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From Triathletes, With Love

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ENVE 7.8 SES Carbon Clinchers

The latest in ENVE’s SES line, the 7.8, is the fastest wheel ENVE has ever made. At the heart of the SES line is the simple acknowledgment that the demands placed upon the front wheel are very different from those placed upon the rear. SES wheels use a shallower and wider front wheel, where stability is as important as aerodynamics, and a deeper, narrower rear wheel, to focus on reducing drag.

peloton

From the pages of Issue 51

RELATED: ENVE Expands SES Line Up

For the 7.8, this means a 71mm front rim and an 80mm rear. While the rear is 27.5mm wide and the front is a whopping 29mm, both are 19mm wide internally and optimized for 25mm tires. ENVE has a long history with DT Swiss and Chris King, but our 7.8s came with ENVE’s own ceramicequipped carbon hubs—don’t worry, they’re still DT inside— only 232 grams a set. Our set of 7.8 clinchers weighed just 1,525 grams; that’s tubular territory for most 80mm rims.

The 7.8s represent real-world aerodynamics—light weight, incredibly stiff and reactive, while surprisingly stable despite the super-deep profile. This stability owes as much to the sculpted profile as the shallower front wheel. That does not mean you won’t feel the wind’s influence, and sometimes significantly. The side force is there, but it impacts steering less because the air flowing around the rim is less likely to separate and create those unnerving lurches.

In the vein of real-world aero, or at least aerodynamics that work for road cyclists, ENVE worked hard to improve the braking with a new molded brake track. In the dry, the braking is essentially the same as previous ENVEs, but in the wet it is a vast improvement. The new 7.8 is also tubeless compatible, and of all the tubeless carbon we’ve ridden, its rim hooks lock the tire bead in better than any other—with a satisfying “snap” when inflated. Finally, the wheels come with a five-year warranty. When we said real-world aero, ENVE meant it.

1,525 grams (w/ENVE carbon hubs); $3,500; enve.com

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