Smart ENVE System aerobar - sneak peek

First SES aerobar to debut at Eurobike

ENVE has made a name for itself with high-end carbon wheels, forks and cockpit components; now the company from Ogden, Utah, is moving into the triathlon space with its forthcoming Smart ENVE System aerobar. Priced at US$1,300 (UK prices are not currently available), the SES aerobar comes in a single model with a huge range of adjustability.

"When you look around at what's out there, there are a lot of aerobars that are really aero, and a lot that are really adjustable, but not many that are both," said ENVE's Jake Pantone.

Continuing their partnership with aerodynamic whiz Simon Smart, who has helped design aero bikes for Scott and Giant, ENVE set out to build a bar that was fast in the wind tunnel but user (and fitter) friendly in the real world.

The base bar can be flipped for a higher hand position

"Simon has all this data from over the years of fitting people on bikes," Pantone said. "And if you can't hold a position, it doesn't matter how aero you are in that position. Simon helped developed the shape of the base bar, then one of our engineers, Kevin Nelson, came up with all the ways to make the bar very adjustable."

The UCI legal bar features 35mm of height adjustment of the pad rests, which can be bolted inside or outside the extensions in one of two sets of holes that allow for 10 degrees of rotation. Alternatively, the pad rests can be bolted directly onto the base bar, putting them about 20mm lower (for a total 55mm of height adjustment). This arrangement requires running the extensions underneath the base bar, however. 

As with the base bar, the extensions come in a single model that can be cut to fit length and curvature preference.

The base bar has a forward sweep and a unique hand position. It can be flipped upside down for those who want a higher hand position on the cowhorns. In addition to its claimed aero benefit, the forward sweep makes for smoother internal cable routing than in a bar with a hard and tight 90-degree bend. 

The vertical angle of the extensions is adjustable separately from the base bar with a two-bolt pivoting clamp similar to one you'd find on a seatpost.

The two-bolt extension clamp makes for easy and secure extension vertical angle adjustment:
The two-bolt extension clamp makes for easy and secure extension vertical angle adjustment:

The two-bolt clamp offers secure and easy adjustment of the vertical angle of the extensions

For those who prefer a bit of an upward angle to the extensions, the pad rest holders have sloped ends to eliminate the feel of a hard edge. Also, a taller pad than usual is employed, with the long-distance triathlete in mind.

At the back of the height spacers, which stack like Lego bricks, is a tidy channel for Di2 wires. Mechanical cables are routed through the bar and the extensions. All the bolts are of the 4mm Allen variety.

5, 10 and 20mm spacers stack like legos:
5, 10 and 20mm spacers stack like legos:

The spacers stack like Lego bricks, with a small channel for Di2 routing

While bar tape can certainly be used on the cowhorns, a grippy treatment makes that unnecessary. Production weights are not currently available.

"The aero question is obviously more than just a wheelset," Pantone said. "We've been looking at componentry for a while now." ENVE launced its deep SES 8.9 clincher at the Sea Otter Classic this year. The company does not currently have a disc wheel, claiming that its 8.9 wheelset is just as good as many discs. 

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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