Check out our YouTube channel to see our independent and sponsor-free video reviews.


The second-generation ENVE SES 4.5, born the SES 4.5 AR, continues to stand above all other all-around wheels in the performance carbon disc wheelset price category (US$2000/£1600/€2000 to $3000/£2300/€3000).

In my on-the-road testing, I’ve found the SES 4.5 performs as well or better on the combination of factors I think matter most to your speed and enjoyment of road cycling wheels. It’s fast, stable, stiff, comfortable, responsive, and versatile. It’s got it all.

Related: Compare my review of the ENVE SES 4.5 with other all-around wheelsets in my review The Best All Around Carbon Disc Wheelset.

And it’s just a hell of a lot of fun to ride. The ENVE SES 4.5 seems to glide along the road with no drama as you accelerate from a start, transition from flats to hills, and take corners at high speed. It’s unbothered by crosswinds and coasts with nary a sound from the freehub.

To be clear, the ENVE 4.5 is no recreational stroller. Rather, it’s seriously fast, deceptively so with its relatively modest looks and quiet demeanor.

I rode the new 4.5 for the first time on a recovery ride at the end of a week of training full of hard anaerobic and VO2 max intervals. “Let’s just ease into it,” I told myself, never wanting to judge a wheelset I’m testing for the first time on a hard day in the saddle.

Despite being physically and mentally tired, riding the ENVE SES 4.5 re-energized me. It responded quickly and easily to my efforts, flowed through corners, and smoothed hills and rough roads.

As I put it through harder efforts in the days that followed – VO2 intervals, 7% climbs, and on-my-limit group rides – the 4.5’s performance helped me be at my best, or at least better than on other days with other wheels rolling beneath me.

Regardless of the specs, which I’ll get to in a minute, the ENVE SES 4.5 feels light and lively and maintains my momentum in the 20mph/32mph to 25mph/40mph speed range incredibly well.


Stiff, efficient, comfortable, quiet, fast. Total confidence and total pleasure regardless of terrain, surface, effort, or speed.

It’s somewhat surprising that a second-generation wheelset, little changed from one introduced six years before, could still be the Best Performer among its all-around carbon disc wheelset peers. While others have certainly improved on individual performance criteria I use in evaluating wheels, none have reached the same level as the ENVE 4.5 across all of them.

If performance balance is a measure of all-around wheels and great performance across all criteria is the mark of the best, then the ENVE 4.5 still stands atop the rest.

My spec-obsessed evil twin always wants to get in the way of my performance-focused good twin and influence you. Well, I’ll give him some space to speak up here.

For years one of the key differences between the original 4.5 AR and most other road wheelsets was its 25mm inside width. That continues with the new 4.5 (25.3mm per my measurement) and is why I can run my tire pressure low to get the comfort I enjoy even on rough paved and dirt road surfaces. Other wheelmakers, notably Zipp and Bontrager, now make rims with 23mm inside widths for wheels of similar depth, while most other brands still make road disc brake wheelsets with a 21mm inside width.

On the outside, the 4.5 rims have widened a couple of millimeters per my measurements from the 4.5 AR to 32.8mm for the front wheel and 32.4mm for the rear. The rims have also gotten about 1.5 mm deeper, now 51.8mm front and 56.5mm rear.

The wider, deeper rims, says ENVE, come from adding their anti-pinch-flat design to the 4.5, something the SES 3.4 AR (now the SES 3.4) has had since it was introduced. Whatever, I’ll take the added width and depth if it improves the performance.

It seems so. With the slightly wider rims, more models of 28mm labeled tires can be used on the 4.5 at lower pressures to give you optimal aero drag and rolling resistance performance and better comfort across rough roads. I get into all the details of that in my tubeless tire review.

Note also that the front and rear wheels have different dimensions and also different shapes. The front wheel has a U-shaped profile designed to improve its stability in crosswinds, while the rear is deeper and has a V-shaped one to improve its aero performance.

In the last couple of years, Roval, Hunt, and Parcours have introduced wheelsets with different front and rear dimensions and profiles, though none are as wide internally as the 4.5.


ENVE’s measurements show the average SES 4.5 weighs about 100 grams less overall than the 4.5 AR did and, more importantly, their deeper, wider rims weigh about 110 grams less than the first-generation ones.

My demo ENVE 4.5 wheelset came in at 1518 grams with the Shimano/SRAM 11-speed HG freehub (a SRAM XDR 12-speed one weighs about 20 less) and with the wheels taped but with no valve stems in place. That still puts it about 50 grams heavier than the actual weights of the narrower and shallower Bontrager RSL 51 and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 45 wheelsets and 140 grams more than the US$4200 Zipp 454 NSW. The difference accelerating from a dead stop is minimally better with the Bontrager and Campy and more noticeably so with the Zipp.

While more and more rims come through pre-taped with valve stems in place these days, ENVE continues to send you tape and stems to install yourself. This video demonstrates how to install ENVE tape; ignore the part at the beginning about using clincher tires – it doesn’t apply to the current line of SES wheels.

ENVE justifies this DIY approach by wanting to give you or your retailer the option to adjust the internal nipples for spoke tension and wheel true before applying the tape that covers access to the nipples. Internal nipples reduce the drag of external ones by 0.75 watts per wheel in ENVE’s wind tunnel tests. That’s nothing to sneeze at for those who believe in marginal gains.

I don’t know about you, but even with all the wheels I test, I’ve never found the need to have a tension meter or trueing stand on my workbench. Hand and eye inspection can detect true outliers and even with them, I’m not wrench enough to start messing with my spoke nipples.

I expect that ENVE ships very few wheels that are out of tolerance. Heck, they were among the first to offer 5-year parts and labor warranties on their wheels. So, they likely have a pretty good fix on the quality of their wheels, all of which are made in their United States factory. I would think most of us and our store mechanics would prefer ENVE tape their rims before shipping them to our doorsteps, even though some of us have become pretty good at taping them ourselves over the years.

If a wheel were to come in with spoke tension or true that’s not up to spec, I believe their warranty should pay a trained mechanic to adjust the nipples and retape the rim.

Note also that the ENVE SES 4.5 (and all current ENVE SES and Foundation wheels) use hookless rims and require tubeless tires whether you use sealant or tubes inside. Fortunately, the list of compatible tires for that combination is growing longer and longer and includes the top-performing tires from most brands. You can see the list of compatible and incompatible tires per ENVE testing.

For those of you still resistant to hookless rims because you want to be able to inflate your tires as high as you like without the worry of them blowing off, please understand a few things about the SES 4.5 wheels.

First, with the 4.5’s 25mm inside width, you won’t want to inflate your tires past the maximum recommended pressure of 80psi, even if you weigh the maximum recommended rider weight of 250lbs/113kg. They’ll be increasingly uncomfortable and slower above the recommended pressures shown in ENVE’s chart. As you can see there, it shows only 67 psi as the starting tire pressure recommended for the heaviest riders.

Second, ENVE has been making hookless rims and testing them with tubeless tires for years. For their 25mm inside width rims, they have established 80psi as the maximum recommended tire pressure and 90psi for their 21mm inside width hookless rims. Both of these pressure levels are higher than the ETRTO and ISO 5 bar, 72.5 psi standard for hookless rims of any width.

And, ENVE only lists tires as compatible if they stay on their rims in their tests through 150% of the maximum recommended pressure. So I think there’s plenty of performance and comfort motivation to keep your tires well below the max pressure and a pretty good safety zone if you revert to your 20-year younger self in the presence of a tire pump on an off day.

Unlike earlier incarnations of SES wheels, where you could order Chris King, Industry Nine, DT Swiss, or ENVE’s own branded hub with carbon shells, there is only one hubset available on the 4.5.

Fortunately, it’s the ENVE hub with alloy hub shells, a direct drive model they’ve been putting on most of their wheels for the last few years. These are the same ones I’ve used with no issues (and performed no maintenance on) with the ENVE SES 5.6 and 3.4 AR wheelsets I bought to benchmark other brands of wheels with performance goals similar to those.

You can order the 4.5 with either an HG, XDR, or N3W freehub body compatible with your Shimano/SRAM 11-speed, SRAM AXS 12-speed, or Campagnolo groupset.

Finally, some ENVE wheelsets I’ve tested in the past have come through with hair-thin, 2-3mm long white lines in the carbon accumulated at random places along the rim’s spoke edge. While hardly visible unless you go around looking for such things (I do), I and some readers found this rather annoying and even worrisome.

The issue turns out to be only a cosmetic one, apparently caused by an oxidation side effect of the hardening agent used in the resin. While a sample size of one, the new SES 4.5 I tested had almost none of these white lines. ENVE is using a new resin in their new line of SES wheels that, in part, has enabled them to reduce the rim weight but is also supposed to address the oxidation issue that caused the white lines in the earlier resin.

We’ll keep an eye on this. Literally.

The ENVE SES 4.5 price has gone up US$300 to US$2850, and current exchange rates make it RRP £3350, €4000, though it often sells for less in those currencies. It is available using these links to recommended stores Competitive CyclistBTD (BikeTiresDirect), Merlin, and Sigma Sports. It’s hard to justify – you’ll need to make peace with your own budget watchdogs – but it’s also hard to say no to a wheelset that still stands above its competition.

In The Know Cycling is ad-free, subscription-free, and reader-supported. If you want to help keep it rolling without any added cost to you, buy your gear and kit after clicking the store links on the site. When you do, we may earn an affiliate commission that will help me cover the expenses to create and publish our independent, comprehensive, and comparative reviews. Thank you, Steve. Learn more.


  • Thanks for another great review, Steve!

    Just wanted to echo your remakes on ENVE rim tape. I bought a pair of AR 4.5s based on your recommendation and have loved them – but the rim tape part of the experience has been a complete nightmare.

    Admittedly I’m rather inexperienced with tape installation. I’ve watched every one of their instruction videos and have (I thought) been meticulous in prepping the rims. And have now had a fair bit of practice applying it. But I’ve still had the sealant get through numerous times, causing multiple slow flats and bottom outs, and have found the tape will also often pull off when you de-mount a tire. Ended up having to re-apply rim tape 2-3 times this last year. Which is all the more such a bosh as ENVE won’t ship tape outside of the US and local dealers don’t seem to keep it in stock. Until recently ENVE would also only sell the tape as part of a tubeless kit (do they expect people enjoy collecting tubeless valves lol?). Ive had to pay exorbitant prices to get US shops to send it to Canada, when I’ve been in pinch. Been such an incredibly frustrating experience considering it’s a 2550 USD wheelset and all of ENVEs competitors do factory install. Given that ENVE says it will void the warranty (what they told me) if you don’t use their tape, they really need to figure out how to deliver a more reliable consumer experience. Sorry for the rant haha.

    To circle back though: phenomenal wheels and love your methodical approach to reviews. Chapeau!

  • Hey Steve, outwardly this seems like a minor update to the 4.5ar. From a pure performance perspective, do you think it’s worth upgrading?

    • Chris, Like everything else, it’s relative to the performance level you’re at and seeking. They are marginally lighter and wider and have improved puncture protection. For most current 4.5 AR owners, I wouldn’t think those improvements would be noticeable. Wouldn’t be for me.

      If you are racing, those differences might make a difference at key selection points in the race – a climb, a breakaway, a sprint, etc. I’d think there are other places you could spend your money to improve your performance either in training, gear, or kit that could make a bigger difference. Perhaps even another wheelset to complement the 4.5 AR specific to a climbing or gravel type event or regular vacationing you like to do. Steve

  • Hi Steve,

    This is great and worthy review. I’m also intertested in how you would think of comparison between Bontrager RSL 51 and ENVE 4.5 AR(Not new SES 4.5). In terms of performance, 4.5 AR still stands better than RSL 51?


    • Hi Steve,

      I inteded to ask about comparison bewteen Bontrager RSL 51 and ENVE SES 5.6(Hooked version).


    • Eric,
      I build up a Melee with a set of 4.5 AR with Enve 27mm tires and the ride was great. Then I switched the wheelset with Aeolus RSL 51 on the front and RSL 62 with same tires and here is my take.

      1) The tire width was about 1mm wider on Enve 4.5 AR wheel
      2) The Aeolus RSL 51/62 set up was about 45 grams lighter with Stans tubeless rim strip. If you use Bontrager plastic strips, it will add about 100 grams. It is a very reliable setup but I never had any issue with Stans tape, so decided to stick with Stans tape.
      3) I thought the Enve set up felt a lightly more stable but that could be the placebo effect. They both accelerated quickly and held the speed quite well.
      4) For rider who is not on board with tubeless, Bontrager wheel gives you the flexibility of using pretty much any tires since it’s hooked.

  • Hi – how do these compare to the Roval Rapide II? I feel like the Roval wheels are very similar, as well as being cheaper and having the insurance of a beaded rims. The only downside being a modest weight penalty. Any feedback would be great!

  • Peter, That’s a good question. Unfortunately, since I’ve not been able to find a set to review, I don’t have a performance comparison to share with you. There may be some similarities in the specs but specs don’t tell you about how wheels will perform on the road – how stiff and responsive they are, how well they hold their momentum at aero speeds, how stable they are in crosswinds, etc., etc. These and the other criteria we test for are what allow me to say how wheelset A is different from wheelset B and why one is better for riders based on their goals, riding profile, and budget. I will say that small differences in weight are indistinguishable on the road and beaded rims offer no “insurance” over hookless ones at the tire pressures we’ll ride on the tires and rims of these two wheelsets and most any modern carbon road wheelset these days. I’ve got the Rapid CLX II at the top of my wish list so hope to be better able to answer your question before long. Steve

  • Hi Steve! Great breakdown! I have narrowed down my wheel quest to the 4.5, 3.4, and newer Dura Ace C50, but it all seems to point towards the 4.5s. My question refers to crosswind tolerance. Here in the Midwest we have experienced a lot of 15-20mph crosswinds this year, to the point I am wondering whether buying the 3.4s will make more sense despite the roads here being predominantly flat and full of rolling hills, where the 4.5s (or c50) would feel at home. If the difference in crosswind tolerance is similar I’ll go with the 4.5s but I wonder if the 3.4 will be a lot better in that sense. Thank you!

    • Jordi, So both the 4.5 and 3.4 do well in the crosswinds relative to others we’ve tested of similar depth. (See I think there’s a bigger difference in their ability to hold momentum at speed than there is how much they are affected by crosswinds. I haven’t tested the DA C50 so can’t comment on them. Note also that wheels of the same depth can be affected very differently by sidewinds. (See and scroll down to the section 2) Sidewind Stability)

      That said, if you don’t ride much above 20 mph and it’s regularly blowing that hard, I’d go with an even shallower wheelset than any of these (or take up sailing). If it’s just an occasional or season thing (like it is for me in April and if I brave the cold winds of winter), and you regularly ride faster as I’d imagine you can on flat roads, I’d go with the 4.5. Steve

      • Jordi Sanchis Sanchez

        Thanks, Steve. Once upon a time a wiseman said: “ Buy the wheelset that has the best aero, sidewind, stiffness, compliance, and other performance characteristics you can find within your budget to go your fastest. Then pick the best tire for that wheelset.” Enve 4.5 and GP5000 S TR 28c it is. If 3.4 and 4.5 are similar in cross winds I’ll go for the most aero. I appreciate your lengthy and informative response.

  • Hi Steve, I was looking to buy an ENVE 4.5 after reading your review and subsequently their 2019 announcement of Lifetime Incident Protection while browsing the internet. That is a significant selling point if I were to pay many thousands of dollars for a wheelset.

    I was wondering if ENVE’s Lifetime Incident Protection that was announced in 2019, i.e.
    “ENVE Lifetime Incident Protection has been developed to remove all doubt that if you damage your product while riding, racing, or otherwise – ENVE has your back and the damaged rim, stem, seatpost, fork, handlebar or hub will be replaced at no charge. All ENVE customers past, present, and future who are the original owners of their products, are eligible for this program by simply registering their product.” is still valid in 2022?

    I can’t seem to find the details on their website.

    All I found was the details of “ENVE Incidental Damage Protection”, which reads like a lifetime support, but no longer free replacement after the 3rd year.

  • If I buy the new 4.5 SES and I totally want to customize it. Do you think the DT Swiss 180 would be compatible with it?

    Thanks Steve… Been a fan of your reviews since 2012

    • Kirk, Haha. That’s a new one in the camp of what I’ll call “unnecessary flattery in hopes of getting a better response” type of comments. Despite being a fan, I see you haven’t signed up to get notifications of new posts or to become a Know’s Club member. Oh, and I didn’t start the site until 2014. But I won’t hold any of that against you or give you any different answer (other than this long introduction other than to make the point that you don’t have to try to flatter me to get an answer) than if you indeed were a subscriber, member, or had been following the site since the beginning. As you’ll see if you follow the comments, I respond to any that have a good question like the one you asked or that isn’t looking for a personal recommendation (Become a Know’s Club Leader for that service).

      You can buy the SES 4.5 rims alone through most ENVE dealers or have a wheel builder that carries ENVE rims build a wheelset up with your with your preferred hubs and spokes. Whether you get any performance, maintenance, or durability advantage with a DT Swiss 180 over the ENVE hub that comes with these wheels is debatable. Cheers, Steve

      • But I do remember that back when I started cycling (and that was 2012), I read some of your about the ones that are not too expensive wheels but can give you a good performance.

        Maybe I made a mistake when it comes to the year but I am 100% positive that it was your review that made me buy the Reynolds Assault SLG. That was my first Carbon Wheels. Thanks to you! Not trying to flatter you Steve, just speaking that truth, haha, but if you have issues accepting compliments then it’s all good =) Still appreciate you and your thorough reviews.

        • Kirk, My apologies. I guess I get a bit cynical about some of the compliments. I appreciate your sincerity. Best, Steve

  • Hi,

    I own a Dogma F frameset and I would like to buy an ENVE 4.5 wheelset. My frameset has max. tire clearance 28mm. However, I am afraid that if due to the 25mm internal width of the rim, a 28mm tire will be measured around 30mm when mounted. Do you think my assumption is correct? Can you measure the actual width of a 28mm once mounted on the rim?
    I want to share a similar bad experience that I had. I used to have a dogma F10 frameset (25mm max tire clearance) and I bought a Zipp 404 Firecrest (23mm internal width) wheelset. I mounted a Swchalbe Pro One 25mm tire and after my first ride I realized that the tire of the rear wheel was rubbing onto the frame…

  • Hey Steve,

    Thanks for your review. Due partly to it, I ended up ordering a pair of 4.5s for my BMC. I was so excited to get them and ride them. 3 weeks later and I’m still not on the wheels. I share in Kevin’s frustration as I’m now on my 3rd roll of enve tape.

    I was wondering – did you have any trouble installing your tires? I ordered the SES tires in 27 and have had the most difficult install of any bike component I’ve ever had. They literally don’t fit. A local bike shop (certified enve dealer) broke a plastic tire level over them trying to get them on (cringe inducing). I’ve followed all the advice (Center channel, taping into the channel, etc) and was finally only able to get them on after grappling with a tire lever. Once there I needed to bring them to a shop to seat. When I finally did, they weren’t keeping pressure. Just an insanely frustrating process for $3k wheels. I haven’t even gotten to putting in sealant.

    I have Continental GP5000’s on order in hopes that these fit better. I find it odd that the tire manufactured by the wheel maker wouldn’t fit. Anyways, I’m curious if you had any issues. Did your install require tire levers? Did you have any issues with the rim tape?

    If this doesn’t work, I will regrettably have to return them, which is terrible because I was so looking forward to them.

    • Jeff, I’m sorry to read about the hassles and frustration with the enve tires. Yes, I also have found them very hard to install. As I write in my review of tubeless tires, this is the primary reason why they are one of the tires I no longer include in the review. You’ll have better luck with the Contis. That’s the tire I use on my 4.5s. Steve

      • Steve,

        Thanks so much, this gives me hope! I’ll check out your tubeless tire review. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

        All the best,


      • Raymund Arenque

        I found that Pirelli P Zeros 28mm installs best with the 4.5s and to your point I originally had the SES tires 27mm and my mechanic had a “wonderful” time installing them.

  • Having had a pair of ENVE 5.6 since 2019 I’m now circling back and wondering if I should get a pair of 4.5. Am I more often going 20-25mph than 30+? Most definitely. Do I live in a region where I can easily rack up 2000-3000ft of elevation gain over the course of a 30-40 mile ride? Absolutely.

    Any thoughts here for me? Or do you think I’d be even better served by going even slimmer and going to the 3.4? That said, I also ride a Trek Madone…I like going as fast as possible within my own limits, it’s just that “flat” doesn’t exist around here.

    • Justin, That’s a tough call, 2K feet over 40 miles wouldn’t call for a lighter/shallower wheelset, 3K feet over 30 miles might, likely so if you do that kind of pitch and distance regularly. The 4.5 is similar in purpose to the 5.6 though a bit more versatile (wider tires, lower pressure) and ENVE claims it’s faster. The 3.4 isn’t the lightest climber on the block for sure so if that’s what your going for, you might consider some newer ones (see my review on light, climbing wheels). If it were me and the 5.6 were still in good shape, I’d opt for a climber to give you another option. If you’re putting the 5.6 out to pasture, then the 4.5 would be a good direction to go and then train up and drop some weight for those climbing days. Steve

      • Thanks for your perspective! I’m really torn because I know I’m not using the 5.6 to its full potential since I’m not doing 30mph sustained flat rides and most of our hills around here are 4-6% grade or so. And, as you say, I’m not sure I’d really notice a huge difference with the 4.5. Yes, also, I’m not sure if I had a pair of 4.5 I’d ever really use the 5.6 and those might just get sold.

        I will say that being in my 40s, the extra comfort of the wider and lower pressure tire does appeal.

  • Steve —

    Thanks for the time and dedication you have devoted to this site, it is a phenomenal resource for fellow cycling enthusiasts!

    I am also a New England based rider and likely encounter the same types of terrain and elevation that you do. I ride both road and gravel and I am specifically looking for a new set of wheels for my endurance bike (Cervelo Caledonia). I currently have a set of Zipp 303FCs on there set up tubeless with 28mm Vittoria Corsa Next tires. I plan to move the wheels over to my gravel bike with a different set of tires. For the new wheels, I am leaning toward Pirelli P Zero TLRs (likely keeping the 28mm size), but I have also considered Vittoria Corsa Pros and Continental GP 5000 S TRs.

    The stiffness and comfort of the 303FCs has been sufficient for me, but I sometimes struggle with them in the crosswinds under very particular situations. Those situations are typically windy descents on 40+ mph (speed limit) roads with narrow shoulders and frequent traffic. Something about those situations has me lock up and try to hold a line and lose confidence. Perhaps this is more a bike handling problem than the rim profiles but I am not sure. I am fairly light ~70kg/155 lbs but definitely not a featherweight. I have also been pushed by wind displacement from fast moving trucks first outwards off the shoulder and then pulling me back in, not the most fun experience.

    The wheels I am looking at are the Zipp 353 NSW, Enve SES 3.4 or the SES 4.5. I am intrigued by the depth of the 4.5s but I am not sure if my pace would benefit from them or not. I typically average 18-19 mph over my rides (anywhere from 20-100 miles my pace seems pretty consistent), with segments over 20 mph but almost never over 25 mph unless descending. I often ride solo but not always. I have also read some places that they are better in the crosswinds than the 3.4s (not entirely sure how that is possible given their extra depth).

    I am interested in any pace improvements from these new wheels but crosswind displacement is equally or more important to me. I have only heard great things of all these wheels so in a sense I am sure I “can’t go wrong” but I was hoping to get your impression since you have ridden all three of these sets of wheels. Any words of wisdom to guide me?

    Also it seems like Enve is updating the SES line for 2024 (or at least some retailers are marketing new wheels that way)… all of the weights and rim depths/widths appear the same to me. Any idea what, if any, modifications they are making?


    • Hi Charles, I share your unease about close passing traffic on state roads. There are so many variables at play that it’s hard to generalize about the role of different wheels in those situations. In my anecdotal experience, my stability on the road in those situations is often a result of how close the vehicle is, my speed, the road surface, my body position, and whether I’m pedaling or coasting. The closer the vehicle, higher the speed, rougher the surface, more upright the position, and less tension on the drivetrain, the less stable I’ll feel. Honestly, I try to stay off those kind of roads but I know that’s not easy where we live.

      I have found all four of the wheelsets you mentioned perform very well in sidewinds (devoid of traffic). I don’t know that the SES 4.5 are more stable than the 3.4 but we have found them to be more stable than others of similar depth. The 353 NSW are the best climbing wheels of those 4 while the 4.5 are the fastest. I own a set of the 4.5 and love them and notice the benefit of the added momentum when I do ride north of 20mph. They are also the first call from my fellow tester and much faster friend Miles when he has a big road race or crit coming up. The 3.4 is probably the Goldilocks choice and hard to fault in any situation and especially at the 25% discount at BTD (BikeTiresDirect) if you’ve bought enough from them to reach gold status (guilty!).

      I don’t have any inside info on ENVE’s plans but haven’t heard any rumors about updating the wheels. They just did an update in 2022 of the SES line so I would actually be surprised if they did it again so soon. True, the updates were mostly cosmetic but the wheels are still some of the best we’ve tested. Steve

  • Thanks for the reply, Steve. Sounds like I should practice on my technique in those situations. I definitely tend to lock up and stop spinning the cranks, sounds like that is a bad idea.

    Also guilty with BTD 😉

    Do you think I will notice much of a difference between the 3.4s and the 303FCs? Their specs are so similar that it gives me pause, I’d rather not have two basically identical wheelsets with different logos…

    Happy New Year! Look forward to lots more great content in 2024.

    • Specs aside, in our testing experience, the 3.4s are a better wheelset. More aero, stiffer, more compliant, more responsive. Appreciate the good wishes. Same to you. Let’s hope it stops raining so we can ride outside a bit more around here. And feel free to use the BTD link in my last response if you decide to get the 3.4s. Commissions from that will help support the development of more content next year. Cheers.

      • Charles, quick update. ENVE just announced they’re using a new hub on all of their SES and G series wheels. Claimed 60g lighter, makes for stiffer wheels, longer lasting hubs, etc. Available on all their wheels now. Steve

  • Hi, I am just thinking about building pair of enve ses 4.5 – custom build with Chris king and stiffer spokes on disc side of the wheel.
    How they could compare with new bora ultra wto c23 internal – just released few months ago?

  • Hi Steve: Do you have tire width recommendations for the Enve 4.5 (2022)? Enve recommends 27-28mm for aerodynamics. However, this says nothing about rolling resistance and I believe that ERTRO or ISO recently updated safety recommendations to indicate that 30mm tires should be the minimum on rims with 25mm inner width. Taking all that together, what’s the optimal width for road racing and fast training on these wheels? Thanks!

    • Hi Kg, My fellow tester Miles and I ride 28mm tubeless tires on the ENVE SES 4.5 (2022) at around 50-55 psi with Conti GP 5K S TR tires. For us, that provides the best combination of speed (both aero and hysteresis rolling resistance), handling and comfort (vibrational rolling resistance) for our 150-155lb weight. We both ride fast enough, >20mph/32pkh, to gain significant aero benefit from that combination (external rim width wider than actual installed, inflated tire width). If we weren’t riding that fast, I’d probably ride a wider tire but probably wouldn’t ride a wheelset that deep in the first place.

      ENVE tests rim and tire combinations and says that tire is compatible with that rim (unlike Zipp who leave it up to the tire company to say whether their tires are compatible with Zipp rims). ENVE recommends 80psi max pressure but also tests to 150% of that (120psi) before say the tire is compatible. They’ve been doing this since they introduced the first generation SES 4.5 AR (2016) and long before the ETRTO and ISO got involved in establishing tubeless standards. ETRTO and ISO standards are established by committees of engineers from the wheelset and tire companies, not some group of independent testing authorities. So, it’s a long, political process that is always a couple of years behind the times and that delivers the results you would expect from committees seeking consensus. The current standard says 29mm or wider tires and 72.5 psi/5 bar. Of course, almost no one (except ENVE) makes a 29mm wide tire and the actual tire width of a tire marked with a 28mm or 30mm width label, once installed and inflated, can vary from 1.5-3.5 mm more than the the marked width at the same inflation pressure depending on the tire and rim models. (See the results of testing I’ve done in my review So all of these handwringing and holier-than-though journalists and team and rider representatives are speaking emotionally rather than rationally to make news and scare off innovation. De Gent hit a freaking rock that cracked the rim and used a tire insert that’s useless for road wheels other than for getting caught in your forks. Being a European pro racer, he probably also had the damn things overinflated. Seems just like the reaction from cycling traditionalists about disc brakes, tubeless tires, electronic shifting and every other innovation we’ve seen in the last 20 years.

      So, thanks for winding me up and allowing to get it off my chest. Steve

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *