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The Deda Elementi SL30DB wheelset is a good 'un thanks to its light weight and robust build quality, plus a shallow rim depth means the wheels are pretty versatile. You can get cheaper, but I'd say overall the Dedas are decent value.
With more and more race-level bikes coming with disc brakes, wheels designed to work with them don't just need to be tough enough to deal with commuting, gravel or adventure. Some need to be light enough to compete with their rim-braked cousins to deliver on performance. The SL30DBs are a good example.
For a start, they come in on the road.cc scales of truth at 1,510g bare, as in no rim tape, valves or anything. That's 700g for the front and 810g for the rear, running a Campagnolo freehub. SRAM and Shimano alternatives are available.
A weight like that means they are noticeably responsive, especially when paired with a lightweight build like the Tifosi Mons that I had them fitted to.
Acceleration felt great, most notably when sprinting hard or tackling short, sharp climbs out of the saddle.
Pick-up from the four-pawl freehub is pretty instantaneous and the body is very strong. With lots of standing starts and over 400 miles of testing, the Campag cassette has barely left a mark, although they aren't as prone to digging into a soft freehub body as much as Shimano/SRAM equivalents.
The hubs have ceramic bearings, and while the jury is still out on how much of a real life benefit that brings over metal ones, the Dedas do roll very smoothly indeed.
Stiffness isn't as much of an issue with disc brakes, as lateral flex won't make them touch the pads like a rim brake, but it wouldn't have been a problem anyway as the Dedas were tight straight out of the box.
The wheels use 24 aero spokes front and rear, and have no issues dealing with the forces from both braking and steering.
Looking at a rear wheel from above, you'll notice the difference in the angles of spokes (dishing) from rim to hub. With cassettes getting wider over the years, the angle of the drive side spokes is virtually non-existent, which isn't great for stiffness or long-term durability.
To counter this, Deda has offset the rim bed so that the nipples and spokes aren't central; they are pushed over towards the non-drive side, giving a little more dish to the drive side spokes.
As you can probably guess from the name, the Dedas have a 30mm-deep carbon fibre rim, and what it lacks in aero credentials it makes up for in usability.
Swapping out the 50mm-deep Bora wheels on the Tifosi for these, there was a noticeable difference on the flat above 23/24mph where the windcheating benefits of a deep section start to come into play. Everywhere else, though, the depth worked fine and they were much easier to control in blustery sidewinds.
Like many modern wheels, the rim is wide, measuring 25mm. This worked brilliantly with both the 25mm and 28mm tyres I tried, giving a well-rounded profile to the rubber.
Fitting was easy, too, with both tyre sizes popping onto the rims with just thumb pressure.
The Dedas are tubeless-compatible but you'll need to get a conversion kit as all you get in the box is standard rim tape. I had some tubeless tape knocking around, and fitting tubeless tyres was no issue either.
As for the rest of the build, the hubs are set up to accept 12mm diameter thru-axles, and the disc rotors are held in place by way of the Centerlock system rather than going down the six-bolt route.
When it comes to value, for your £1,299 you are getting the wheels, a wheel bag, rim tape and valve extenders. That's not a bad price, especially when you compare them to something like the Acros Road Disc C 28 wheels at £1,549.99, but there are plenty of others doing it cheaper.
The Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V TLR disc wheels are a smidge heavier but come in at £100 less, and Scribe's excellent Aero Wide 50-Ds have a 20mm deeper rim yet still manage to be 60g lighter, plus they only cost £870, so quite a saving.
Overall, the Dedas bring a lot to the table and are a very good quality lightweight wheelset, but you can pay less.
Smooth-rolling, stiff and versatile, with a great build quality, but you can get better value wheels
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Deda Elementi SL30DB wheels
Size tested: 700C x 30
Tell us what the wheel 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?
Deda says, "The new SL30DB wheels from Deda are the ultimate all-round Disc Brake wheelsets. Thanks to a well-engineered combination of low-weight and high quality design, the SL30DB wheelset offers a superior performance for any riding condition.
"The 30mm rim depth and a 25mm wide asymmetric rim section, coupled with a 24 hole spoke count provides reliable and unbeatable rigidity when you need it most, while keeping the weight very low. The new wider rim provides better support to the new fashionably wider tyres, while also reducing rolling resistance by allowing the tyre to keep its intended shape.
"The SL30DB has also been built with tubeless technology in mind, making it compatible with both clincher and tubeless ready tyres. The SL Hubs are equipped with Enduro Ceramic Bearings for super smooth-rolling and greater speed."
The rim depth and stiffness make these a versatile set of wheels.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
10s Shimano – Campagnolo – Sram, 11s Shimano – Campagnolo – Sram, 12s Campagnolo
Depth 30mm, Design aero asimmetrico, high modulus carbon fiber UD and 3K combined structure
24 front spoke count, 24 rear spoke count, Aero profile, black, Front and rear
15mm, Aluminum, black, Self-locking ABS nipples
17 mm axle, 4 pawls freehub mechanism – leaf system, high precision 6061 aluminum body
Shimano center lock compatible
Rim tape, Wheel bag
No issues with anything.
There are a few companies achieving similar weights and quality for less money, like the two I've mentioned in the review, but the Dedas are very good quality and aren't exactly overpriced.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true throughout testing.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Very easy indeed, both tubeless and not.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The rim tape worked fine, as did the valve extenders. The padded bag helps look after your wheels when they aren't on the bike.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good all-round performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
That very good all-round performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
They don't arrive tubeless ready.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A bit pricier than others on the market, but a solid build and great fun to ride on.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!