Over the last two years or so DT Swiss has completely revamped its wheel line, offering new high-performance road wheels, super-light climbers’ wheels, and myriad aero options for both rim and disc brakes. In keeping with the current trend for everything all-road, the brand has also launched the very interesting DT Swiss CRC1400 gravel/cyclocross/go-anywhere option.
The new CRC1400, as the name suggests, is a sub-1,400g pairing (well 1,389g for my test set), with the front weighing 622g and the rear 767g.
The rims are a whole new tubeless compatible shape, with a wide internal dimension of 22mm and an external width of 28mm. That makes these 24mm deep rims some of the widest we’ve seen.
The rim is also hookless, so there’s no struggle to get the bead to seat when setting them up tubeless. It’s a design carried over from mountain bikes, and anything that makes tubeless set up easier is fine by me.
The hubs are based around DT’s straight-pull-spoked Spline design. The internals come from the highly-regarded DT Swiss 240s, and internally they use hardwearing and corrosion-resistant stainless bearings; a wheel like this is going to be used a lot for gravel and cyclocross, so wet and muddy running is a given.
The hub design has been modified with a larger flange and an adjusted angle, which, DT claims, gives a 15 percent improvement in stiffness in the rear wheel alone. The freehub is DT’s 36-point engagement system, so you get a nice buzz when freewheeling and sharp pickup and engagement when pedalling too.
I was most impressed by the CRC’s absolute rigidity. Yes, they’re hand-built tight, but these are unmoving, with no discernible flex when loaded up in a corner or hammering over rougher surfaces. Wheels this stiff do magnify the stiffness of the chassis they’re running under, making the whole bike feel even more taut and whippet quick.
The sheer lack of mass also impresses, even when running big (40mm) tyres you can still feel the lightness shine through, which makes the CRC1400s excellent climbing companions. In fact, I’d go so far as to say if your standard road bike can cope with the width of these rims they’d make a fantastic companion to some slick 28 or 30mm road tyres.
Remember too that these are 134g lighter than Zipp’s 202 Firecrest tubeless disc wheels, and cheaper too.
In all, the CRC1400s are by far the best of their type I’ve tried. If you’re in the market for a high-performance wheel for gravel, cyclocross, and if your bike can handle the girth, the road too, the CRCs just might be the ultimate all-road offering.