ENVE makes tires now? Yup, when your latest rims have a finite list of compatible tires, you just make your own. That’s just what happened with ENVE’s latest Foundation Series wheels, which are tubeless only, so ENVE launched their new SES Road Tire lineup. We’ve had the 29c width and it’s been reliable and zippy so far.
ENVE SES 29c Tubeless Road Tires Features:
- Smart ENVE System Aero Optimized Shape and Tread Design
- Natural and Synthetic Rubber Compound w/ Activated Silica for All-Weather Performance
- Tubeless-Ready and Inner-Tube Compatible
- Hookless and Hooked-Bead Rim Type Compatible
- Vectran™ Protection Barrier
- Rim Width Compatibility: 25c (17-21mm inner) // 27c, 29c, 31c (17-25mm inner)
- Weight: 25c (255g), 27c (265g), 29c (280g – actual), 31c (285g)
- MSRP: $75
SES comes in carbon and rubber?
ENVE has been on a roll this year. And, in spite of COVID, has been able to deliver several noteworthy product releases, including their all-new SES TLR Road Tires. Available in 25, 27, 29 and 31c widths, these tires are tubeless and are optimized for ENVE’s wheelsets. But, like me, you can run them on any tubeless-ready road wheelset (hooked or hookless).
With Roval’s latest Terra CLX wheelset in the house for testing, the SES Road Tires were a natural match. These hooked wheels measure 25mm bead-to-bead and allow the 29c tire to plump out initially to a nice 31mm. I then slipped the wheels and tires onto the Open UPPER and proceeded to rip around the local haunts. The weather has been pretty dry, so testing has been limited to dry roads, but I’m impressed.
Mounting them up did require a little more muscle than usual. I had to use tire levers to get the final bead in place. I don’t normally like resorting to levers, but there was just no other way. With that, my confidence in these tires mounting up properly was solidified — no worries there. Inflation was straightforward, but did require soapy water and a couple of attempts with the Blackburn Chamber Tubeless Pump to get them seated properly.
As with all tubeless tires, I like to let them hang up overnight without sealant to see how well the bead sealed everything. Unfortunately, the results were pretty bad as the tires were completely flat. Still, the beads were set and after about 40 oz of sealant, I was in business. Some good spins and shakes, followed by a ride, got the SES Road Tires dialed in. After a few rides, I’m seeing pretty usual deflation amounts between ride days.
After some research, I determined that somewhere between 55-60 psi was the ideal pressure for these tires, wheels and my 170 lb. body weight. Over time, I’ve settled in to 55 psi for the front and about 58 psi for the rear tire. At those pressures, I’m rolling pretty fast and the ride is super smooth. They don’t feel squishy when sprinting and grip remains outstanding. Higher pressures resulted in a bouncing effect, so you’ll know if you’ve got too much pressure (even 5-8 psi. makes a difference).
Admittedly, I’m just over 100 miles into things, but so far so good. The wide wheels and tires are delivering a smooth ride and I’m nabbing some pretty fast times on a couple of regular segments. One was my fastest time in nearly 4 years on a climb up American Fork Canyon and the other was a new PR on another local climb up Dry Canyon in Lindon, UT. The light wheels and fast tires are evident here.
Over time, the tires expanded out to an even 32mm width. And, as far as aerodynamics go, at 32mm wide, these aren’t as slippery as 25mm tires, but the optimized pattern is said to reduce drag. At that width, one the Terra CLX, the tire-to-rim air surface is almost flat, so the combined tire/wheel depth ends up being nearly 60mm. It’s worth noting that even though these are 29c wide they just might be the lightest tubeless tires I’ve tested — that’s saying something.
- Good dry traction (wet traction not tested yet)
- Aero optimized shape and tread pattern
- A great match for today’s wide all-road wheels
- Seat up reasonably well
- Once seated, they are maintaining air pressure
- Very light for the size and durability
- Required a tire lever to install
- You may need a compressor to seat (I figured it out with a chamber pump)
The Bottom Line: ENVE SES 29c Road Tire
While ENVE remains masters of carbon, but now they can add rubber to their resume. The all-new ENVE SES Tubeless Road Tires, in modern widths, have been excellent tires so far. Once seated to a set of hooked rims, they have held air well and have offered fuss-free traction and rolling efficiency on climbs and flats on the local routes. The sidewalls show little wear, even after some gravel and rough roads.
Buy Now: Available from ENVE