DT Swiss RR21 Dicut wheelset – review - Road Cycling UK

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Wheels

DT Swiss RR21 Dicut wheelset – review

Low weight, good ride quality and a sensible price make these one of the best all-around wheelsets on the market

The new DT Swiss RR21 Dicut wheels are lightweight with a wide rim profile, making them one of the best all-round wheelsets on the market. And they’re also tubeless ready, even if you’re not. 

Upgrading a set of wheels is the quickest way to breathe life into your steed. They make a huge difference to how it’ll perform by either reducing weight or increasing aerodynamics.

With deep section wheels being the choice of the professionals, many upgrade to aero rims instead of choosing a shallow rim profile which would be more suitable for a wider variety of weather conditions or terrain. That’s because – contrary to popular belief – aero isn’t everything.

The RR21 wheels are tubeless ready, but if you’re not prepared to jump into the future you can always run them with clinchers and tubes

Investing in a set of wheels that are just as happy in the mountains as they are on a training ride is one thing, but how about a set that are so well built that they’ll see you right through winter as well? This is what DT Swiss has set out to do with the RR21 Dicut wheels. And they’re a success.

  • Specification

  • Price: £659.98
  • Weight: 1,415g
  • Website: DT Swiss
  • UK distributor: Madison

In the past, we’ve delayed wheel tests because of adverse weather conditions. A deep section rim on a wind-battered coastline isn’t exactly the ideal testing ground, but when the RR21’s arrived at the time strong winds did, it was still game on. They impressed as soon as they came out of the box and travelled on their inaugural ride.

Aluminium rims might pay a weight penalty when piped against carbon, but metal does have benefits, including strength and reliable braking. But at 1,415g, the DT Swiss RR21’s are hardly anchor weights. They’re actually a shade lighter than Zipp’s acclaimed 202 wheelset, which weigh 1,450g for the pair (and cost around £1,000 more).

This is where we should explain why DT Swiss is the brand of choice for wheel connoisseurs the world over. The company, as its name suggests, was founded in Swiss town called Biel in 1634.  It didn’t start making bike wheels until 1934, but even so, DT Swiss has a long heritage.

The company’s headquarters, despite a few restructures, is still in Biel. DT Swiss’s name suggests quality. Its wheels are entirely made by its own hand, and with no outsourcing they can maintain high standards.

Starting with the front wheel, DT Swiss has built the rim, measuring 22mm outer/18mm internal, around its super smooth DiCut 240s-based hubs with its own Aerolite spokes.

Rims have a 22mm external/18mm internal width, and are built around Dicut hubs with DT Swiss’s own Aerolite spokes

The DiCut concept was introduced to the DT Swiss range in 2012 and it’s designed to make the most out of aerodynamics as well as the wheels lateral stiffness. They have tuned flange geometry for this and straight pull ‘Nail Head’ spokes for the increased rigidity.

It’s noticeable that there is very little give in the wheels when out of the saddle. It isn’t to the detriment of comfort either, but does ensure that nothing is wasted when climbing or sprinting.

The rear wheel, which is built around a similar DiCut hub with a mix of Aerolite and Aero Comp spokes, has an asymmetric rim for greater stiffness. The DiCut 240 hub is quick to engage when demanded and when freewheeling is quiet and ultra smooth. That’s a great improvement over DT Swiss’ earlier models that sounded remarkably like a field of crickets when the pedals weren’t turning.

The rear wheel, built around a Dicut hub, has an asymmetric rim design for increased stiffness. The DT 240 hub is smooth, quick to engage and lovely to ride

We ran these with clincher tyres, but DT Swiss has made the RR21’s tubeless compatible. This future-proofs the wheels as we anticipate the trend for tubeless tyres to advance. There’s a lot to be said, especially in the winter, for their defiance to punctures, but there’s also a benefit to rolling resistance, because there’s zero friction inside the tyres unlike that between a tyre and a tube on standard clinchers.

Conclusion

By adding the option of running the RR21’s as either tubeless or as a standard clincher, DT Swiss has produced a really versatile wheel. But it goes further than just utility. The DT Swiss RR21 DiCuts aren’t just practical, they’re can-do wheels which deliver wherever they’re needed. They’re light, fast and tough. And they look great with diamond cutouts on the matte finished hubs and rims. Beauty, brains and brawn.

Pros

– Superb handling in all conditions
– Wide rim gives rider tyre choices
– Tubeless compatible
– Aesthetically pleasing

Cons

– DT Swiss Ratchet Quick Release take a bit of getting used to

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