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Published on July 11th, 2012 | by Evan

Enve SES 6.7 Carbon Clincher Review



Railing corners with confidence – one of the many advantages I gained with the Enve 6.7 wheelset. Photo credit: Tim Westmore

OverviewEnve’s SES 6.7 carbon clincher wheelset is a lust-worthy addition to any steed. Whether you fancy road racing, crits, time trials or triathlons, this wheelset is at the top of the carbon clincher heap.

Price: $2,899.99
There’s no single ingredient that can make a wheelset fast. The recipe for a fast wheel must account for a variety of factors that not only make it fast, but stable, stiff, durable and light. The Smart Enve System (SES) was born out of this mindset and the result is a revolutionary design that optimizes the interface between bicycle frame surfaces and wheels.

 Based out of Ogden, Utah, Enve Composites is regarded as one of the preeminent carbon tube and component manufacturers. They produce tubes and parts for the best custom frame builders in the world, including forks, handlebars, stems, seatposts and of course, wheels. For an in depth look at Enve’s headquarters and operation, check out this review from bikerumor.

The Enve 6.7 wheelset looks quite stealthy with black on black graphics.

The first thing you’ll notice about this wheelset is the front and rear wheels are different depths and widths. The front wheel is wider and shallower to improve stability and save weight while the rear wheel is deeper to reduce drag where stability is less affected. The result is a wheel system that handles predictably and displays superior drag results.

I purchased a set because I wanted to test Enve’s bold claims for myself. I’ve raced on Zipp 404s and HED Stinger 6s in the past, but I’ve never owned carbon clinchers so I was curious to see how they compared. From my initial experiences, the 6.7s are indeed as good as advertised.

Stability

The 6.7s follow the recent trend of wide rim profiles for enhanced stability. The front wheel has a width of 26mm with a 60mm depth while the rear is 24mm wide with a depth of 70mm. The shape of the Smart Enve System rim is optimized to ensure even and predictable airflow attachment. What the rider experiences is a balanced build up of side force as the angle of the crosswind changes. This allows the rider to accurately predict the handling mannerisms of the wheel, smooth out big gusts and avoid dangerous over corrections.

I experienced this phenomenon during my first race on these wheels. A mighty gust whipped into the peloton during the first lap of a circuit race on a fast descent going about 40mph. The rider immediately in front of me moved several feet to the left. I felt the gust and instinctively shifted my weight slightly to the right and my bike held its line as if it were on rails. The input I gave to the bike allowed me to easily correct for the gust, which was the goal of Enve’s engineers in designing this wheel. It wasn’t as if there was no wind at all, but I felt in total control of my machine rather than feeling like a helpless victim to the next flurry. It was a bizarre, awesome feeling. That added confidence in my wheels allowed me to attack the descent on the next lap more aggressively.

Braking

A closer look at the rim of the 6.7.

Adding to my newfound confidence was the remarkable braking power of these wheels. The 6.7s brake nearly as well as an aluminum rimmed wheel. I know that sounds far-fetched but this wheelset has the best braking performance of any carbon wheel I’ve ever ridden. I used the proprietary Enve pads that came with the wheels and was amazed at their stopping power. The textured surface of the rim was designed to manage and minimize heat build up, a fatal flaw of old carbon clinchers. There was no pulsing sensation and I never lost braking power, even on long descents.

Aerodynamics

All deep-rimmed wheels will give you an aero edge to conserve valuable energy and make you faster. But how much faster? In the July 2012 issue of Velo Magazine, the editors’ tests found an energy savings of 15-23 watts while traveling 30mph with a 50-70mm deep rim. That equates to a pretty significant amount of time savings. The 6.7 wheelset scored the highest marks of the five wheels they tested and Enve’s own wind tunnel data below backs up Velo Mag’s findings. The chart below shows how the 6.7 is the most aero wheel at yaw angles of 4-15 degrees at 40Kph (25mph) compared to the Enve 3.4s, Zipp 303s, Zipp 404s, and the Hed Stinger 6s.

Enve's aero data.

Aerodynamics really don’t mean a thing without a stable, confidence-inspiring ride and I think that’s truly what sets the 6.7s apart. Enve’s engineers have created a wheelset that handles well and accelerates quickly out of corners in addition to providing an aero boost once you’re up to speed. The DT Swiss 240s hubs house fantastic bearings that spin up smoothly. I mounted my favorite race tires, the Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX with Vittoria’s Latex Tubes and found the overall ride quality comparable to the tubular wheels I’ve ridden in the past.

Also worth noting is the quality of Enve’s valve extenders that come with their wheels. After using these, I will never bother with another valve extender again. You’ll need a tube with a removable valve core, which most tubes don’t have, but the ease of use make them the best valve extender on the market. Gone are the days of frantically scrambling to get air in your tires minutes before a race because of a faulty extender.

Summary

The 6.7 wheelset can be defined as the most stable and aero set on the market. They are also one of the most expensive, but justifiably so. The ride quality and crosswind stability put them in a league of their own. Get this wheelset if you want the most versatile deep-dish clincher wheels ever made.

Specs

Weight: 1554g
Rim Depth: 60mm front, 70mm rear
Rim Width: 26mm front, 24mm rear
Hole count: 20/24
Hubs: DT Swiss 240
Spokes: Sapim CX Ray
Molded spoke holes produce stronger rim
Textured brake surface
Includes rim strips, valve extenders, titanium skewers and Enve brake pads
Rims and nipples made in USA, spokes and hubs made in Switzerland
5-year warranty

 

 


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About the Author

Evan

After a stint at Art's Cyclery's sister company Running Warehouse, Evan joined the Art's staff as a buyer in 2009. Evan has a Journalism degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and when he's not on his bike, which isn't very often, you'll probably find him surfing.



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