The ENVE SES 3.4 Clincher Wheelset is the one with the greatest breadth of uses in the SES lineup. It's the one with the shallowest aero profiles, the lightest, accepts clincher tires, and works with rim brakes.
SES is an acronym you should get to know. It stands for Smart ENVE System. Smart is not only because the design is smart, but because the rim was designed by Simon Smart, a leading aerodynamicist. His biggest divergence from herd thinking on wheels is simple, yet fairly momentous. The front and rear wheels have different forces acting on them, and thus, should have different profiles.
The front wheel has a shallower profile, 35mm deep, and wider, 26mm, than the rear. This shape is to make handling in crosswinds easier, and steering light and predictable. The rear wheel is deeper, 45mm, and narrower, 24mm, both for slightly improved aerodynamics—as you don't steer with the rear. The wheels have been designed as a system: they weren't tested by themselves, but by putting them in frames and testing how they worked with different frame shapes. The wheels give a linear response, which makes them highly predictable. This might not seem like a big deal, unless you've been riding along and suddenly had a side wind gust push you off your line. Knowing that they handle predictably will make it easier to go into the red, with the confidence that you can put all your strength into driving rather than thinking about going in a straight line. They're still fast. Faster than some 60mm deep wheels out there. Smart shaping is the trick.
But ENVE is about more than shape. They're a carbon-fiber company. These hoops are strong. The spoke holes haven't been cut, they've been molded, so they're stronger. The spoke nipples are inside the rim, which contributes to both the overall strength of the wheel and better aerodynamics. The brake track is one that, when paired with the ENVE pads, results in rim temperatures that run lower than many alloy rims, which means that there won't be overheating, and the braking will be safe and predictable in both the dry and wet. As ENVE is based in the mountains of Utah, they take rim heating very seriously. They depend on their wheels braking well on their daily rides.
In addition to the brake pads, which are mandatory for the warranty, the wheels are delivered with titanium-shafted ENVE skewers, rim strips, and two sets of valve extenders.
We've been discussing rims, but these are wheelsets. As such, there are two hub options. One is DT Swiss 240 hubs, the other is Chris King R45 hubs with Ceramic bearings. Both are built 20/24 with DT Swiss Aerolite spokes, radial lacing in front, two cross in back. Both are available for Shimano/SRAM 10/11 and Campagnolo 9/10/11 cassettes. The DT Swiss weigh 1433g for the set, while the Chris King weigh 1418g.
ENVE stands firmly behind their products. Not only do they have a five-year warranty on their products, but they also have a lifetime crash replacement policy where they'll replace any ENVE product for 50% of MSRP, provided the customer has the paperwork to prove original ownership.
The ENVE SES 3.4 Clincher Wheelset are the wheels that work everywhere in every condition.