ENVE's rapidly expanding aero road wheel line, the Smart ENVE System (SES), is getting a couple of new additions for 2012, and BikeRadar has been given a world exclusive first look at two models, the SES 8.9 Tubular and SES 3.4 Clincher, both hand built in the US.
This time trial/triathlon 8.9 tubular wheelset, made up of an 85mm deep/26mm wide front rim and a 95mm/24mm rear rim, has already made a mark on the international stage, with 5th place for Timo Bracht at the 2011 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. And on the UK time trialling scene, Matt Bottrill (www.drag2zero.com) has been demolishing the opposition in the early part of the season with a set of SES 8.9s.
As with all SES hoops, they were developed in the Mercedes-Petronas wind tunnel in Brackley, Northhamptonshire under the gaze of aerodynamicist Simon Smart.
The differentiation in rim widths and depths between front and rear is explained by the fact they were developed as a complete system; the front rim is wider and shallower to maximise stability across a broad section of wind angles, while the rear is deeper and narrower to minimize drag of the trailing edge and cut turbulence.
Combined weight on our scales was 1,590g (890g rear/700g front), with DT Swiss 240s hubs and DT aerolite bladed spokes.
They will begin shipping in the coming weeks, with clincher version ready later in the year. US price is $2,835 for the wheelset, while UK distributor Saddleback will have them in stock shortly for £2,250.
SES 3.4 Clincher
The tubular version of the 3.4s have been around for a while now but they're now available as a clincher. Like the 8.9s, they have variable rim depths and widths, measuring 35mm deep/26mm wide on the front, 45mm deep/24mm wide at the rear. Actual combined weight is 1,450g (650g front/900g rear) when fitted with Chris King R45 hubs and DT aerolite bladed spokes. In the UK, they are available now from Saddleback for £1,100 (front) and £1,300 (rear) and for $3,203 in the US for the set.