You might think it’s all about disc brakes around here, but the rim brake is still very much alive and well supported, and today Enve has added a rim brake version of the SES 5.6 wheelset to its range. It replaces the previous SES 4.5 and offers the latest aero rim profile, construction techniques and tubeless compatibility in a modern rim brake wheelset.
Enve admits much of its recent development has been aimed at catering for the growing disc brake market, but it is keen to remind us in a press release that is has spent the past 11 years refining the carbon rim brake track to be as good as it’s possible to get with current materials and construction techniques.
“While the bulk of SES development has swung towards disc brakes in recent years, we’ve spent the better part of the last 11 years refining the art of carbon brake track design and continue to do so today,” explains Jake Pantone, VP of Product and Consumer Experience.
“As such, we believe that for riders, who are on the fence about a disc brake upgrade, should consider the additional performance available by upgrading to an ENVE SES rim brake wheelset versus buying a new disc bike without ENVE wheels. Specifically, the SES 5.6 offers more speed, more stability, and inspires confidence unlike any other wheelset we’ve produced to date, it’s the pinnacle of road racing rim technology.”
The new SES 5.6 is pitched as a medium depth aero wheel and combines a 54mm front rim with a 63mm rear rim, with 29 and 28mm external widths respectively. The shape of the rim builds on the solid foundations set down by previous generation SES wheels, so that means a shallower and wider front wheel to provide the best balance of drag reduction and crosswind stability. The deeper and narrower rear rim is intended to maximise aerodynamics.
The idea of mismatched rim shapes and profiles provides a wheelset that is more stable and efficient, according to aerodynamicist Simon Smart. “With the first generation SES wheels, both the front and back rims have the same rim shape from front to back. By further manipulating the rim shapes to perform in their given air-flow fields, the front of the bike versus back of the bike, we can make wheels more efficient, stable, responsive and confidence inspiring,” he says.
The new wheelset also brings tubeless compatibility to the table, a growing presence not just in the Enve range but on all the latest carbon wheels that we’re seeing being launched at the moment. Even if tubeless is yet to set the world on fire in terms of adoption, manufacturers are keen to ensure their wheels are future-proofed for those customers that might want to try ditching the inner tubes in the future. And making a rim tubeless-ready is easier compared to the tricky business of making tubeless tyres.
As well as the tubeless wheels there’ll be a tubular version, naturally, since the company is involved with lots of professional athletes and currently sponsors Dimension Data team. The team, in fact, had been racing these new wheels at the Tour de France, but we managed to miss them!
The new wheels are optimised for 25mm width tyres. As stated at the top, the new SES 5.6 replaces the previous SES 4.5 in the range, but that wheelset will continue as the company is keen to support those cyclists riding bikes not compatible with the latest generation wide rims.
The clincher wheelset weighs a claimed 1,550g with Chris King hubs or 1,558g with DT240 hubs. The tubular rim weighs 1,380g when laced to DT240 hubs, weight drops to 1,372g. They cost from £2,900 for the tubular wheels and £3,100 for the clincher versions.
Availability is scheduled for September. More at https://enve.com/en/
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.