ENVE's new SES 4.5 AR DT Swiss 240 Disc Brake Clincher Wheelset with DT Swiss 240 Hubs was originally inspired by the necessity of running beefy road tires on grueling European cobbles and a desire to avoid the usual aerodynamic sacrifices and questionable handling caused when pairing big tires with skinny rims. Compared to the OG SES 4.5, which is designed around 23-25mm tires, the 4.5 AR profiles are built to pair with plush 28-30mm tires for extra cushion across jarring surfaces and—counterintuitively—increased speed when the smooth pavement returns. This wheelset serves the ever-growing segment of riders searching for wheels with multi-surface versatility to expand their ride routes to spur-of-the-moment surface changes. The AR initialism stands for All Road, but these wheels (and the generous tires they accommodate) are built to keep going even after all roads end.
We would be remiss to categorize these as just a wider version of the 4.5 though, as ENVE engineers created a whole new carbon layup. The new lay-up makes the most out of the 4.5 AR's 25mm internal rim width, disc-specific hub pairing, and multi-surface utility. ENVE understandably guards the specifics of its layups closely, but if its other proven rim designs are any indicator, this wheelset is sure to withstand all manner of aging pavement, graded gravel, and even singletrack with snappy speed and stability. Another tweak to the usual road design is the inclusion of a hookless bead, which is inspired by ENVE's mountain rims and increases tubeless reliability with a clean tire to rim interaction.
Even with all those changes, the 4.5 AR sees a continuation of ENVE's now signature offset front and rear rim depths by featuring a 49mm front and 55mm rear rim. Like with the standard 4.5, these depths inhabit in the sweet spot between the more climbing oriented 3.4 and TT/crit-leaning 6.7 wheelsets. With wind tunnel and real world testing to back up claims that these wheels will hold steady in a wide variety of wind conditions, the 4.5 AR takes the 4.5's claim of being the all-rounder wheel of choice for riders across the world to a whole new level—or at least to whole new terrain.
While shaping and dimensions are the brand's calling card, ENVE's obsessively clean construction also sets it apart from the herd of carbon competitors. ENVE wraps carbon fiber continuously around a removable bladder to construct the rims, routing the fibers around each hole for a completely intact, precise design that boasts the highest claimed strength-to-weight ratio on the market. As an added step, ENVE removes the bladder for a final product that's both lighter and more structurally sound than rims that remain packed with molding material. While that extra step adds time and expense to the manufacturing process, the end result is worth it, and it further solidifies ENVE's reputation as a company that cuts no corners.
- A versatile wheelset built for wide tires and mixed terrain
- Carbon construction blends light weight and strength
- Rim depth strikes a balance between speed and confident handling
- Durable DT Swiss hubs provide snappy responsiveness
- Compatible with centerlock disc rotors
- Wider rim optimized for 28-30mm tires
- ENVE leads the industry with innovative rim design