As tires have grown on road bikes, and more and more of us are moving to disc brakes, the wheels are changing to match. The latest is the ENVE SES 3.4 AR, a revision of the shallowest set in their aero lineup. The design has been re-optimized to match the aerodynamics to wider 28mm to 32mm tires, and built only for disc brake use.
The new rims get a 25mm internal width with a tubeless-ready profile. And, in a rarity for road rims they’ve gone with a hookless bead wall. It also gets some of their anti-pinch flat technology from the M-series mountain bike and G-series gravel bike lines. To take advantage of that, they recommend only using tubeless ready tires, even if you plan on running tubes inside them. Like the other SES wheels, these keep the differentiated front and rear profiles to handle the different air flows happening at each end of the bike. The front wheel is 39mm deep and 31.2mm wide on the outside, and the rear wheel is 43mm tall and 30.5mm wide.
The chart above shows how it compares to the rest of their SES disc brake line, the new one is in purple and looks to be slightly more aero than the original, non-AR version. But, they say it’s the same weight as the original even though it’s wider.
“A little over three years ago, we stood on the side of the Arenberg Forrest sector of Paris-Roubaix as the new official wheel sponsor of what is now Team Dimension Data, watching our wheelsets be put through the paces in this environment for the first time. During this test session, our conversations turned to aerodynamics and the question of whether we could recover the aero losses of high volume tires with a radical rim shape was raised,” stated VP of Product, Jake Pantone. “Ultimately, the answer was yes, and the SES 4.5 AR was born. It has taken a few years for frame manufacturers to produce the bikes with tire clearances required to accommodate these wheels, but the bikes are here now, and the SES 4.5 AR has become our most popular wheelset in North America.”
The ENVE SES 3.4 AR as standalone rims, or get complete wheelsets built with your choice of ENVE Alloy Disc hubs (1,411g, $2,550), Industry Nine Torch hubs (1,390g, $2,550), or Chris King R45 hubs (1,437g, $3,000). Rim only price is $975.