The Smart Enve System (SES) rims are the product of a collaboration between Enve Composites and former F1 – and now cycling – aerodynamics guru Simon Smart.
Highs: Handling, strength, speed
Lows: Their only vice is the price
The rim cross-section resembles a snub-nosed bullet, with almost parallel sides and a rounded top. The front wheel’s rim is 26mm wide and 35mm tall, and the rear 24.5mm wide and 45mm tall.
The front feels extremely agile in all conditions with fast direction changes, while the deeper rear is laterally stiffer, adding brawn to acceleration, and both feel utterly planted and unaffected by strong crosswinds. The rim’s wide stance opens out the tyre’s tread, offering uniformly curved, more usable rubber, greater grip and more predictable cornering.
Enve focuses on real-world ‘transient aerodynamics’ in the wind tunnel, subjecting the front wheel to changing wind directions. The final design maintains predictable airflow over the rim, eliminating the snatching often felt from V-profile rims.
They’re tough too – Enve’s system of moulding spoke and valve holes with continuous fibres rather than drilling has never seen a failure. Drilling requires extra material to strengthen the rim, so Enve’s intricate construction saves weight and increases rigidity. With 20 front and 24 rear DT Swiss spokes, aluminium internal nipples and precise Chris King R45 hubs with 45 pawls on the freehub ratchet for immediate drive pickup, our wheels weighed 1450g without quick releases or rim tape. Hidden nipples aren’t convenient, but after six months our wheels are still perfectly true.
Braking is excellent, quiet, progressive and consistent, almost matching Zipp’s Firecrests. The 3.4s are true all-rounders too, at home in the mountains, road races, TTs or even cyclocross.