Set to land at Saddleback in mid-September, ENVE’s new SES 5.6 aero wheelset will hit the sweet spot for speed, weight, stability and stiffness with the latest SES aero shaping, tubeless compatibility and braking technology.
Raced by Team Dimension Data throughout the 2018 Tour de France, the SES 5.6 sits between the climbing-friendly SES 3.4 and blazing-fast SES 7.8 wheelsets as the brand's the go-to road racing and triathlon wheelset. Superseding the SES 4.5, the new rim-brake version of the SES 5.6 utilises ENVE’s latest design and construction technologies to increase depth and aerodynamic benefit without stability taking a hit – all while adding just 44g to the outgoing SES 4.5.
To achieve this, the rims are designed to account for the unique airflows that affect the front and back of the bike. The front rim is wider and shallower (54mm deep, 29mm wide) to reduce the trade-offs between drag reduction and crosswind stability while the back rim is deeper and slightly narrower (63mm deep, 28mm wide) to maximise drag reduction. As well as different depth and widths, the rim shape itself also differs front to back.
“By further manipulating the rim shapes to perform in their given air-flow fields, front of the bike versus back of the bike, we can make wheels more efficient, stable, responsive and confidence inspiring,” says aerodynamicist Simon Smart.
That stability has long been a key element of ENVE’s SES line-up and continues to drive the brand’s aero wheel designs. What’s fast in the wind tunnel isn’t always what’s fast on the road and the ENVE team are firm believers that confidence in whipping wind outweighs aerodynamics every time. By combining wind tunnel data with mile upon mile of real-world testing in a variety of environments, the SES 5.6 strikes the perfect balance between speed and stability.
Also contributing to that all-important riding confidence is ENVE’s moulded textured brake track. Refined over a decade, the design requires less lever force, improves modulation and dissipates heat better to give best-in-class stopping power in all weather conditions. In fact, the braking is so good, that the ENVE team believe the SES 5.6 wheelset could trump an upgrade to a new disc-equipped road bike in performance terms.
“We believe that for riders, who are on the fence about a disc brake upgrade, should consider the additional performance available by upgrading to an ENVE SES rim brake wheelset versus buying a new disc bike without ENVE wheels,” says Jake Pantone, VP of product and consumer experience. “Specifically, the SES 5.6 offers more speed, more stability, and inspires confidence unlike any other wheelset we’ve produced to date, it’s the pinnacle of road racing rim technology.”
ENVE has also added tubeless compatibility for road racers and triathletes seeking the lowest rolling resistance. Like the SES 3.4 and 7.8 models, the wheels have been optimised around 25mm tyres to give both speed and comfort a boost. There is also a tubular option, which sheds even more weight.
Packing all this technology into a wheelset wouldn’t be possible without ENVE’s unique construction methods. Experts in carbon fibre, every ENVE wheel is hand built in Ogden, Utah, USA, utilising rim-specific carbon laminates, moulded spoke holes, removable bladders, and a gorgeous paint-free finish to reduce weight while maintaining strength and stiffness.
Although the 5.6 wheels replace for the 4.5s, ENVE will continue to support the 4.5 wheelset as a legacy product to ensure riders with narrower wheel clearances can upgrade to ENVE.
ENVE SES 5.6 wheels will be available from Saddleback in mid-September with wheelsets built around Chris King R45 hubs.