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Why We Like The SES 3.4 AR Disc Brake Wheelset
Modern all-road riding has definitely had an influence on today's equipment. Take for instance the SES 3.4 AR Disc Brake Wheelset from ENVE. Its tubeless rim is constructed of carbon fiber and laced to the firm's all-new alloy hubs. As a sign of the times, it's only available for disc-specific bikes and is aero-optimized for tires in the 28 to 32mm range. Built in the same vein as its popular 4.5 AR, the 3.4 AR promises excellent aerodynamics for higher volume tires and is even lighter for those long days in the mountains.
The SES 3.4 AR is only possible in part to a cosmic shift in the type of riding and racing "road" cyclists are embarking on these days along with frame manufacturers and tire makers providing the proper equipment to exploit this high volume desire. Once it was discovered that wider and lower pressure can be faster, the industry and riders have quickly taken note and now there's plenty of equipment that boosts aerodynamics, comfort, and performance.
Where the SES 3.4 AR shines is in its ability to reduce drag when paired with high volume 28 to 32mm tubeless compatible road tires. And while the frontal area is increased slightly with wider tires, the level of rolling resistance is reduced to a level that counteracts the losses. This is especially true since the 3.4 AR is built for real-world performance and optimized at speeds as low as 20mph. Like the rest of the SES lineup, the front and rear rims are designed specifically for their respective positions on the bike. The front rim is shallower to maximize stability while the rear is deeper to maximize airflow reduction.
The SES 3.4 AR's disc specific laminates and construction help it maximize weight savings, making it an excellent climbing partner when the road, be it paved or gravel, turns up. While disc brakes are relatively new to road cycling, they're standard issue on mountain bikes and ENVE's been making disc brake specific mountain bike rims since its beginning. This experience gave ENVE a head start when it came time to develop disc brake specific rims for the road. ENVE claims that the 3.4 AR is the lightest road wheel on the market in its category and it builds it for mountain and mixed surface riding where its stiffness and high volume provides more confidence when descending technical washboard gravel and sinuous paved canyon roads alike. The additional tire volume and road tubeless performance, featuring a hookless bead design, achieves ideal tubeless performance and easy set up. Its the same tubeless tire bed design as its G Series gravel and M Series mountain wheels. Since the bead is hookless, its completely flat on the inner wall, allowing for a more refined interface between tire and rim, improving airflow performance.
And to increase tire and rim reliability, this wheelset features ENVE’s patent-pending Wide Hookless Bead. Introduced in 2017, this anti-pinch-flat and rim protection technology is built upon a wide leading edge for the tire to impact against, dissipating the impact energy across a larger surface area and reducing trauma to the tire that frequently results in a pinch-flat. This also makes the rim less susceptible to impact damage. This feature conspires with the 25mm internal width allow it to work with road and gravel tires between 28 and 55mm wide, making quick work of mixed surface road races or full-on gravel events.
- ENVE's most versatile all-road wheelset built for wide tires and mixed terrain
- Disc-specific carbon construction blends light weight and strength
- Rim width and depth strike a balance between speed and handling
- ENVE's alloy hubs are lightweight, stiff, and uses a durable rachet design
- Compatible with centerlock disc rotors
- The rim is aero-optimized for 28-32mm wide tires
- Wide Hookless Bead design reduces pinch flats and improves rim durability
- ENVE once again leads the industry with innovative rim design
- Item #ENV0088
- Rim Material
- Wheel Size
- Tire Type
- Tubeless, Clincher
- Rim Depth
- [front] 39mm, [rear] 43mm
- Rim Width
- [internal] 25mm, [external] 32mm
- Brake Compatibility
- Centerlock Disc
- ENVE Alloy
- Front Axle
- 12mm Thru-Axle
- Rear Axle
- 12 x 142mm
- Sapim CX-Ray
- Spoke Nipple
- Spoke Count
- 24 / 24
- Claimed Weight
- 3lb 2oz (1417g)
- Manufacturer Warranty
- limited 5 years, lifetime incident protection
- road cycling, gravel
What do you think about this product?
March 18, 2021
Perfect Gravel - Decent Road
- I've put it through the wringer
- True to size
- 5` 10"
- 174 lbs
I bought these for gravel racing and while I haven’t had the opportunity to race with them yet they’ve been exceptional on my gravel training rides. Incredibly smooth and feel super fast with 38c Pathfinders or 35c Terra Speeds. As a road wheelset I think they’re awesome for climbing but just average for flat/rolling terrain. While they don’t “feel” fast I actually set several Strava pr’s on my normal climbs without even trying on my first few road rides with these. Tubeless setup is also easier than any other wheel I’ve tried, just be sure to keep the tire bead in the center channel. I’ve been able to mount 38c Pathfinders, 35c Terra Speeds, 33c Terreno Dry’s, and 28c P Zero Race’s in less than a minute without levers and a basic floor pump. To sum up - Buy now if you plan to use them for gravel or climbing. For flat/rolling terrain I’d look at the 4.5AR’s or 5.6’s. Cheers
July 16, 2020
Not sure about these on the tarmac...
- I returned this product before using it
- 6` 2"
- 180 lbs
There are some specs missing from the typical locquatious write up and technical specs. These have an 80psi max - I realized after receiving them that I would be running them at or near the max with 28s all of the time on the road. I suspect these are really gravel wheels being marketed as ok for road, tri, etc. Second, they have hookless rims I believe. This means they won't be compatible with many tires - this wasn't really an issue for me but given the hot mess that road tubeless has become it would be great to see more relevant specs published. They also come unfinished in that the buyer has to install the tape to seal them up. There was a ton of carbon dust or something on the pair I received which I cleaned with damp rags before drying the rims and then finally using the supplied alcohol prep wipes. Applied tape carefully and all looked great! Mounted Conti GP5000 tubeless tires with no drama and pumped up to set the bead. Let them sit a bit per manual instruction to allow the internal pressure to conform the tape to the channel in the rim bed. After all this could not get them to hold air. Going up over 40 to 50 psi caused the tape to move around I think and air/sealant to blow out from the valve nut, meaning air was leaking into the rim. Disappointed to return them as they look beautiful and are light and seem very durable. I just think anyone planning on using these as road tubeless should be aware of the specs and limitations and maybe there are some tricks to get them to seal up that are not included in the instructions.
July 17, 2020
Thank you for your review. I’ll probably stick with Shimano or Zipp having read this!
September 23, 2020
Hey James- Did you reference the chart for the wheel/tire combination on the Enve site here? https://www.enve.com/tirepressure/ For your weight the recommended tire pressure for a 28mm tire on a 3.4 AR is 58 PSI. I’ll agree they can be a challenge to mount but I would recommend taking them up to your LBS and having them install if you have issues. I have a set of 3.4’s and 4.5’s and these are by far the best wheels I’ve owned on the road and gravel suited for whatever large volume tires you wanna run. Sorry it didn’t work for you on these, but there’s multiple pro teams riding the same wheels without problems including NTT in the TDF this year.
October 13, 2020
just a heads up, Conti 5000 TL's cannot be mounted on 3.4ar and 4.5ar wheel sets. Enve has said they are not compatible. as stated you dont need to run your PSI as high, at 175#, I run my Schwalbe pro One TLE 28's at 57 F, 59R on chip and seal roads and absolutely love these wheels (4.5AR's).
November 15, 2020
James, I have been using the 3.4AR and G23 with Schwalbe Pro One no issues. If you read the Enve tire compatibility chart it clearly states they don’t recommend the Continental GP5000 as they have not tested or completed their testing. That said, Enve is one of the few manufacturers that actually test rim and tire compatibility. To take it further they actually provide a tire pressure guide based on the riders weight, rim and tire. Furthermore regarding hookless rims this is a newer tech that many other manufacturers are developing and adding to their lineup do to tubeless tires. I personally have been riding tubeless tire setup for over 5 years and love the new hookless rims. I can run much lower tire pressure and almost zero flats. It’s important to note tubeless is not for everyone as you have to check tire pressure and add air each day. Plus you have to add sealant several times a year. One last thought Enve customer service is the gold standard. The have responded to me via telephone and email in a timely manner with solid solutions with tire compatibility and tire pressures. Best, CJ
July 7, 2020
Great All-Around Wheels
- I've used it several times
- True to size
- Size Bought
- 3.4 AR
- 5` 11"
- 175 lbs
I don't agree with the other review about mounting the tires. I have the 2020 Schwalbe tires (size 28) and didn't experience the difficulty in mounting the tires that is described in the other review. For me, mounting is tighter than ordinary clinchers with a tube but just requires putting the tire in the center channel and then using a tire lever for the last bit. As for the wheels themselves, I am really enjoying them. I went back and forth on these, debating whether or not to buy, but after having purchased them, I don't have any regrets. I love being able to run 28s that are aero optimized, and I really like riding at the lower tire pressures. I also think the wider rim feels more glued to the road, and I feel more confident on them. I have other wheels that are 50mm, and I don't feel that I am losing a lot of aero benefits with the lower depth. These are definitely good all-around wheels that can be used for a lot of different uses, which I like. I also really like that I don't feel that I have to worry about crosswinds at all with this depth. This is my first experience with road tubeless, and it has been an overall positive experience. I highly recommend these wheels if you are committed to riding tubeless or would like to have a do-everything set of wheels. If not, I imagine the other 3.4 SES are also quite good.
December 4, 2019
Nice wheels but....
- I've put it through the wringer
Almost impossible to mount tires on these. Was barely able to get a set of cross tires on initially, and sealed up fine. After the season, I've tried mounting multiple road tires, tubeless and non and cannot for the life of me get them mounted. I've tried setting the bead in the channel, using powder and soap. Way too frustrating, and can't imagine being stuck on the side of the road with a flat and trying to repair. Good for cross, but the wide rims, make most tires too wide for UCI races.
April 23, 2020
Thanks for the heads-up about tire-mounting. I know how frustrating it is trying to mount a tight-fitting Tire--the fear alone of. damaging a $1300 Wheel is enough to make me think twice before buying. I wonder what ENVE has to say about this.
February 26, 2021
Is the front wheel compatible with a 15mm axle?
April 8, 2020
Is there a max rider weight limit on the Enve 3.4 AR disc - 24 spokes and carbon hoops doesn’t inspire the most confidence in an all road wheelset - thanks
October 30, 2019
Would these wheels work well for CX or are they too wide? Would the 3.4 wheels (non AR) be better?