Behind The Product - SES Race Day Tires

SES Race Day Tires

‘A difference you can feel’ - it’s the benchmark that every product sets out to achieve. 

Sure, gaining a percentage of stiffness or reduction in aero drag here or there can add up - and is significant. These performance gains, however, don’t quite have the same effect as the ‘Eureka!’ moment you feel after making a truly performance enhancing upgrade. The ENVE Race Day Tires were that eureka moment for each of us after removing all constraints and aiming for pure speed and performance. 

When we set out to make tires nearly four years ago, we dreamt up an entire line with specific compounds, treads, and use-cases. While striving to create tires that checked a lot of boxes, we also knew there were situations where we wanted a very specific tire for a very specific race or terrain. Similar to how we all swap out our vehicle’s summer tires for winter tires in Utah when the seasons change - we wanted to be able to swap to a, “Race Day” tire for days when speed is paramount, and everyday durability was less of a priority. 

In concert with our seasoned tire manufacturer we were able to create a checklist for all of the features we wanted from a no-holds-barred performance tire. The list boiled down to the following features and characteristics:

  1. Rotational Weight
  2. Tread Compound
  3. Casing
  4. Size
  5. Tubeless Performance


Most tires carry around a few extra layers of puncture protection. This is great for training rides and/or mixed terrain excursions that find you adventuring in places where a flat is less desirable than normal. Utilizing a tire that has added puncture protection along with the aid of  tubeless sealant is your best defense in these situations. It is however, extra weight - and rotational weight is what’s felt the most. By removing that extra 50g of puncture protection, we gain the following performance benefits: lower rotational weight, and less hindrance the tire against the tarmac or concrete surface. 


Removing material and making a tire lighter is one thing - but getting down to the molecular level and producing an entirely different compound can have meaningful benefits as well. We needed a tire that had truly better grip technology, and less rolling drag to make it a race specific tire. With an everyday tire - less risks in cornering and speed are taken. On race day - all bets are off and every additional centimeter of extra track is utilized in cornering. Similarly, every additional watt of rolling resistance is critical when some race wins are measured in hundredths of a second. To do this, automotive tire manufacturers discovered that adding silica to a rubber compound increased its traction, while also yielding lower resistance. Silica is a common filler used in tire manufacturing that is readily available and interacts with the tire compounds in a positive way. The silica also made the tire more resistant to cutting or slicing when added - but - if too much was added, it negatively affected wear resistance by not deforming enough to the road. This led to a tire that wore out too quickly and lost its effective grip. Finding the right balance of rubber to silica and dispersing it across the rubber in the right increments for it to work effectively has always been a tricky task. Fast forward to new nano-technology. This technology bridges the gap, and provides for better binding between the rubber and silica with nano-fillers. Fewer gaps in the compound deliver a tire with less hysteresis (bouncing and rebounding) and will yield even lower energy when rebounding from deformation - or inconsistencies in the road. It’s easy to see how this translates into better fuel economy on a car tire - and plays a similar role in bicycle tires that are 27-29mm wide. With such a small contact patch, the tire can deform to the road easier without translating into bumps felt up through the wheels, frame, and into your body. The compound introduced into our Race-Day tires uses this nano-filler technology providing not only lower rolling resistance - but a noticeable increase in wet weather performance and grip too. 


The Race Day features an all new hyper efficient tire casing construction that’s not seen on any of our other SES tires. Tire casings are very similar to carbon lay-ups in a lot of ways. Changing the angle of a ply in a tire casing is very similar to changing the angle of a ply in a carbon wheel in how it affects stiffness and ride feel, as well as power transfer and efficiency. It’s easy to see how the concepts and our vast carbon experience translates. Through manipulation of the materials in ply angles and casing construction, we’re able to get exactly what we want from the tire with our experience. As carbon experts, we were able to truly collaborate in a much more in-depth way with our tire manufacturer for this hyper efficient new casing construction. This allows for a tire to not only be very light, but very fast, stiff in the right ways - all while preserving what puncture protection we could and found necessary at this racing edge. 


It’s no secret we’re fans of big tire volume. It provides comfort, cornering confidence, and better rolling efficiency (Less of that bouncing we mentioned previously). Now that we had determined the materials and amount of them we were putting into the tire, we had to pick the sizes. Naturally we steered towards something that would take advantage of the increased grip and lower rolling resistance - but still provide that racing feel. We landed on the 27mm and 29mm wide options. Between the two, we saw use cases for road racers, triathletes, and even the more brazen crit racers. Also - these are the two fastest tire options from our line-up. If you’re looking for all out speed, 27mm and 29mm are the only options seriously worth considering. While our 31mm is fast and often utilized by Team Total Energies, it is generally picked when the parcours of the course take racers on rougher terrain and they want more flat protection. 


We’re firm believers in the benefits of tubeless here at ENVE. Not only has it greatly reduced flats for ourselves, our customers, and our athletes at all levels - removing a tube eliminates a major source of drag resistance in the tire and wheel system. Switching to tubeless immediately decreases rolling resistance in a noticeable way on any system. Tubeless is a superior system, especially paired to a high performance tire and casing - such as the Race Day.

It was quite obviously imperative to us that these Race-Day tires be tubeless compatible. Fortunately, we were able to achieve this feat without compromises to the compound or removal of those puncture protection layers. The tubeless sealant also provides some reassurance against errant thorns or road debris that can be sealed if they do pierce the casing. 

Click here for tubeless support.

Overall - we created a tire that gave us that feeling of, “Wow - that made a difference”, right away. As a data measurement, it’s an average of 6-8 watts saved in rolling resistance. Numbers say a lot, but real world experience on the tires says a lot more. Another tool in your arsenal for that race day that you’ve been training months for - the ENVE SES Race-Day tires give you a little extra to lay on the line for that special day.

Click here to purchase SES Race Day Tires.