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ENVE SES 4.5 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset - 2nd Generation

  • ENVE SES 4.5 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset - 2nd Generation
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ENVE SES 4.5 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset - 2nd Generation

Product Description

General Information

The ENVE SES 4.5 wheelset with is the go-to racing wheelset of the Dimension Data (formerly MTN-Qhuebeka) pro team in races around the world, and it has been upgraded with a new brake track. This set is ready to race no matter what the road, the terrain, the weather throws in its way. The reason is simple. It balances weight, aerodynamics, stability and acceleration in a durable package. Not the lightest, not the most aero, but balanced between the two, making it perfect for the widest range of possibilities.

SES is an acronym you should get to know. It stands for Smart ENVE System. Smart is not only because the design is smart, but because the rim was designed by Simon Smart, a leading aerodynamicist. His biggest divergence from herd thinking on wheels is simple, yet fairly momentous. The front and rear wheels have different forces acting on them, and thus, should have different profiles.

The front wheel has a shallower profile, 48mm deep, and wider, 27mm, than the rear. This shape is to make handling in crosswinds easier, and steering light and predictable. The rear wheel is deeper, 56mm, and narrower, 25.5mm, both for slightly improved aerodynamics-as you don't steer with the rear. The wheels have been designed as a system: they weren't tested on their own, but by putting them in frames and testing how they worked with different frame shapes. The wheels give a linear response at various yaw angles, which makes them highly predictable. This might not seem like a big deal, unless you've been riding along and suddenly had a side wind gust push you off your line. Knowing that they handle predictably will make it easier to go into the red, with the confidence that you can put all your strength into driving rather than thinking about going in a straight line. They're still fast. Faster than some deeper rims out there. Smart shaping is the trick. You’ll maximize the aero benefits with tires 23mm wide.

The clincher set weighs in at 1479g, the tubular 1281g. The tubulars are lighter.

But ENVE is about more than shape. They're a carbon-fiber company. These hoops are strong. The spoke holes haven't been cut, they've been molded, so they're stronger. The spoke nipples are inside the rim, which contributes to both the overall strength of the wheel and better aerodynamics.

The brake track is further proof of their carbon-fiber mastery. Already the carbon lay-up is such that it minimized heat build-up. ENVE  has now added a fine file pattern to the area. It’s molded in, and good for the life of the rim. ENVE found they needed 30% less effort at the brake lever to get equal stopping distance with their older brake tracks. Use more force, and you can stop faster. It also makes braking in the wet easier. ENVE developed a pad that works with this brake track. A set comes with the wheels. Use them or risk voiding the warranty.

They use bladed steel spokes to lace the rims to the hubs.

Chris King’s R45 road hubs with ceramic bearings are so durable that lasting anything shorter than a lifetime is unlikely. They’re not only durable, but light, easy to service, and look good. King makes their stuff in the USA, and they’re a popular choice amongst those who love finely-crafted bike components. The run on sealed ceramic hybrid bearings, both front and rear. The RingDrive engagement system has 45 teeth (hence the R45 name) both to reduce coasting drag and to provide nearly instant engagement when pedaling. Another reason for the hubs’ enduring popularity is the weight, at 112g for the front hub and 217g for the rear, or 328g for the set, it’s almost as light as you can find.

The hubs, spokes, and rims together make the 4.5 the stiffest wheelset in the ENVE lineup. And stiffest in the most important direction, lateral. This means that brutal accelerations from big-legged sprinters won’t cause the spokes to lose tension and have the rims wobble: if you experience brake rub, your frame is to blame.

The wheels come with ENVE Titanium skewers, which weigh in at 55g for the set. The shaft is ti’ while the rest is aluminum.

In addition to the brake pads, which are mandatory for the warranty, the wheels are delivered with titanium-shafted ENVE skewers, rim strips (for clinchers), and two ENVE valve extenders. ENVE found that the wheels are most aerodynamic when the tire width is between 23 and 25mm.

The ENVE SES 4.5 wheelset is the all-course racing performer.

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