 and is only available in the chassis configuration, not as a complete bike.

Component Compatibility

While many high-end road frames have been defaulting to electronic only these days, the Melee stays somewhat open to mechanical groups still, in addition to 1x and 2x electronic groups. Interestingly, mechanical works only so long as it’s Shimano. ENVE explains that mechanical routing on the Melee requires continuous housing from shifter to derailleur, preventing the use of non-Shimano front derailleurs. That means 1x mechanical groups from SRAM and Campagnolo work fine though. Campagnolo EPS electronic groups are not compatible however. 

More info: enve.com