While many riders are turning to disc brakes for consistent, all-weather braking and wider tires, let’s not forget the millions of riders with great rim-brake road bikes dying for a wheel upgrade. If that’s you, then ENVE has a variety of rim-brake wheelsets with wider profiles and optimized braking surfaces for the best possible performance.

ENVE SES 3.4 Rim Brake Clincher Wheelset Features:

  • Optimized SES rim shaping
  • Textured, full-carbon brake track for consistent wet/dry braking
  • 38mm deep front / 42mm deep rear
  • 21mm internal width
  • Tubeless-ready clinchers
  • Aero optimized for 25mm tires
  • DT Swiss 240s hubs (other options available)
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Weight: 1477 grams (set)
  • MSRP: $2900
ENVE SES 3.4 Wheelset Review

The 38mm front wheel is slightly shallower to shed crosswinds.

3.4’s are light, fast and tubeless-ready

I’ve been successfully spinning the ENVE’s aboard the amazing Pinarello Dogma F10 for a few hundred miles, so while this is not a long-term review, I’d consider it enough time to suss out just what these wheels have to offer.

First, something special about ENVE is their rims are manufactured right here in the USA (Ogden, UT in fact). I’ve seen their new facility first-hand and it’s impressive. So, add ENVE to Bontrager and Zipp as some of the foremost wheel manufacturers to build and assemble most (if not all) carbon wheels here in the States.

The rear wheels feature 42mm depth where crosswind isn’t as much of a factor.

ENVE wheels have been ridden at the highest level of the sport and while the pro’s ride tubulars, we can (and should) ride tubeless, which is what I did. Mounted up with the Schwalbe One tubeless 25mm tires, the 21mm internal rim width fills these tires to measure 28mm wide. At my 170 lb. rider weight, I’ve been rolling these at 80/85 psi front/rear with positive results. Road grip has been superb and ride quality sublime. ENVE recommends starting at lower pressures and adjusting accordingly, but I’m feeling good about where I’m at.

At 38/42mm deep, these aren’t the deepest-profile rims, but they are the perfect depth for all-round use and vary the depth to avoid crosswinds. That shorter profile sheds strong crosswind with ease and still provides enough aerodynamics to roll forward with speed. The combination of these wheels aboard a superbike, like the Pinarello Dogma F10, and you’ll always have a little extra in the tank for another climb.

With DT Swiss 240s hubs, these wheels roll well, but not as well as the best wheels I’ve tested (the Zipp 454 NSW Disc-brake wheels hold that crown). As a bonus, they can be easily-serviced should that time come. Bearings and spokes aplenty at any LBS and even ceramic bearings could be added for faster rolling. The only bummer is that if you are running tubeless, swapping out a spoke or re-truing them will require tire removal, sealant cleanup and a tubeless reset after you’re done. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen right after a new tubeless setup. The reality is broken spokes and wheel truing isn’t normally needed under normal riding conditions, so rest easy. I’ve had no issues in my time aboard the SES 3.4’s.

ENVE SES 3.4 Wheelset Review

Rolling on reliable DT Swiss 240s hubs front/rear.

As with all wheels, these will flex slightly under heavy load (hard sprinting and standing climbs), resulting in a slight brake pad kiss. It’s pretty minimal, compared to inferior wheels, but will happen. If it bothers you, it’s easy enough to expand your brake calipers a touch to avoid it altogether.

Wet braking is solid and comparable to Zipp’s Showstopper brake track. It’s a far cry from the terrible braking of yesteryear’s carbon clinchers. Dry braking is absolutely superb in concert with Shimano Dura-Ace brakes and levers. Conditions have been very dry, but I’ve hosed these down and done brake tests and the results are certainly positive with only a slight degradation from dry performance.

The Good

  • Modern widths for lower pressures and wider tires
  • Rims made and assembled in USA
  • Excellent all-around depth
  • Sheds crosswinds aplenty
  • Tubeless is a breeze
  • Predictable braking in wet conditions

The Bad

  • Spoke work requires extra effort due to hidden nipples

The Bottom Line: ENVE SES 3.4 Wheelset

At such an ideal all-round depth, the ENVE SES 3.4’s deliver optimal performance uphill, downhill and rolling through flat terrain. And, with a 21mm internal width, you can safely roll lower pressures with or without tubes. If you’re looking at road tubeless aboard your rim-brake steed, these should be an easy choice.

Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com

In Summary

8.9 Great All-rounders

ENVE continues to drive innovation with their wheelsets and the latest SES 3.4's have improved shapes for excellent efficiency for climbing, descending and rolling terrain. The rims are handmade in the USA and assembled here using DT Swiss 240s hubs. What a great set of hoops for Utah's terrain.

  • Lateral Stiffness 9
  • Responsiveness 9
  • Durability 9
  • Braking 9
  • Aerodynamics 9
  • Ride Quality 9
  • Rolling Efficiency 8

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

9 Comments

  1. Hi Jason. Very informative review. Was looking at getting a set of 2nd Gen 3.4s for my F10. However, the local Pinarello dealer says that a 21C / 25mm tire combo will rub the chainstay under load. I’m about the same weight as you and was going to run Conti 5000 TL 25’s. How much clearance do you have?

    • The Schwalbe One Tubeless 25’s fit and they measured out to 28mm. Conti’s, however, are known for being abnormally large for their comparative size. I can’t speak to them fitting or not fitting. Sorry about that. I will say that the F10 with these wheels is bonkers and the Schwalbe’s are great tires.

      • Thanks for the quick reply! Conti’s definitely run larger than others at the same size. The Schwalbe One TL is a great alternative – at 28mm do you have at least 3mm of clearance at the rear CS/SS? I’m a bit timid after putting some gouges in frames with tight fitting tires!

        • The setup I had cleared just fine without any rubbing. I wish I had the bike available to measure, but I did not experience any rubbing at all during the 2 months I had the bike. I rode it very hard (sprinting, climbing, etc.) and didn’t have any frame contact.

          • Again, thank you very much. This is the next best thing to testing the wheel/tire combo myself!

          • I’m trying to reconcile your absence of tire rub with my experience. I have a new F10 (rim brake) bike with Zipp 303 NSW and 25mm Vittoria Corsa tires (don’t use these on your Enves – it’s unsafe). I am seeing tire rub on *both* chainstays after my initial installation ride of 20mi. I’m about your weight (175lbs) and these tires/wheels are (if anything) narrower than your setup — I measure the tire width at 26.5mm using a caliper. Needless to say I am unhappy. Bike build (who I’m refraining from naming for the moment) spec’d this whole setup, and I’m wondering if I got a lemon frame. I have 4mm of clearance on one side and less than 3mm on the other (but both sides rub).

          • Sorry to hear about that Eric. Yeah, I’m at a loss here. I can’t re-measure everything because the bike is back at CompetitiveCyclist. However, the 25mm Schwalbe Pro 1’s on the F10 didn’t rub one bit.

  2. Very interesting – “carbon bearings” ? Are they better than ceramic?

    “Bearings and spokes aplenty at any LBS and even carbon bearings could be added for faster rolling.”

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