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
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
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.