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review

DT Swiss ERC 1400 Dicut 35 wheelset

7
£1,869.98

VERDICT:

7
10
Stable and high quality but expensive carbon wheels
240 hubs
Stability
Internal spoke nipples harder to maintain than external
Pricier than the competition
Weight: 
1,460g

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The DT Swiss ERC 1400 Dicut 35 wheelset is designed for 'endurance' and meeting the demands of not just speed but stability and comfort as well. The 35mm-deep carbon rim is indeed stable and suitable for all weather conditions, the wheels are optimised for wide (by road bike standards) tyres (28mm) and are, of course, tubeless ready. They're light enough not to feel a hindrance on climbs and the 240 hubs are brilliant – but can be found on wheels half the price.

The way DT Swiss names its wheelsets can be a bit of a minefield for those unfamiliar, so first let's work out what the ERC 1400s aim to achieve.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The ERC bit of their name refers to them being an 'Endurance' wheelset; DT Swiss says this line of wheels is designed to unite top-notch aerodynamics with comfort and reliability. One can assume that they're not quite as quick as the Aerodynamic (ARC) line or as stiff as the Performance line (PRC), but they borrow some of the added durability of the gravel and cross line-ups (GRC and CRC).

The R in ERC stands for 'race' and these wheels are usually a bit lighter than those without it, and the C indicates that a carbon rim has been used.

Next, we have 1400. This means that the wheels get 240-based hubs, stainless steel bearings and a Ratchet System freehub. For most people this will make them a better buy over the 1100 series, which only differ by having ceramic bearings and higher-end spokes at a much higher cost. Below the 1400 you get 1600 and 1800 ranges with hubs from lower down the range, and are paired with aluminium rims.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - front hub.jpg

You'll also notice that these wheels are 'Dicut'. This is DT Swiss's lightest, stiffest and most aerodynamic hub and spoke system, used when riding at speed is a priority. This is achieved by using custom 'Nailhead' spokes that can withstand much higher tensions than those found on the straight-pull 'Spline' wheelsets.

You might also find that the depth of the wheel slips into the name somewhere; in this case it's a 35mm-deep rim both front and rear. Rims around this depth are a really good choice if you're looking to gain some aero benefits over box sections rims without them being unrideable in windy conditions.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - spoke detail.jpg

With some recent storms, there's been plenty of wind to test these wheels in and I can happily say this is a wheelset I would use year-round no matter the conditions. Stability is one of the most important things that DT Swiss says it worked on with Swiss Side in the development of these wheels.

> DT Swiss increases stability, decreases drag with updated ERC wheel range

And if there's ever a 'DB' in the name then that just means disc brake; all the wheels in the Endurance range are disc brake only.

Rims

The rims themselves have an internal width of 22mm and an external width of 28.5mm. I found that this meant they paired very nicely with a set of 28mm tyres, which is likely the most common choice for sportive riders and weekend warriors. According to DT Swiss, 28mm tyres will also be the fastest tyre choice on these wheels at speeds under 35km/h at which point the reduced drag of a thinner tyre overtakes it.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - rim bed.jpg

Hubs

As I mentioned above, the hubs are the ever-dependable DT Swiss 240s, using Center Lock discs. The wheels will fit bikes with a 12x100mm front axle and 12x142mm on the rear, which is the most common standard for road disc wheels, but you can buy aftermarket adapters for almost any standard to fit the 240 hubs.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - rear hub 2.jpg

These are the same hubs as you'll find on many other top-end wheelsets, such as the Vel 38RSLs that we reviewed recently. These hubs are absolutely brilliant and deserve their impressive reputation, and if after years of abuse they do go wrong then replacement parts are cheap and easy to come by.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - rear hub 1.jpg

Inside the rear hub is a 10-degree 36-tooth ratchet freehub which provides pretty much instant engagement. You can go up to a 54T ratchet if you wish, but at road speeds I don't feel this is necessary. The hubs didn't cause any complaints during my time with them.

Spokes

Both front and rear you'll find 24 spokes of the DT 2/3 Aerolite t-head variety, laced two-cross (1:1). These 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.

The nipples are hidden in the rim which will make servicing a bit more of a faff as the tyre and rim tape will have to be removed, but after 2,000km of pothole abuse they are still running true which bodes well.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - valve hole.jpg

Unlike on the Roval Rapide C38s, aluminium nipples have been used rather than brass which could affect durability, but they do have a little more protection from the elements being inside the rim. Whether this matters will depend a lot on what conditions you ride in, as they also help to save about 40g per wheel; the ERC 1400s weighed 1,460g on our scales compared with the Rovals' 1,620g.

On the road

Out in the real world, the wheels perform well. They're not for racers who want the absolute fastest wheelset for short road or crit races, but they do offer a noticeable improvement over stock rims and add a little aero benefit without compromising stability, comfort or weight.

The Zipp 303 S wheels I was using at the same time (tested by Matt last year) felt like they offered a similar performance despite being 80g heavier, although this extra weight is likely down to the extra depth. DT Swiss says its wheels are about 4 watts more efficient than the Zipps at 45km/h so you wouldn't be being hindered by having a shallower rim; we can't verify that, but unlike the Zipps you can use the DT Swiss hoops with clincher tyres as they're hooked rather than hookless.

2021 DT Swiss ERC 1400 DI 700 CL 36 wheelset - rim logo.jpg

During the testing period I've done a wide range of rides from fast-paced and hilly road rides to wrong-turn dirt tracks and rough paths. The ERC 1400s have never felt out of their depth and are very versatile wheels. They're 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 I was quite confident that with their 120kg weight limit they could cope with a fair amount of rough stuff, especially with the safety net of a tubeless setup.

Speaking of which, tubeless valves are included in the box. They're pretty basic but work well with the rim profile and are a good length for the wheels. The dust caps also double up as valve core removers.

I tried several brands of tubeless tyres during testing – Schwalbe, Pirelli and Goodyear – all of them went on with no issues and inflated using just a track pump.

Value

With an rrp of £1,869.98, the DT Swiss wheels are more expensive than most of their competition. Plenty of premium components have gone into creating the ERC 1400s, but the Vels mentioned earlier feature the same brilliant DT 240 hubs and are roughly the same weight (1,490g) and depth (38mm), but cost £999.

> 58 of the best road bike and gravel bike wheels in 2021

In a blindfolded test, I'd a) definitely crash and b) probably not tell the difference in performance between these and those Zipp 303 S wheels (although DT Swiss's own wind tunnel data says its wheels are more stable). That is an excellent wheelset, so it's sort of a positive – until, again, you see that they're almost half the price (£985).

On all but the very breeziest of days I'd be just as tempted to fit a set of Scribe Aero Wide 50-Ds to my bike. These weigh an almost identical 1,463g and cost £870.

Conclusion

Overall, the ERC 1400s perform well; they're light, stiff and comfortable, and the 35mm rim handles very well no matter the weather conditions, road surface or speed. The 240 hubs are also excellent and durable. But they can also be found on wheelsets half the price. And that's my only complaint: the ERC 1400s really are a good set of wheels, but it's hard to justify the cost with such strong competition for a lot less money.

We're told the wheels will be available to buy in January.

Verdict

Stable and high quality but expensive carbon wheels

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 ERC 1400 Dicut 35

Size tested: 700 CL

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 that its ERC wheels are built to "pursue a goal, no matter what might happen on the way. It unites top notch aerodynamics with comfort and reliability. Now bring on the cracks in the tarmac, rain and headwind situations." I agree that a good balance has been met and the 35mm rim depth make these best suited for people looking for one wheelset that can do everything, whether that's a hilly sportive or training on stormy winter days. The wheels are stable, light enough, stiff enough and much more aerodynamically efficient than a box section rim.

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

DT Swiss lists:

Hubs: 240 with Ratchet System 36 SL

Rims: 35mm Carbon, Hooked / Crotchet tubeless TC

Spokes: DT aerolite® t-head 2/3

Nipples: DT Pro Lock hidden aluminum

24 spokes front and rear

22mm internal width, 28.5mm external width

100/142 x 12mm fitment as standard (adaptors available)

Max rider weight: 120kg

Bearings: Stainless steel

Claimed weight: 1468g

Also available in 650b size

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
4/10

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

The wheels stayed true.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Very easily with tyres from multiple brands and inflated tubeless with a track pump.

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

Rim tape included and nicely done.

Included tubeless valves work well.

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 the very worst roads.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Usable every day, whether climbing, conditions are windy, or for a short trip on a track.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

I'd prefer brass spoke nipples at this weight/price for an endurance wheelset.

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

They're very expensive, as mentioned in the review. Similar performing wheels can be found for nearly half the price, and wheels of a similar price are usually more aerodynamically efficient and/or lighter.

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

They're very good wheels, but the price is huge when you compare it to the competition. The rim profile is optimised for 28mm tyres and is stable in crosswinds, and the spoke choice is good, although for an 'endurance' wheelset I'd prefer external and brass spoke nipples for easier/less maintenance. They perform well in a wide variety of conditions, are reasonably light, and the 240 hubs are excellent too, but that price leads me to an overall of 7 rather than 8.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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