Better than a motor.
The rims on ENVE's SES 2.2 Clincher Wheelset with ENVE Hubs had a grand debut this summer atop the dizzyingly high peaks of the Tour on the frames of the MTN-Qhubeka team. Cummings earned the team its first-ever stage win aboard these rims, and they're now available for the rest of us to use as we conquer steep grades and the long, winding roads of our favorite local climbs. There is one key difference between what Cummings rode and this model, though. On Cummings' wheels, you can clearly see the telltale red of DT Swiss 240 hubs instead of the lighter, stiffer, carbon hubs ENVE has added here.
Mountain roads place heavy demands a wheel's braking capabilities, and ENVE ensured the shallow 2.2 rims would be more than ready to take on those demands by developing a new, molded-in textured brake surface. Paired with the new ENVE black brake pads, the brake track claims to improve performance by 30% over previous ENVE models. This new system addresses the challenges of braking in both wet and dry conditions, adding reassuring consistency on the days you get caught in a surprise rain shower on a winding, narrow descent.
In a departure from the rest of the SES line, ENVE chose to keep the depth and external rim width the same for each wheel. We assume this is because, at just 25mm deep, the aerodynamic gains of fiddling with respective depths would be minimal at best. Instead the 2.2s' 25mm depth and 27mm external rim width work together to achieve an ideal balance of stiffness and low weight that make these wheels capable featherweight climbing machines. Pair their generous width with of-the-moment 25mm tires for lower rolling resistance, plush comfort, and more confident cornering on the way back down.
ENVE wheels are known for having one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios in the industry, and the 2.2's are shaped using the same highly regarded Smart construction system as the rest of its wheels to ensure their stability and reliability. ENVE painstakingly molds spoke holes, nipple seats, and valve stem holes into the wheels rather than drilling them after curing. This construction method reduces unnecessary material and guarantees fiber integrity, lowering the weight of the wheels and increasing their structural integrity with carbon fibers continuously molded in one uniform direction.
ENVE also removes the inner bladder, resulting in lower weight compared to composite manufacturers who leave the bladder in the rim once the wheel is complete. While the removal process takes time and involves some added expense, it results in a lighter rim and a perfectly tensioned wheel build.
Proving that good things come to those who wait, the 2.2's are now available with ENVE's all-new carbon hubs, which feature DT Swiss' esteemed star ratchet engagement system. Unlike the 240 hubs Cummings rode, the carbon hubs are built with CeramicSpeed bearings rather than stainless steel, taking them to the same level as DT's top-tier 180 hubs. Together, the pair of hubs weighs in at a claimed 92g less than the 240s on Cummings' winning wheelset — worth waiting for, we'd say.