We’ve been riding DT Swiss’s new ERC wheels for the past month to get a feel for what’s changed since our last long-term review of the original DT aero endurance wheels. While the majority of the latest & greatest new performance-focused gear for road bikes is targeted at pro-level road racing (and more recently gravel racing, too), the DT Swiss E-endurance line-up feels more focused on the type of road riding normal amateur cyclists actually do… These are wheels designed for fast all-day weekend road rides with friends, gran fondos where you can push your limits with bigger distances, plus the type of all-around all-road rides I personally throw into my regular road riding to keep things interesting year-round.

Review: DT Swiss ERC 1100 45 aero endurance wheels

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review

Launched last week, these all-new more versatile than ever DT Swiss ERC endurance wheels are wider, lighter & faster than ever – now also adding two aero rim depth options to suit a wider range of rides & riders.

Pick the 45mm deep option for more aerodynamic advantage, and flatter or rolling terrain riding.

Or save some extra weight by choosing the still aero 35mm deep wheels if you spend more time in the mountains or for riders worried about getting blown around with deeper wheels. The 35s are also available in 650b, a nice upgrade option for smaller riders who ride bikes from companies like Canyon or Bombtrack, for example, who specify smaller wheels on their smallest road frames to maintain ideal handling characteristics.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, autumn asphalt

Looking back to that first DT ERC wheel launch, it’s clear that the Endurance Road category has evolved quite a lot in the last 5 years. Endurance used to suggest slower 100+km marathon road rides and gran fondos. But as both incremental & dramatic aerodynamic optimization has bled over to pretty much every dropbar bike now, endurance. has embraced going faster too, while at the same time expanded to including more all-road now, as well.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, cobblestones

Having been fully on-board with road tubeless across all of their wheels since at least 2016 until today, DT Swiss seems to embrace that versatility across all types of roads, especially with their Endurance family of wheels.

The ERCs were always built for mixed hard surface road riding. But now thanks to a significant 15% increase in rim with to a 22mm internal, the new wheels are a better match for bigger tires, making them more comfortable while also boosting tire grip and lowering rolling resistance.

DT Swiss ERC carbon Aero road bike wheels, reshaped aerodynamic all-rounder all-road wheelset, gravel?

Support for bigger tires makes the new wheelset even more suited to cross the lines from road to all-road to even some light gravel riding. We already rode the previous generation off-road a lot. Now with even more light, narrow fast-rolling tubeless tire options like these 36mm Tufo Gravel Speedero gravel treads, this new ERC is destined to see even more time off-tarmac…

What’s changed? Old ERC vs. New ERC

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, new vs. old wheels

new ERC (left, on bike) vs. old ERC (right) wheels

Having put so much time on the original wheels (still one of our go-to all-road test wheelsets 5 years later), we were curious to put the two wheelsets head-to-head – new vs. old.

DT’s key updates for the wheels basically come down to: the new more versatile VU aerodynamic profile, an increase in internal width to support bigger tires, and significant weight reduction.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, new vs. old rim profiles

new 2021 ERC vs. old 2016 ERC Aero+ profile

The new rim (left, in black) uses the same second-generation VU-shape aero profile concept that DT Swiss developed with Swiss Side for their ARC aero road wheels to improve aerodynamics with wider tires, removing any residual rim brake design constraints. It’s a bit more pointy in the nose, with straighter sides from the midsection to the still-hooked tubeless-ready bead. The new rim shape is 3mm wider internally, just 1.5mm wider overall, and also 2mm shallower than before..

The old U-shape rim (right, in black) is more blunt-nosed and bulbous, with its widest section in the middle, that then tapers back to the narrower bead.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, old vs. new rims

I created that overlay above to more easily visualize the differences because comparing them side-by-side it’s still quite difficult to appreciate the big shift in overall shape.

Looking closely at these two wheels next to each other (old left, new right), you can see the more gradual curve closer to the spokes of the older blunt rim vs. the newer rim that has a more pronounced transition from its more-pointed nose to flat sides just above its mid-section.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, new vs. old hubs & spokes

The differences aren’t only in the rim shape. Of note, the old ERC (right) was labeled as a 240-series hub even though it did already have DT Swiss ceramic SINC bearings (which still spinning smoothly after 5 years without service… hmmm, maybe we should open those up?) The new wheels now get 180 series hubs (left).

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 only external hub differences we can see are incrementally more precise machining including a more aggressively-machined centerlock interface to shed a gram or two, plus machined endcaps with a lip to make them easier to pull off. In the years since the debut of the ERC, DT’s new Ratchet EXP rear hub internals have also become lighter, stiffer & more durable.

On top of that, the new wheels get slightly more aero Aerolite II & AeroComp II bladed spoke profiles for reduced drag. The new shaped aero profile now extends the full length of the spoke vs. the unique original 2/3 bladed ERC spokes that were meant to be more forgiving thanks to 1/3 being simply butted and less stiff.

Out on the road (and trail) we don’t really notice any real change in stiffness. But having the increased flex of bigger tires probably balances out that extra comfort, with the presumably slightly stiffer wheels.

DT Swiss ERC carbon Aero road bike wheels, reshaped aerodynamic all-rounder all-road wheelset, ERC vs. ARC old & new

2021 ERC wind tunnel data vs. older 2016 ERC data

Everything comes together to build a wheelset that DT Swiss says is faster than before, even though they are wider overall. Looking at DT’s data from the GST wind tunnel – from two vastly different test sessions made a half a decade apart –  our new ERC 1100 Dicut 45 wheels (medium red) look faster across the board than our old ERC 1100 Dicut 47 wheels (light blue) with the same 28mm tires installed.

Note: We obviously can’t exactly compare the two (it’s a bit of apples & oranges with all the variables in the 5 years between test setups), other than to see the faster, flattened shape of the aero trends DT is illustrating.

Even though I know I shouldn’t compare them directly, I can’t help myself. It is curious to see that the older wheels seemed faster at the +8-20% Yaw wind angles, while the newer wheels are a bit more constant no matter whether wind comes from the disc side or driveside. DT has said both were tested without rotor, on front wheels only, so the differences do come down to variation in the hub shape, spoke spec & spoke angle from one side to the other, and the new VU-profile create different drag interaction with the asymmetric disc brake hub/spoke setup depending on rim depth.

Want to read more about the Tech Details of the new ERCs, check our launch coverage here.

Our test setup & Actual Weights

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, Cannondale Synapse

We’ve been riding the new ERC wheels in a few bikes so far, an early all-road Festka Rover and gravel Rondo Ruut CF2, but this “perfect all ’rounder” Cannondale Synapse has logged the most kilometers as the ideal endurance road bike fit for a new endurance wheelset. We’ve also ridden both with a set of Tufo Gravel Speedero tires newly available in a narrower 36mm width, and a 30mm wide set of Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tires that measure out 31mm wide on these wider rims.

DT Swiss ERC carbon Aero road bike wheels, reshaped aerodynamic all-rounder all-road wheelset, 1444g actual weight

DT Swiss claims complete wheelset weights of 1442g for the new ERC 1100 Dicut 45. With tubeless tape already installed, our test set weighed just two grams more than that at an actual 1444g for the pair (663g front, 781g rear). Not a huge difference, but still a savings of 64g over our first generation ERCs, with the added benefits of the new wider rim and faster overall aerodynamics.

Riding Impressions

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, road descent

Riding the wheels out of the road, these ERC wheels give an immediate impression of rolling fast with little resistance. There’s a lot of elements that come into play here.

Surely, a good bit of that feeling of speed can be chalked up to the improved aerodynamics of the new wheels. And bumping up from even 28mm tires to these real 31mm tires means we can run slightly lower tire pressure for added comfort, grip, AND lower rolling resistance.

We’ve not tried to empirically evaluate how much more aero or more crosswind stable the new wheels are. But they do feel as fast as the old ERCs, and we haven’t felt like we were being blown around unreasonably, even on a couple of really windy recent road rides.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, 180 hub, Ratchet EXP, SINC ceramic bearings

The DT Swiss 180 hubs themselves, with SINC ceramic bearings, can’t be discounted for that effortless sensation, either. Sitting in the workstand, when you spin these wheels, they just keep going for longer than almost any other wheels we ride. And out on the road that smooth spinning carries over, paired with a fairly loud whine of the Ratchet EXP internals.

Premium ceramic bearings are almost always an expensive upgrade. But on an all-season, all-surface, all-road wheelset like this that will see some long and brutal riding conditions, the added durability seems like a real benefit that will pay off with added long-term durability (like we’ve seen before.)

DT Swiss ERC carbon Aero road bike wheels, reshaped aerodynamic all-rounder all-road wheelset, riding

Incremental aero advantage and tiny weight savings aside, the biggest improvements we’ve seen in the new DT Swiss ERC wheels come from the added comfort and grip of wider tires, larger overall tire volume, and the ability to run lower road tubeless tire pressures thanks to the 15% larger internal rim width.

Our Prague-based EU team rides road bikes hard. Almost every one of our road rides invariably takes in a number of different cobblestones, plus plenty of rough asphalt. And there typically tend to be fine gravel or even smooth dirt sections linking one scenic road to the next. The shift from fast-rolling 28mm to 31mm road tires makes those rides so much more enjoyable, and opens up many more routes without the need to ever really ride in heavy traffic.

The fact that these wheels allow those bigger tires with any real aero penalty is a huge benefit.

Of note, DT actually recommends a 28mm front tire paired to a 30mm rear tire as the best balance of aero speed & all-road comfort with the new ERC wheels. We’ll probably keep the bigger front tire on for extra winter road riding grip, for the time being, though.

DT Swiss new ERC lightweight carbon aero endurance all-road wheelset review, leaf-covered dirt

So with just a month riding the new DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut 45 wheels, we’re already pretty confident that they are a real upgrade over the originals, already one of our favorites on versatile all-road performance. At 2388€ they certainly aren’t cheap, but at least for our EU readers who benefit from favorable exchange rates, it is a tad cheaper than five years ago.

The new ERCs are already being fought over in our EU office as leaves cover our bike paths, tire pressures come down for a bit of extra grip, and autumn rides turn into winter rides. The new wheels certainly feel like more versatile all-rounders than ever. Our biggest question seems to be how long we keep on 30mm road tires before we swap to 33mm CX semi-slicks, or even go all the way to 36mm fast gravel treads?

DTSwiss.com

2 comments

  1. Equipe á Grumeaux on

    Again, the uncritical CERAMIC BEARINGS ARE SOOOO GOOD hoopla . . . they only work well with a perfect factory install, and do not tolerate misalignment if replaced. & fail dramatically and catastrophically, on occasion

    Reply

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.