The new DT Swiss PRC 1400 Spline clincher wheels come with deep section 65mm rims for aerodynamic efficiency. They're well made and come with excellent internals, plus you can run them tubeless.
- Pros: Excellent components, good stability for their depth, good braking
- Cons: Not the ultimate in aero performance
Let me give you a few stats up top, so you know what we're talking about here. As mentioned, the rims are 65mm deep. The inner width is wider than previously at 18mm to provide more support for the 25mm wide tyres (at least) that are most popular on the road these days. The outer width is 24.8mm. That's pretty wide although, for comparison, a Zipp 404 NSW carbon clincher has a brake track width of 26.4mm and a maximum rim width of 27.8mm.
These wheels don't have a focus on weight but, for what it's worth, the front (£699.99) hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at 766g and the rear (£974.99) at 914g (not including skewers), which is very close to DT Swiss's own figures (759g and 910g respectively).
The rim, based on the existing RRC 65 Dicut rim, is a NACA shape with a fairly blunt profile, although the PRCs (as I'm going to call them from now on) are in no way bulbous like Zipps, for example.
These aren't the wheels that DT Swiss developed along with SwissSide, by the way, those are the ARC wheels from the Aero range. These are from the Performance range, developed in-house – the result of sponsorship of the IAM Cycling pro cycling team, apparently.
"Endless hours of testing and discussing with world-class riders and their mechanics brought us tons of valuable feedback which has flown into the development of the PRC 1400 Spline wheels."
To be fair, everyone who sponsors a pro team says that, so you can take it or leave it. The PRC wheels are also available in a 35mm depth and as a disc brake model.
Performance, not aero
DT Swiss doesn't offer aero data on the PRC wheels (we asked, naturally).
"Tested in the wind tunnel, with our professional race teams and in countless test lab hours [the PRC 1400 Spline 65] emerged fast and reliable," the brand says, but it doesn't put any figures on that.
We can safely say, though, that DT Swiss treats its ARC wheels as the full-on aero option and the PRCs as a do-it all performance wheel.
"The PRC 1400 65 was developed to be a 'do-it-all' performance wheel," says DT Swiss.
Told you. We can't test for aerodynamic efficiency in the wind tunnel, and that's not the sort of thing you can guess at. I'd say that if you want DT Swiss's ultimate aero wheels you should consider ARCs (the ARC 1100 Dicut 62 is 62mm deep, for example) but if you want to save a little cash the PRCs we have here are a great alternative.
As for stability, DT Swiss sent us these wheels back in November and we've had a lot of seriously windy days since then. I've found the PRCs a handful on just a couple of occasions, and in those situations where you typically notice it with deep-section wheels. You know the kind of thing: you're riding along a road next to a hedgerow, then you pass a junction or a gateway so there's suddenly no protection from the sidewind and the front wheel gets knocked to the side. No deep-section wheel I've ever used copes with that particularly well.
The rims can be a little too much on some gusty, blustery days, making you concentrate on control when you'd really just like to focus on putting the power through the pedals, but this is rare – very much the exception rather than the rule – and I wouldn't say that the PRCs are much different from any other wheels of a similar depth in this respect.
I'm pretty big by cyclists' standards and I don't tend to get buffeted by crosswinds like smaller riders do (either that or I'm less inclined to make a fuss about it – which, knowing me, seems very unlikely). If you are a lighter rider, fair enough, you might want something shallower more often than I do, but speaking for myself, these wheels felt stable on the vast majority of rides. If you do want a shallower depth, there's always the 35mm version I mentioned earlier.
The PRC wheels use DT Swiss's well-respected 240 hubs (although the shell doesn't have the same level of aero efficiency that you get on the ARC models). The freehub features a ratchet system (rather than standard pawls). Springs push two 36-tooth star ratchets together to engage when you pedal, all of the teeth engaging at the same time in just 10 degrees. We know from experience that this system works really well and durability is excellent.
The wheels feel stiff in use. DT Swiss puts this down to a very slightly increased distance between the hub flanges compared to previous wheels, and the wide rim width. It also says that by placing continuous fibres in the direction of the wheel loads, the stiffness could be raised without using more material and therefore gaining weight. Whatever the cause, these wheels exhibit little flex so you can set your brake pads very close to the rim without danger of rubbing when you corner hard or ride out of the saddle.
DT Swiss reckons that the heat resistance of the resin is much higher than that of previous wheels from its range. I've been riding the PRCs on UK roads during the winter so there's never been any chance of them overheating on long, hot descents. I can tell you for certain that braking in dry conditions is good – progressive without any grabbing – and braking in the wet, which I've had a lot of chances to test, although not exceptional is sure and confident. It's not as good as you get with Mavic's iTgMAX technology, which uses a laser treatment, but it's impressive all the same.
As mentioned up top, you can run the PRCs tubeless – you get tubeless tape and tubeless valves as part of the package (along with RWS Steel quick releases and SwissStop Black Prince brake pads). Setting them up tubeless is easy enough. Well, it's as straightforward as it ever is, put it like that. Going down this route allows you to run lower pressures without the risk of pinch flats.
Clearly, this is a lot to spend on a set of wheels but a pair of Zipp's 58mm-deep 404 NSW carbon clinchers will set you back £1,025 (front) and £1,367, a total of £2,392, while Mavic's 64mm-deep Comete Pro Carbon SL USTs are £1,579. Wheels of this kind never come cheap.
You are getting some seriously good wheels for your money here. Granted, these don't offer quite the aero performance of DT Swiss's ARC 1100 Dicut wheels but the PRCs feature excellent components, they're stiff, braking is good and, for their depth, they feel pretty stable in most conditions. This is a reliable high-performance wheelset that puts in a great performance in a variety of conditions.
Exceptionally good deep-section wheels that offer decent stability, good braking and plenty of reliability
road.cc test report
Make and model: DT Swiss PRC 1400 Spline 65
Size tested: 700C, 65mm rim depth
Tell us what the wheel is for
DT Swiss says, "The PRC 1400 Spline 65 was developed together with our professional racing teams, tested in the wind tunnel and during the Tour de France. Perfect aerodynamics, good performance in crosswind and top-quality braking performance were the key points. A smooth straightpull Spline hub as well as the wide tire and tubeless compatible rims provide excellent rolling performance and comfort. Equipped with the 36 teeth DT Swiss Ratchet System it features super quick engagement when it's time to attack and all the reliability to focus on the ride, only the ride."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
From DT Swiss:
RIM TYPE Clincher
RIM DIAMETER 622 mm (29" / 700C)
RIM HEIGHT 65 mm
DECAL TYPE Waterslide
INNER WIDTH 18 mm
OUTER WIDTH 24.8 mm
HUB TYPE 240
NIPPLES DT Pro Lock hidden aluminum
SPOKES DT Aerolite straightpull
RECOMMENDED SYSTEM WEIGHT MAX. 100kg
Tubeless tape 21 mm
Tubeless valve road 73 mm
Swissstop black prince
They're really well built from very good components.
766g front, 914g rear, no skewers.
Compared to similar wheels from other big brands, these are a good price.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yeah, no issues there at all. The straight-pull spokes haven't needed any adjustment.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Standard clinchers are easy to mount. Getting tubeless on is more difficult – it always is. Use the right tools and it's not too much hassle.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The RWS quick release skewers are great. You wind them tight, then adjust the position of the lever as you see fit.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. These wheels are great across a variety of different conditions, although they're at their best on flat, fast terrain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Ability to maintain speed and build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Naturally, we'd all like them to be a little cheaper! One thing that will put some people off is the fact that DT Swiss offers the ARC wheels that it says are more aerodynamically efficient.
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
These are exceptional wheels at a price that's competitive for the category. You could argue that these should score an 8 overall, but these have become my go-to wheels over the test period, proving more versatile than you might think. I reckon that makes them a 9.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.