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

Second generation endurance wheels – with rims that are wider than previously – are the latest to come out of collaboration with aero specialist Swiss Side

DT Swiss has updated its ERC endurance wheels in collaboration with Swiss Side, offering new carbon rim shapes that are said to combine improved crosswind stability with lower drag, an increased rim inner width, and the brand’s latest generation Aero Dicut hubs with Ratchet EXP technology. 

Whereas DT Swiss’ ARC wheels are designed for all-out race performance, the ERC wheels, which come in a choice of 35mm or 45mm depths, are intended for all-day riding.

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC 1100 1400 Rim Cut  .jpeg

“The new ERC wheel has been redeveloped… to further improve handling stability and predictability under various crosswind conditions while at the same time reducing the aerodynamic drag of the wheelset,” says DT Swiss. 

“Combining these two contradictory factors of speed and stability in an optimised way, the wheel is the cumulation of a meticulous multi-year product development and testing process undertaken in cooperation with Swiss Side.”

Wheels brand Swiss Side is a specialist in aerodynamics and has become a long-term development partner of DT Swiss.

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC1100 1400 Product Detail Profiles  .jpeg

Swiss Side’s Jean-Paul Ballard says, “Not everyone is driven by pure racing and absolute top aerodynamic performance. There’s also a really big desire for getting out and riding on all sorts of different surfaces using wider tyres, and so on.

“Our brief in the ERC project was to develop a wheel that can accommodate and give a good aerodynamic performance for a 28mm tyre but really, most importantly, further enhance the handling and this is this topic of steering moment: what you feel when the wind blows your handlebar in your hands. The brief was to reduce the steering moment by 20% with respect to the ARC 50 wheel.

“In the development process, which we do predominantly in CFD [computational fluid dynamics], we do hundreds of iterations of rim shapes to find the optimum. What we find is that we end up with an optimum group of geometric parameters for this rim shape, which gives you the maximum possible performance front where we can trade steering moment for aerodynamic drag. 

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC Pair 1100 1400  .jpeg

“We can then find the sweet spot for the best possible performance that is set for this particular rim… and we can optimise targeted for that particular point to minimise the drag.”

We’ll come back to the aerodynamic performance, including the steering moment, in a minute.

DT Swiss has also increased the inner width of the new ERC’s rim from 19mm to 22mm. We’ve seen similar increases from many different wheel brands over recent years. 

DT Swiss lists benefits including improved cushioning – “an increased rim inner width allows for the mounting of wider tyres that can be ridden at a relatively lower pressure” – better traction – “mounting the same tyre on a rim with an increased inner width allows the tyre to assume a more rounded shape and influences the form of the contact area and therefore its grip and traction” – and reduced rolling resistance – “the contact area of wider tyres is shorter, thus, the tyre deforms more easily and rolling resistance decreases”. 

DT Swiss says that an increased inner width also reduces lateral flexing of the tyre during cornering and sprinting, providing more handling stability and steering precision. 

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC1100 CL35 ProductDetail Hub 004 B .jpeg

Already used in DT Swiss’ latest Aero road lineup, the brand’s newest aero spokes – DT Aerolite II and Aero Comp II – now feature in the top-level ERC 1100 Dicut wheels.

DT Swiss says that these spokes result in a reduction in rotational drag and that the T-heads guarantee the aerodynamically optimal alignment of the spokes in the wheel. 

The ERC 1400 DICUT wheels are built up with the first generation DT aero comp spokes.

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC 1100 180 Hub Cut  .jpeg

The ERC lineup features DT Swiss’ Ratchet EXP freehubs for the first time. If you want to get up to speed on the Ratchet EXP tech, check it out here

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC Ratchet EXP Pair  .jpeg

DT Swiss claims that these hubs offer several benefits, including high reliability, lengthy service lifetime, and easy maintenance.

Measured aerodynamic performance

DT Swiss says that when measured in the wind tunnel with yaw angles from -20°to 20°, the ERC 1100 Dicut 35 and ERC 1100 Dicut 45 wheels each offer lower drag than the Zipp 303 S (45mm deep), the Hunt Carbon 44, and the Vision Metron 40. All wheels were tested at 45km/h with 28mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL tyres fitted (DT Swiss says that the ERC wheels are optimised for 28mm tyres, although they’ll happily take 25mm to 32mm).

2022 DT Swiss Diagrams yaw external.jpeg

“The ERC 1100 Dicut 35, despite having the lowest rim height among the tested wheels of 35mm, demonstrates the second-lowest drag value across relevant yaw angles in weighted drag of 13.1 watts and an improved drag performance of around one watt when compared to the next best competing product,” says DT Swiss. 

“The ERC 1100 Dicut 45, with 12.2 watts in weighted drag, distinctively displays the lowest base drag (drag at 0° yaw angle) of all tested wheels. Within the range of relevant yaw angles, the drag performance of the wheel is better by around two watts when compared to the next best competing product. A late detachment of the airflow from the rim at a yaw angle of about 15° further shows its excellent aerodynamic behaviour.”

Of course, these are DT Swiss’ figures and other brands might dispute them.

2022 DT Swiss Diagrams yaw internal.jpeg

DT Swiss also compared its ERC 1100 Dicut wheels with its existing ARC 1100 Dicut 50 wheels and says, “Given the reduced rim heights of the ERC 1100 DICUT wheels at 35mm and 45mm (tested with 28mm tyres) respectively, their base drag performance can be judged as very competitive.”

2022 DT Swiss Diagrams steering moment.jpeg

In terms of steering moment, DT Swiss measured across the same range of yaw (the chart displays the steering moment of different wheels in N m; the closer the curve to the x-axis – the horizontal axis – the lower the steering moment).

It says, “Based on their respective weighted steering moments, the ERC 1100 Dicut 35 and the ERC 1100 Dicut 45 both feature a generally low and linear progression of the steering moment curve, as well as a smooth stall. All three characteristics combined benefit the rider with good handling and predictable steering behaviour of the wheel under crosswind conditions.”

DT Swiss also says, “The ERC 1100 Dicut 35 and ERC 1100 Dicut 45 both feature a lower steering moment than the ARC 1100 Dicut with 50mm rim height. This is in part due to the lower rim height of the two ERC wheels… but can also be attributed to the shape of the rim itself.”

As well as being available with 700C rims, the ERC 1100 Dicut 35 and ERC 1400 Dicut 35 wheels are also available in 650B. 

“The smaller rim diameter provides improved handling with adapted geometry of smaller bicycle frames and prevents a possible toe overlap in sharp turns,” says DT Swiss.

2022 DT Swiss ERC 1400 45 wheelset .jpeg

“If you're looking for a wheel that's great for everyday riding, that's really good handling, that’s fun and feels light and agile, then the ERC wheel will certainly provide that,” says Swiss Side’s Jean-Paul Ballard.

2022 DT Swiss ERC 1100 35 wheelset .jpeg

“If you're a rider that prefers a lighter weight wheel more than, for example, a pure aero wheel, then there's also the ERC 35mm wheel which will feel even more agile and have even lowest steering moment so feel even less sensitive to the wind and offers all the benefits of the wider inner rim with wider tyres and so on.”

There are four new wheelsets (six if you count the 650B options separately), all tubeless ready clinchers with hooked rims.

The ERC 1100 Dicut wheelset features the Dicut 180 hub with Ratchet EXP technology and SINC ceramic bearings that are designed for low friction. It uses DT Aero Comp II and DT Aerolite II spokes. 

The ERC 1400 Dicut features the same rim profiles but the spoke and hub specs are different. This wheelset uses a Dicut 240 hub with Ratchet EXP technology and first-generation DT aero comp spokes.

2022 DT Swiss ERC Overview Text 2021  LowRes.jpeg

ERC 1100 Dicut 35
Rim height 35mm
Rim width 22mm
Hub 180 Dicut
Spokes DT Aerolite II, DT Aero Comp II
Sizes 650B, 700C
Weight 1,391g
Price £2,299.98

ERC 1100 Dicut 45
Rim height 45mm
Rim width 22mm
Hub 180 Dicut
Spokes DT Aerolite II, DT Aero Comp II
Size 700C
Weight 1,442g
Price £2,299.98

ERC 1400 Dicut 35
Rim height
Rim width 22mm
Hub 240 Dicut
Spokes DT Aero Comp
Sizes 650B, 700C
Weight 1,468g
Price £1,869.98

ERC 1400 Dicut 45
Rim height 45mm
Rim width 22mm
Hub 240 Dicut
Spokes DT Aero Comp
Size 700C
Weight 1,519g
Price £1,869.98

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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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