DT Swiss reworks the aerodynamics of their original all-rounder ERC endurance carbon road wheels to create a more versatile wheelset that is wider, lighter, faster, more stable in changing wind conditions, and even more affordable. While they’re still premium carbon wheelsets, the reshaped ERC lineup looks like a better one-stop solution for mixed riding, performing just as well on flat windy road rides as they would climbing mountains or even hitting up some all-road off of smooth tarmac.
DT Swiss ERC 1100 next-gen Aero+ endurance road bike wheels
DT Swiss’ ERC carbon endurance road wheels were the first result of their development partnership with aero-specialists SwissSide five years ago, and launched their complete ‘road revolution’ that improved the overall aerodynamic performance and simplified the classification of all of DT’s drop bar wheel families.
Now, those original 47mm deep, 19mm internal tubeless-ready all-road wheels have been completely redesigned from the ground up for improved versatility and more all-day comfort, just like the recent overhaul of the ARC aero carbon road wheels.
What’s new? Faster, lighter, more versatile
The new ERC wheels now feature a wider internal rim width and shallower profiles in a revised aero rim shape, that DT Swiss feels are a better match to the current style of endurance & all-road riding. Leaning into versatility, the ERC family now includes a 45mm deep version that claims to be faster than the slightly deeper original, plus a new lighter, lower-profile 35mm wheelset that’s almost as fast…
Comparing DT Swiss’ old and new wind tunnel data, we can see that all of their new generation ERC & ARC rims (in red) have reduced drag directly into the wind, with the new VU shapes performing consistently from around -6 to +7° yaw angles. We also see that the difference from the new 35mm to new 45mm is pretty minimal until you get out to more crosswind conditions where not surprisingly, the deeper rim does better.
DT did include the new lower-drag 50mm deep ARC for comparison, but don’t forget that it was tested with a narrower tire. Looking at the previous generation ERC with both 25 & 28mm Conti tires, the difference is similar, suggesting a new ERC 45 with a 25mm tire (the smallest allowable) would probably be quite close to the new ARC 50.
It’s also interesting to note how the new and wider ERCs (lighter reds) compare to the original ERC (blues), with significantly lower drag straight into a headwind for either depth, even with wider tires. The new 45 (medium red) is faster almost across the board vs. the old 47 (lighter blue, with the same size 28mm tire), curiously except for +15° wind yaw. That variation from one side to the next suggests interaction of the hub (which appears unchanged), spokes & disc brake, so the difference could even just be using a different rotor.
(All images we’ve seen from DT show the latest closed vented Shimano rotors, like below, or Campagnolo rotor, neither of which were around for the 2016 ERC launch.)
The E in ERC stands for endurance, meaning those longest all-day road rides, and DT Swiss envisions this family of wheels to be their best & most comfortable all-rounders for cyclists riding 28mm & 30mm road tires. But they readily acknowledge that endurance road has blurred the lines over to all-road, and expects these wheels to go beyond asphalt a bit too with every larger tires… maybe even transition a bit into light gravel.
With that new (still hooked for greatest security and compatibility) tubeless-ready 22mm internal bead (28.5mm max external), the smallest possible tires for the new ERC wheels is 23mm, and DT rates them for up to 64mm rubber (that’s a whopping 29×2.5″ mountain bike tire!) From an aerodynamics perspective, DT says you’ll get the fastest performance with 28mm tires. And for the best mix of aero performance and comfort, they recommend a 28mm tire up front and a 30mm tire on the rear wheel.
Like the newly reshaped, second-generation ARC aero wheels, these new ERC wheels also go for a happy medium VU-shaped rim profile. While the blunt gen 1 U-shape was a reaction to the flat-sided V-shape of the earliest aero wheels, this new shape combines a more narrow nose and bulbous body that works well with wider rims, not constrained by rim brakes.
The new ERC family all feature DT Swiss’ latest top Dicut straight pull hubs in either 180 level with SINC ceramic bearings (ERC 1100) or 240 level with steel bearings (ERC 1400), both with new lighter, stiffer, simpler, more durable Ratchet EXP internals.
The new aero Dicut hubs offer subtle aerodynamic improvements as well, with a single opening for each 2x pair of spokes to reduce flange size and slimmed down centerlock disc brake interfaces.
Both feature fully bladed aero spokes with T-heads to keep them perfectly aligned. The top-tier ERC 1100 wheels get the latest and faster Aerolite II & Aero Comp II spokes like the ARC wheels. And the mid-tier ERC 1400 wheels stick with the original first-generation Aero Comp spokes.
Faster & more stable than the competition
DT Swiss leans hard on the aerodynamic experience they have built with aero-specialist partner SwissSide to develop all-rounder wheels that are faster than the competition. Comparing them to similar depth & width Zipp 303, Hunt carbon 44 & Vision Metron 40 wheels, both new ERC wheels (35mm & 45mm depths) posted lower drag figures across the board in DT’s testing in the GST wind tunnel in Germany.
While speed into the wind is a big factor in aerodynamic performance, DT’s Aero+ concept also heavily weights the importance of stability in changing wind conditions. Their key metric here is Steering Moment, the feeling of the wind trying to turn your handlebars as the wind shifts. Here, the new DT Swiss ERC wheels show a generally similar or flatter profile (flatter is less wind-induced impact on steering overall, and smooth curves indicate less abrupt feeling as winds shift) compared to that same set of competitor wheels. Outside of those Hunt 44s, the other four wheelsets all should perform similarly as the wind shifts.
DT Swiss ERC Aero+ endurance road wheels – Pricing & options
DT offers their new ERC carbon Aero+ endurance road bike wheels in two depths – 35mm & 45mm sold in matched pairs – and in two spec levels – ERC 1100 & ERC 1400. The 1100 series wheels sell for $3240 / 2388€, and include wheelbags. And the 1400 series wheels sell for $2655 / 1957€. All include 36T Ratchet EXP internals, are delivered with both Shimano road HG & SRAM XDR freehub bodies, pre-taped for tubeless, and include alloy tubeless valves.
The ERC 1100 35 is the lightest at a claimed 1391g, and the ERC 1100 45 is the fastest at a claimed 1442g. The ERC 1400 35 is close behind at a claimed 1468g, then the ERC 1400 45 at a claimed 1519g, all of which are lighter than the top-spec first-generation ERC wheels.
Of interest of smaller riders looking to upgrade their smaller-wheeled road bikes, the lower-profile and lighter 35mm deep wheels are also available in 650b sizes at both 1100 (just 1300g!) & 1400 (1379g) spec levels.
First Riding Impressions
We’ve been riding the new ERC wheels for about a month now – after having ridden the original ERCs almost non-stop over road, gravel & cross for the last five years. It’s hard to empirically compare incremental improvements, but these new wheels do feel fast. The biggest benefits we’ve seen are probably the improved comfort from the added tire volume that comes with a 3mm (+15%) increase in internal width and real weight reduction of 62g (-4%) vs. our first-generation ERC test wheels. In Europe 30€ savings is a nice touch, but exchange rates aren’t as friendly to the Americans who will have to pay $123 more than five years ago. That said, as bike prices climb, that’s not so bad on a price hike.
We’re pretty convinced that the new DT Swiss ERC family of aero endurance wheels are even better all-rounders than before. So keep your eyes peeled for a deeper review of our first rides soon…