The new DT Swiss ARC aero race carbon road bike wheels grow wider & faster in a complete aerodynamic overhaul, featuring all-new narrow-nose profiles optimized for modern wider tires.

Completely reshaped by wind tunnel work with Swiss Side to create both wider and faster wheels, the new ARC 1100 wheelsets take advantage of new VU-shaped rim profiles in three depths of 50, 62 & 80mm that DT Swiss says are quicker all-around even with almost 20% wider internals on the hooked tubeless rims…

DT Swiss ARC 2.0 redefines aero carbon road wheels with Swiss Side

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset
c. DT Swiss

We were in the GST wind tunnel with DT Swiss just three years ago when they first unveiled the overhauled aerodynamics of their ARC carbon wheels in a partnership with aero experts Swiss Side. At that time, they demonstrated big aero gains going from V to U-shaped rims. Now they are back with a complete redesign, something of an even better middle ground that they are calling a VU-shaped profile.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset
DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 62 drag

DT calls their aerodynamic focus Aero+. It’s a careful balance of:

  • Drag reduction (translational and rotational drag)
  • Optimized handling with minimized wind-induced steering moment
  • Complete wheel+tire system efficiency including reduced rolling resistance

It could be simple enough to reduce head-on or even specific cross-wind drag in the wind tunnel, but for the last five years DT has worked closely with JP Ballard of Swiss Side for more realistic aerodynamics and drag reduction… hence Aero+.

DT ARC v2’s new, wider VU-shaped profile

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset, V-shape vs. VU-shape vs. U-shape

The complete ground-up redesign of the ARC family of rim profiles takes lessons from the two shapes that have dominated road wheel aerodynamics: the original deep V-shape with flat sides and the more recent blunt U-shape with bulbous sides. DT’s new VU-shape is something of a happy medium, getting the more narrow nose but also the bulbous body, yet surprisingly coming out faster than either.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset

Much of that reduced drag can actually be attributed to increased width. A big part of that is the lack of any remnant of rim brake constraints, allowing DT Swiss to go ever wider at the tire, now to 20mm internal widths. But while wide means more frontal area, the newly wider inner width better supports modern-sized road tires. And the almost 30mm max outer width allows a smoother transition from tire to rim, so you get the full aero benefits with 25-28mm tires without the disrupted airflow caused by more lightbulb-shaped wide tires on narrow rims.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset
wider tire, wider contact patch, less rolling resistance

Wider rims (and of course road tubeless, which DT has fully adopted in every wheel since 2016) also mean decreased rolling resistance for faster rolling, improved comfort & control.

We talked to DT about specific tire testing, but they are a wheel company, so releasing tire testing is beyond their scope. But DT have done the tests in-house and seen the real speed benefit of the wider tubeless tires, so much so that they officially recommend using a 25mm tire up front with a 28mm tire in the back – where bike & rider turbulence negate smooth airflow gains – as the ultimate fastest setup on the new ARC wheels.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset

DT Swiss also sticks with the more complex, but more universal fit hooked tubeless rim with a bead-locking shoulder profile that works with every tire on the market.

Faster Aerolite II & Aero Comp II spokes, too

new dt swiss aero spoke profile reduces drag for faster wheels
New DT Swiss Aerolite II and AeroComp II bladed spoke profiles reduce drag for faster wheels.

It’s not just faster rims, Swiss Side reminds us that 1/4 of wheel drag is rotational drag, so shortening the spokes with deep rims helps, but so does the spoke profile itself. So, the top 1100 series get all-new, more aerodynamic Aerolite II & Aero Comp II spoke shapes – 35% deeper & 23% thinner.

DT describes the new gen 2 aero spokes as faster and stronger thanks to additional forging, plus they get a second “blading” step for the final shape. And they get the T-heads debuted on the ERC wheels for perfect alignment. All told, they save up to 1.1W with the revised shaping.

The new Aerolite II & Aero Comp II only come on the 1100 series wheels, and will remain exclusive to the ARC 1100 wheels. The ARC 1400 wheel use previous aero spokes, and have both increased rotational & translation drag as a result.

Faster Dicut hubs, as well…

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset

The new wheels also get updated aero-shaped Dicut hubs, featuring a single opening for each 2x pair of spokes to reduce flange size and centerlock disc brake interfaces. Inside the hubs use the latest Ratchet EXP in 180 level hubs with SINC ceramic bearings for the ARC 1100 & 240 hub internals with steel bearings for the ARC 1400 wheelsets.

New ARC aero wheels – Pricing, availability & options

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset

The new ARC wheels come in three depths – 50mm, 62mm & 80mm…

…and two spec levels sharing the same Aero+ rims – red-label 1100 & gray-label 1400 – to suit a range on budgets and riding styles.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset
ARC 1100 line

The ARC 1100 is the top of the line, with the new more aerodynamic Aerolite II & AeroComp II spokes and DT Swiss 180 Dicut hubs. Those 180-level hubs feature top-spec SINC ceramic bearings, a slimmed down centerlock rotor interface & 36T Ratchet EXP internals, plus the 1100 wheels also come with wheelbags.

The ARC 1100 Dicut wheels sell for $3,025 / 2,388€ regardless of depth, with claimed weights of 1,762g for 80mm, 1,676g for 62mm & 1,472g for 50mm deep wheels.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset
ARC 1400 line

The ARC 1400 is meant to be a more affordable wheelset offering much of the same aerodynamics & performance with the same rim shapes & carbon layup. The 1400 wheels use standard Aerolite & AeroComp spokes and DT Swiss 240 Dicut hubs. The 240-level hubs get high-quality stainless steel bearings & new 36T Ratchet EXP internals.

The ARC 1400 Dicut wheels sell for $2,479 / 1,957€ regardless of depth, with claimed weights of 1,837g for 80mm, 1,753g for 62mm & 1,552g for 50mm deep wheels.

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset

All of the new wheels come standard with a Shimano 11s freehub body & a SRAM XDR driver, Campagnolo freehub bodies are available separately. The 50mm deep wheels are also offered in 650b versions for smaller riders to get fast, too (1,381g for 1100s, 1,458g for 1400s).

All of the new ARC wheels are available now from your local DT Swiss dealers and retailers, and all include alloy tubeless valves, rubberized valve guards, & tubeless tape.

First Rides: DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 62 aero wheels

DT Swiss ARC aero road wheels, faster more aerodynamic SwissSide developed 20mm internal full-carbon hooked tubeless VU-shaped aero race carbon road bike wheelset First Rides DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 62

We’ve just recently gotten a set of the new wheels in to test, to make our recent Merida Reacto faster than ever with the superlight new Pirelli P Zero Race TLR SL tubeless race tires. Out of the box, their tubeless setup was smooth and easy and the first rides felt fast from the initial pedal stroke.

To get a look at the actual weight of our 62mm test wheels and see how they ride, head over to our First Impressions coverage, including a detailed look at DT Swiss’ wind tunnel tested aerodynamics data comparing the new ARC wheels to previous versions & some of other aero leaders on the market now.

DTSwiss.com

15 COMMENTS

  1. I’m tired of this nonsense! Improved aerodynamics are NOT down to the rim being wider, they are due to the shape and, more particularly, the shape of the tyre and wheel ‘system’. If the same design philosophy was applied to a narrower wheel and matched tyre, it would be significantly faster at anything above low speeds, due to decreased frontal area, combined with the same (or VERY similar) CD. Similar, in this use as an Engineering term, means being of the same form, but scaled to a different ‘size’. Also, wider tyres do not provide lower rolling resistance AND improved comfort – you can have one or the other, but not both.

    I challenge the designers and manufacturers (DT, Hunt, ENVE etc.) of these ‘new generation’ wheels to produce a version (even if only a one-off prototype) that employs their latest thinking on shape, but is designed to work as a system with 21mm and/or 19mm tyres (yes there used to be such things!), then test them and tell us which is actually faster. Of course this would require the tyre manufacturers to co-operate also, but I’m sure they would be happy to do so in the interests of science!!

    I am not anti wide tyre, I am just tired of the bandwagon and all those jumping on it proclaiming that they are better for absolutely everything – they are NOT!!

    • If you acknowledge that wider tires can be faster or more comfortable (local maxima based on how much you lower the pressure), then you are acknowledging that there is indeed a pressure at which the wider tires is both faster and more comfortable at some compromise pressure in between.

      Also, given that rolling resistance also increases with speed, there can indeed be a wide range of speed where the increased aero drag is less than the decreased rolling resistance. So frontal area increase is is not always a net loss, even at higher speeds. You need to know the riding surface sensitivity to tire width before you can attempt to determine where that crossover point is.

      There’s lots of great discussion of this on the Silca blog and Rene Herse blog.

    • Both you and manufacturer are right though.
      They can claim these wider rims are faster for modern tire because we use the rim too narrow for years. Thus wider is faster for the tire size we are using today. No rim older than 6 years old meet 105% rule of thumb that say rim must be at least 5% wider than the tire for 25c, and most of the rim even fail for 23c tire. Now while these manufacturers say their rim are optimized to perform better with 28c to sell to people who want to use 28c tires. This rim is actually just wide enough to be optimal for tire around 25mm wide (and still a little too narrow for 28mm tire). So they don’t actually sacrifice the performance of 25mm tire users for 28mm tire user.

      If they release 21mm tire (actually measure 21mm, not oversized 21c), how many people will buy it? I can think of track cyclist on velodrome but not much use anywhere else.

    • ‘Also, wider tyres do not provide lower rolling resistance AND improved comfort – you can have one or the other, but not both.’

      The improved comfort of riding wider tyres at lower pressures saves energy, so in the broader sense the rolling resistance on a real road IS lower. Seemingly this more than offsets the slight increase in aerodynamic resistance through being larger in size.

      I would question at what size smaller/lighter riders are being disadvantaged through not needing any more suspension?

  2. it’s not totally clear if those wider rims are Faster in ABSOLUTE or faster with BIGGER tires? on this very website, ENVE acknowledge their wider rims are not the fastests set-up, just the “fastests with very wide tires”

  3. There is SO much bs that comes out of the cycling industry! They twist and spin data to make it whatever they want! How many decades in a row can companies come out with a “faster more supple more aero lighter stronger” wheel & tire… Tired of the marketing.

  4. Hi guys interesting discussion of the latest spin from DT Swiss/Swissside. When will we actually hear about the real data from the engineers rather than the sales and marketing people. Aerodynamic theory is very clear and an increased frontal area while keeping all other variables the constant will ALWAYS result in an increase in the measured drag not the reverse as is being suggested in this article. The wheel as a whole is the rotating object not just the rim profile and surely its about time the engineers and aerodynamicists started expressing their data as such. At xtreme carbon in Australia they have reduced the inbike drag of wheels by developing a patented AERO hub and axle system that reduces flange width and hence frontal area which yields reduced drag. The question is if these global wheel companies are truly serious about reducing inbike drag for the consumer why are they still persisting with the aero of the rim rather than investigating the whole rotating wheel and looking at the work of xtreme carbon from Australia??

    • The marketing people take the info the engineers provide and translate it into a message most people can understand. They don’t pull ideas out of thin air without basis.

      When manufacturers present their data, nobody is satisfied that it’s accurate or unbiased. Buy the hint that makes you feel good and enjoy it.

  5. The very first illustration demonstrates the false theory in their claims. Wheel drag actually affecting overall vehicle drag is highly concentrated only at the top of the wheel. Wheel cross-section therefore is only a second order effect.

    Reducing exposed surface area at this uppermost location where wheel surfaces are exposed to wind speeds nearly twice the vehicle speed is the most effective method to reduce overall vehicle drag, as taught by US 10,538,280, representing the first utility patent for a simple wheel fender in history. Anyway, the wind speed at the bottom of the wheel is zero, as is the contributed aerodynamic wheel drag. So why illustrate wind blowing across the bottom???

    Shame on DT for perpetuating this falsity. Cyclists are being constantly marketed, as they don’t quite see the real aero situation. DT is aware of my inventions for years now, now including an immediately forthcoming patent for a better aerospoke, tapered from bladed at the rim to round cross-section toward the middle, thereby being designed for enhanced effectiveness in crosswind exposure near the top of the wheel, and which is due to issue next month.

    • Wind speed at the bottom of the wheel is not zero, it just isn’t 2x the forward speed the vehicle is traveling. The rest of the wheel is still significant and we’re rarely lucky enough to ride in wind tunnel conditions.

      Like most aero wheels, they’re presenting the best compromise they can, based on what they know now. They admit that their knowledge has evolved in their own marketing materials above.

      • Nonsense. The ground is not moving, so the wheel surface touching the ground CANNOT be moving, unless it is sliding! Other wheel surfaces close to the ground have far more downward speed than forward speed.

        This is the idiotic assumption prevalent throughout industry, even in the automotive world. It is a reference frame mapping problem. Yes, the profile of the wheel appears to move at the vehicle speed, but the wheel surfaces at the ground level actually have no forward speed. Do your homework. I have, and have numerous patents as a result.

        Anyway, any drag induce on lower wheel surfaces are mechanically disadvantaged over propulsive counterforces at the level of the axle. Therefore, lower wheel surfaces should never be shielded, as taught by US 10,538,280.

        • Spinning or not, the entire thing must still be pushed through the atmosphere by the rider. Frame tubes don’t spin, helmets don’t spin, clothing doesn’t spin and all of them are important in reducing aerodynamic drag.

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