by Chris Bagg, Heather Jackson, and Neil Shirley
Ed. Note—When you want to go as fast as possible on the bike, your wheels are a hugely important place to take a good hard look: leading edges, trailing edges, rotating weight, nipple exposure (yikes!), rim depth...there is a lot going on. Heather Jackson just made a switch to ENVE Composites for her wheel of choice, and will ride the U.S.-based company's hoops throughout 2019. We checked in with HJ and Neil Shirley, the company's Influence Marketing Manager, to learn more about the change.
HJ, what excited you about riding ENVE wheels? Is there something different or particular that you are looking forward to about the product itself?
ENVE's reputation preceded itself in terms of it's game-changing product, and so I'm just stoked at the opportunity to race on some of the lightest, fastest, most aerodynamic wheels out there. My entire triathlon career ENVE has always stood out to me as this cool and hardcore brand, so it's exciting to be a part of that culture and help them push new boundaries. I'm really looking forward to working with Neil and Jake and everyone else behind the brand and can't thank them enough for this opportunity. For most races this season I will race on the SES 7.8 Front and SES Disc in the rear. ENVE just launched their new disc wheel and so that will be sick to get to race on a disc this year. For Kona, I will race on the SES 7.8 front and rear.
Neil, tell us a little about the process of signing HJ, if you can
Seriously, why wouldn’t we want to partner with Heather? She encapsulates everything that we want in an athlete representing the brand. Heather not only competes for the win in every race she lines up for, she offers so much more than just results alone—her love of sport is easy to see. She isn’t just a triathlete, she rides mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, and it seems like there’s no challenge she isn’t up for. We've long respected Heather as a person and an athlete, in addition to enjoying seeing what she and Sean Watkins have done with Wattie Ink. There was a longtime interest in having HJ and Wattie Ink. be part of the ENVE family, and it just so happens the timing was finally right recently. ENVE as a brand is just a bunch of people that love riding bikes and making cool products that we want to ride ourselves. We see Heather as a perfect fit since as an athlete she creates the very same vibe of being a down-to-earth person who enjoys what she’s able to do as an athlete. We have a number of wonderful athletes we work with, but Heather is unique in her reach and appeal across all areas of cycling, not only triathlon.
HJ, any cool custom designs in the works for your rims? Bananas?
Haha! Spinning out banana peels. Custom matching decals are definitely in the works throughout the season, which I'm super stoked about. Nothing I can share now, but stay tuned...
Neil, what percentage of your business is the triathlon market? And what do you wish more people knew about ENVE?
Compared to our overall road and mountain sales, triathlon makes up a smaller percentage, but it’s a very important group. Triathletes are well-informed and demand the best technology in their products. That has helped us continue pushing projects such as the SES Disc wheel. With the help of our World Tour road team, Dimension Data, and some of our triathletes, we’ve been able come up with a Disc design that improves upon anything else out there. Now, our only problem with the SES Disc is trying to keep up with consumer demand.
One thing I'd like more people to know is that every single ENVE rim is manufactured in our Ogden, Utah facility. Not only that, but every aspect of product development and manufacturing is all under one roof. That allows us to completely control the process from start to finish, something that very few other industry brands have the ability to do. There are very real challenges we face with U.S. manufacturing, but we feel that the positives far outweigh the negatives. Supporting American workers while having our hands on every step of the process to create a second-to-none product is something we take a lot of pride in.