DT Swiss is releasing a follow-up to its carbon disc-brake ERC road wheels that first debuted in 2016. The new line-up features the ERC 1100 Dicut and the ERC 1400 Dicut, with both available in 35mm and 45mm rim heights.
As with the original wheels, the latest incarnations aim to balance aerodynamics with stability to create wheelsets designed for the rigours of all-day road riding.
The first-generation ERC wheels received plenty of accolades but the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ adage doesn’t apply here. Since 2016 there has been a continued move towards wider tyres and subsequently wider rims to better accommodate this increase in volume. The industry's understanding of aerodynamics also continues to be more nuanced.
With this in mind the new ERC wheels have a completely redesigned rim shape. The result of its continued collaboration with aero experts Swiss Side is a rim that DT Swiss says increases crosswind stability and improves aerodynamic drag. There’s also a broader internal rim width that now measures 22mm.
DT Swiss has optimised its new ERC wheels around 28mm tyres; its now accepted wisdom that wider tyres enhance cushioning and grip while lowering rolling resistance and improving sideways stability, all of which are significant factors on long road rides that are the specified domain of the new ERC hoops.
Other new features of the ERC line-up includes DT Swiss’s latest aero-optimized spokes, which it says reduces drag, and its Aero Dicut hubs that benefit from its patented Ratchet EXP technology. In simple terms this should mean precise engagement, simple no-tool maintenance and a long shelf life.
Redesigning a product that has already been successful is no easy task. To improve the ERC wheels DT Swiss used what it describes as its ‘three proven pillars’: Aero+ concept, cooperation with Swiss Side and expertise in rim development. Essentially these are its tried and tested methods when creating new products and were used to meet the challenge of enhancing the performance of its ERC wheels.
The Aero+ concept is born from DT Swiss’s desire to look beyond traditional aerodynamics and incorporate parameters such as handling, grip, rolling resistance and comfort. Swiss Side has over 20 years experience in both cycling and Formula 1, which combines with DT Swiss’s expertise in developing rims tailored for the specific needs of a wide range of cyclists.
As you’d probably expect from the Swiss wheel giants, engineering and testing was long and rigorous. Much of its attention was focused on aerodynamic drag and what’s known as ‘steering moment’. Essentially this is the counterforce a rider needs to exert when hit by a crosswind, passed by a car or cornering at speed. Naturally minimising this greatly improves the handling of a bike. But reducing drag and lowering the steering moment is tricky. These are, after all, two opposing forces. DT Swiss says it trialled many different rim shapes before settling on the finished ERC design that greatly minimizes drag while still reducing the steering moment by 20%.
So what’s the end product of all the meticulous research? And what does the scientific jargon really mean to us as riders?
The ERC 1100 Dicut 35mm wheelset weighs in at 1,391 grams and can accommodate tyre width from 25mm to significantly wider. It features a carbon hooked rim and is tubeless ready. The 180 Dicut hub includes a 36T ratchet, ceramic bearings and can be paired with both a Shimano and a SRAM XDR freehub. Axle dimensions are suitably modern with a 12x100mm thru-axle on the front and a 12x142mm in the rear. Spokes are DT Swiss’s Aerolite II and Aero comp.
DT Swiss has designed this lower-profile option for mountainous terrain and certainly the sub-1,400g weight should get the attention of the climbers. The ERC 110 45mm weighs 1,442 grams, has the same hub and spoke specs and will probably appeal to those looking for an all-rounder that should perform well across a variety of terrains.
The ERC 1400 range again consists of 35mm and 45mm rim height options in a more affordable package. Here the hub is DT Swiss’ 240 Dicut model that rolls on steel bearings while the spokes are exclusively DT aero comp. As with the 1100 wheels the 35mm option should be well-suited to those chasing KOMs, weighing in at 1,468 grams for the set. The 45mm adds a few more grams with a listed weight of 1,519 grams for the pair.
Enthusiasts of high-volume tyres, and those riding small frames, will be pleased to see that both the ERC 1100 Dicut 35mm and the ERC 1400 Dicut 35mm are available in 650b sizes.
The ERC 1400 35mm and 45mm wheelsets costs £1869.99/US$2654.80, while the ERC 1100 35mm and 45 mm models will set you back £2299.99/US$3239.80.
For more information on DT Swiss’ redesigned ERC wheel line up visit dtswiss.com
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Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.