ENVE SES 5.6 and 7.8 disc-specific wheels promise aero stability

Redesigned profiles said to benefit from lack of brake track

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar 

We've been sent Enve's new SES 5.6 and 7.8 Disc wheelsets, their first deep-section carbon race wheels for disc brake-equipped road bikes, and they look pretty darn special.

The SES 7.8 wheelset is a redesigned version of Enve's existing 7.8 rim-brake wheelset intended for time triallists and triathletes. It has redesigned profiles and adjusted dishing to accommodate the rotors and mounts at the hubs. The SES 5.6 wheels are an all-new disc-specific addition to the Enve line-up.

Prices for both of the new disc wheelsets start at $2,900 (approx. £2,050).

Differential rim depths and profiles for the front and back wheels are the defining characteristic of Enve's road range, and the company has continued to employ this approach with its new disc-brake rims.

No more brake tracks

The SES 5.6 wheelset is optimised for 25mm-wide tyres and aimed at road racers. It uses a 54mm-deep front rim and a rear rim that's 63mm deep. Aside from the new depths, the biggest difference between this wheelset and its rim-brake stablemates is the lack of brake tracks.

Instead of the bulging aero profile segueing into flat braking surfaces, the bulge of the rims' sidewalls continues to curve all the way to the tops. The front gets a stubbier bulge with a broader 'nose', while a more elongated shape with a narrower nose is used for the deeper rear wheel.

"We tried a lot of radical concepts, but ultimately we improved aerodynamics by increasing the camber angle at the brake track," Enve's Jake Pantone told BikeRadar.

Enve claims that removal of the brake track to extend the profile’s curve also enables them to create a rim-tyre interface that's more stable in windy conditions.

Redesigned, curvier profiles

The SES 7.8 Disc wheels share the depths of their rim-brake equivalents (70/78mm front/rear) but also have the redesigned curvier profiles that lack the flat brake track.

Both of Enve's road disc wheelsets are tubeless compatible. While not abandoning rim-brake rims Enve is backing the move to disc brakes, as the company believes it provides a better platform for tubeless tyres.

According to Enve, the heat build up caused by rim brakes can cause the rim to expand, which can affect the integrity of a tubeless tyre's seal. Moving the brake heat from the rim to a rotor mounted on the hub eliminates this issue and makes tubeless tyres a more reliable option for road riders.

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