Wheels are so integral to the riding experience that every cyclist will want to make sure they’re using the very best they can get. If they can do it without the premium price tag to match, then all the better.
Since 2013, Elitewheels has set out to show that pro-level wheelsets don’t need to cost a fortune. Years of research and development have led to the creation of the Drive range, which takes advantage of state-of-the-art carbon fiber manufacturing techniques to give you a stiffer, lighter and stronger wheel for riding on the road.
Elitewheels’ products (including the carbon fiber prepreg, rims and hubs) are produced at the company’s own factories in Xiamen, China. The fact Elitewheels doesn’t need to outsource production makes the manufacturer more adaptable to the ever-changing needs of cyclists, while allowing for more oversight over quality control.
Every wheel in the Drive range undergoes 13 rigorous tests before being sent out into the world, including checks on lateral and radial stiffness of rim and wheel, 20-degree and vertical impact tests, and wheel torque fatigue tests. Elitewheels’ wheels have also received certification from the UCI, and can now be seen being used by UCI Continental teams, including China Glory Cycling who have raced in the Tour of Turkey and Tour of Slovenia.
Elitewheels says the aero-bladed carbon spokes used on the Drive range are seven percent stiffer and three times more resistant to fatigue than equivalent steel spokes. Importantly, they’re just as easy to replace. Spoke holes are also drilled at an angle, which helps reduce stress on the spokes.
Wheels are tubeless-ready and available in both disc and rim brake versions, while the rim profiles have a U/V shape designed to achieve the right balance between aerodynamics and crosswind stability. Rim brake versions have laser-etched brake tracks, in order to improve braking performance in wet conditions.
In terms of construction, Elitewheels’ hubs feature 6803 and 6903 hybrid ceramic bearings, with their five-axis CNC machines allowing for tolerances of 0.02mm. These tight tolerances allow for a better bearing fit, and therefore, less drag and wear.
The wheels are built using Elitewheels’ unique manufacturing procedure, which uses custom-made air bladders to prevent resin from leaking inside the wheel rim. Bladders are then removed through the valve hole when the molding process is complete. This process results in smoother sidewalls which, alongside the fact there is no excess epoxy around the spoke holes, helps the nipples to sit properly in the rim. This allows for more consistent spoke tensions and subsequently makes the wheel more stable.
The Elitewheels Drive range comes in a variety of specifications to suit a rider’s individual needs.
If you’re looking for an all-rounder that specializes in hilly terrain, the 40mm rims of the Drive 40D (from $1,189/disc brakes/1,260g (for the pair)) and the Drive 40V Team (from $1,069/rim brakes/1,325g (for the pair)) are for you. As well as supporting rim brakes, the Drive 40V Team wheels are made with additional Toray T700 carbon fiber to improve lateral stiffness. If keeping the weight down is your priority, you can also get ultralight versions of the Drive 40V, which tip the scales at just 1,255g per pair.
If you’re after an all-rounder more suited to flatter courses, meanwhile, the 50mm rims of the Drive 50D (from $1,189/disc brakes/1,300g (for the pair)) and Drive 50V Team (from $1,069/rim brakes/1,400g (for the pair)) were designed with you in mind. Ultralight Drive 50V wheels (weighing 1,315g for the pair) are also available.
And if aerodynamics are your priority, you’ll want to make a beeline for the 65mm rims of the Drive 65D (from $1,189/disc brakes/1,460g (for the pair)). A rim-brake version will be available soon.
Beyond the pro-level Drive range, Elitewheels also manufactures entry-level Marvel and mid-level BWT wheelsets. If you like racing the clock, Elitewheels has got you covered with its Velo TT wheels, and if your cycling tastes tend to take you off road, it’s worth checking out Elitewheels’ MTB and gravel products.
So for professional-level road wheels at a price point that won’t break the bank, take a look at everything Elitewheels’ Drive range has to offer.
Elitewheels Drive wheels come with a three-year warranty, a crash replacement policy and a 60-day money back guarantee. To find out more, and to take advantage of free delivery on your orders, visit www.elitewheels.com.
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