ENVE SES 4.5 vs 6.7

I’m in the market for a new wheelset and have narrowed things down to ENVE’s SES 4.5 or SES 6.7, but I’m having trouble deciding between the two. I’m looking for something more aero than my current wheelset, the Alpinist CL, but I’m not necessarily going to get rid of my current wheelset.

I do most of my riding in the SF Bay Area, which means a fair amount of climbing but also a lot of rolling terrain, sometimes on rougher pavement. I don’t currently race, just fast group rides a couple days a week, but I plan to get into crit and/or road racing next season.

I’m leaning toward the 4.5 for the added stability and small weight advantage, but part of me thinks it would make the most sense to keep my current wheelset for hillier rides and then get the SES 6.7 for faster group rides + races.

Looking for any advice!

I’ve only been to SF a few times, but I distinctly remember that the wind REALLY whips. I think that would push me to the 4.5, but I admit I’ve never ridden the 6.7s.

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Yup, there are definitely some very windy days around SF – crossing the GGB can be really sketchy at times with the crosswinds. But I’ve never ridden wheels deeper than 33mm so I’m not sure how different the 4.5/6.7 would ride in cross-windy conditions.

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Not exactly apples to apples between brands, but I have 60mm DT swiss wheels that are absolutely abysmal in crosswinds, despite what their marketing may lead us to believe. Any day that its windy, Im going with 35mm Rovals, at least up front, if not back too. Never ridden deep enve wheels so I cant comment specifically for that wheel. I genuinely don’t like taking even one hand off the bars in the wind with the 60s, not even a concern to take off a jacket riding the 40s

I think the 4.5s are the sweet spot of aero and weight. In SF where theres tons of hills and wind, that gets my vote


Thanks for the input. I think I’m going to end up going with the 4.5 mostly for the added stability on windy descents.

Also, this is completely subjective, but after browsing a bunch of bike pics on IG, I think the slightly shallower 4.5s will look better on my bike (an Aethos) since it has a more understated look w/o all the aero profiling of something like the sl7.

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Aethos looks good with damn near anything! I love seeing older aluminum bikes with huge deep section wheels!

When I started riding, there was a regular on the group ride on a cannondale with 70 or 80mm wheels. I didn’t know diddly about anything back then, other than that it looked and sounded so freakin cool! It’s funny how most of my tastes from that era have changed, but still have a soft spot for a non aero bike with big ole wheels!

Enve have a really great warranty, just make sure you’re buying new, as the warranty is only for the original owner

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I’d go with the 6.7’s if you already have a shallow profile set.


I’m over in Sacramento and ride a lot of really rough and flat roads in the South County, and rollers over in Folsom/Rocklin/Auburn. Back in Dec 2016 I bought Enve 5.6, loved 'em but the first time I climbed Old Lawley Toll Rd in Napa (Feb 2017), the front wheel was a little too twitchy for me above 35mph descending down highway 29 in cross winds. But you have the shallow Alpinists for that. After buying a Tarmac SL7 last year I picked up the Roval Rapide CLX (50 front / 35 wide, 60 back / 28? wide), and sold the Enve 5.6. The Rapide are a little more stable (vs 5.6) in the heavy delta breeze crosswinds we get here riding out into the delta.

If I were you, given you have a great climbing wheelset, I’d look at the 6.7 or Rapide CLX for fast group rides+races.

On this new set of wheels I went with Rapide over Enve because of wanting hooked rim and freedom to use any tire.

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I have the 4.5 ARs and the 5.6 SES’s. They are equally fast, I think the wind tunnel data shows like 2-3 watts between them. But the AR’s are much less twitchy in cross-winds. If you’re going to be riding around other cyclists (group rides or races), I highly recommend the shallower depths. Although, TBH, the 4.5’s are still pretty “deep”

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I’ve been looking at the 4.5s for a new build. Hardly even considered the 6.7s. I want a good all-rounder for rolling terrain with some minor climbs. If I was doing any serious climbing (which I’m not where I live) I’d get some speciality lightweight wheels too. I see the 6.7s as more of a flat/aero wheel, and that seems to be how Enve pitch them if you look at the schematic on their website. I wouldn’t choose something that deep if you’re regularly riding in strong gusts. Take a look at InTheKnowCycling for a detailed review of the 4.5s and also for comparison some of the Zipp NSW wheels.

This was a big push for me to Roval over Enve for a 2nd set of CX wheels that could pull double duty on the road in the wind. Technically, any ETRTO tubeless tire of the correct size should work, but I didnt really want to find out the hard way thats not true. Challenge claims only their handmade tires are hookless tested, Donnelly says theyre not officially hookless compatible but theyve been tested to work…Sounds like a fancy way of saying “theyre not designed for this, they probably work but its on you if they dont”

For instance, at Charm City, I was running like 18psi in the mud and didnt have any issues rolling a tire. Probably woulda been fine on hookless, but i definitely felt better knowing they were hooked and theres a little extra to bite onto

I also get a kick out of having Specialized wheels on a Boone, so thats my official stance! haha


The sad truth for us amateurs is that we should probably go with the set that makes us think our bikes are sexy. The performance differences are close to negligible in real world conditions, so if you love that deep dish look and it makes you want to go thrash a group ride or workout, I say go for it :rofl:


Honestly, just keep the Alpinist. You’re not going to feel the difference at all.

I’ve ridden my Aethos with both my Alpinist CLs as well as Rapide CLX. The difference is too small to feel.

Sure, might save you 2-3 watts, but is it worth 3,000USD? No.

Get a coach instead :wink:

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I‘d disagree.

That wattage would be true at around 20-25kph.
The Alpinist are always slower than the Rapide…

Maybe it’s not worth 3 grand to you, but it might be for someone else.
Whether an Aethos (or any roadbike) is worth >$10 grand is a question 99.99% of earth‘s population would probably reply to with „No!“


I love that this reply came from a guy named Aeroiseverything :fire:


Here if you need some inspiration on ENVEs on an Aethos. My vote is go with the 4.5s ALL day.

Don’t forget the internal width is deep so your tires will balloon up. You have the flexibility with that wheelset to put some nice gnarly knobby tires and use em for gravel if ever you fancy that

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As with @Aeroiseverything , I strongly disagree here.

They are not mutually exclusive….he can do both.

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Are those the 2.3s or the 3.4s?

I like my Foundation 65s but I ride mostly solo.

Not as beneficial in a group unless I’m bridging gaps.

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I think it’s important to be objective when it comes to these things, especially since it’s quite a lot of money.

Yes, he might save a few watts, but he isn’t going to save more than 10-15w at 45km/h in best case scenario, and that is if he goes out for a solo TT and manages to hold 45km/h…

Yes, the Alpinist are always slower than the Rapides, but I just want to sometimes argue for other savings first

Honestly, I would like to see an image of OP on his bike, and I bet that we can start with clothing and other things before we look at wheels.

Of course, but now a person who thinks that a 10 grand bike is fine, is trying to also say that 3 grand for a new wheelset that is 1.5cm deeper isn’t going to make a huge difference.

Start with the following instead:

  1. Bikefit
  2. Aero helmet
  3. Proper fitting clothes
  4. Fast tyres

I am not disagreeing with you @Aeroiseverything, I am just saying that objectively, OP cannot expect a big difference in performance nor feel by going from a top of the line wheelset at 1360g to another top of the line wheelset.

Going from aluminium 1800 box wheelset to any high end carbon, of course, huge difference.