Gravel Wheelset Input: Enve vs Zipp vs Roval

Looking for opinions on the following wheelsets for gravel for a lighter 145 - 150lb rider:

  • Enve AG25 - additionally thoughts on the Enve vs I9 hubs
  • Zipp 303 S
  • Roval Terra CL

I have the Zipp 303 FC. I like them and they are quality. I bought them for the quality but also the warranty which I thought was good.

I had them for two months, and the bearings were super gritty. I pulled them apart, full of water and gunk. I asked competitive cyclist, they reached out to Zipp. Zipp said “bearings? Consumable. You can buy this part number if you want to fix it”.

Kind of irritated me, the wheels were only a few months old, I expected more from the bearings, but more importantly I expected more from Zipp or competitive cyclist. While they are probably correct about bearings (I do live in the PNW and the weather this “spring” was atrocious) they would have made a much bigger impression by helping a customer out that just bought a 2000 dollar wheelset.

I did learn how to repack bearings, got a bearing puller and press, and I am now totally confident doing it myself, so there is a silver lining!

Just my experiences with Zipp. But love the wheels.

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The Zipp hubs are a big anecdotal negative for me, as I’ve consistently heard bad things about them. Zero data on this, just anecdotes.

I don’t know. A little research shows me the hubs are different from the S to FC. 76/176 vs ZR1

303fc is only option if you go zipp

I’ve got 303 firecrest. Done 2900km/1700mi, probably 60/40 gravel/road on them in 11 months. Put them through hell, even banged the front through a deep rut that I expected the wheel to explode from, and they are fine. A car cut me off and I slammed into the side of it and the wheel was only slightly buckled. Done no maintenance on the bearings and they still roll sweet. Lifetime warranty is definitely a massive plus.

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I have Hunt on my cx/gravel bike and Light Bicycle on my dedicated gravel. Both have seen heavy use with no issues (used the Lights on a 110 miler in VA with close to 15k climbing). Being <120 lbs probably helps. Much better cost point on both.

Rovals have been flawless for the last 14 months. Dt internals on the hub, which are rad. Probably the easiest rim ive ever had to seat tubless tires on…like 3 pumps from a standard pump and they are holding air.

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That’s crazy. I know these aren’t on your list, but my DT Swiss GRC 1400 wheels have about 5000 miles on them since September 2019 and I beat them up hard. Nearly all of my 398,000’ of climbing in 2020 (across 4800 miles), for example, was on my gravel bike & these wheels, which means a lot of downhill (mostly on trails). I was a 185lb rider then, now 200 (with less upper body muscle and not more lower body muscle, so that means…), am often on rocky trails (including punishing descents) where I wish I had shocks (I ride tubeless 47mm tires), ride in dusty to pouring rain (one 9+hr ride with 6+hrs of rain killed my headlight and taillight) to snow and slush and mud, temperatures from 5ºF (-15C) to 100ºF (38C), and I have not had a single problem let alone needing to change the bearings.

These wheels are a different price than the Zipps, but talk about bomb proof. (Whether related to the above conditions or a coincidence, in the same span above, I’ve had 2 Quarq power meters go bonkers, on my third now.)

Currently having Zipp 303s Wheels on my Gravel bike, I used them on some easy Trails and rough Gravel in the Alps until now they held up well but that is only 1.5 months, can’t really comment on the long term quality, and most of the riding was in dry condition. For the Price I got them (around 810 €) they seem to be great value, all the other options would have been at least 200 more. They are also nice as a road wheelset, which they are now for the Road event end of July, after that it is probably back to Gravel duties.

I would have agreed with you until I heard the OP was told the warranty didn’t cover his issue

I have not ridden any of the wheels you’re looking at, but wanted to throw in that from what I’ve seen the ENVE hubs are actually very good value. You didn’t mention them, but I’ve had a few mechanics tell me to avoid the CK hubs when buying ENVE wheels.

I didn’t mention CK hubs as they aren’t a standard hub option on the AG25s.

I’ve run CK hubs for years on road bikes and they’ve been bombproof, so interesting mechanics are telling you to avoid them.

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I had a similar experience with short bearing life. Although I didn’t attempt a warranty claim. as I expected the ‘consumable’ part. I just had them replaced with a quality bearing and moved on. I debated if it was a cheap bearing, or some of the nasty crap I’ve put it through.

I’m not looking to get the FC, but the S 303 version. So if it’s FC or bust, then that would cut the Zips out

I’ve got a set of the 303S, I’ve ridden them and the FC, I haven’t ridden the others on your list. The 303S are super nice. I wouldn’t hesitate to run em!

These DT aren’t on my list as they are more than I want to spend

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I bought 303 S a few months ago after a similar search. Finding them at 20% off was what broke the stalemate.

No complaints, they seem nicer than any other wheel I’ve ever had but one important note is they are 23mm internal vs 25mm internal on the others. I use these as a hybrid road/gravel wheel running 28mm road tires in the summer and 35mm gravel tires in the shoulder seasons and winter. If you wanted a full on dedicated gravel wheel to run something wider full time I’d probably have gone for the Rovals which I’ve also seen go on sale before.

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