ENVE SES Smart Aero Road Bar Review

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m fond of ENVE, and particularly fond of my ENVE SES Smart 3.4 Road Clincher wheelset.  When ENVE announced that they were making a matching road handlebar, I was immediately interested.  And now, the future has arrived.

They have a nice, broad, flat top that feels very nice in the hand.  Given their beauty (and the fact that I’m only on the top/center of the bar when climbing), we decided to not tape the top of the bars.  Plus, more aero, bro.

Fantastically clean internal cable routing.

The bars have a lot of flare to them.  These are 44cm.  Even at the flared out drops, they just about fit inside my 44cm compact ENVE handlebars from the Moots.  They’re just about 42cm at the hoods.  This is exactly what I wanted…a bar that wasn’t quite 44cm at the hoods, but was a little wider in the drops.

The shape of the drops is great in the hand, although I wish the drops were perhaps 1/2-3/4″ longer.  When I’m really, really, in the drops, I find myself with the end of the bars in the center of the palm of my hand.

The shape of the center section is magical in the hand.

It feels just PERFECT.

Also, the half-tape is just about perfect–it cushions exactly where I need it.

When riding on the hoods, the tape is just a bit longer than your hand.  When behind the hoods, you’re right on the tape.

Sooo…they look great, they feel great, they’re super aero.  What are the downsides?

1)  As mentioned above, I wish the drops were a smidge longer.

2)  They’re heavier than regular carbon bars.  Not a ton, but a little bit–about 40 grams.

3)  They’re stiff.  That is both good and bad.  My ENVE Compact Road bars on the Moots are amazing bars–stiff when you need it, but also surprisingly good at taking the sting out of rough roads.  The SES Aero bars have almost no compliance.  I would not want to run them on a gravel bike.  As it is, they’re pretty stiff even for a road bike.  Going from my former carbon 3T Ergonovas to these was a noticeable, immediate change in stiffness–bordering on harshness.  I only have a couple hundred miles in thus far, so too soon to give a long-term impression.  It isn’t dissuading me from riding, but it’s noticeable.

I’ll post up more thoughts over time, but for now, I’m enjoying the new bars, and I must say they look dashing on the Madone.  (Yes, I am on the lookout for a less kludgy Garmin mount.  Unfortunately, the mounts that clamp to the bars (like my much-loved K-Edge mounts) won’t work with the shape of the ENVEs.)

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2 thoughts on “ENVE SES Smart Aero Road Bar Review

    • Argh. I’ve tried SO HARD to stay away from the weight weenies page. I’ll click over and look. I’m running a Bontrager stem, so I don’t know if they’ll have something that works.

      Thanks for the link!

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