Elite Wheels Drive 

Elitewheels Drive 40V 40mm Racing Bike Wheels Review

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Introduction

Elitewheels (Elite Wheels) are a company based in Xiamen, China. A company formed in 2013, they have been selling wheels on Ali Express for a number of years.

40mm Carbon Rims

The wheelset tested was a rim brake variant. A disc brake wheelset is also available.

The 40V uses a wide 30mm rim, the internal width is around 19-20mm. The peak width is slightly aft of the brake track and as such the alpha critical angle for detachment of flow is abrupt. The ultimate aerodynamic performance for straight line speed is quite poor. This is due to the combination of wide width and fairly shallow rim depth. If a rider needs the out and out straight line speed, they would better served with a ~50mm wheelset. The general trend for wider wheels and wider tires is not one that is conducive to ultimate aerodynamic performance.

The rims feature a grooved brake track. This has a dramatic effect on braking efficiency and it is very noticeable, especially in the wet. The initial bite with the Elite wheels is extremely good. The system is similar to the brake track found on the Farsports wheels.

The rims are extremely lightweight, they have a very low moment of inertia so they accelerate very quickly. This is quite apparent when leaving traffic lights.

The manufacturing quality of the rims was immaculate, ultrasonic checks showed no appreciable voids in the layup. This was further verified by a borescope check of the rim internals which showed no tenting, or even epoxy overrun. The wheel imbalance was best in class.

Spokes

The spokes are of the same design as the Winspace Hyper and FarSports Ventoux wheels. They feature a reverse taper on the rim end of the spoke that prevents total tensile failure in the event of a loss of adhesive such as the Ascent Polaris.

The spokes have a fairly wide profile with a minimal amount of exposed round section at the radial extremities. The variation in spoke tension was minimal. The spoke tension was acoustically measured at 120kgf (1177N) average with 3% variation across the wheels. Recommended spoke tension variation is usually considered to be 5%. Thus, these wheels have been laced well.

Hubs

The rim brake hubs are of aluminum construction. They are a forged body that has been significantly hollowed to make it lighter. The hubs are based on a standard 03 series 6000 bearing with a 17mm axle at both the front and rear. The hub body was well made and finished well. The axle had some fairly rough machining marks on it and was not the best. The rear hub ratchet and pawl system was quite minimal on grease and this had to be topped up.

It should be noted that since the initial review, Elitewheels have taken the feedback on board and addressed both of these issues hence any future purchases should not encounter any of these issues.

The hubs use a combination of 6803 and 6903 bearings. A table showing the distribution is below

LocationAs Found FitBearing Type
Front Hub Drive SideM76803
Front Hub Non Drive SideM76803
Rear Hub Drive SideM76903
Rear Hub Non Drive SideM76803
Freehub Drive SideM76803
Freehub Non Drive SideM76803
Bearings for Elitewheels Drive 40V

Despite the rough end machining the hubs exhibited good bearing fits. The fits on the bearings were perfectly acceptable and there was no hint of under sizing. There was a slightly elevated fundamental train frequency in the 6903 bearing, this is quite common. The bearings used were S&S ceramic bearings, they are of a standard size and not particularly difficult to replace when they fail.

The freehub is secured by a friction fit onto the axle with a standard Shimano style locknut to clamp everything together.

Aerodynamic and Dynamic Performance (Cross wind stability)

Aerodynamic performance is limited by the wheel depth and width. Given the 40mm depth and relatively wide width, the straight line performance is poor compared to deeper wheels. It is however extremely stable, it would take some fairly extreme wind and gust conditions to cause the wheel to become unstable.

Generally speaking, for high performance in a straight line, a very long cord length (ie a deep wheel) is desirable. This has negative effects of poorer wind stability and increased weight and thus slower acceleration. The Elite wheel is firmly on the side of low inertia for the sacrifice of straight line performance.

The DNV plot shows the stability against the popular Winspace Hyper 50. The two wheels have adopted very different design philosophies. Straightline performance on the winspace is significantly better whilst the Elite is significantly better with regards to crosswind stability. It is worth noting that wheel depth is the significant parameter in this and not any sophisticated aerodynamics.

The Drive 40V would not be recommended for a Time Trial, it is much better suited to applications where the strengths such as low weight and fast acceleration are more important. Hence the use for hills and crit racing would probably be much more appropriate.

It is worth noting the acceleration performance of this wheel is extremely good. It has extremely low inertia and this can be felt when accelerating hard, cornering or braking.

Overall Conclusion

Elitewheels have done a solid job on this set of wheels. There is little hesitation in recommending them but it comes with caveats. As a day to day wheel for climbing or crit racing they are ideal but for out and out speed, the rim profile is too shallow and wide. The build quality was very good, the tested set had no defects. The hubs did require extra grease and the machining quality on the axle was not great – Elitewheels have stated, these two issues have been addressed. The wheels are not particularly expensive and represent a good option in terms of value.

Watch on YouTube

Discount Code

The discount code HAMBINI15 will give you a 15% reduction at Elitewheels

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10 Comments

  1. hello, is it the ultralight or team version? Between the two versions there is a difference regarding the stability with wind, or the little difference in weight in the rim does not affect this aspect in the least. Thank you very much for your tests. I am very undecided between 40 and 50. thanks

    1. It’s not an ultralight version. The shape of both the ultralight and the standard is the same, it’s only the weight difference

  2. Great detail review. Got a pair of 50V because of your review, but notice the rear wheel drive side spokes looks to be deforming the carbon from tension, elite customer service told me it cosmetic, but its weird that it only for the drive side spokes and I can feel the ridges and raised area when I run my finger nail over it. Check the image here; https://ibb.co/S6DjdNH did your 40V have exhibit this on the drive side spokes too do you think they are they BS’ing me?

    1. difficult to say from your photograph, ideally you would need to put a borescope in from the backside and see if’s deforming.

      1. Thanks for checking your 40V’s. I was just curious if the drive side spokes with the noticeable bulge around the nipples was a design characteristics of these wheels. funny enough the wheel is out of true by my estimate more that than 1mm

  3. I was wondering if Elitewheels was using the “thru-the-nipple” or bonded carbon spokes and I remembered, “…ah yes that Toddler engineer from YouTube reviewed those wheels….”. Found what I was looking for here. The extension of the nipple from the rims shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I don’t mind a little bit of nipple showing. Thanks Hambini!

  4. Hi, the team version is an additional 70 grams due to additional carbon cloth for stiffening. In your opinion would a critic racer benefit from the extra stiffening or would that be more for high speed stability. This is the most in depth review Ive ever seen. Just awesome. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for your reply. One more question. Ive read the 50mm deep wheel is a good all-rounder. I was thinking for straights it would be a little better than 40 for aero but isn’t so deep it would hinder me in crits and the 50mm ultralight is still only 1315 grams so it wouldn’t affect sprinting. What are your thoughts?