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.
Feel fast and are fast
New hubs promise improved durability
Cheaper than their predecessor
Do not come taped
With aerodynamic input from Simon Smart and silky smooth Chris King hubs, the Enve SES 5.6 Disc Clincher wheels are one set of premium hoops. However, their performance matches their price tag and for that reason, they’re on our Editor’s Choice list for 2019.
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 NTT.
Although its rim profiles have not changed – which is no bad thing at all – this year, we’re testing these wheels with Chris King hubs, which it says increases durability and rolling speed.
These wheels are also available with ENVE hubs, with the brand swapping out the DT Swiss internals used previously. It says that that has allowed it to increase durability while reducing the wheelset’s price.These models retail at £2700.
Naturally, the Chris King models tested here retail at a higher price that the standard ENVE hub models – £3100 to be precise.
The Chris King hubs offer up that silky smoothness we’re used to feeling as well as the classic buzz.
The hub’s flanges are widely spaced to increase bracing angles and there are paired spoke holes, so that the 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.
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.
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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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