Today is launch day for the ENVE MOG, a new gravel bike offering. ENVE, who was initially known for their carbon components like wheels, forks, and handlebars, has previously moved into the frame market with their road frame, called Melee. The new MOG builds on some of the concepts introduced with the Melee, and puts them in a "gravel", off-road focused design.
Disclosure: I haven't ridden the MOG yet. But the new frameset really caught my eye with some unique features and design choices that I believe address some shortcomings in other makes and models. This new frame is positioned squarely against bikes like the Specialized Diverge, 3T Exploro, and Cervelo Aspero. Let's take a look at some of the features and likely pros and cons of the new MOG.
ENVE MOG at a glance
The MOG is designed for gravel, exploring, and adventure riding off-road with drop handlebars. It appears to be performance-focused with shaped tubes and a lightweight design, i.e. a capable gravel racer.
Key "pro" features include:
- Big tire clearance: 700x50mm
- Full internal cable routing that hides all cables and housing within the handlebar, stem, headset, and frame
- Cargo bay built into the downtube for carrying tools or spare tube
- T47 bottom bracket
- Mounting bosses for more storage on the top tube and fork
- Crazy light - 950 grams, unpainted, 56cm frame
- Uses a regular round seatpost - that means you can add a dropper, if desired, or swap to your favorite rigid make/model. Nothing proprietary like many other brands.
- 6 sizes with 3 fork rakes, so there should be a fit here for almost everyone
- Sold only as a chassis, which reduces component choice. You get a frame, fork, headset, seatpost, handlebar, and stem (admittedly, top quality cockpit gear)
- $5500 MSRP
- Only one color - "Sand" - that being said, it's a good looking choice to me
- Proprietary stem and handlebar to accomodate the internal cable routing. Other stems "not recommended" per ENVE, more research needed to see what might be possible
Striking design features - including NO dropped driveside chainstay
Faced with the challenge of consumer demand for wider tire clearance, short chainstays, and a front derailleur, many brands have introduced frames with dropped drive-side chainstays. This love it or hate it design creates some additional clearance in the small amount of space where the chainstay, chainrings, front derailleur cage, and tire knobs come close to touching. Other brands have introduced frames that simply can't accomodate a front derailleur at all as an alternative way to handle this problem.
Visually, I'm not a fan of the dropped chainstay design, and I prefer to be able to use a 2x double chainring crankset. I feel the dropped chainstay breaks up the traditional lines of a frame and just doesn't look compelling. I know what you're thinking - who cares? What caught my eye on the ENVE MOG is it doesn't use the dropped chainstay design!
So how did ENVE manage to achieve what every other brand hasn't - support for a front derailleur and 2x drivetrains, massive tire clearance, and keep an incredibly short chainstay length - 420mm - all at the same time? At first glance, I just don't know! The photos reveal that from the top, it's incredibly narrow - but that's about it. Gotta do some more reading and research in this area. Maybe someone from ENVE can reach out and provide some more details. I'm interested in learning more about why other brands haven't adopted a similar design, given that ENVE has now illustrated it's possible.
Could you use the ENVE MOG for cyclocross?
At first blush, it sure looks like the MOG would be a nice cyclocross chassis, with clean lines and plenty of tire clearance. After digging in further, I'm thinking maybe not. The MOG appears to be designed around 42mm tires, and they suggest a minimum of 35mm. Compare that with the standard 33mm wide tires historically used for cyclocross.
While the wheels and tires would certainly fit on the frame and fork, using a 33mm tire will affect the handling some, by changing the fork trail dimension. The bottom bracket will also be lower to the ground, which could creating less clearance when riding over obstacles or bunnyhopping the planks. Will need to ride a MOG to confirm what a 33mm tire feel like on this frame.
If you aren't a traditionalist and don't care about using 33mm tires, or perhaps your local series doesn't enforce a tire size limit, then the MOG might make a nice cyclocross race rig. I'm hoping to ride or inspect one at the upcoming Sea Otter Classic to answer some of these questions.
Overall, a really promising introduction
I'm excited by the direction set by the MOG! I'll come back and update as more hard data about the new design emerges.
Let me know what you think of the new ENVE MOG and where you might like to ride it, message me at @RideCX on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your thoughts, and thanks for reading.