The brand new DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut DB wheels are tubeless-ready carbon fibre deep section wheels designed for disc brakes and wide tyres aimed at meeting the demands of endurance bikes, where speed must be balanced with stability and comfort.
A disc brake specific 47mm deep tubeless-compatible carbon clincher rim is optimised for 25 to 28mm tyres with hubs based on DT's proven 240 design, but wrapped in a new aero shell and rolling on ceramic bearings.
They're not cheap at nearly £2,000, but they do provide fantastic aero performance that excels in a wide range of conditions with the durability you'd expect at this price.
DT Swiss is highly regarded as a hub manufacturer but its wheelsets, of which it makes many, haven't had the recognition they deserve. Keen to change this, the company has been turning out some excellent wheels recently, such as the 1400 Dicut OXiC ceramic-coated aluminium clinchers I was impressed with recently. And now it takes aim at the carbon clincher disc brake market.
DT partnered with aerodynamic specialists Swiss Side to produce the new wheels and tested them in the GST wind tunnel in Immenstaad, Germany. Yet rather than set out to produce the absolute fastest wheel, DT Swiss has instead focused on producing a wheel that balances the need to be fast with the practical concerns of stability for real-world conditions.
DT is not really trying to go after the racing cyclist who wants the absolute fastest wheelset for short road or crit races here. Instead, it's aimed at the endurance cyclist who wants the aero benefit but doesn't want to compromise on stability, comfort and weight.
The result is a 47mm rim profile that has been developed to provide the lowest possible drag across a wide range of wind angles to ensure maximum stability. It's not claiming to offer the absolute fastest deep section wheelset. When tested against the Zipp 303 and Reynolds Aero 46, DT is refreshingly honest in its assessment that the ERC 1100 Dicut DB does give away a few watts of drag at some yaw angles.
But the differences are small and the company has looked to produce a rim that offers the best handling characteristics regardless of the wind conditions you might encounter.
'The ERC 1100 Dicut is the best handling wheel in wind situations commonly found on the road. This is true independent of the tyre width you chose to ride,' says the company.
The rims are wide, 19mm internally and 27mm externally. They're optimised for wider tyres; DT Swiss used 25mm and 28mm rubber in testing and development, and reckons that below 35km/h, 28mm tyres are faster, and above that speed, a 25mm tyre is faster.
At the centre of the wheels are the company's own hubs with a Center Lock disc rotor mount and RWS thru-axle (12mm front and rear) levers for easy wheel removal. The hub shells are based on the regular Dicut design but are reshaped to offer an aero improvement, with rounded flanges, while inside are proven 240 internals running on Sinc Ceramic bearings. Inside the rear hub is a 10-degree 36-tooth ratchet freehub that provides instant engagement. Needless to say, the hubs didn't cause any complaints during my time with them.
The 2/3 Aerolite spokes have also been designed to offer the right balance of aerodynamics and comfort for endurance riding. Throughout most of their length the spokes have a bladed profile, but towards the hub, the profile changes to a round shape.
On the road
Crosswind stability, or lack of it, has often plagued deep section wheels and is the main price that you pay for the aero performance gains of a deep section wheelset, along with the weight disadvantage.
The ERC 1100s are among the most stable and predictable deep-section carbon wheels I have yet tested. I rode the wheels in some very windy conditions and as a relatively lighter rider, I do feel the buffeting effect of deep section wheels more than some, but that wasn't the case with these wheels. Instead, they exhibited a calm stability normally only associated with much shallower profile rims.
There was none on the unwanted tugging at the handlebars that can make riding in windy conditions a nerve-wracking experience. Whether riding along flat country lanes or main roads with a strong sidewind or at high speeds when negotiating a fast descent, the wheels proved to be very stable. This was especially true in blustery conditions with unpredictable and constantly changing wind direction. Never once did I have to tense my arms and fight to control the bike when hit by a crosswind as is often the case with other deep section wheels.
When it comes to speed, it's clear they are fast wheels and compare well with similar wheels from rival brands like Zipp, Enve and Reynolds. I tested them on the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc, replacing the stock Mavic Cosmic wheels, and the difference in speed and acceleration was immediately noticeable, but more than that was the hugely improved stability, an area where the Mavic wheels simply failed to impress.
I then fitted them to the Specialized Roubaix that I've continued to ride since reviewing it recently. Replacing the aluminium clincher wheels the bike came with provided a measurable performance boost. They're not only faster, but with wide tubeless tyres fitted and the generous tyre clearance on this bike, off-road detours were suddenly on the cards and a normal road ride could be spiced up with some ventures away from the smooth stuff.
I was easily able to tackle dirt tracks and rough paths but this was still a quick and comfortable set-up for fast-paced and hilly road rides. This is where the DT Swiss wheels perform so well, being comfortable, stable and light for those all-day rides you have planned and very long distance sportives and gran fondos. They're not designed for gravel riding, but you can tackle a fair amount of rough stuff on a 28mm tyre, especially with the safety net of a tubeless set-up.
Naturally, I took the opportunity to run tubeless tyres and tried several brands with no issue inflating using just a track pump. You get all the valves and sealant you need to ditch the inner tube. The wide rims provide a good shape for 25 and 28mm tyres. they worked well with 25mm tyres but you get the best cushioning if comfort is your biggest priority with 28s.
I've tested them with both 25 and 28mm tyres and the extra width of the rim makes a good base for such tyre widths, allowing you to run lower pressures for increased comfort and lower rolling resistance.
At 1,497g they are light for the rim depth, lighter than the Zipp 303 Disc (1,654g) so you're not paying a huge weight penalty for the deep sections. There's no lack of stiffness and on a route with lots of steep hills that demand out-of-the-saddle maximum power output, the wheels reveal no wayward flexing. The feeling through the bends and turns is one of precision and immediacy.
DT Swiss perhaps hasn't quite got the desirability factor of other more well-known carbon wheel brands, but that's not for the lack of trying. Being aerodynamic, stable, light and durable for endurance riding, the new 1100 Dicut wheelset puts the company right up there with the main contenders in this market.
Fast and stable wheels ideal for endurance bikes with disc brakes and wide tubeless tyres
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road.cc test report
Make and model: DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut DB Endurance Road Wheels
Size tested: 700c
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?
Whatever road you choose the ERC 1100 DICUT delivers the best performance. The benchmark Aero+ concept developed with our partner SWISS SIDE generates maximum speed and unparalleled handling characteristics. The guts of this outstanding wheel are its innovative components, being assembled with regard on every small detail. These wheels leave you with no excuses and give you even more reasons to get out and ride – wherever the road may take you.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Wheel Size: 28"
Tyre Type: clincher
Number of Spokes: 24 (front) / 24 (rear)
Brake Type: disc, Center Lock (6-bolt adapter included)
Tubeless System: Tubeless Ready
Ratchet System: The patented freewheel system, which features high-precision star ratchets, guarantees top performance and reliability. The no-tool concept allows extremely simple and quick maintenance.
DT Swiss Ratchet System hubs have earned legendary reputation for quality and performance. A number of features contribute to this: the Ratchet System freewheel technology is extremely durable, reliable and, thanks to the simple press-fit assembly of the hubs, can be serviced without special tools in minutes. The press-fit assembly also allows many Ratchet System hubs to be quickly integrated into almost any axle configuration, making the wheel compatible with a wide range of bikes. The non-contact seal system and high-precision assembly guarantee perfect rolling performance; every bit of the rider's energy is transformed into forward momentum. The consistent weight optimization further refines the racing pedigree of this classic.
Sinc Ceramic - Bearing perfection: At DT Swiss they believe that the difference is in the detail. SINC ceramic ball bearings are precisely based on such details. Thanks to the optimization of these details, a DT Swiss wheel with a SINC upgrade simply means that you will be ahead of the field, your friends and setting new personal bests.
DICUT® hubs: The full potential of the system wheel: The hub is designed to perfectly match the proprietary straight Nail Head spokes, achieving an ideal mixture of strength and lightweight.
Waterslide decals: Purposely developed for the DICUT® wheels, this process allows for applying ultra thin decals which do not affect aerodynamics, never peel off and weigh close to nothing.
DT aero comp® Straightpull aero spokes: In a first step the middle section of this spoke is butted through cold forging. This makes it more light weight and stronger. In a further process it is bladed to optimize the aerodynamic characteristics while increasing the material strength. DT aero comp® guarantees a balanced ratio of stiffness, aerodynamics and durability. This spoke fits hubs with standard spoke holes. The straight pull version is aligned perfectly to straight pull hubs, and offers increased durability. Another benefit of this spoke is its excellent price-performance ratio.
DT pro lock® Technology: A patented liquid injected into the nipple thread allows for extremely durable wheel builds.
Maximized flange distance: The high precision covers which integrate the rotor seal allow for a maximized distance of the hub flanges. This significantly increases the wheels lateral stiffness.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Fitting tubeless tyres was very easy
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They work well in a range of wind conditions and are tough enough for off-road forays
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Stable and predictable as well as being fast
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
The high price
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 score
Premium wheels with a premium price, but they offer excellent aero performance and stability, control, low weight, tubeless compatibility and work best with wide tyres
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.