Enve SES 4.5 AR Disc wheelset

Forward-thinking hoops from the carbon wheel masters

If you want an ultra-premium wheelset, there aren’t many brands that can hold a candle to Enve. The SES 4.5 hoops are a popular all-round choice for Team Dimension Data, matching up great climbing ability through their light weight along with excellent aero prowess.

However, these 4.5 AR Disc wheels are a full response to the opportunities running disc brakes offer, both on the road and when things get a bit rougher, and they’re stunning.

Enve are fully behind the trend for wider tyres and, unlike the original SES 4.5 wheels we featured in last year’s RCUK 100, these hoops are specifically designed for use with 30mm rubber, opening up all kinds of riding possibilities.

The ‘4.5’ comes from the relative depth of the rims, which are different from front to rear – still a rarity in the industry. Up front there’s 49mm, while the rear rim measures 55mm, offering up the extra ease of handling at the front while maximising aero benefit at the rear without upsetting the balance between the two.

The wheel-specific properties continue with the rim widths too, although now to a lesser extent. The front and rear both measure a 25mm internally, while externally they are 31mm and 30.5mm respectively, which once again is so that the hoops can provide the best ride qualities. What also stays the same front to rear is the 24/24 spoke layout.

The extra rim width at the front allows the tyre pressure to be run slightly lower for increased compliance at the front end of the bike they’re fitted to, while the rear is slightly more svelte to reduce rolling and aero resistance and promote efficient power transfer.

The rim profiles are derived from research by the US National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which has in recent times trended towards a smoother, rounder profile – eschewing the older, sharper profiles of what we can now refer to yesteryear.

Not every brand follows this trend, but Enve is certainly one that does – valuing aerodynamic stability as highly as ultimate wind-cheating performance. That said, the rear wheel does taper more to a point than the front, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t have to interact with crosswinds in the same way.

RCUK 100 2017 - Enve SES 4.5 AR wheelset

Enve SES 4.5 AR Disc

You have the opportunity to spec-up your SES 4.5 ARs at point of purchase – and things can get extremely tasty. A quick visit to the brand’s website shows the various options, with compatibility for Shimano/SRAM and Campag freehubs, clincher (and tubeless-ready) or tubular rim formats, as well as a choice of four hubs including DT Swiss 240s, Chris King R45s (like the wheels featured in the 100), and Enve’s own ultra-premium carbon hubs that will bring the system weight down to 1,425g in clincher form.

The equivalent tubular version comes in at a truly remarkable 1,267g, so racers have a real reason to sit up and take notice here. If Dimension Data ever make the switch over to disc Cervelos, we suspect Enve are going to be ready.

The bottom line is, these stunners are next-generation disc wheels, with a wide rim profile that’s indicative of where the road bike market is most likely heading.

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Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

View the full 100
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