Over the weekend at the Cyclocross World Cup in Zeven we dropped in on some proper muddy cross racing. And we spotted a new carbon tubular race wheel from DT Swiss that looks to modernize the popular RC38T wheels that we see many teams racing. Only found on a few of the bikes of the Era-Circus team, take a look at details on the previously unannounced CRC 1100 wheels.
DT Swiss CRC 1100 Spline tubular wheels
While spotting an unmarked prototype wheel at a road or cross race isn’t all that uncommon, these look decidedly finished. And the CRC 1100 Spline tubular wheels use DT’s new RoadRevolution18 graphics which suggests that they are both close to a finished product, and gives us a lot of tech detail hints.
DT’s new naming convention tells us plenty. They fall in the Cross Road lineup, are a Race level wheel, and are made of Carbon. (All of that was pretty obvious based on where we spotted them.) Interestingly enough, the wheels are cyclocross-specific, meant for off-road road use. They are not a road carry-over product like the previous generation RC38 wheels. 1100 gives them top-level hub tech with internals based off 240s hubs, a 36 T star ratchet, and SINC ceramic bearings. Spline suggests the straight pull, machined hub shell design (not the more aero-focused Dicut) which gets a centerlock rotor interface.
Of course what is really interesting about the new wheels is their new wider profile & depth. We can’t say exactly how deep they are but they look very close to the 38mm RC38s. Width and profile is more clear. The wheels feature DT’s new label design at the valve. That makes it easier to get a look at the new, more blunt U-shaped profile (vs. the more flat-sided RC38). That finished label also carried a rim bed dimension of 633×26. That’s 5mm wider that the RC38’s label. And since it looks like the rim bed is not the widest point, the new rims may be around 28mm wide at their bulge.
Spokes are bladed, aero & butted with 24 crossed on both front & rear wheels. They also stick with external nipples, something the most recent generation for RC38 tubulars did once they began to pop up more frequently as one of the most popular disc brake cyclocross racing wheelsets with the pros.
We had talked with DT Swiss earlier in the year about tubulars for cross racing alongside their big push to make all of their wheel tubeless-ready, for both road & MTB. We’ve also talked with tire makers intent on developing pro race-level tubeless for cross. But until that happens, nothing beats a handmade tubular for elite cyclocross racing.
The RC38Tdb isn’t dead yet either. Throughout the pits at the race in Zeven, it was probably the single most common wheelset being raced. And even Era-Circus still had a truck full of them. Obviously the CRC 1100 is a very new wheel, and hasn’t gone into production yet. The team had less than a dozen pieces total of the new wheels. So at the muddy race, even their star rider Laurens Sweek ended up racing on both the new & old wheels as mechanics fought to pressure wash bikes lap-after-lap.
But from the finished look of the wheels, we would expect the new CRC wheels to see a debut sometime early in 2018 as DT Swiss fills out the top end of their Cross Road lineup which currently only includes two different mid-range aluminum tubeless wheelsets.