Elitewheels DRIVE Review: Sub 1300g 45mm Disc Brake Wheels!

Elitewheels DRIVE review: Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm disc brake in front of a brick wall

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This is my Elitewheels DRIVE wheels review. They surprised me with their affordable price but high-end specs like the super-low weight below 1300g (45mm rim depth), in-house designed hubs, and carbon spokes.

I checked their lateral & radial trueness, spoke tension, difficulty to put a tire on, and compared their riding characteristics with other Chinese wheelsets.

After reading this review, you get a better idea of whether they are suitable for you and what to expect from them.

Spoiler alert: I think these wheels get much lower attention than they deserve.

Continue reading to learn why and claim a 15% discount.

NOTE: As soon as it gets warmer, I plan to do an outside speed comparison test and update this review.

About Elitewheels

Elitewheels has been developing and manufacturing carbon wheels since 2013. This brand was mainly known for entry-level wheels. However, they invested heavily in R&D and recently introduced a premium wheel line called DRIVE.

Elitewheels don’t focus only on road bike wheelsets but also produce MTB, gravel, and triathlon wheels.


Main Features & Specs

The DRIVE series is the highest-end wheel line Elitewheels offers. It comes with in-house designed hubs and carbon spokes. It belongs among the best Chinese road wheels.

The more affordable KING series is heavier and comes with Sapim CX-Ray spokes and DT Swiss hubs. And finally, the BWT series differs mainly thanks to the wave-like rim design to optimize aerodynamic gains.

But, back to the DRIVE series that I tested. Here are the specs of Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc.

Main Features

  • Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • In-house designed hubs and carbon spokes
  • Ceramic bearings
  • Unique, raw carbon rim finish
  • Tubeless rim tape included
  • 2 Tire levers included
  • Socks as a gift included
  • Tubeless valves and valve extenders are not included
  • Free spare spokes included (2 or rim brake wheelsets, 4 for disc brake wheelsets)
  • 1000-day warranty
  • 60-day return policy

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Disc (also available for rim brakes)
  • Measured Weight
    • Front Wheel: 562g
    • Rear Wheel: 718g
    • Pair: 1280g
  • Rim width: 21.4mm (internal), 28.8mm (external)
  • Rim depth: 45mm
  • Spokes: Elitewheels carbon spokes
  • Hubs: Elitewheels with ceramic bearings
  • Rider’s weight limit: 125kg (275lb)

Use this Elitewheels discount code CYCLISTSHUB at elite-wheels.com on the checkout page to get 15% OFF on your purchase. Share this code via email


First Impressions and Unboxing

Unlike HYPERs or Farsports Ventoux S wheels, I had no idea what to expect from Elitewheels because there were no reviews of DRIVE wheels. So I was pleasantly surprised when I received the box.

It was scratch-free, and the wheels were packed safely to avoid any potential damage.

The box included wheels, rim tape, tire levers, through-axles, and socks. I asked Elitewheels if this is standard package content.

They replied that they wouldn’t supply through-axles in future orders due to compatibility issues. The socks are a gift.

NOTE: Elitewheels improved the packing, and the wheels now come with preinstalled rim tape.

Spare spokes (and tubeless valves) were not included. However, Elitewheels adjusted the packing contents since my review, so you get 2 spokes with rim brake wheels and 4 spokes with disc brake wheels.

Through-axles, tire levers, rim tape, and socks on a wooden table
Through-axles, tire levers, rim tape, and socks in the box

In-House Tests

I looked for ways to compare different wheelsets objectively. So, I came out with the following in-house tests in my modest workshop.

These tests give us a better idea of the wheels’ assembly quality. So, did the DRIVE wheels pass my tests?

Lateral and Radial Trueness

Both the lateral and radial trueness of DRIVE wheels were ok. I mean, they were not perfect. I found some deviations here and there, but they shouldn’t affect the riding characteristics. And if so, I won’t notice them anyway.

One thing I want to highlight is the spoke holes design. As you can see in the following picture, they are not centered (as they are on Lún HYPER and Farsports Ventoux S).

Elitewheels DRIVE spoke holes
Elitewheels DRIVE spoke holes

I asked Elitewheels why they decided to design the spoke holes like this. They replied the following:

The installation of carbon spokes requires very precise angular requirements. The holes are slightly offset from the center, alternately left and right. Installing carbon spokes also requires professional tools, and we must ensure that the holes are concentric. So none of the holes are in the middle.

I also asked the same question in a wheel builders group on Facebook to double-check this claim. The members confirmed that the offset holes allow aligned access to the nipples and strengthen the wheel construction.

Spoke Tension

Spoke tension was similar to Lún HYPERs. It was pretty consistent, and just a few spokes were off by less than 5%. That’s a good result but not as good as YOELEO SAT PROs.

Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc_ Front Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (LEFT)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc Front Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (LEFT side)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc_ Front Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (RIGHT)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc Front Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (RIGHT side)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc_ Rear Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (LEFT)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc Rear Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (LEFT side)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc_ Rear Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (RIGHT)
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc Rear Wheel Spoke Tension Readings (RIGHT side)

Rim Centering (Dishing)

The hub was well-centered. There was no gap between the end cap and the middle piece of the dishing tool.

Elitewheels DRIVE dishing - front wheel right side
Dishing – front wheel right side
Elitewheels DRIVE dishing - front wheel right side
Dishing – front wheel right side
Elitewheels DRIVE dishing - rear wheel left side
Dishing – rear wheel left side
Elitewheels DRIVE dishing - rear wheel right side
Dishing – rear wheel right side

Difficulty to Put the Tire On

To test how difficult it is to put the tire on the rims, I always use the same tubeless tire – Tufo Comtura 4 TR 28mm.

I installed the supplied rim tape and tried to mount the tires. It was a bit more difficult (maybe also because of the wider rims) than with YOELEO SAT PROs or Lún HYPER. Anyway, tire levers helped me with it.

Then, I tried to inflate them with a compressor but with no luck. So, I used soapy water and tire sealant to help the seating process. After these two ‘hacks,’ they seated nicely.

Lún HYPER were easier in properly seating a tubeless tire because they didn’t require these additional steps.

NOTE: Elitewheels DRIVE have about 3mm wider rims than other wheels I tested. This means they are more suitable for increasingly popular 28mm and 30mm tires.

The table below shows all wheels I tested (more wheels coming soon).

Reviewed WheelsetTire On*Lateral TruenessRadial TruenessSpoke TensionRim CenteringAverageBuyRim depthWeight (F | R | Pair)Rim Width (I)Rim Width (E)
YOELEO C50|50 SAT DB PRO455554.8Check Price (yoeleobike.com)
Check Price (yoeleoeurope.com)
50mm705g, 830g, 1535g18.5mm25.5mm
Lún HYPER 50mm444444Check Price (use code 'cyclistshub10' to get 10% off)50mm650g, 779g, 1429g19mm26mm
Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm Disc344454Check Price (use code 'cyclistshub' to get 15% off)45mm562g, 718g, 1280g21.4mm28.8mm
Farsports Ventoux S344443.8Check Price (use code 'cyclistshub100' to get 100 USD off)45mm637g, 755g, 1392g19.2mm25.5mm
My scoring of the Chinese carbon road bike wheels and other technical details.
The scale for each feature is 1-5 points, where 5 is the best. The rating can be retrospectively adjusted based on the comparison with other wheelsets.
*How difficult it is to put a Tufo Comtura 4 TR 28mm tubeless tire on and properly seat it.

Use this Elitewheels discount code CYCLISTSHUB at elite-wheels.com on the checkout page to get 15% OFF on your purchase. Share this code via email


Riding Experience

UPDATE: I hit a deep pothole while descending at around 60 km/h (37.3 mph) and got a puncture. The rims are scratch-free.

In short – these wheels are fun to ride. They are like sports cars. They are super responsive, thanks to their low weight and high stiffness. I enjoy them, especially on steep climbs or when we attack each other on group rides.

They are also easier to control in technical descents because of the lower inertia than heavier wheels like HYPER or YOELEO SAT PRO. I couldn’t feel much difference from Farsports Ventoux S. They behave similarly.

I was also surprised by their crosswinds’ stability. I am not sure if it is because of their shallower depth (45 mm), design, or both, but they feel more stable than 50 mm Lún HYPER.

My YOELEO R12 with Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm wheels in front of a pile of log
My YOELEO R12 with Elitewheels DRIVE 45mm wheels

But, their performance on flats is not as good as HYPERs or YOELEO SAT PRO. They don’t maintain their speed as well because of the lower inertia.

So, if you consider buying them, make sure to also think about how and where you ride most often. For example, I wouldn’t think a minute about taking them to high mountains. I think these are great climbing wheels, even when they are 45 mm deep.

Speaking of rim depth, Elitewheels decided to discontinue the 45 mm option. So, you can choose 40 mm, 50 mm, or 65mm. Naturally, the 40 mm are even better for climbing due to their lower weight.

I don’t have the opportunity to ride criteriums, but I believe crit races who need to accelerate quickly would appreciate their responsiveness.

On the other hand, if you like long, steady efforts, you may benefit from heavier wheels that maintain speed better, like the YOELEO SAT PRO.

Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of the glossy, raw carbon rim finish, but it is unique, and you will stand out. So, if you like to differentiate yourself from the bunch, DRIVE wheels are your opportunity.

Use this Elitewheels discount code CYCLISTSHUB at elite-wheels.com on the checkout page to get 15% OFF on your purchase. Share this code via email


Elitewheels DRIVE Alternatives

There are a few Elitewheels DRIVE alternatives:

  • Lún (Winspace) HYPER are more expensive, have different rim finish, but also come with in-house designed hubs and carbon spokes They are about 150g heavier. Based on multiple independent reviews online, they pretty much set a new standard for Chinese carbon wheels. Use the ‘cyclistshub10‘ discount code at www.winspace.cc to get 10% off your purchase or read my HYPER wheels review.
  • YOELEO SAT PRO are more affordable because they come with DT Swiss 350 hubs and steel Sapim CX-Ray spokes. They are better for steady efforts on flats because they can maintain speed well. Use the ‘cyclistshub‘ discount code at www.yoeleobike.com or www.yoeleoeurope.com at the checkout page to get 2 % off your purchase or read my YOELEO wheels review.
  • Farsports Ventoux S are more expensive and about 50g heavier. They also come with in-house designed hubs and carbon spokes. Ride-wise, they provide a very similar experience. Use the ‘cyclistshub100‘ discount code at www.farsports.com at the checkout page to get 100 USD off your purchase or read my Farsports Ventoux S review.

If these wheels are too expensive for you, I recommend you browse my selection of other Chinese carbon road bike wheels that also include more affordable wheelsets.


Elitewheels DRIVE FAQ


My Verdict

Are you a rider who wants lightweight, stiff, responsive, and relatively stable carbon wheels that won’t ruin your budget? Then DRIVE wheels are for you.

But, if you prefer long steady efforts on flats, you should probably consider heavier wheels. DRIVE don’t maintain their speed on flats as well as heavier wheels.

However, based on my testing and riding experience with multiple Chinese carbon wheels, I believe Elitewheels DRIVE are a worthy challenger of more established wheels like Lún HYPER or Farsports Ventoux series.

In case of any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me. You can also support my website by using the discount code below.

Use this Elitewheels discount code CYCLISTSHUB at elite-wheels.com on the checkout page to get 15% OFF on your purchase. Share this code via email


The product for this review was kindly provided by the manufacturer. This did not influence my overall verdict or my opinion about the product.

About The Author

8 thoughts on “Elitewheels DRIVE Review: Sub 1300g 45mm Disc Brake Wheels!”

  1. Great review, thanks!
    I’m possibly looking at these over the Winspace Hyper, partly due to slight cost saving, but also because Elite will sell odd depth wheels, eg. 40 front + 50 rear, whereas Winspace said ‘no’. As a light rider I’d prefer a shallower front.
    I’m also looking at these because I like the feel of a light bike/wheel, just the fun responsiveness feeling.
    Do you feel the quality of these is up there with the Winspace?
    Do you think the width of 28mm could be a challenge for some brakes, eg. standard Shimano Ultregra & DA?

    1. Hi Ian,
      Thank you. I am glad you like it. 🙂
      I can understand why they don’t want to do the “custom” option, but that’s another topic.
      I got one of the first batches from their DRIVE series. They already did some slight adjustments to the package contents and hubs.
      The quality feels the same as HYPERs. I dare to say that DRIVE are in a similar stage as HYPER 2 years ago. They will be Elitewheels’ flagship product and I think they will do everything they can to make them one of the best Chinese wheels at this price range.
      However, we don’t how they will stand the test of time. HYPERs are known for their durability. But nobody used DRIVE for more than a few months (because they were released a few months ago).
      But, I am confident that if some issues occur, Elitewheels will solve them.
      I read a few forums regarding the rim brakes, and the wheels with 28mm eventually 30mm tires should fit just fine. But try to double-check it directly with Elitewheels.
      Let me know if you have further questions.
      – Petr

  2. I got my Drive 40D wheelset on 5th May,ordered 1th April 2022,I have run both the Vittoria Corsa G tubeless 28c and the Schwalbe One tubeless 28c. Installing the tubeless tires was very easy. I was able to inflate them with a regular floor pump. Anyone that has installed tubeless tires on carbon rims would know the headache associated with it. All these tires, however, were a breeze, seriously.

    I am very impressed with these wheels, so much that I will be replacing all my other rides with equivalent wheels.Best VFM wheel to go.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess that putting tires on also depends on the tires. The Tufo Comturas I use are pretty hard…
      I agree the value you get for the money is very good. One of the best of all Chinese carbon wheels.
      Remember to use the CYCLISTSHUB discount code to get the 15% discount. 😉
      – Petr

  3. Quick question on these wheels, and also the Winspace Hyper wheels.
    And to be clear this for the rim brake ones.
    Can I use a traditional skewer for both of these set?
    Thank you very much,
    Matt

    1. Hi Matthew,
      I am not sure what you mean by the “traditional skewer.” However, both rim wheelsets come with Quick Release skewers included. 🙂
      Let me know if you have any questions.
      – Petr

  4. Hi Petr,

    I am planning to upgrade my tyres to cabon wheels but I’m lost whether to go ahead with the elite btw 45 or the hyper 2023. The elite btw looks promising due to the dt Swiss 240 hubs as the hyper 45 uses their own ceramic hubs. Again this touches on the hubs durability as I believe the dt240 will last vs the ceramic which could wear faster. I am after an all round wheel set (size 28,700c) to climb hills, flats and long rides (140km). I believe you mentioned the Drive 50 didn’t maintain its speed but would you know if the btw would maintain its speed for TT and long rides.

    There is also another brand call Creative Carbon wheels which comes from china sold in Australia, would you know much about this brand.

    1. Hi Boon,
      I don’t have experience with the BWT series, but I guess they will be rolling a little better than DRIVE. It’s hard to say what about their durability. Considering the components, we can assume they will be more durable.
      Anyway, don’t take me wrong, DRIVE wheels are still great wheels. They just don’t feel as fast on flats as heavier wheels like HYPERs, SAT PROs, etc.
      I would like to test the HYPER 2023, but I don’t know when I will get my hands on them.
      It’s honestly the first time I hear about Creative Carbon, so I can’t comment on them.
      Btw. I have the new YOELEO SAT PRO wheels with YOELEO hubs at home. I will start testing them once I return from vacation. 🙂
      Let me know if you have any questions.
      – Petr

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