It has actually been a little over a year since we first rolled on DT Swiss’ flagship aero-optimized, endurance road wheel. It was the first to launch their complete road wheel overhaul for 2018, but the carbon DT Swiss ERC 1100 has since then proven itself to us to be the best all-rounder for just about every type of all-road riding, from smooth asphalt to muddy gravel roads and everything in between.
DT Swiss ERC 1100 aero carbon endurance road wheels
The disc brake only ERC 1100s are designed to tackle rough roads, dirt tracks, and the mix of rolling hills & longer climbs that make up the best amateur granfondos, so that’s pretty much the type of terrain we’ve put them to over the last year. My first rides on the wheels were actually on gravel roads in the winter in Switzerland, which really turned out to be the perfect playground for the all new wheels. But once I got them back on home roads it became clear that they were versatile on any road surface – smooth pavement, broken asphalt, cobbles, gravel roads, even the occasional dirt & forest hardpack trails.
ERC 1100 tech details & actual weights
They were also the first in the development partnership with aero specialists Swiss Side to bring a new perspective to aerodynamic wheels – the idea of smoothing the transition to stall so that even if you were getting pushed around in strong cross winds, you wouldn’t feel that abrupt jerk that wind can do to most deep wheels. Remember these puppies are 47mm deep.
Everything in the wheels from hubs to spokes to the rims is aero optimized. They get classic DT 240s hub internals with low profile straight pull flanges and their own aero modular end caps to fit most modern axle standards.
The hubs are Centerlock disc, use DT’s 36T star ratchet, SINC ceramic bearings, and interchangeable freehub bodies to work with Shimano 11 speed, Campagnolo 11/12 speed & SRAM’s XDR driver. They also get unique DT Swiss Aerolite spokes that are 1/3 butted & 2/3 bladed to mix the comfort benefits of thin butted spokes with lower aero drag on the outer sections of the spinning wheel. The spokes are a totally nerdy detail, but something I really dig.
Of course, as with every DT rim on the market now, the ERCs are tubeless ready, and come with tubeless tape pre-installed, long alloy tubeless valves, and a custom DT-branded MilKit plunger to make tubeless setup pain-free.
DT claims a wheelset weight of 1530g for the $3173/2408€ pair of wheels, but our test set (with tape installed, but no valves) was a shade lighter at 1506g (703g + 803g). The included alloy valves weighed 10g for the pair, vs. 20g for a comparable set of typical long tubeless valves. Setting up the wheels tubeless was fast & easy. And over the course of our test we ran mostly Schwalbe tubeless Pro Once, G-One Speed & G-One tires from 23-35mm wide.
DT ERC 1100 wheels first impressions
So my first impression with the ERC wheels was probably that they cut though deep water pretty well. That sounds a bit ludicrous, but I’d classify it more as a testament to a nicely aero wheel and a build that can handle the worst conditions – tubeless tires, disc brakes & ceramic bearings all add up to solid features for an endurance road wheelset.
They don’t make cross winds disappear, but they are more manageable than most >40mm deep wheels when riding in strong winds. DT feels like their collaboration with Swiss Side is best suited for riders who spend a lot of their time riding alone on the road – whether that is because you are off the front attacking, dropped off the back, or just riding solo. I’d say that characterized most of my ride time on the wheels (you chose which condition that means), and they surely felt like they cut through the wind quickly.
These wheels were launched before ‘all-road’ was really a term we used, and my first rides were on the excellent BMC Roadmachine Disc which tops out at 30mm tires. But paired with 23mm tires these make a wind-tunnel proven aero setup. Then, scale up to 28mm slicks and you still keep a lot of the benefits thanks to the 27mm wide rims, with much more comfort, grip & control thanks to lower potential tire pressures and their resulting wider contact patch.
One of the next bikes to get the ERCs was an Orbea Terra, though. Dubbed an ‘all-road machine’ by the Spanish bike maker, there’s plenty of room for much larger tires. Here we were still pounding cobbles on 28mm slicks, but 35mm gravel tires on the ERCs made this bike hungry to go off-road.
Long-term ERC 1100 review, how they actually ride & hold up?
But maybe the biggest testament to these DT Swiss ERC wheels is that they’ve been ridden on the greatest number of test bikes, on the widest range of surfaces that our road wheels get tested, and were often fought over by our testers.
Then at the end of the day (or rather year), they are still out chocking up winter base miles. We haven’t touched their bearings, but they still spin smoothly. We haven’t done more than wash the mud off dirty rims & hubs, yet they still look good. They seem to be happiest with a set of 28-30mm road tires, but I feel like it is time to get wider 35mm gravel tires out now that snow has settled onto our roads & backyard tracks again.