ENVE has revealed its latest aerodynamic masterpiece – the SES Rear Disc Wheel – just ahead of the 2018 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii with stock due to land at Saddleback in the new year.
The culmination of nearly five years of development, the ENVE SES Disc offers riders the absolute fastest rear wheel for performance athletes seeking the ultimate aerodynamic advantage come race day. The wheel has been a long time coming and that’s simply down to ENVE wanting to deliver a significant step forward in performance and ride quality while also optimising rolling resistance and braking.
As with the entire Smart ENVE System wheel range, the SES Disc was designed using state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics analysis by renowned aerodynamicist and long-time ENVE partner Simon Smart. The development process involved iterative prototype testing in the Mercedes-AMG Formula One wind tunnel to hone the wheel’s shape at high race speeds.
Not content to make a standard disc wheel, ENVE has demonstrated its usual penchant for innovation when it comes to the SES Disc's construction. Leveraging its in-house carbon craftsmanship, ENVE has created a unique one-piece moulded design – including the valve window – that’s free of bonding with the exception of the hub shell. ENVE has achieved this thanks to a machined PMI core that's sandwiched between TeXtreme spread tow carbon fibres, which are lighter and stronger than traditional carbon. In addition, ENVE has included a moulded valve window.
By utilising this design and construction technology, the SES Disc boasts incredible strength and class-leading low weight, coming in a just 1,225g.
While ENVE has repeatedly stated that the brand’s open-spoke deep section SES 7.8 rear wheel is a viable substitute for the average solid rear disc, performance riders wanting every aero benefit imaginable on the right course will benefit from swapping in the SES Disc.
“It is true that our SES 7.8 rear wheel is a faster/better solution versus a solid rear disc for most athletes,” says Jake Pantone, ENVE’s VP of product and consumer experience. “It really comes down to the course profile, their level of experience, and the average speeds that the rider will achieve. For riders that will average over 27mph/43kph, a rear disc will prove a faster solution on certain courses. If you’re riding under those speeds, the SES 7.8 will be a faster solution as it was developed and optimised for the lower average speeds that your typical elite long-distance triathlete will see over 112 miles.”
One particular challenge of the SES Disc’s development was the inclusion of tubeless compatibility – a requirement of the new wheel given its performance advantages and optimisation for 25mm tyres.
“The bead stiffness of a quality tubeless compatible road tyre applies enough pressure to the rim that it relieves laminate tension and the wheel moves out of dish,” says engineer Clint Child. “We solved this problem through a combination of laminate design and tooling offset so that when a tubeless tire is installed and inflated, the wheel moves into dish.”
To cater for the most advanced triathlon and time trial bikes on the market, the SES Disc is available in rim and disc brake versions. The rim brake edition features ENVE’s unique moulded brake track, which offers fantastic wet and dry braking performance with improved modulation requiring 30% less braking force.
The wheel features a hybrid carbon-alloy hub. The non-driveside shell is constructed from uni-directional carbon while the driveside shell is made from machined aluminium to allow precision integration of the hub driver body, which utilises a 40-tooth ratchet-style drive mechanism. The disc brake version of the wheel features Center Lock compatibility and a full alloy hub.
The ENVE SES Disc will be available from Saddleback in January at an RRP of £3,100. Look out for the wheel at the Rouleur Classic show this November.