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Deda Elementi SL45DB Carbon wheelset review

1 Apr 2021
Verdict:

Wide-rimmed carbon disc wheel upgrade that boosts speed, stability and confidence

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Satisfyingly lightweight • Barely affected by crosswinds • Tubeless-compatible • Ceramic bearings • Commendable strength • Free speed for climbers
Against 
There are lighter, more affordable carbon options

The Deda Elementi SL45DB Carbon wheelset is a perfect example of the way in which aero technology has progressed in the past decade, and also of how a wheel upgrade is about more than becoming more slippery in the wind.

Gone are performance rims so deep, narrow and sharply angled that you could slice your finger on them, and here to stay is the new breed – wheels which incorporate utterly modern approaches to aerodynamic performance by concentrating not only on the depth of the rim but also its width.

 

My test bike for these wheels was the Cinelli Palio, a bike I’d tested only a few months ago when it was wearing its standard-build Vision Team 30 alloy wheels.

Fitting the Deda Elementi SL45DB Carbon wheelset – along with identically geared 10-speed Miche cassette and 160mm Tektro disc brakes, but with Schwalbe One tubeless tyres and sealant – automatically shaved 0.88kg off the bike’s weight, with the ready-to-roll Deda front wheel weighing 1.28kg and the rear tipping the scales at 1.66kg.

 

Weight matters

It bears repeating that the most impactful performance upgrade you can ever make to your bike is the wheels. Standard builds run wheels and tyres selected to create a bike that comes in under a certain price point, but when the world is your oyster, simply fitting new Deda Elementi SL45DB wheels turns an impressive 9.16kg bike into a very impressive 8.28kg bike.

Buy the Deda Elementi SL45DB wheelset now

You can’t underestimate the importance of weight, not least because it’s the most discernible difference the average rider can notice.

 

Aero gains

Running the Deda Elementi SL45DB wheels with 25c tyres creates a frontal tyre/rim area of near equivalent diameter. This cleans up the airflow around the wheel’s leading edge, thus promoting better efficiency.

Away from the wind-tunnel and in the real world of seat-of-the-pants riding impressions, these wheels performed admirably in the 40mph winds that plagued me throughout testing, with no disconcerting wobbles when the wind hit the rims at an angle (their truncated aero profile being optimised for varying ‘yaw angles’), and certainly none of the year-2000 50mm deep section wallop and shunt towards the centre of the road we once feared on blustery days.

 

Ups and downs

With less rotational mass to propel with your pedalstrokes, a bike will automatically feel easier to climb on, will roll more quickly on flatter roads, and the physical forces acting upon those two solid oscillating hoops are less keenly felt.

Climbing on the Cinelli Palio equipped with these wheels instantly negated the 10-speed setup of Shimano Tiagra gearing as fewer gearchanges were required.

Buy the Deda Elementi SL45DB wheelset now

If you think of climbing as a sprint, or a series of sprints on longer climbs, it stands to reason that acceleration is going to be key.

 

These wheels pick up speed remarkably well from an almost-dead stop, and the lack of any noticeable lateral flex not only speaks volumes about their strength, but also mitigates wattage losses.

Any hobbling of descending speed that might be felt from the lack of weight in the bike is tempered by noticeably smoother running ceramic bearings, while cornering is vastly boosted.

 

Lean into it

The smooth rolling nature of the Deda Elementi SL45DB wheelset is improved by its Schwalbe One tubeless tyre setup. The 25mm external rim width serves to support the tyre well, and there’s no doubting it’s responsible for an improvement in stability, and therefore cornering confidence.

Running the 25c tyres at a middling 75psi (their recommended range of inflation being 50-95psi) gives a wider, flatter, more confidence-inspiring footprint than a narrow rim, which would otherwise cause the tyre to ‘balloon’.

This transforms the Cinelli Palio into a bike on which you can take liberties with your lean angle. And any upgrade which adds not only a demonstrable performance gain but also greater riding enjoyment is a sure-fire one to watch.

Buy the Deda Elementi SL45DB wheelset now

Price: 
£1376.99

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