ENVE Smart 3.4 Clincher First Ride Review

I logged 34 miles on the ENVEs today. No new pics. Consider these preliminary thoughts. Because of some personal schedule obligations, I was unable to make the North Central Cyclery saturday morning group ride, so I was rolling solo.

I’m not certain what aspect of their performance is scientifically provable, and what aspect of their performance is solely mental. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, as long as the numbers prove out.

I “felt” and saw (in a comparison of perceived effort, wind speed and ground speed) the biggest effect from these wheels (as compared to my “standard” Fulcrum Racing 3s) at speeds over 20 mph and in what would be considered, in sailing terms, close hauled. (Angular headwind, around 30-40 degrees off my nose). I didn’t notice any adverse handling in direct crosswinds, although wind speed today was only around 15mph.

They’re definitely stiffer than the Fulcrums in standing/sprinting efforts. I don’t yet have an opinion on the ride quality–my preliminary thought is that it is neither better nor worse.

As far as weight goes, my seat of the pants feeling is that these spin up faster than the Fulcrums. I’m running identical Bontrager 700x23c tires on both sets of wheels, and identical tubes as well.

Braking wasn’t an issue at all. It was dry today, but the brake feel was progressive, linear, and predictable. Quick stops were no issue at all–albeit on flat Illinois land.

This may be in my head, but I felt like the steering was more direct. I never noticed deflection in the Fulcrums, but the ENVEs seemed to respond quicker to small steering inputs. It was noticeable enough that it took some adjustment–I had to tone down my steering inputs considerably. I have always felt that the Ridley was very responsive handling…but today, it was more, “think a lane change…get a lane change.” Not in a bad way–but definitely different.

Between the stiffness of the Ridley’s BB and the responsiveness of the wheels, I’d have to disagree with Lance. It is all about the bike.

I still have some “carbon wheel virgin” fears every time I hit an expansion joint…but ENVE says that these are fit for all riding, from training to crits. I plan to put them to the test.

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3 thoughts on “ENVE Smart 3.4 Clincher First Ride Review

  1. Pingback: Secret Training. | ridingagainstthegrain

  2. Pingback: Finish Line Ceramic Wax Lube Review | ridingagainstthegrain

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