Announced today, the follow-up to ENVE’s OG mountain fork is their new Boost Mountain fork. This fork has a few clever details, with some welcomed additions that make it a great ally for your bikepacking setup. Read on below for a deep dive using John’s Sklar 29+ desert rat rig as a model…
I must admit, this fork was by no means a secret. Adam and I actually designed the bike with this fork in mind last summer. What I wasn’t expecting were all the updates it was going to receive. For starters, it features boost axle-spacing, 15x110mm, so it will mesh well with most modern hardtail or rigid bike wheelsets on the market. It’s suspension-corrected for 120mm of travel and has adjustable rake, thanks to two drop-out flip chips.
The Specs Are:
-Two rake options, 44mm or 52mm
-490mm axle to crown at 44mm, 492mm at 52mm
-Post mount brakes
-Weighs 676g with cable clasps or 719g with the fender
-Weighs just 9g more than the Non-Boost MTN fork.
-M5 accessory hardware
-1.5″ crown race
-180mm max rotor
-29×3″ max tire
-300mm full carbon steerer tube
About those Mounts
These days, if your bike is designed to touch dirt, it should have mounts for cargo cages, in my opinion anyway. All companies should be doing this with their forks. When executed as cleanly as these aluminum threaded covers, there’s no reason not to.
These little covers unscrew, revealing M5 threading, perfect for a variety of cages. Be it extra bottles, cargo, or even bolt-on micro panniers, these mounts take the functionality of the Boost Mountain fork up a few notches. The biggest problem will be not losing track of where you place the covers!
Flip that Chip
Why would you want a flip-chip in a fork? Well, while you personally might not notice a change in handling between 44mm and 52mm rake, the option is there for those who do. Say you have a do-it-all rigid bike. You race XC on it, ride trails, and even bikepack on it. You might want to race with the chip in the 44mm position and ride trail or bikepack with it in the 52mm position. All it takes is some adjustment with the brake mount adapter, a few washers, and varying bolt lengths, all of which ENVE provides with the fork. It’s another one of those details that are great for those who utilize it but innocuous enough for those who don’t.
Why the Fender?
Personally, I’m a dusty kinda rider, not a muddy kinda rider, so mudguards or fenders aren’t really all that important for a majority of my rides. Yet, there’s something very moto-inspired when it comes to the ENVE Mountain fenders. Does it keep mud off my downtube and face? Maybe. Does it look bad ass? I’d say so! Luckily, ENVE supplies normal clasps with their forks so you don’t have to opt-in for the fender look if you don’t want to. I kinda like it on this bike.
It’s hard to beat the feel of a steel fork. Especially on a titanium bike. ESPECIALLY when it’s fully-loaded, railing washboard corners and plowing through rock gardens. Steel forks flex in all the right ways, offering an incredible ride quality, but the thing is, they flex in the wrong ways too. ESPECIALLY when loaded down.
While I love the Sklar-made fork that matches this bike, it’s not without a few shortcomings, particularly when it comes to braking. Loaded or unloaded, this bike experiences a good amount of brake flex when you clamp down or modulate on the front brake. Those Paul Klampers really do their job! While I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a fatal flaw, it takes a bit getting used to, particularly when the bike is loaded with bags and extra water containers on the fork legs. Now, the steel fork can be engineered to remedy that but then you’d miss out on all that glorious flex.
Smiling crusty ear to crusty ear from the feel of this bike! Photo by Adam Sklar
The most noticeable difference between the steel Sklar fork and this ENVE fork is the weight. They’re not even close to each other. I haven’t weighed the steel fork but it’s stout. In terms of ride quality, with the titanium frame, and an oversized downtube, the ENVE fork’s stiffness adds to the bike’s flexy and fun feel. Braking is more stable, more controlled, and aesthetically, I like the look of the blades, especially in proximity to that beefy downtube.
Steel and carbon will never ride the same. Especially when it comes to forks but they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Time will tell which I prefer on this bike but I’m looking forward to putting more miles on this one.
The One Bummer
As you can see, I have a SON hub but no dynamo lights. I actually had to take the lights off while I problem solve what to do about my one nit-pick: there are no provisions for a dynamo setup on this fork. I wish it had internal routing. Again, it’s one of those details that are great if you would like them but innocuous enough where they won’t detract from the user experience. Luckily, some clear tape will aid in running the dynamo wiring up to the lamp.
I also wish the fork had a threaded mount in the crown. It doesn’t have to go all the way through but an M5 or M8 mount would be nice. The reason why many brands (Whisky and Salsa included here) got rid of their crown-mounts is that people were mounting racks to them and eventually, they would rip out of the fork crown. So I get why ENVE opted out for one here.
How would you run a dynamo light with this setup? I’m thinking a handlebar mount is the most obvious solution… or a direct mount to the fender perhaps?
Overall, for less than a dollar a gram, you get a lightweight, capable fork, updated for modern boost spacing, with cargo cage mounts, and a cool, yet optional fender from a company that knows carbon fiber. Sure, it might not be as flexy as a steel fork but there’s something to be said about stiffness up front, especially on a titanium frame.
Got any questions? Drop them in the comments below!