- Holds speed very well
- Premium built quality
- Price tag
Price as reviewed:
The Enve SES 3.4 Disc was selected for an Editor’s Choice award in 2020. This year’s list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team – this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
If you were to ask me what my preferred choice of wheel depth is, I’d answer 40mm. It’s a beautiful in-between, adaptable to all riding parcours and the best in category wheels will have the versatility to tackle steep ascents and flat-out straight line speed.
The Enve SES 3.4 models sit either side of that golden number, with a 38mm front wheel and a 42mm rear wheel. Differentiated rim depths are found right the way across Enve’s SES range, and the brand touts increased stability out on the road as well as their aerodynamic benefits – it’s a design choice informed by world-renowned aerodynamicist Simon Smart. Other headline features include a tubeless optimised design, a Chris King hub as well as a staggering £3150 price tag.
Enve SES 3.4 Disc wheelset: Rim
Although the rim’s differential sizes might take the limelight, there’s a host of technologies at play with the SES 3.4 Discs.
For starters, removing the brake track has allowed Enve to take weight off the rim compared to its rim brake counterpart, increasing the acceleration. Our test models weight in at 1.37kg, which is very svelte. Enve’s industry-leading carbon fibre knowledge continues with the 3.4 Discs, with the wheelset being made out of raw uni-directional carbon at Enve’s headquarters in Utah. The paint free finish is gorgeous, as the wheelset has a premium feel to it as well as having the added benefit of reducing the rim’s weight further.
The wheelset has been optimised for a tubeless setup, a key feature being the wide 21mm internal rim width, and Enve ship the wheels with the required parts, including valves and tubeless tape. I paired them with a set of 26mm S-Works Turbo tyres and the two married together very easily – a setup that hasn’t required re-doing since the summer.
Enve SES 3.4 Disc wheelset: Hubs
The Enve SES 3.4 Disc wheels are built around the Chris King R45 CL hub, which uses a 45-tooth engagement system for fast pick up and minimal drag. The hubs are well known as a top end performance upgrade, as well as for their Gucci construction and famous buzzing sound.
It features an adjustable pre-load which you’ll need to do after the first few rides, as it’s part of the ‘wearing in’ process. It’s an easy enough adjustment to make, and requires a 2.5mm hex key to undo a small bolt on the collar and then inserting it into a small hole next to the collar to take up the play in the axle. Since my first adjustment it’s required no further change.
The hub and rim are laced together using Sapim CX-Ray spokes, 24 on the front and 24 on the rear, with the nipples recessed inside the rim.
Enve SES 3.4 Disc: The ride
While it’s difficult to say exactly how much difference the differential rim heights actually make to the ride quality, it is possible to say that the wheels are very stable, eliciting a planted feel that, when coupled with the wider tyre width, leaves you with a great sense of control.
While their acceleration is good, it’s how they hold speed which marks the Enve 3.4 Disc wheels apart from the crowd. It’s as if your power is stored directly in the carbon rim and it’ll happily maintain speed over the 30km/h mark.
I’ve been riding these wheels since March and haven’t had any mechanical issues, nothing has come out of true and no spokes have snapped.
When riding the wheels it’s easy to see the versatility that Enve are so keen to tout, and the SES 3.4 Disc wheels do feel like the only wheelset you need. Anything deeper would leave you feeling exposed in harsh crosswinds and potentially unstable on descents while anything shallower might compromise straight line speed. The Enve SES 3.4 Disc tow the line between the two perfectly.
There aren’t many wheels that come in above £3,000 and it does securely park the SES 3.4s in ‘dream upgrade’ territory. While their performance is excellent, it’s worth noting that you’re also paying for Enve’s heritage – carbon fibre rims hand built in the USA as well as Chris King hubs, also hand built in the USA.
The Enve SES 3.4 Disc are an excellent set of, very premium, carbon wheels that are lightweight and have snappy acceleration.
Weight : 1370g (pair)