- Feel fast and are fast
- Tubeless ready
- New hubs promise improved durability
- Cheaper than their predecessor
- Do not come taped
- Still expensive
Price as reviewed:
Enve has an enviable record for its premium carbon wheelsets. A pioneer of deep section carbon rims, it’s been a feature of the pro circuit for years, its wheels currently being ridden by Team Dimension Data.
Although its rim profiles have not changed – which is no bad thing at all – this year, Enve has replaced its hubs. So rather than DT Swiss internals, the Enve SES 5.6 now comes with a new design with all-Enve components. It says that that has allowed it to increase durability while reducing the wheelset’s price.
Surprisingly in a wheelset priced at £2700, Enve uses steel bearings rather than ceramic. It says that the difference in hardness between the bearings and the races can cause increased wear and corrosion over the steel bearings it has adopted.
Enve has also addressed the need to preload the bearings to maintain optimal resistance without play and wear. Its Perfect Preload system uses a wave washer between the axle and races, that keeps the bearing load constant as the bearings bed in.
Enve even has a rubber gasket in its freehub body that can be removed if you want a noisier freewheel. The freehub can be swapped out without tools between Shimano/SRAM, Campagnolo and SRAM XD-R, so all drivetrain standards are supported.
The new hub tech includes the shell too: the flanges are widely spaced to increase bracing angles and there are paired spoke holes, so that material has been cut away between them. The Sapim CXray spokes used are 24 traditional J-bend, which adds a bit of extra compliance when paired with the deep section rims.
Rim brake wheels are available with either alloy or carbon hubs, whereas the disc brake wheels tested are just offered in alloy, with centerlock brake mounts. You can also now buy Enve hubs as an aftermarket option, to build your own wheels.
Differential rim heights
Turning to the rims, these are disc brake specific, without a brake track. Enve says that this has allowed it to adjust the rim shape, reduce weight and improve impact resistance and aerodynamics. They are aero optimised for 25mm tyres. Enve provides a recommended pressure chart for riders of different weights.
The rims are different depths and profiles for the front and rear wheel: the front 54mm deep and 29mm wide externally, while the rear is 63mm by 28mm externally. Both have 19mm internal width. There’s a tubular option too.
Enve’s rims are also tubeless ready. They come untapped, but Enve provides tape and tubeless valves. I set up a set of tubeless Hutchinson Fusion tyres easily enough on the rims; they seated and sealed without difficulty.
I must say that Enve wheels are particularly tubeless set-up friendly. These wheels along with the Enve 2.2’s, that were set up with Schwalbe’s, were one of the easiest tubeless installs I’ve done.
Riding the Enve SES 5.6 Disc wheels
So what are the Enve SES 5.6 wheels like to ride? I slotted a pair into the new Wilier Cento 1 NDR disc brake endurance bike. Replacing the stock 2kg Shimano wheels really upped the Wilier’s game and I found I was saving around 2 minutes per hour on my standard hilly route through the Chilterns.
That included faster climbing as well as extra speed on the flat and fast downhills. With a sub-1600g wheelset weight, they are light for a deep section wheel, helped out by a saving of around 100g from the disc-specific rims.
Not only were the Enve wheels faster, they also made for a much livelier ride feel, really bringing out the quality of the Wilier frame, hidden by the slow stock wheels. Winds were quite light on the days when I rode the Enve SES 5.6 wheels and I didn’t feel any buffeting or twitchiness.
So the Enve SES 5.6 wheelset provides the quality ride you’d expect from the premium brand. But even with the price reduction resulting from the new hubs, they’re an expensive option.
Enve has kept all the excellent aero qualities of the original SES 5.6 wheelset, while the revamp of the hubs promises better durability, as well as delivering a price reduction. It’s a winning combination, if still pricey.
Wheelset weight: 1576g (untaped)
Front: 712g (untaped)
Rear: 864g (untaped)
Tape: 8g per wheel