Deda Elementi's RS4DB wheelset is one of the lightest we've tested here on road.cc – but they achieve that without being one of the most expensive. At 38mm deep they balance a low weight with aero efficiency, making them a very good choice for those who want an all-round, fast race wheelset. And with their great performance, all-round quality and competitive price, they look like serious contenders for our best road bike wheels buyer's guide.
Buy now: Deda Elementi RS4DB Carbon Disc Tubeless Wheels for £1799.99 from Chickencyclekit
Weighing just 1,340g on our scales, including rim tape, the Deda RS4DB wheelset is in an elite club of sub-1,400g wheels we've put through their paces here. The shallow Black Inc Twenty is one of the only non-tubular wheelsets to trump them at 1,230g, but if you're looking for wheels with rims deep enough to match the Dedas, then you're talking big money.
For example, Zipp's 353 NSW wheels weigh the same as the Dedas, although their hookless design limits you to tubeless tyres only and they're a seriously salty £3,376.
Campagnolo's Bora Ultra WTO 45s are a little heavier at 1,420g, and were cheaper than the Zipps at £2,813.99 when we tested them.
The Disc brake version of the Fulcrum Racing Speed 40C, the 40DB, have a claimed weight of 1,470g and cost £1,899.99.
All those wheels make the Dedas look decent value for money.
At just 1,340g it's going to come as no surprise that the RS4DBs really do feel incredibly light when you're riding. The effort required for acceleration from a standing start feels practically non-existent and when you hit a climb, they just keep on giving.
The overall stiffness is impressive too. Sometimes manufacturers remove material to drop weight, and that can lead to issues with lateral flex, especially if you are a bigger rider. That isn't a problem here, with even hard out-of-the-saddle efforts resulting in no signs of sideways movement.
At 38mm the RS4DB's rims aren't as deep as some, so if you are after a full-on aero wheelset you might want to look elsewhere.
But these do have an advantage at speed over shallower rims, and you get a little boost as the speed increases. The result is a versatile wheelset that is fast on the flats without scrubbing too much speed off when you're in the hills. In effect they're a do-it-all wheelset.
And one of the bonuses of rims of this depth is that they're not deep enough to be affected by crosswinds.
The rims are built from high-modulus, uni-directional and 3K carbon fibre, with extra thick material for reinforcing the nipple area.
The 26mm external width and 19mm internal width aren't as wide as you'll find on a lot of wheels, but they do work well with 25mm and 28mm tyres. I tried both these tyre sizes, and each gave a smooth transition between rim and sidewall.
The Dedas have stuck with a hooked rim, which means you can run them with both tubeless tyres or clinchers paired with an inner tube.
Both sizes fitted relatively easily, in clincher and tubeless setups. Setting them up as tubeless the tyre popped onto the rim using just a track pump, without having to get out the Airshot.
The RS hubs have a 7075-grade aluminium alloy body, and rather than using pawls to engage the hub, they feature a two-ratchet system for the hub engagement.
The resulting lock-in is very quick indeed and the freehub gives only a mild click when you're freewheeling, never being loud or buzzy enough to become irritating. In fact, everything runs very smoothly indeed. As to whether any of that is a result of the ceramic bearings, that is very hard to quantify.
It's great to see that there are plenty of freehub options available. Shimano and SRAM are covered, including SRAM's XDR, while Campagnolo users can choose between the standard Campag option and 13-speed Ekar.
The hubs are laced to the rim by 24-spokes on both the front and rear wheels, while the use of Centerlock makes it easy to fit disc rotors. Deda includes rotor lockrings in the box, which isn't always the case when you buy a set of wheels.
I didn't have any issued during testing. To say the conditions were far from ideal for running £1,799 wheels is an understatement. Ordinarily wheels like this would be tucked away until spring if they were my own wheels, but they shrugged off all the salt and rain that winter generously provided. They remained true and well tensioned too.
The lacquered shiny finish does give the Dedas a high-end look, although if it gets scratched it will show up more than on a matt finish. Thankfully, though, the finish looks to be hardwearing, as there are still no marks on them in spite of the riding conditions.
I found the Dedas a very capable wheelset with, as far as I can see, no real downsides if you're looking for one set of wheels to tackle all types of terrain. They look the business, they roll quickly, they're light enough for climbing and my experience so far suggests they're durable. And compared with other lightweight wheels they're competing with, they aren't silly money either.
An impressive weight, wide hub compatibility, a great build quality and all for sensible money.
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
Make and model: Deda Elementi RS4DB Carbon Disc Tubeless Wheels
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 RS4DB defines a new standard for performance and lightness of a tubeless disc brake wheelset. Wheels feature a 38mm rim profile and a 26 mm width (19mm internal) designed to be fast and light on any course. The full carbon rim is molded with a technology that allows the differentiated distribution of the thickness. The rim is reinforced in the nipple area and has reduced thickness out of the nipple area. This bring an important weight saving on the external part to reduce the inertia of the wheel. RS hubs have been completely reengineered compared the SL generation. More aero and lighter to get a total weight saving of 80g. The rear hub features a 2-ratchet system for the freehub engagement. A smaller ratchet is located in the freehub body while the bigger is located inside the hub flange for a better pedal's force transmitting. The hubs design considerably improves the wheels smoothness for superior speed. The rim is built with the tubeless-ready technology to be compatible with clincher and tubeless tires. The internal nipples improve aerodynamics, while the self-locking ABS® system prevents the loosening of the nipples and spokes. Available for Shimano, Campagnolo, Campagnolo 13S and Sram cassettes."
I found them to be a versatile wheelset – and well priced for the weight and their overall quality.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
High modulus carbon fiber ud and 3k combined structure with a differentiated distribution of the thickness
19mm internal (etrto 622 – 19C)
24 spoke count, front and rear; black
Internal alloy hexa 5.5 mm, 10 mm length, self-locking abs®
AL7075 hub body, 17mm front axle, 15mm rear axle, 20T ratchets, ceramic bearings
Disk brake rotor:
Shimano center lock
- Front 12 – 100 mm
- Rear 12 – 142 mm
Shimano, SRAM XD-R, Campagnolo, Campagnolo 13S
Tubeless rim tape, tubeless valves, center-lock lockring, wheels bag
Clincher or tubeless-Ready
Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Rate the wheel for performance:
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
Rate the wheel for value:
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true throughout the review period with no issues.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Tyres that I tried fitted without issue.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The wheels come with valves, tape and lockrings. All of which were of good qaulity.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good all-rounder wheels that are at home on the flat as well as on the climbs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Lightweight and stiff.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Scratches will show up easier on the gloss finish - although the robustness of the finish looks impressive so far.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Considering their weight the Dedas are well priced against similar opposition as shown in the review.
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 great balance of weight and speed, this is a well-built wheelset with s very good attention to detail. Things like full compatibility for each freehub on the market is a big bonus, and Deda isn't asking silly money either.
Age: 44 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
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,
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Another vote for C38s here.