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ENVE SES disc brake wheels reinvent rims for aero disc brake road bikes

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ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 5-6 and 7-8 series

As ENVE says in their PR, the day is soon coming when some of the world’s most aerodynamic bikes will be equipped with disc brakes. And now they’re ready, offering completely redesigned disc-specific ENVE SES 5.6 and 7.8 rims and wheels.

Using Simon Smart’s know how and on-bike testing at the Mercedes AMG Petronas Wind-tunnel, the new wheels have refined shapes that take advantage of not needing a brake track. They’re optimized around 25mm tires, which can be run tubeless or not. Like before, the rims are shaped differently for front and rear, using a deeper rear rim and asymmetric shaping between them – front is wider and shallower, rear is deeper and thinner. Since the original SES rims debuted, they’ve learned a few things, and so the rim profiles are also different front to back. All of that’s done to make them more stable, efficient and responsive, in their words.

“Eliminating the design constraints of a braking surface allowed us to take a liberal approach to what is possible with rim shapes and structure. We tested several dozen shape concepts and found the best improvements we could make were subtle changes to the curvature of the sidewall through the brake track,” stated VP of R&D, Scott Nielson.

But revised aerodynamics are only part of the story…

ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 5-6 series

The two other major changes were making them lighter and making them tubeless ready. For the latter, they simply borrowed the bed shaping from their other tubeless ready rims and optimized that around larger volume 25mm tires.

ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 5-6 and 7-8 series

The weight savings, which amounts to a massive 125g per wheelset for the 7.8 compared to the rim brake versions, come from construction and materials changes. ENVE was able to pull out the heavier heat management materials used on rim brake models and refine the layup to save weight. But, they say, strength, stiffness and impact resistance are all on par and meet all safety standards. Tubular versions are also offered for both sizes.

ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 5-6 series ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 5-6 series

Note the rim-only weights, which are on par with shallower carbon rims from some other brands. Combine that with a tubeless set up and you can net impressive rotational weight savings.

The ENVE SES 5.6 wheels will retail for $975 per rim, or get them built with DT Swiss 240 or Chris King with prices ranging from $2,900 to $3,150 (depending on hub, freehub type and bearing type) for clincher and $2,700 to $3,200 for tubular.

ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 7-8 series ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 7-8 series ENVE SES disc brake aero road bike wheels 7-8 series

Pricing for the 7.8 series rims and wheelsets are the same as the 5.6 series.

ENVE.com

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jbt
jbt
6 years ago

“Eliminating the design constraints of a braking surface allowed us to take a liberal approach to what is possible with rim shapes and structure. We tested several dozen shape concepts and found the best improvements we could make were subtle changes to the curvature of the sidewall through the brake track,”

These look great, but I thought it was funny how at first the quote makes reference to a liberal approach but then in the end, they decided to tweak the sidewall a bit. I guess there is still the constraint of keeping a tire. The 5.6 look great for any road disc bike, wheels are getting really wide.

Alvis
Alvis
6 years ago

Reinvent seems bit rich for a subtle change in curvature to once flat section 12mm deep.
Hope Smart got a ton of cash for that consultancy. He earned it!

PsiSquared
PsiSquared
6 years ago
Reply to  Alvis

Subtle changes are about all you can get in a mature aero design.

alex n
alex n
6 years ago

Great to see a carbon road wheel that is not disposable. These should last the life of a bike unlike rim brake models that are only good for a year or two. It has always been impossible to justify spending this much on something that wears out so fast. Bring on the disk break revolution.

pete
pete
6 years ago
Reply to  alex n

why do you want broken disks?

Chader09
Chader09
6 years ago
Reply to  pete

LOL

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago
Reply to  alex n

Maybe for cross, you aren’t taking care of your gear if you’re going through so many rims. I’ve never worn through a rim in less than 30,000 miles. Maybe you ride more than that in two years (I have) but most people that do will be riding more than one bike.
Keep your rims clean!!!

Corky
Corky
6 years ago

So they saved a 125 fm per wheel set, but did they include the weight of a disc in this saving? After all they have just moved the brake track rather than eliminating it altogether.

Gillis
Gillis
6 years ago
Reply to  Corky

Yes, but it’s rotational weight. So in theory even, with the disc, these should accelerate faster.

Dk
Dk
6 years ago
Reply to  Gillis

Rotational weight is nothing when compared to the whole system (bike and rider)

ChrisC
ChrisC
6 years ago
Reply to  Corky

Sure, but that weight is now more concentrated at the hub, reducing the rotational inertia. And there *could* be weight savings in the overall brake system by having the smaller caliper and eliminating cables in favor of hydraulics. My guess is the total bike system would come within a hundred grams of a rim brake version.

Frippolini
Frippolini
6 years ago

Can someone spell out the difference in drag (aerodynamics) and weight of these (incl. the discs) vs their rim brake equivalents? Thanks.

thesteve4761
thesteve4761
6 years ago

Inner width?

DJ
DJ
6 years ago

So their disc rims are more aero than a rim brake rim, but how do they still compare when you consider the rotor aero losses?

jusedi
jusedi
6 years ago

Is it true that Enve has been acquired by Mavic?

John
John
6 years ago
Reply to  jusedi

Technically, ENVE was purchased by Mavic’s parent company.

$dmoney$
$dmoney$
6 years ago

Magic…. Was I the first one to say it???

$dmoney$
$dmoney$
6 years ago
Reply to  $dmoney$

Damn auto correct, dupped again!!… MAVIC

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

I’m just consistently amazed at the market size for $2-3k+ bike wheels.

jacob
jacob
6 years ago

11 billion dollar wheels…..
6 year shoes

Ano
Ano
6 years ago

Would they not have been better designing something a bit general purpose around a shallower rim profile (say 24mm)?! Aero disc seems like a tiny proportion of the market (albeit growing) to go after or is that where it’s at?

lonefrontranger
lonefrontranger
6 years ago
Reply to  Ano

I don’t do much road racing anymore but from what I’ve been hearing from the wrenches/techs one of the biggest drawbacks to aero’ bikes are the stupid proprietary “hidden” rim braking systems that many of them have these days – systems that can be incredibly difficult to set up and adjust, and sometimes barely function.

Hydro discs are incredibly easily installed, and assuming they come properly factory cut and bled, they are effectively maintenance free in comparison. A hydraulic line/caliper assembly is half the weight of a cable brake and rim caliper assembly, not counting the rim (leverage rotational weight) it eliminates, and coupled with a proper thruaxle flat mount should effectively never need adjustment. Not to mention that disc brakes work incredibly well.

There is an aero drag penalty from the disc, but it’s been shown to be fairly negligible in real world situations, and certainly less than expected; it’s a few watts at best. I’d anticipate further design refinements to come on both wheel and fork configurations which may work to further reduce that. I’ve certainly seen some questionably thought out high flange hub designs that sold well and nearly approximate the size of a brake rotor.

John
John
6 years ago
Reply to  Ano

ENVE already makes SES 3.4 carbon wheels for disc brakes.

matthew moseley
matthew moseley
6 years ago

re inner width, probably 17, as they say “optimized for 25mm tires”. i.e. too narrow.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago

too narrow for what, fatbiking?

Ander
Ander
6 years ago

19 mm internal width. Took exactly 30 seconds at ENVE site to find out…

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