ENVE SES 2.2 tubular wheelset review

The ENVE SES 2.2 is a super-light premium wheelset designed to offer maximum performance when racing up mountains

Cycling Weekly Verdict

Very light wheels that are best suited to those wanting to climb hills as fast as possible. The Chris King hubs are sublime, but the ENVE SES 2.2s are not the stiffest hoops and the braking could be better too.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very light

  • +

    Awesome hubs

  • +

    Nice profile – wide rim

  • +

    Seriously bling

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the stiffest

  • -

    Braking track could be better

  • -

    For the high price, should be perfect

Ideal for weight weenies, at just 1110g a pair ENVE SES 2.2 tubulars aim to offer an inertia advantage whenever the road heads upwards. Steve Cummings notably won a stage of the Tour de France on them too, by holding off Vincenzo Nibali.

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I used the wheels in a couple of hill-climbs. Switching to them from my standard training hoops, I instantly felt a huge gravity-defying advantage. Hill-climbs are perhaps the best application for the ENVE SES 2.2s.

The most notable change from previous ENVE wheels is the updated brake track that features a textured, filed surface. The updated track, also found on the deeper ENVE 4.5s, offers much improved braking in the wet over previous ENVE wheels, but you do need to take extra care toeing in your pads and it eats brake blocks too.

Video - explaining the anatomy of a wheel

Our test set came built onto superb Chris King hubs that sound great and roll even better too. The rims have a claimed weight of just 281g each and are wide, meaning that 25mm tyres sit perfectly flush.

I rode up Mount Teide using the ENVE SES 2.2 tubulars. On a steady upwards gradient like this, they felt great.

Although the ENVE SES 2.2s are very light, stiffness is an issue, particularly in the rear wheel. I had to open my rear brake because lateral movement was creating brake rub when out of the saddle. The rear wheel had a tendency to vibrate when braking too – Something I suspect was a result of lateral movement.

This was unsettling on descents and significantly reduced my confidence and speed. For the price, these wheels should be perfect.

The ENVE SES 2.2 is also available in a slightly heavier tubeless-ready clincher version.