Ingezonden

The new DT Swiss Dicut hub with widely spaced flanges, new Nail Head spokes and an 11 speed compatible Shimano freehub body (Robin Wilmott/BikeRadar.com)

Wheel-maker DT Swiss and their tyre partner Schwalbe have just
unveiled their 2013 ranges. BikeRadar got hands-on with all the new models, including
the brand new Spline wheel and Ultremo ZX tubular and clincher tyres, at
their base in Biel, Switzerland.

The DT
Swiss road wheel families
mirror the mountain bike lines, with Dicut, Tricon, Spline and Classic being
the principal ‘Family’ names for each – of these, Spline is the one that’s
completely new for the 2013 model year. The pattern of Application Range
letters denotes usage category, with three letter acronyms being the highest
quality, and one the entry level – the road range includes RRC, RC, RR and R.
The Main Feature number that follows relates to the rim depth for road wheels,
which will be 21, 32, 46 or 66mm, and the sub features remain the same, with Tubular, Clincher, TubeLess and Hybrid rims.

Newest
additions to the top line Dicut range are the RR21 aluminium wheels, which are
marketing manager Daniel Berger’s favourite all rounders, and at 1,460g with
their double butted and bladed spokes, they compete directly with Mavic’s
Ksyrium Elite SL.

RRC46 H wheel

Also new
is the RRC46 H hybrid wheelset, which features a structural carbon rim – not a
fairing – with an aluminium rim bonded to it for guaranteed consistent braking
in all conditions. With 20 front and 24 rear spokes and only weighing 1,605g
per pair, they should interest riders who want an aero advantage, fine ride
characteristics and still be able to stop on demand. 

We rode a pair up the
local Mon Chasseral mountain climb, that tops out at 1,607m, and found them to
climb far better than expected, superbly stiff for great drive, no noticeable
wheel deflection, and light enough that they certainly weren’t a hindrance.
Then on the descent, where speeds can touch 50mph we could brake later and
harder than most of the riders on full carbon rims, and always have the
security of knowing they were unlikely to grab a rear brake when unweighted on
steep sections.

The Dicut
range is topped by four wheels, each sold for tubulars or clinchers. All are
carbon and come in 32, 46 or 66mm depths, or as a lightweight disc wheel.

The
standard Dicut hub is the 240S with stainless internals, and a new hub shape to
take the new nail head spokes. Resembling a chamfered nail head, the hub’s
specific slots allow the bladed spokes to seat in one position only, so
resisting twisting forces when building or truing, and always staying aligned.
The hub flanges are narrow and widely spaced for overall wheel strength,
proving an advantage for Shimano’s new 11-speed drivetrain.

A 240S Classic hub and 240S straight pull hub each have stainless steel bearings, but the lofty 180 Carbon Ceramic hubs raise the bar

All ratchet hubs
across the wheel ranges are now 11-speed compatible, a challenge DT Swiss
overcame by simply increasing the axle width from 130mm to 131mm, as frames can
easily cope with that tolerance. The hubs will come supplied with a spacer for
those running 10-speed transmissions.

As we
await the next developments in road disc brakes, companies such as DT Swiss try
to predict if disc road hub spacing will increase to the MTB standard of 135mm,
as early prototypes have, which could simplify designs by allowing cross over
from the MTB ranges. Until then we wait.

The
carbon rims on offer now use higher quality carbon layers and resins for
improved braking performance and heat dissipation, and also the new Waterslide
decals that are much thinner than stickers and when baked on to the rim during
manufacture will not peel or scratch off.

The Tricon
wheel range features a sealed rim bed making all of the wheels tubeless ready.
Their two-piece hub with bonded flanges reduces spoke tension acting on the
bearing seat, making a free-running stiff and light wheel.

Spline
wheels are all new, and include more reasonably priced carbon wheels than the
Dicut range, in fact they’ll be around half the price, and the RC38 Spline T
tubular wheelset is claimed to be 1,305g. There will be a wider range of carbon
Spline wheels for the 2014 model year, rather than the single tubular option at
the moment. Two aluminium wheelsets complete the Spline range, the R23 at
1,520g is available in black or white with contrasting spokes, and the R28
which comes in at 1,890g.

In addition
to their fully built wheel ranges, DT Swiss sell a range of rims and hubs for
those who like to go their own way. King amongst these is the 180 Carbon
Ceramic hub. Too expensive to offer in a wheelset, the lightened version of the
240S hub has a carbon body and ceramic bearings and retails for around €1,000 a
pair. Or if you fancy, a ceramic conversion kit is available for your existing
hubs.

Schwalbe’s new tubulars and clinchers

Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubulars

The German company’s 4000-strong Indonesian workforce have
been busy producing Schwalbe’s expanding tyre range, and although not new, the
Schwalbe guys were keen to showcase the completely hand made Ultremo HT tubular
tyres, as ridden by Radioshack Nissan Trek. After unsuccessful joint ventures
with some specialist tubular manufacturers, Schwalbe decided the only way to fulfil
their requirements was to make their own from scratch.

From creating the carcass, through the application of
latex, joining of carcass layers, puncture protection belt, tread, decals,
latex inner tube, and various stages of sewing, every action is highly labour
intensive. Every single tubular produced is checked for straightness and
roundness, followed by a 24-hour air resistance test to ensure a perfect
product.

2013 sees a new version of the Ultremo ZX clincher tyre,
with V-Guard puncture protection, new graphics and decreased rolling
resistance. Vectran synthetic fibres are expensive but extremely cut resistant,
giving a claimed 35% improvement, and Schwalbe discovered that by placing the
protection belt under the tread instead of between carcass layers, it decreased
rolling resistance. Mated with a new rubber compound, it is said to save 25%
compared to the current tyre. 

The Ultremo is already one of the best tyres for
colour coordinating your bike due to the range of colours produced, but now
there’s a completely white high performing tyre to complete the line-up.

Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tubeless – they can take a direct hit and still keep going

Another new introduction was the Ultremo ZX Tubeless tyre,
with a new carbon bead to withstand the high pressures and make it easy to
mount. The aim was to create a light tyre that could be inflated with a track
pump, and the result is an Ultremo tyre with the lowest rolling resistance of
any in the range, and no sudden air loss, even from punctures, when using 30ml
of sealant. Snakebite protection increases by 100% over a clincher, and all
round cut resistance is improved. One tubeless tyre weighs 295g, which is about
the same as a clincher plus inner tube, and Schwalbe recommend a pressure
approximately 0.5-1 Bar lower than a clincher tyre for a better ride, with a
maximum permitted pressure of 9 Bar.

The best platform for a tubeless tyre is of course a
tubeless-ready rim, but you can convert many rims using Stan’s conversion kit
that includes a suitable valve. Although tyre sealant will get you home safe
most of the time, it’s advisable to carry a spare tube just in case.

After researching tyre sealants, Schwalbe found Stan’s
sealant to be ideal, and hard to better, so sell it as Doc Blue along with an
easy-fit liquid to assist first-time tyre sealing. In an impressive
demonstration, a Tubeless tyre inflated to 7 Bar and containing tyre sealant
was pierced through the tread, and when the spike was removed, an instant spurt
of sealant shot out and then the hole was sealed within a second, resulting in
minimal loss of air. Even more impressively, the spike was pushed through both
sidewalls together, and when withdrawn, the sealant again plugged the holes
very quickly. It took around twice as long to plug, but the tyre was still very
rideable, and wouldn’t be dangerous even mid-descent.

The demands of maintaining a seal with low pressures under
2 Bar will prevent production of a cyclo cross tubeless tyre for now. The only
tyre size will initially be 23mm, only in black, and retail prices should be
close to €65, which is considerably cheaper than the few competitors on the
market.

We hear that Fabian Cancellara is interested in the
rolling resistance savings on offer, and will be racing the Ultremo ZX Tubeless
tyres in the Bayern Rundfahrt time trial stage this Saturday, 26 May.. Still
coming back from his broken collar bone, he may not be on the pace, but it’ll
be interesting to see whether this starts a trend.

We’ll be testing the Ultremo ZX and Tubeless tyres soon in Cycling
Plus
 magazine and
BikeRadar, so watch this space.

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