In this brave new world of disc brakes and thru axles it's easy to forget that the majority of us are still riding standard road bikes with conventional rim brakes. DT Swiss has been as big a proponent of new technology as any manufacturer, but despite this it hasn't neglected riders with more traditional needs, as witnessed by the release of their latest wheelset, the RC28 Spline C Mon Chasseral.
The Chasseral is a socking great mountain in northwest Switzerland, so it will come as no surprise that the new wheelset is one aimed squarely at those of a climbing bent.
DT Swiss first used the Mon Chasseral moniker for a posh alloy wheelset a few years ago. The new wheels are full carbon clinchers built using a version of DT's RC28 rim with improved heat resistance and braking performance, and a variant of the company's high-zoot 180 star ratchet hubs with ceramic bearings. Laced perfectly with DT's own spokes and alloy nipples, the Mon Chasserals are very much a premium offering, with no shortcuts on the spec or build quality.
The headline for these wheels is the remarkably low weight: 699g for the rear and 572g for the front, making an impressive total of just 1271g, and that's including rim strips. Like all of DT's latest offerings these are tubeless-ready, and the included set of valves adds 15g. Also present and correct are the smart RWS skewers (104g), which operate somewhat differently to a conventional quick release, but are very effective in practice.
We fitted the Mon Chasserals to one of our longtermer test bikes, along with the supplied SwissStop Black Prince brake pads. The 22mm wide rims are broader than traditional ones, but still relatively conservative when you compare them with the 23-25mm offerings from many manufacturers. At 28mm deep they're very much in the low-profile camp, and with a blunt cross-section they are utterly unperturbed by side-winds.
Carbon wheels can be distinctly firm, but the Mon Chasserals are not, offering similar comfort levels to a good alloy wheelset. Where they differ is in lateral stiffness, which combined with their exceptionally low weight, makes them fantastic performers on the climbs. Their unbending nature is an asset heading downhill too, as the Mon Chasserals are supremely accurate – one less filter between you and the road.
Braking used to be the Achilles' heel of carbon wheels, but the Mon Chasserals are on par with aluminium wheels using the supplied pads, with predictable slowing being accompanied by a satisfying whine. Performance suffers a little in the wet, but it's not the terrifying experience of old.
The real question is, who are these wheels for? If ultimate all-round speed is the goal, an aero set would be a more logical choice.
Lighter riders who get buffeted by wind will like them, but while they're excellent performers, the price is very difficult to justify over high-end alloy wheels costing half as much, or less.
- Front wheel: £950
- Rear wheel: £1300