Reportage

My Manzanita Sklar 27.5 All Road Is Meaner Now with Crust Towel Rack Bars

This bike. This freaking bike. When I first built up my Sklar, it was built on the 700c wheel platform. At Lost & Found last year, I swapped out the i9 wheels for the new ENVE G27 650b gravel wheels and haven’t missed the 700c wheels one bit. From there, the bike slowly went under transformations but it wasn’t until I put the Crust Towel Rack Bars on it that I feel like this bike has finally come into its own.

Super Yummy Stance

With the Sim Works Super Yummy tires, the bike is now a veritable monster truck. Having put a few hundred miles on them since first seating them on the rims, I can say that they’re sold out until August for a reason! These tires are fast-rolling on pavement and have plenty of grip off-road. The 2.2″ size is a massive improvement over the 47mm tires I had on it before. The sidewall protection has kept me flat-free and they look damn good.

About those Bars

Wow. Just wow. While I didn’t bite off the full Towel Rack experience with the 675mm wide width, I am sold on the platform with even the 615mm width. The multiple hand positions are crucial for long rides and rowdy descents, the added width helps with my shoulder pain, and let’s be honest, they look damn good on this bike in particular. All those swoopy lines make my heart swoon. One note, this bike has a 75mm stem and it still felt a tad short on me. With the wider bars, it now feels like I’m at my proper reach. These bars measure 61cm c-t-c at the ends of the drops and 50cm c-t-c at the hoods.

Enve G27 650b

ENVE makes great wheels but at a substantial cost. $2550.00 is a lot of coin to drop on wheels. It’s what most people spend on a bike! To be honest, I didn’t buy these wheels. ENVE loaned me them to try out with no expectations. In fact, I was supposed to just ride them for Lost & Found last year and return them immediately, but I weaseled my way into holding onto them for a year. With no obligations to ENVE, I’m merely writing this review now give these rims the praise they deserve.

For weight-conscious riders, the G27 is the lightest rim ENVE makes, at just 320 grams. It has a patent-pending hookless rim design that is supposed to reduce snakebike and pinch flats. In fact, I have found this to be true, or at least I haven’t pinch flatted, which is rare for me, being 200lbs and usually not the easiest on my wheels, or my bikes for that matter. I’m notorious at doing dumb shit.

While the weight and the hookless rim design are two great features, my favorite thing about the rims is the ride quality. Over the years, competitor’s rims have gotten so good and more affordable than ENVE’s offerings, that I had kinda written them off as an option for my builds – not that I’m a carbon snob, I just bend and dent aluminum rims too much! The Santa Cruz Reserve wheels are outstanding and are backed by a no questions asked warranty. Yet, the G27 fills a void many carbon manufacturers have left gaping: comfort.

Carbon wheels are very chattery and stiff. For me, being a larger rider, I can usually plow through that chatter but once I rode these wheels, I noticed a considerable difference in stiffness. The G27 wheels flex. A lot. They don’t get all bouncy when you roll through a rocky area, they kinda just hold their line. On a rigid drop bar bike, they make a world of difference. It’s like they ride like an alloy rim. In terms of reliability, I didn’t have to true the wheel at all and never had to replace a spoke. Sure, if you break a spoke, you have to remove the rim tape – which is one of the most griped about details with ENVE – but it has yet to happen to me.

With the G27, you get the MUSA badge, the weight savings, the ease of tubeless setup, the reduction in pinch flats, and finally, a carbon wheel that is more lively than stiff. Check out more information at ENVE.

I’ll have this bike at Lost & Found this weekend! If you see me and can ride a 58cm-60cm bike, holler and I’ll let you take it for a spin. Got any questions? Holler in the comments!