Hands up if you’ve lusted after carbon rims for the sole reason that they look good on virtually every bike. The problem is that achieving that all-black look has generally come at considerable cost. Real carbon is expensive and even the best stuff on the market offers braking that’s only just about comparable with that of an alloy rim. Regular anodising looks nice, but wears off quickly in wet conditions, while old-school ceramic-coated rims had a reputation for flaking over time. Mavic’s grooved Exalith rim treatment was another seemingly promising option but it’s hardly cheap either, suffers from a ferocious appetite for brake pads and comes with a soundtrack that’s best described as “deeply irritating”. Enter DT Swiss PR 1400 Dicut OXiC.
The DT Swiss has a new OXiC coating, which deposits a ceramic material on the aluminium rim using an electrochemical process that’s similar to conventional anodising. Unlike anodising, OXiC is designed to create “black rims that stay black” thanks to its exceptional hardness.
The 21mm deep PR 1400s are the first wheels to benefit from this new technology, and out of the box it’s hard not to be impressed by their stealthy, expensive appearance. Built entirely with DT’s own components including signature star-ratchet hubs and straight-pull spokes (20 front, 24 rear), the wheels weigh 1,472g for the set including tape.
The RWS skewers, which tighten more like a thru-axle than a conventional quick-release, add a further 85g. Like all DT’s latest offerings, the PR 1400s are tubeless-ready and the necessary valves are included as standard.
With an internal width of 18mm, the PR 1400s are wider than traditional road wheelsets but not nearly as extreme as the likes of Stan’s NoTubes latest offerings. Every little helps and while we wish DT had gone even bigger, you do get a useful bump in tyre volume and a bit of extra latitude with tyre pressures.
On the bike these look like a set of premium climbing wheels and for those that appreciate the aesthetics of low-profile rims, they don’t get much nicer. DT’s familiar freehub purr is a satisfying complement to the looks, as is the smooth and delightful ride. These are fairly compliant rims, and their low weight gives them a lively feel for pleasant uphill work.
We’re pleased to report that braking is very good with the supplied pads, offering plenty of power with exceptionally fine modulation — there’s no grabbiness at all or noise. It could take years of testing to fully assess the durability of the OXiC coating, but early impressions are that it really is a huge step up from anodising; exposure to rain and a bit of muck has so far not caused the slightest bit of wear.
- Front: £350 / $566
- Rear: £450 / $720