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Verdict: 
Good quality disc wheelset that offers an upgrade route for thru-axles and tubeless tyres
Weight: 
1,680g

Bontrager's Affinity Elite Road Disc wheels are great rolling stock for a do-anything disc bike. They're strong and sensibly built, reasonably light and ready for both tubeless and thru-axle technologies.

In the box you get everything you need to set these up with either standard clincher or tubeless tyres, on a quick release frame and fork. There's optional thru-axle kits for the front (100x15) and the rear (142x12) and fitting them is just a case of pulling the hub apart and replacing the relevant bits. The rims have an offset spoke bed both front and rear, which helps to even out the tension in the 24 bladed spokes. This is fairly commonplace in rear hubs but less usual at the front, where the offset required for the disc mount affects the spoke angles.

The 6061 aluminium alloy rim is a shallow section and disc-specific; there's no brake track. Outer width is a wide-is-the-new-standard 23mm, with a 17.5mm inner gap. You get a SRAM/Shimano 11spd freehub as standard and there's a Campag one available too; you can just pull one off and fit the other. The disc rotor mount is Shimano's Center Lock; bear in mind that because the front hub is designed to accept a 15mm thru axle as well as a quick release, that makes it too big to use a lockring that uses HG splines. You'll need to get one of the one that has Hollowtech II splines around the outside instead. I spent a reasonably long time faffing and trying to persuade the HG lockring on before I realised the other type even existed... I make these simple mistakes so you don't have to.

The Affinty Elites come with a standard plastic rim tape and also a tubeless kit which consists of a special rim strip to seal the rim and a valve with a removable core. So far as I can tell the rim strip is a fit-once affair, as to remove it – for instance, if you don't stick the valve through to make sure the hole is in the right place and it ends up all wonky – makes a mess of the fine edges that sit against the sides of the rim. And then it won't seal. I make these simple mistakes so you don't have to. Luckily I'm also testing a Bontrager TLR tubeless kit that had a couple of spares in.

I've predominantly been using these wheels with tubeless tyres, and although I've had some issues with sealing it's mostly been down to the cock-up mentioned above, and the fact that I was a bit mean on sealant and didn't manage to seal the pores in the tyres themselves. The dunk-the-wheel-in-the-bath test revealed no leaks from the rim itself, and a bit of extra gunk inside has kept everything airtight. On the bike I've been very impressed with them. There's no rim brakes for them to rub on of course, but they feel solid and laterally stiff. Spoke tension is good and they've stayed true throughout testing. The bearings in the hubs spin well and there's been no water ingress during their time on the bike, that includes some very wet riding.

At less than 1,700g they're light without being super light. Disc wheels tend to weigh more than non-disc due the higher spoke count, the longer spokes in the front wheel (as you can't use a radial lacing) and the extra material in the hub body. Put into context, they're only 100g heavier than the Reynolds Assault Discs we reviewed earlier in the year, but they're giving away 160g to Novatec's CXDs we tested a couple of months back. Those are £200 cheaper.

I haven't found the weight of these wheels to be an issue. They've been living on my Tripster ATR which is built up as a 10kg winter bike at the moment, and they're a great fit. Tubeless hasn't really taken off for the road, but these wheels and Hutchinson Sector 28 tubeless tyres (a separate review of them is coming) are an excellent winter setup. I've done some longer rides at a decent (for me) pace on the Tripster and the extra weight knocks off a touch of speed over a road bike, but it's not much and the trade-off – full mudguards, brakes that work all the time, no punctures (fingers crossed) – is well worth it for the winter. And probably the summer too, for longer rides and damp ones.

Since Ed reviewed the Novatec CXDs we've had to replace a couple of spokes one on the front and one on the back, so they're maybe not as reliable as he originally thought, but other than that they're wearing well. The extra heft in these Bontrager wheels makes me doubt I'm going to need to replace any parts in the near future. They feel solid, they roll well, they're ready for tubeless and thru-axles if either of those things are on your radar. As such, they're a good wheelset for an all-purpose bike or disc 'crosser, and definitely one to consider. If the price is a bit high then the next step down is the Affinity Comp TLR Road Disc: they're 100g heavier and the build isn't as nice – non-bladed spokes and a downgraded hubset – but you'll save yourself £200.

Verdict

Good quality disc wheelset that offers an upgrade route for thru-axles and tubeless tyres

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bontrager Affintity Elite Road Disc wheelset

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Feel the strength and confidence of disc brakes on the road. The tubeless ready Affinity Elite Disc offers consistent braking and all condition performance.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Stacked Lacing provides a better spoke bracing angle for a stiffer wheel

TLR rims allow for quick transition to tubeless systems

OSB reduces wheel dish, improving stiffness and stability

Interchangeable axles for compatibility with more frames and forks, sold separately

6061 alloy rim with 23mm/17.5mm width, 3 pawl drive system, DT 14/15G spokes

Compatibility: Shimano 10/11spd, SRAM 10/11, Campagnolo (freehub sold separately)

Includes: TLR rim strip, TLR valve stem, internal cam quick release

No rider weight restrictions

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

A good quality wheelset with a nod to emerging standards

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

tubeless and thru-axle compatible, solid, roll well

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but I might look at the cheaper Affinity Comp which isn't much heavier and £200 cheaper

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with the caveat above

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 190cm  Weight: 100kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

3 comments

Avatar
michophull [160 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

It's not "thru", it's "through" in Great Britain. So there !

Avatar
fustuarium [248 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Well, I thought it was a useful review. Particularly like cross referencing against other products.

Avatar
mgearing [1 post] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have these wheels on a Trek Domane Disc 6.9, paired with Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons 25mm tires. After about 2,000 miles of training rides and club group rides, I am very happy with them.

My bike uses these wheels with thru axles. It has the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and I have replaced the original brake pads with resin ones. This combination of these wheels, with the thru axles and the resin pads, is super quiet in wet or dry conditions. The rotors never ping, as the thru axles hold these wheels dead center.

Using this combination of wheels and tires, with the wide rims, even though I weigh 185lbs, I am running 95 in the front, and 105 in the back. The result has been the best comfort and handling I have experienced in 10 years of riding.

Since I use this bike on fast club rides, some with a lot of climbing here in the Pacific Northwest, I do notice that they are a bit heavy for the harder climbs. I am pretty sure there are going to be lighter thru axle disc wheels in the near future, but for now, these are great.