Over the past several months there have been a number of brands introducing new wheel models featuring technology we can totally get behind. Features such as road tubeless compatibility, dissimilar rim shapes from front to back, hookless rim beads, anti-pinch flat, and wider internal rim widths for high volume road tires are now standard on some of our competitors’ wheels. We are firm believers in each of these technologies that improve the riding experience, whether that’s seeking more speed, better handling, or more confidence. Below is a timeline of when and how ENVE has developed or played a part in some of today’s most notable wheel features.
It was in 2011 that we introduced the Smart ENVE System (SES) that features dissimilar rim shapes between the front and rear. Because the front and rear wheels interact differently with the air and the rest of the bicycle, we optimized the front rim to maximize stability, while the rear rim’s priority is drag reduction. By designing each rim shape for its specific flow field, we achieve more drag reduction, stability, rider confidence, and ultimately speed.
Although our M Series mountain wheels have been tubeless since 2012, it was 2015 when we first introduced the technology on the SES 7.8 wheelset. Now, every wheel in our road line, with the exception of our SES 4.5, is tubeless compatible. Road tubeless is a technology we’ve fully embraced because it truly improves performance and the ride experience by dramatically reducing the chance of a flat tire, lowering rolling resistance, increasing traction and therefore improving rider confidence.
Just as with tubeless, our hookless bead (“TSS”or straight-sidewall) design was first introduced on our mountain wheels in 2014. When developing the SES 4.5 AR wheel, and in order to maximize the tubeless experience, we chose to go “hookless.” The hookless bead allowed for efficiencies in manufacturing and made achieving the critical tolerances required for a reliable tubeless setup a possibility. The SES 4.5 AR was the first wheel of its kind in a number of ways, and it has paved the path that other brands have followed. Aside from pushing rim technology to the next level, the introduction of the hookless bead has driven many of the advancements in tubeless road tire technology. In the years since introducing the hookless bead we’ve worked with numerous tire brands and tested hundreds of tires to help drive greater performance and safety.
Taking the hookless bead design one step further, the Wide Hookless Bead was first featured on our M Series mountain wheels in 2016, followed by our G Series gravel wheels in 2018, then on the SES 3.4 AR. Our latest Foundation Collection 45 and 65 road wheels also utilize this rim technology, which is a design element at the leading edge of the rim that dissipates impact energy and reduces the likelihood of pinch-flatting your tubeless tire. We’ve all hit the unseen pothole that caused a pinch-flat, but with the Wide Hookless Design the chance of flatting is greatly diminished – by between 50-60% according to our data.
With the introduction of the previously mentioned technologies, the next evolutionary step is with actual tire pressure guidance. While many riders accepted the new innovations in tubeless and wide rim widths, the actual pressure being administered into their tires wasn’t calibrated correctly to take advantage of those innovations. Working with our athletes, test riders, and employees – we were able to create a tire pressure chart to help riders get the best possible performance from their bike setups.