What's so special about the 3.4
Enve have been making carbon components for some time and the Smart Systems rims were developed using a manufacture process Enve has refine over some years and fused with the high level engineering knowledge of Formula1 guru Simon Smart. Rims are front and rear specific, the shapes are intended to be aero in all conditions and give the rider the perfect combination of speed and control.
How do they ride.
Smooth, fast and light yet durable enough to use everyday. The only reason not to use the 3.4's as your only wheel is because you don't want to spoil yourself. The design of the 3.4 is such that the rear wheel is stiffer because of the deeper rim and the front wheel has more control because of it's shallower wider profile, which is ideal in all conditions.
Braking is smooth as any carbon rim we have ever used and Enve provide carbon specific pads with the wheels. These wear pretty fast but so it is with all new carbon pads.
At 180lbs I felt the 3.4's were plenty stiff for me and at (1426g clincher, 1258g tubular) they come in really light for how stiff and sure they ride.
|Seen here with Chris King R45 blue hub|
Exactly what are the 3.4 build options.
Rims come in tubular or clincher and the wheels come standard with Dt Swiss 240s hubs. We often built these in-house with the new Dt Swiss 240s straight pull hub because straight pull builds up a little stiffer and without the j-bend spokes are theoretically stronger. Chris King R45 Standard or Ceramic are an option as well and these hubs come in a variety of colors. Spokes can be silver, black or white and nipples are internal so no options there.
How do I make my decision.
Between tubular and clincher it's a real talking point here in the office but the short story is such.
Racing only - tubular (lighter weight, better acceleration but not as convenient)
Racing/fast rides - clincher(more convenience and wider more cost effective tire selection)
The ride feels almost identical with a slight advantage to the tubular for it's lighter weight and more responsive feeling tires. Extreme braking while descending and crit racing seems more suited to the tubular than the clincher rim. For the record we are yet to hear of any Enve Smart rim failures under extreme braking but in theory the tubular is safer in this regard.
Hubs don't really make the wheels feel much different other than the marginal gain of knowing you have either DT or King Ceramic bearings - Stiffness and control felt identical to me when swapping between the DT and King wheels.
Where is best to buy?
|Custom built with DT 180 hub and white spokes|
|On this Look 695 these tubular 3.4's had the bike come in under 14lbs|
|For a classic look silver spokes and tan wall tubulars|