Enve have launched another aerodynamic wheelset specifically made for wider tyres and mixed road surfaces, the SES 3.4 AR. Made to answer the need for a more versatile race wheel and shallower than the SES 4.5 AR launched in 2016, it's at home on mixed road surfaces and Enve say it strikes the ideal balance between durability, speed and light weight.
Designed for "the modern road bike and where/how people ride it", the wheels are aerodynamically optimised for tyre sizes from 28mm to 32mm. As are most modern wheelsets they're also tubeless-ready, and the 25mm internal rim width is also optimised for tubeless tyres. The materials and construction were designed around disc brakes, with no rim brake versions in the pipeline.
The SES 3.4 AR is an expansion of 'Enve's Smart All Road' wheel lineup, following on from the 4.5 AR which was released back in 2016. The depth of the 3.4's is 43mm at the rear and 39mm at the front, more crosswind-friendly and lighter but still with plenty of aero benefits. Enve's Brandt Furgerson explains: “The SES 3.4 AR comes in response to the requests from our customers who love the SES AR platform but desired a wheelset that was shallower, delivered greater versatility, and maximised weight savings. In other words, the people wanted an SES 3.4, but with the features and benefits inherent to the SES AR platform. Moreover, the SES 3.4 AR, despite its greater width and Wide Hookless Bead design, comes in at the same weight as the standard SES 3.4 Disc.”
The wide hookless bead tech also appears on Enve's gravel-specific G Series wheels (you can watch our video about them here). The idea behind it is to prevent pinch flats on tubeless tyres, and Enve say this pretty much prevents them entirely. The rim beads work in tandem with the rim shape and carbon layup to dissipate the energy created when the rim slams into a hole, serving to protect the rim and prevent pesky pinch flats.
Enve claim the asymmetric rim geometries between the front and rear rims maximises aerodynamic performance. The front wheel is 39mm deep and 31.2mm wide externally, and the rear is 43mm deep with an external width of 20.5mm (both have a 25mm internal width). Enve concluded from their wind tunnel and CFD texting that wider rims lead to greater drag reduction when using higher volume tubeless tyres while maintaining stability.
The SES 3.4 AR is offered as a rim set or complete wheelset, with either alloy Enve Disc or Chris King hubs, and the Enve hub versions are retailing at £2,800 for the pair. Head over to Enve's US website for more info.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.