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  5. Enve SES 4.5 AR Disc Carbon wheels

Enve SES 4.5 AR Disc Carbon wheels

  • RATING 8.9/10
  • PRICE $3,200.00
  • WEIGHT 1580 grams
Photo: Brad Kaminski | VeloNews.com

Spoke count: 24 (both)
Rim type: Tubeless-ready clincher
Rim width: 25mm internal (both); 31mm (f), 30.5mm (r) external
Rim depth: 49mm (f); 55mm (r)
Moment of inertia: 4.96 (f); 4.93 (r)
Deflection: 6.76mm (f); 6.82mm (r)

Reasonably light, aerodynamic, with an easy tubeless setup: What more could you want? Enve created the 4.5 All-Road wheels to capitalize on increased frame clearances as more manufacturers move to disc brakes. Enve says they are optimized for use with 30-millimeter road tires, but we couldn’t resist wrapping them in big gravel tires to take advantage of the massive contact patch.

Even with big, burly tires, the 4.5 ARs feel fast on and off the pavement. The deeper rims (49-millimeter front and 55-millimeter rear) cut through headwinds and had us chasing segments on fast rolling dirt road segments. Strong side winds pushed the deep profile rims around a bit, but only when conditions turned extra blustery.

Our lab test revealed more flex than we were expecting given how responsive they felt on both dirt and pavement. They measured 6.76mm and 6.82mm of front and rear deflection, the most of our gravel wheel test. But steep climbs and tricky descents felt peppy and fun despite the soggy lab report.

The 4.5 AR’s responsive feel grows partly from the wheels’ respectable rotational inertia measurements (4.96×105 g-cm2 front and 4.93×105 g-cm2 rear). Deeper rims typically need more energy to get started or stopped since much of the weight is located farther from the hub. But the 4.5 ARs scored some of the better rotational inertia scores, particularly for deeper rims.

At just 1,580 grams, the carbon adventure wheels moonlight as lithe climbers. They’re perfect for steep dirt canyon climbs or exploration rides into the mountains. At $3,200 these aren’t an upgrade for everyone. Perfectly capable, less expensive gravel wheel options are out there (check out our reviews on the Clement Ushuaias and Stan’s Avions). But Enve’s AR 4.5s are our bling, bling gravel upgrade of the year.

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