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ENVE SES 7.8 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset

  • ENVE SES 7.8 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset
  • ENVE SES 7.8 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset
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ENVE SES 7.8 Chris King Ceramic Clincher Wheelset

Product Description

General Information

ENVE is working on the art of speed. With their SES 7.8 Wheels, they’ve come up with their fastest wheelset yet. And thanks to their innovating thinking, it’s still fairly light, light enough for all but mountainous days.

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, 71mm deep, and wider, 29mm, than the rear. This shape is to make handling in crosswinds easier, and steering light and predictable. The rear wheel is deeper, 80mm, and narrower, 27.5mm, both for slightly improved aerodynamics-as you don't steer with the rear. For those who choose the clincher version, the internal width remains the same, 19mm, to keep the tire profile consistent.

The wheels have been designed as a system: they weren't tested by themselves, but by installing 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.

The rims, both clincher and tubular, have been optimized for use with 25mm wide tires. 23mm will fit but barely and will be less aero. 22mm will not work. Wider than 25mm will also fit, but will lose aero.

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. ENVE is so confident; they have no rider weight limit for these wheels.

The rim also has their new molded brake track treatment. A close-up shows it kind of resembles a flat file, and it won’t ever wear out. 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. Three pad sets come with the wheels, two sets are standard thickness, one set is narrow, for places where the brake arms barely fit around the frame members they’re near. In all cases, use ENVE pads or risk voiding the warranty. You’ll want to: ENVE claims the braking is virtually the same whether in the wet or dry. Trust them. They live in the mountains of Utah. Bad, or even inconsistent braking can be deadly there.

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.

They use bladed steel spokes to lace the rims to hubs they’ve made.

This wheelset can run as light as 1342g (436g front, 468g rear) for tubulars with ENVE carbon fiber hubs, and the clinchers get down to 1552g (541g front, 578g rear) with those same hubs.

The clincher version is tubeless compatible. And comes with both standard rim strips and tubeless tape and tubeless valves.

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

These wheels go great in aero frames. There’s one caveat, the distance between the chainstays in the back needs to be at least 28mm at the yoke for these wheels to fit. You’ll want to measure if you have an aero bike manufactured before 2014.

The ENVE SES 7.8 Wheelset is fast, predictable, strong, light, and stops as well as it goes.

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