There's no question that rolling up to the mid-week ride on a new ENVE SES 3.4 Carbon Clincher Road Wheelset with Chris King R45 Hubs will garner no small amount of attention and send a clear signal that the previous KOM kings had better take note. The 3.4's blend of mid-depth aerodynamics and climb-worthy weight is somewhat legendary by now, and the new version sees ENVE take that versatility even further.
Compared to its predecessor, this 3.4 is lighter, wider, and gains tubeless compatibility and an updated rim shape—all of which collaborate for claims of increased stability, more confident handling, and an overall smoother, faster ride. Whether you're winding up for the county line sprint point, stringing out the field in howling crosswinds, or crushing the steep punchy climb that garners the most bragging rights at the end of the ride, the new SES 3.4 is up to the challenge.
The new rim profile features a mammoth 21mm internal width for both front and rear, dwarfing the previous 3.4's 18.5mm front and 16.5mm rear combination. ENVE says this wide stance optimizes aerodynamics with a 25mm tire while also boosting tire volume, which in turn allows lower tire pressure for a smoother, more efficient ride. We'd also happily run even wider tires for an extra dose of plush, and swapping the tubes for tubeless will take full advantage of the new rim width by reducing pinch flat risk while further reducing pressure and rolling resistance.
The rim depth continues ENVE's commitment to a shallower front and deeper rear rim pairing, but brings the numbers closer together. The front rim gains 3mm to a 38mm depth and the rear drops 3mm to land at a 42mm depth. ENVE claims that this new combination improves handling and stability in variable wind conditions without sacrificing any aerodynamics, which means you'll be riding smooth instead of wrestling to hold your line at speed. At the brake track, the 3.4 carries over 2016's in-molded Gen 2 finish, which offers 30% stronger stopping power and the ability to retain 95% of its braking power when being used in wet conditions.
As with all its SES wheels, ENVE uses its most sophisticated technology and engineering techniques to create this fast, stiff, and aerodynamic wheelset. The ENVE SES series boasts the highest strength-to-weight ratio on the market, 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, which allows a lower weight at the spoke face and adds overall rigidity to the rim. ENVE also removes the rim-shaping inflatable bladder in the rim, which, while time-consuming, serves to reduce rim weight and makes for a perfectly tensioned wheel build.
- ENVE's all-rounder wheelset gets wider and lighter
- SES carbon construction balances strength and low weight
- Rim depths provide aerodynamic speed and confident stability
- Gen 2 brake track performs well in variable weather conditions
- Wide internal rim width optimized for 25mm and wider tires
- Tubeless compatibility lets you lower pressure to roll fast and smooth