Elves Vanyar Review: Sub 6.5 kg Build with 100mm Cranks!

Elves Vanyar review: Custom Elves Vanyar build on a grass with a house in a background

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In this Elves Vanyar review, you find out what to expect during the build process, how it performs, etc.

Elves Vanyar is a lightweight Chinese road bike frame that I have wanted to learn more about for quite some time now.

Dayan had built a road bike you have never seen before–a sub 6.5 kg (size 56!) climbing bike with custom, 100mm (!!) cranks and a few cool details.

Continue reading to find out why he used such short cranks, and much more!

About Dayan

I have enjoyed cycling since I was a child in Cuba. Unfortunately, back in 2003, I had a motorcycle accident where I injured my knee and lost my full range of motion. I thought I would never be able to ride again. 

My brother is an avid cyclist, and I spent much time watching him race. In 2018, after doing some research, I found Orthopedal.com, which makes crank adapters for people like me with a range of motion issues. I have been riding ever since with forged cranks that I cut and tapped myself to 100 mm. 

Elves Vanyar Build Summary

Elves Vanyar is a lightweight, open-mold carbon road bike frame. Elves took it further by doing a high-quality and original paint job and applying for UCI approval (rim brake version only). 

This frame is ideal for riders who want to build an agile climbing yet affordable bike. In addition, you can choose an option for rim or disc brakes.

Below, we summarize the main features of Dayan’s build.

Dayan’s Elves Vanyar Build Main Features

  • Official Frameset Weight (size 46): 750g (frame), 365g (fork)
  • Build weight (w/o pedals): 6.4 kg (frame size 56 cm) 
  • Wheels: Superteam UCI-approved 50 mm 
  • Groupset: Shimano Di2 Ultegra, custom-made 100mm cranks
  • Handlebar: Orome Aeropro 380 × 90mm
  • Saddle: ec90 carbon saddle
  • Tires: Continental Grand Prix 4000S II

Elves Vanyar Pros & Cons

Together with Dayan, we summarized the pros and cons of Elves Vanyar below.

Elves Vanyar Frameset Pros

  • Available for rim or disc brakes
  • Available in 6 sizes (46, 48, 50, 52, 54, and 56 cm)
  • Available in multiple original color options
  • UCI approved 
  • Meets EN 14766 and ISO 4210-6:2014 standards
  • BB86 ceramic included with purchase
  • The lower portion of the carbon seat post has an anti-slip coating

Elves Vanyar Frameset Cons

  • The frameset doesn’t include a handlebar
  • None

Also available at elvesbike.com

Also available at elvesbike.com

Elves Vanyar Build Process in Detail

In this section, we dive deeper into Dayan’s build. You find out why Dayan decided to go for Elves Vanyar, if he encountered any issues when building its new machine, and much more.

Why did you decide to buy Elves Vanyar? 

Because of its great price point and low weight.

Did you (or the mechanic) experience any issues, for example, with the bottom bracket area?

No issues at all.

Could you describe the build process?

The build was very straightforward. The frameset and handlebars both included internal housing for cable routing. 

The pressed BB86 was a breeze to install, with no hiccups and zero creaks. 

Elves bottom bracket, bike computer mount, and other parts
Bottom bracket, bike computer mount, and other parts

A neat part of the build was the lower portion of the seatpost, which came with a permanent rough surface coating that doesn’t require carbon paste. 

Elves Vanyar seatpost
Elves Vanyar seatpost

During the build, I upgraded to Omni Racer QRs at 42g a pair and used an Easy 90 carbon saddle that weighs 120g.

I replaced the Ultegra brakes with the EEbrakes dupe from AliExpress at 189g a pair.

The goal was to build a lightweight bike on a budget. In the future, I plan on upgrading to 30mm extra light wheels to lower the weight even more. 

Also available at elvesbike.com

Also available at elvesbike.com

Dayan’s Riding Experience with Elves Vanyar

The Elves Vanyar is a very lightweight frame. Does it flex? Is it stiff? 

My weight is 165 lbs, and the frame feels stiff. I don’t feel any flex.

Thanks to its low weight, I guess it accelerates quickly and is super responsive, which is ideal for attacks and steep climbs, right?

Correct. I didn’t have much chance to ride it on climbs in Florida, but I recently took this bike to North Carolina, and the bike climbs like a goat.

So, how are the riders on flats and rolling terrain? Can you keep up with your friends in a draft? 

Even though this is considered a lightweight climb bike, it’s very fast on the flat. 

What about descending?

It descends well, but you can feel that the front end is much lighter. To understand this effect, imagine when you are riding and shifting your weight back, you notice the steering becomes lighter, almost like a floating feeling. This is how it feels when riding the Elves Vanyar. 

How comfortable is it on a scale from 1 to 10? Does it absorb road vibrations? Does the riding comfort change on a rough tarmac? 

I would rate the comfort at a 9. It does an excellent job with road vibrations. It’s pretty compliant on rough tarmac. 

How do the short cranks affect your pedaling style? What is your average RPM?

The average RPM is about 85. Having such a short crank makes it much harder to produce torque at low speeds, so gear selection is very important for acceleration.

Left Gossamer custom 100mm crank with Assioma pedal
Left Gossamer custom 100mm crank with Assioma pedal

Can you still put out some decent watts?

As of January 2022, I have done 280 watts for an hour during a solo ride. 

What do you like the most about this bike? 

How nimble it is and how well it climbs

Is there anything you don’t like about Vanyar? 

No complaints. 

Elves Vanyar Alternatives

Here are a few alternatives of Elves Vanyar worth mentioning:

  • Winspace SLC2.0 is slightly more expensive and comes in fewer color options, but based on one of my interviews, it is better quality and stiffer than Vanyar. Read this SLC2.0 review for more info or use the ‘CYCLISTSHUB10‘ discount code to get 10% OFF.
  • YOELEO R11 frameset (also available for disc brakes) includes a handlebar, but it is more expensive. Read this YOELEO R11 review for more info.
  • Trifox X16 (also available for disc brakes) is more affordable but slightly heavier. It’s also not UCI approved (use the ‘CYCLISTSHUB‘ discount code to get 8% OFF). Read this Trifox X16 review for more info.

Elves Vanyar FAQ


Would you recommend buying Elves Vanyar? Why yes, why not? 

If you are looking for an affordable, lightweight frameset that performs well, I would definitely recommend it, however, keep in mind the weight limit is 100 kg. 

What are the overall costs of your build?

The price breakdown is as follows:

  • Frame: $920
  • Handlebars: $200
  • Wheelset: $345
  • Saddle: $30
  • Di2: $1100
  • Brakes: $173
  • Favero Assioma UNO Power Meter Pedals: $450
  • Chainring: $30
  • Bottle Cages: $25
  • QR Skewers: $50
  • Total: ~$3300

This was fun. Thank you, Dayan, for sharing your experience!

You can follow Dayan on his Instagram.

Also available at elvesbike.com

Also available at elvesbike.com

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