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