ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Road Wheelset - Clincher $2,900.00
Smooth, stable, and snappy.
The ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Clincher Wheelset is the result of a holy union between aero-engineering legend Simon Smart and ENVE Composites working together towards one common goal: producing the best wheelset on the planet. To do this, they agreed that the ultimate wheelset needs to meet specific criteria: an outstanding weight-to-strength ratio, durability, aerodynamic stability, and minimal drag when fitted to a bike. The Smart System 3.4 Clincher Wheelset meets every design goal, and shows what's possible when a wheel is manufactured across the hall from the engineering office.
The ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Clincher is part of the SES series. ENVE used its most sophisticated technology and engineering techniques to create this fast, stiff, and aerodynamic wheelset. The 3.4's aerodynamic design starts with the size differential of the wheels. ENVE accounted for the different behaviors of front and rear wheels, and designed the 3.4s with the front wheel that's 35mm deep and 26mm wide, while the rear wheel is 45mm deep and 24mm wide. The front wheel's shallow profile and wide stance helps decrease drag in windy conditions. On the other hand, the rear wheel's depth decreases drag because stability is less affected at the aft position of the bike. According to ENVE, the 3.4s create a low drag number rivaling many competitors' 50mm- and 60mm-depth wheels.
Outside of consistent aerodynamic performance, the most noticeable advantage of the 3.4 carbon clincher wheelset is its enhanced stability. The 3.4 demonstrates stellar results under the ENVE Stability Index, a series of tests that incorporates the measurement of transient aerodynamics. In the wind tunnel, 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. The test represents real-world conditions, and surprisingly, ENVE is one of the only non-Formula One manufacturers to conduct it. The 3.4 shape that was developed as a result of these tests ensures predictable airflow attachment over the rim, regardless of crosswind; the linear steering response trumps even the Zipp Firecrest series. In a crosswind, the 3.4 experiences a buildup of side-force equal to the changing angle of the wind, and the predictability prevents the need for rider over-correction.
The Smart System 3.4 Clincher is not only aero, but it's also light, stiff, and strong. The ENVE SES series boasts the highest strength-to-weight ratio on the market, and its due in part to ENVE's patented process of molding in spoke holes, nipple seats, and valve stem holes. Knowing that carbon fiber gains strength from continuous fibers, ENVE routes the fibers around each hole in a 100% intact design. This design allows a lower weight at the spoke face, and adds overall rigidity to the rim. When built, the molded design promotes both higher spoke tension and tension uniformity. Another aspect of the 3.4's light weight is due to ENVE's use of removal bladders during the molding process. While most composite rim manufacturers leave the rim-shaping inflatable bladder in the rim, ENVE spends the time and money to remove it. This time-consuming process reduces rim weight, and makes for a perfectly tensioned wheel build.
The ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Clincher Wheelset uses a 20/24 spoke count and is built with DT Aerolite bladed spokes and DT Swiss 240 hubs.
The ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Clincher Wheelset is available to fit Campagnolo and Shimano/SRAM cassettes. Every ENVE Smart System 3.4 rim is handmade in the USA.
Reviews & Community
Interview with Simon Smart
An interview with the brains behind the SES wheels.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've had my fair share of wheel sets, and while I think I would have a set of 6.7s in tubular form as a fun wheel set, it is hard to beat the versatility of the 3.4. Living somewhere with strong winds, it wasn't fun to ride on my previous Reynolds DV46ULs when it was blowing out. I loved the feel of those, especially hammering up our power climbs here, but then most 1100g tubular wheels feel awesome. I didn't want to hassle with that for daily use, so I kept debating what to get before deciding to spend the money and get the Enves. Having looked at Zipps, I was really close to getting the 202FC, but read of issues with the 2013 and previous year hubs. The Enves are stiff, relatively light, handle winds like a champion, and feel faster than the previously mentioned Reynolds. The brake performance has been awesome, and I am very happy with my purchase. It's also nice to know that the Enves are made in the USA and that they have their warranty should any issues arise.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Build quality A+, DT Swiss hubs - amazing, braking (with the ENVE Pads) is extraordinary. These are delicious wheels, treat them with respect or jump them off curbs - they will stay dead true and keep rolling. Confident, no fade braking from 50mph on 15% grades = spectacular handling and overall make for a safer ride :) If you can afford them, go for it :)
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I just replaced my Mavic Krysum wheels with these ENVE?s set, and I feel a total different bicycle. I reached 29 mph and kept this speed easy under medium windy condition. No issues with lateral winds and the drag has been reduced a lot.
They are not cheap but, the technology, quality, and the care behind these wheels you will feel on the road.
Great set of wheels.
These are a very well made set of wheels