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review

DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT 50 DB

8
£2,199.98

VERDICT:

8
10
Top quality wheelset with impressive aero benefits and stable handling – but facing stiff competition at lower prices
Tangible aero advantages
Low weight
Stability in crosswinds
Cheaper (direct sale) options out there
Weight: 
1,468g
Contact: 

This latest version of DT Swiss' ARC 1100 DICUT 50 DB wheelset comes with a redesigned rim for improved aerodynamics and performance. With an impressively low weight for deep section carbon wheels, these things absolutely fly, and they're incredibly stiff too.

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DT Swiss has worked with aerodynamics experts Swiss Side on these new deep section rims, so it's no surprise they're pretty much the spitting image of its Hadron2 Ultimate 625 wheels I've been testing alongside. They're available in three sizes: 50mm, 62.5mm and 90mm.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB - rim detail 2.jpg

First up, DT Swiss has increased the internal width from 17mm to 20mm. It's not as wide as some: 21mm is quite common, and some brands are edging towards 23/24mm for use with fast road tyres.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB - rim bed.jpg

With an outer width of 26.5mm the ARCs blend nicely with a set of 25mm tyres (Pirelli's P Zero Race TLR in this case), and that's the minimum width recommended by DT Swiss. You can go up to 64mm wide, but I struggle to see in want situation you'd want to.

Testing in the wind tunnel with a 25mm tyre shows the ARC 50 DB is the fastest – according to DT Swiss – of all of the wheels it was tested against, including Enve's SES 5.6 and Zipp's 303. You can see the graphs in our tech piece that covered the launch.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB - rim detail 3.jpg

Whether they are or not is difficult for me to prove or disprove, but out on the road these wheels feel absolutely great. They're really responsive thanks to huge lateral stiffness and a weight of just 1,468g.

As you can imagine, that weight means they're quick off the mark and don't require much of a shove to get them spinning. Maintaining speed is relatively easy over a heavy wheelset, too, which makes them impressively efficient over undulating terrain.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB - front hub.jpg

Once above 20mph, you notice the aero benefits. These wheels just sing along, and are noticeably unaffected by crosswinds. The test period has seen some windy, blustery days and I haven't felt the slightest twitch from the front wheel anywhere.

A few years ago, a 50mm deep rim would have been the preserve of the road racer or time-triallist, but with modern manufacturing techniques bringing weights down dramatically, they have become more of an all-rounder.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB - rim detail 1.jpg

I mean, it's the best of both worlds. Aerodynamic efficiency always trumps weight on the flat but now, with sub-1,500g wheelsets like these, you can spend a day in the hills without really sacrificing anything.

The ARC 1100 models use DT Swiss' 180 hubs, which uses its Ratchet EXP freehub. Integrating the driveside bearing into the threaded ratchet ring increases axle stiffness by 15 percent, says DT Swiss, whilst reducing wear.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB - rear hub.jpg

What impresses me the most though is the speed of the engagement. The slightest press on the pedals and you're locked in ready to accelerate hard, thanks to 36 teeth giving just 10° of engagement angle. And if you like a bit of freewheeling noise, you'll like the 180s as they offer a gentle click rather than anything too loud and buzzy.

> 44 of the best road bike wheels — reduce bike weight or get aero gains with new hoops

The bearings inside are Sinc Ceramics, which run beautifully smoothly and haven't been troubled by the wet weather and crud-covered roads over the test period.

DT Swiss has used the Centre Lock disc attachment for the brakes, rather than a 6-bolt design. There is no rim brake option in the line-up.

2020 DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 50 DB.jpg

The hubs are laced to the rims with DT Swiss' Aero Comp II and Aerolite II spokes in a two-cross pattern front and rear, with 24 spokes on each rim.

As you'd expect the ARCs are tubeless ready, and the rims keep the hooked bead to allow high pressure road setups. All the tyres I tried fitted easily and sealed quickly onto the rim.

Value

The ARC 1100 DB in this 50mm depth will set you back £2,199.98. If speed is your main goal you might consider the Roval Rapide CLX, which is a massively quick wheelset that's very light at just 1,410g, but cheaper at £1,850. One sticking point, though, is their lack of tubeless compatibility.

Hunt's 48 Limitless Aero Disc is claimed to be the fastest sub-50mm deep wheelset available and trust me, I can vouch for their speed. At 1,690g they're over 200g heavier than the ARCs, but then they're just £1,289 including ceramic bearings – a very good price indeed.

Overall

The ARC 1100 DBs are at the expensive end of the market, but if you want speed and a weight low enough you can use them on all terrains, they're are hard to ignore. The overall build quality is top notch too.

Verdict

Top quality wheelset with impressive aero benefits and stable handling – but facing stiff competition at lower prices

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: DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT 50 DB

Size tested: 700C, 50mm deep

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?

DT Swiss says: "The latest generation of ARC 1100 DICUT wheels – available in disc brake version in three different rim heights 80 mm, 62 mm and 50 mm – was developed in cooperation with SWISS SIDE, leading expert in aerodynamic optimization. Consequently, the new AERO+ rim profile minimizes both aero drag and steering moment to improve its aerodynamic and controlling in even strong cross wind."

It's an impressive wheelset which achieves more than being just a deep section aero component.

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

hubs: DT Swiss 180 DICUT

spokes: DT aero comp

rims: Carbon Clincher

freewheel body: XDR SRAM, HG-EV Shimano

braking system: Centerlock/AFS

spoke hole number: 24

ETRTO: 20-622

rim width: 26.5mm

inner profile width: 20mm

rim profile height: 50mm

weight limit: 110kg

freehub system: DT Swiss Ratchet EXP

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

Stiffness is impressive for such a lightweight set of wheels.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
4/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Yes, the wheels stayed true. No issues at all.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Tyres of various sizes fit relatively easily. It's a snug fit for tubeless, but without having to resort to force for fitting or removal.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

Included with the wheelset are;

Tubeless tape 23 mm

TL valve alu black 49-65 mm

SRAM XDR Road freehub body kit

5 mm endcap Kit

valve guard

wheel bag

All the kit is of a level that reflects the quality of the wheels.

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

This is a wheelset with aero credentials that show out on the road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Stabilty is impressive for a deep section rim.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

There are some cheaper alternatives.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

These are at the upper end when it comes to price. They're a touch richer than the Rovals mentioned in the review, but you are getting the benefits of tubeless here. The Hunt 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheelset is a pretty compelling package for the money though.

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 lot of super light wheels can sacrifice stiffness and durability, but the ARCs don't at all – they're very well built and offer huge performance in terms of aerodynamics and their ability to flatter on the climbs. They're pretty expensive though, which is why they don't score higher.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  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,

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!

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