Road Gear

Reviewed: Enve SES 2.2 wheels

Enve's SES 2.2 wheels are great for climbers, but they aren't quite stiff enough to justify their steep price.

“Exceptionally light climbing wheels ideal for the weight weenie.”

Score: 6.8/10
Price: $3,500
Weight: 1,350 grams (620 grams front/740 grams rear)
Rim type: Tubeless-ready
Rim depth: 25mm front and rear
Rim width: 18.5mm front and rear (internal)
Spoke count: 20 front/24 rear

Enve’s blacked-out SES 2.2 wheels are sleek and ultra light, thanks in part to the company’s new carbon hubs that weigh in at a paltry 232 grams for the pair. The hubs are full carbon and each spoke hole is molded with continuous carbon fibers, rather than drilled. This helps create a strong, incredibly light hub. DT Swiss provides the internals with its ratchet drive mechanism.

The look is gorgeous and the hubs will make you drool. At $3,500 for the pair, our expectations were high — near perfect, in fact. So how do the wheels ride?

Out of the saddle, there was a small amount of brake rub from the rear wheel. Acceleration was adequately snappy, but they still don’t have the effortless feel of the best tubulars. Compared to other clinchers in this price range, the Enves are below the best, but not by much. Still, for the price, these wheels should be perfect.

Testing conducted at Microbac Laboratories revealed that the front wheel was plenty stiff (the stiffest, in fact, when tested against the Bontrager Aeolus 3 TLR D3 clinchers, Shimano Dura-Ace WH-9000-C24-CL, and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35). Surprisingly, the rear wheel came close to last in stiffness. The wheels also came in last in our inertia test, where weight distribution has a huge impact on how much energy it takes to get a wheel spinning. Translation: The rear wheel does not spin up as fast as its competitors, so you work harder to get going.

On the road, once the 2.2s are rolling, they’re easy to keep spinning. Combined with their light weight, that makes them nice on lengthy climbs. They’re tubeless-ready, too, which is a bonus. But Enve’s climbing wheels never approached the perfection we expected at this price.

Gram counters and featherweight climbers can find much to love about the Enve SES 2.2s, but given their numbers, we’d have a hard time recommending them over something like the Shimano C24s, which performed as well or better in our tests and cost roughly one-third as much. These are your best bet if the grams count more than blast-forward responsiveness.