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Enve 4.5 SES Clincher Road Wheelset

Enve 4.5 SES Clincher Road Wheelset
Enve 4.5 SES Clincher Road Wheelset
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Key Features

Material: Carbon Fibre
Rim Depth: Front 48mm / Rear 56mm
Internal Rim Width: Front 18.5mm / Rear 17mm
External Rim Width: Front 27mm / Rear 25.5mm
ERD (effective Rim Diameter): Front 563 / Rear 545
Built Weight: 1449 grams
Rim Weight: Front 361 grams / Rear 399 grams
Recommended Tyre Size: 23-25mm


While we haven't yet found a fault with any of ENVE's SES wheels, we have always been aware of a glaring absence when compared to other manufacturers' lines. ENVE's SES rims jump from the climb-happy 3.4s to the cruise-missile aerodynamics of the 6.7s. That's a big leap, and if you're as particular about matching your kit to a given task as we are, then you've no doubt felt the lack of an intermediate depth. With the all-new SES 4.5 Carbon Road Wheelset, though, ENVE effectively accomplishes two things. First, it smooths the transition from climbing efficiency to speed across the flats, second and more importantly it offers what may be the single best all-around wheel in the world.

Like the rest of the SES line, the 4.5s' rims aren't subjected to static, arbitrary widths and shapes. Instead, the engineers let each wheel's depth requirements dictate the ideal dimensions in order to reduce lateral forces and increase aerodynamic benefits across a wide range of yaw angles. The 4.5s' design also accounts for the different behaviours of front and rear wheels. The front wheel is 48 millimetres deep and 27 millimetres wide, while the rear wheel is deeper and skinnier at 56 millimetres deep and 25.5 millimetres wide. This decreases drag with a focus on increased stability up front while taking advantage of the fact that the aft position has less of an effect on stability to focus on aerodynamic gains in the rear.

The result is that the 4.5 handles crosswinds and gusts with the confident stability of a wheelset with half its depth by building up a side-force equal to the changing angle of the wind. While this sounds like so much marketing palaver, it's verified by a Stability Index. ENVE borrows this testing protocol from the Formula One industry, and it remains the only cycling manufacturer with the confidence to measure its wheels by such a demanding metric.

To rate a wheelset on this index, the front wheel is subjected to quick changes in wind degree at set yaw angles, and the steering torque of user-correction is then measured. This means you won't be thrown across the road when a sharp turn radically changes your orientation to the wind, and you'll also enjoy more stability in gusty conditions, eliminating unfortunate surprises while cruising in the bunch.

Of course, aerodynamics are absolutely meaningless if a wheelset crumbles at the first sign of less than optimal road conditions, so we expect ENVE's obsessive engineering to carry over into the wheels' materials and layup. Knowing that carbon gains strength from continuously wrapped fibres, we're happy to report that ENVE routes the fibres around each hole in a 100% intact design, which adds strength, boosts rigidity, and allows for less material and a lighter rim. The use of a removable bladder also keeps weight down compared to other wheels. This means the SES series boasts the highest claimed strength-to-weight ratio on the market.

The R45 Chris King hubs are 10/11spd compatible and available in Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo versions. Like all Chris King hubsets the R45s are designed to be easily upgradeable and convertible. Changing one version to another is simple, only requiring the use of version specific driveshell assemblies and axles.

As with every Chris King bearing, the stainless steel sealed bearings featured on the R45 hub are made in-house in Portland, Oregon and individually hand-checked for precision and smoothness. The proprietary bearing design allows placement of more rolling elements per bearing meaning greater durability and precision. R45 bearings also feature lightweight, low-friction seals for fast rolling and can be easily serviced at regular intervals using only a single 2.5 mm hex wrench and penknife.

NB: Image for illustration purposes only

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