Wheel world gets real.
In a wheelset world comprising all manner of rim depths, suspect materials, proprietary hubs, and disc brake compatibility issues, DT Swiss' tubeless-ready PR 1400 Dicut Oxic Road Wheels are a refreshingly simple, durable, and reliable option. They also prove that the low-profile alloy rim is far from obsolete. These are serious wheels for serious road training and even racing, especially if you're not into the parachute effect of 60mm carbon hoops in any yaw angle greater than 5 degrees.
Okay. So we weren't totally honest in the above paragraph. The PR 1400 wheels do feature a new material. And proprietary hubs. But those are both plusses, not minuses. The material is DT's Oxic coating, a ceramic finish that's similar to what we've seen from other brands with one big caveat: DT Swiss assures us that the brake track won't strip down to shiny alloy during the normal lifespan of the wheel. The stuff is hard enough to stand up to brake pads, road grit, and road grit trapped under the brake pads. Other than that, Oxic provides the same responsive braking that you'd expect Since the whole rim is covered in the stuff, that guarantee of a color-fast finish extends throughout. It won't fade from long hours spent in the sun—which, frankly, is the point of a wheelset.
The other admission, about the proprietary hubs, is also a definite plus. We've all either built or fantasized about building a custom set of hoops, and DT Swiss' Star Ratchet freehub is one of only two models we'd consider anchoring a rear rim to. In order to maintain the wheelset's stealth, matches-any-frame aesthetics, the hubs aren't branded 240s, but they essentially have the same internals. While other brands skimp on the hubs and rely on rim bling to sell their wheels, DT Swiss makes the hub the focal point.
Finally, a note on stiffness and weight. The rims are asymmetrical, so they take into account the imbalanced nature of force in a system with a drive and a non-drive side. A claimed set weight of 1,435g puts the PR 1400 in the race-able but not World Tour bucket, weight-wise. But these aren't about saving weight; they're about saving your ass on rough roads. We can't be certain, but we suspect that the PR initialism in the wheels' title might stand for "Paris" and "Roubaix," and—notwithstanding the industry's apparently uncontainable gluttony for ever-wider rims—the PR's 18mm internal width is actually right in line with ETRTO and ISO recommendations for 28mm tires.
In today's landscape of gravel bikes, 28mm tires may seem small; however, that happens to be the tire size that Tommeke himself opted for at Roubaix throughout his career. The rims safely seat tires up to around 40mm, but we can't imagine wanting to go above 28mm on a bike with rim brakes. Trends may dictate fat tires, but we'll trust Boonen's implicit recommendation over a burgeoning army of mustachioed faux-randonneurs holding social media photo shoots during the third coffee stop of a 30-mile ride. Sure, Boonen ran tubulars, but the PR 1400's tubeless-ready nature means that you'll get almost all the suppleness of sew-ups but without the hassle of having to glue tires and make the occasional "I've flatted and I can't get home" phone call.
- A wheelset that proves alloy is still a viable race material
- Oxic finish protects rim and increases brake responsiveness
- Star Ratchet freehub is DT Swiss' signature model
- Low profile is compliant and spins up fast on climbs
- Rim width suited to 28mm tires, the peloton's cobble choice
- Tubeless-ready for plush suppleness and puncture resistance
- Stealth aesthetics match any frame or team kit
- Color won't fade under UV abuse or strip on the brake track