ENVE introduces the Fray, a new adventure-capable road bike

The new all-road bike from ENVE offers the middle ground between their two existing frame options

Clock14:47, Thursday 11th April 2024
The new Fray pictured in the hills of Girona, Spain

© Enve Composites

The new Fray pictured in the hills of Girona, Spain

ENVE has released a new road bike to their line-up called the Fray, which is being billed as a performance “all-road” bike.

The Fray is the second road bike ENVE has released and is meant to fill the gap between the Melee, the previous road frame, and the MOG, the brand's gravel bike.

Most notably, the bike is built around 31-35mm tyres and has a taller headtube to accommodate less aggressive positions and more varied terrain. Nevertheless, the bike retains a lightweight, aerodynamic tube shape and a high level of customisability by building on ENVE’s wide range of components.

Read more: ENVE bikes enter pro peloton with TotalEnergies partnership

“The Fray is the road bike for those whose cycling priorities have shifted from weekly racing to a broader range of cycling objectives where performance is still critical to meeting one's goals,” ENVE said in a press release.

“With the ability to run up to a measured 40mm tyre when using a 1x setup, the Fray will deliver mixed-surface performance, but it was designed for the road and the geometry delivers accordingly.”

Read more: Do wider tyres on your bike make you faster?

Designed to be comfortably fast

While the Fray is capable of fitting light gravel tyres, with clearance up to 40mm for 1x set-ups and 38mm for 2x option, ENVE has gone to great pains to argue that the bike is meant to be predominantly a road bike.

Even if the headtube length of the bike is higher than most road bikes – coming in a full 2cm higher than the ENVE Melee – and has lots of tyre clearance, the frame is built to be rigid and nimble like a road bike instead of being compliant and stable like a gravel bike.

“Modern gravel racers and riders require slacker geometry, more tyre clearance, dropper post compatibility, and more. At a glance, the Fray may appear to be equal parts Melee and MOG, but trust us when we say, this apple falls much closer to the Melee's tree,” the press release said.

Nevertheless, 31-35mm tyres are not what road riders would typically spring for first. What ENVE is betting on is that many of their would-be buyers would see the value of the added tyre volume, especially if their riding involves any sub-par pavement or light dirt roads where a large road tyre is the best option.

Read more: Six equipment changes that will turn your road bike into a gravel bike

Built around road gearing and road speeds

While those changes in the geometry and the optimal tyre are significant, what is less significant is the differences between the Fray and the Melee when it comes to both weight and aerodynamics, two of the most important elements of a road bike frame.

According to ENVE’s testing, the Fray is on average 3.3 watts slower than the Melee at 40kph. When considering the full system including the rider, the difference increases to 4.4 watts. That difference is not entirely immaterial, however there are lots of elements to a full bike system that can account for much more than 4.4 watts at 40kph.

In terms of the weight of the frame, there is also a slight difference between ENVE’s two frame offerings, with the Fray requiring a few added grams to account for the slightly larger frame and in-vogue downtube storage. At size 56, the Melee comes in at 850 grams while the Fray weighs in at 900 grams.

Since the bike is within the spectrum of road bikes, the compatible gearing options are road groupsets rather than off-road options. All modern road groupsets are compatible with the system, except for SRAM and Campagnolo 2x mechanical systems.

A few gravel groupsets are also not compatible, most notably Shimano GRX 2x systems with a 48/31t chainring combo, as the front derailleur hanger is not low enough to accommodate that gearing, and the SRAM T-type/Mullet configuration which has a minimum chainstay length that is longer than that of the ENVE Fray.

Nevertheless, unless you purchase the Fray from a dealer, the bike is sold as a 'chaise' rather than a complete build.

A customisable chaise

One of the biggest selling points of the ENVE Fray is the full collection of customisable ENVE finishing accessories that can be paired with the frame to customise the bike to whatever spec and fit of the rider. The 'chaise', as ENVE calls it, includes the frame, fork, headset, handlebar, stem and seat post.

Through the online-based 'best-fit' calculator, each bike can be specced custom to each buyer when the buyer enters their fit information. This provides the information needed to build the chaise – in this case meaning the handlebars, stems and seat post – to match the buyer’s fit.

ENVE claims this ability to configure the 'chaise' makes the Fray “the most readily customisable fixed geometry all-road bike on the market". In total, ENVE offers five handlebar/stem combos, three seat post options with two more coming soon and both positive and negative stems.

Lastly, the Fray comes in three colour options – salt, venom and ash – in all sizes.

The Fray chaise will retail at US $5,500, €5,799, £5,500 and AUS $9,999, with one-piece handlebars adding $499 to the total price.

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