DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic Wheelset

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Tested: All-New EXC 1200 Carbon Enduro Wheel from DT Swiss
Patended carbon manufacturing process yields a wheel that is light, strong, and comfortable.
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Always looking for innovative ways to make better products, DT Swiss has developed new, patented techniques and tools for manufacturing carbon rims. Instead of building up the carbon layers from the inside and out, DT Swiss now uses a singular mold to directly construct each 1200 series rim from the outside in, which they say improves the consistency of the layup and minimizes any imperfections. The new 1200 range of wheels features different layups and builds to suit different riding scenarios – we’ve tested the enduro-oriented EXC 1200, keep reading to learn more and get our first impressions.

DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic Highlights

  • WHEELSIZE: 27.5" / 650B & 29" / 700C
  • AXLE SYSTEM: 15 x 110 mm 12 x 148 mm
  • HUB TYPE: 180 Classic with 90T Ratchet DEG System
  • HUB OPTIONS: SRAM XD & Shimano Micro Spline
  • BRAKE INTERFACE: Center Lock or IS 6-bolt
  • RIM MATERIAL: Carbon
  • INNER WIDTH: 30 mm
  • SPOKE NUMBER: 28 front & 32 rear 3-cross
  • SPOKES: J-bend spokes, DT Revolite®, black NIPPLES DT Pro Lock® Hex, aluminum, black
  • WEIGHT: 1795 grams (29”, verified)
  • MAX SYSTEM WEIGHT: 130 kg
  • ASTM CLASS 5
  • MSRP from: 2911.80 $ / 2499.80 € / 2499.80 CHF

Initial Impressions

Traditionally, rims are made by initially constructing the inner layup separately and then placing it into a mold. By removing this step, DT Swiss says that any displacement between the layers is avoided, resulting in a much more consistent carbon structure with minimal imperfections. This new method allows DT Swiss to make a highly impact resistant rim where the fibers in the outer layers are not cut, which means that there are continuous strands in the impact areas. This patent-pending outer carbon layer is also ready to go straight out of the mold, with no trapped air pockets or unnecessary resin build-up.

Rims intended for tougher conditions are supported with carbon layers that enclose the entirety of the rim, acting as a shield against heavier impacts. Each rim within the 1200 family is given a number of such carbon layers that correspond to the target weight and intended use. To make sure that each rim meets the desired standard, DT Swiss has also developed a method that allows for non-destructive inspection of each layer in the rim, ensuring that any rim that leaves the factory is free of material defects.

Our test wheel, the EXC 1200, is intended for enduro use. The rim is 30 millimeters wide internally, and features a specific profile for the front and the rear. There are 28 J-bend spokes up front, and 32 out back, and the rim bed is offset to the side to allow for more even spoke tension across each wheel. The rim beads are quite wide and sport a rounded shape intended to reduce the risk of snakebite punctures. The spokes used are the new Revolites, with black DT Pro Lock hex nipples, mated to the all-new 180 hubs with the new, 90-degree Ratchet DEG freehub (your choice of SRAM XD or Shimano MicroSpline cassette driver). Our wheelset weighed in at 1795 grams (with the tubeless tape installed from factory), pretty light for an enduro-rated, 29-inch wheelset rated for a total “system weight” (bike + rider + equipment) of 130 kgs.

On The Trail

Mounting up the wheels to our test sled was easy, with the tires seating with just a floor pump (the tires did come off another wheelset which usually makes this part easier, but still…). The tolerances were on point – the new wheels replaced another DT Swiss wheelset on this bike, and we did not have to make any adjustments either to the shifting or the brake caliper alignment. The wheels spun freely in the workstand, and we noted that the 180 DEG freehub was slightly quieter than the 240 DEG freehub it replaced, for whatever reason (the mechanism should be the same, so maybe it’s a case of the grease used from factory or something).

Rolling out, we were happy with the snappy engagement of the new, 90-tooth DEG Ratchet freehub mechanism, and the bike carried good speed on climbs and over flatter terrain. The wheels are dynamic and direct, and the acceleration is immediate when you stomp on the pedals. The spoke tension is fairly high, and appears very even. The 180 hubs are equipped with ceramic bearings that may also have something to do with the aforementioned rolling speed.

When the pace picked up, the EXC 1200 wheels continued to impress. The handling is precise and direct, and we found it easy to place the bike where we wanted to. The wheels are certainly solid, but they also do a good job of absorbing vibrations and staying composed in rougher terrain. It’s early days in our testing yet, but it seems like these wheels deflect a little less compared to the alloy-rimmed wheels they replaced. They are definitely very quiet, even on square-edged hits and flat landings. Not much of the old “boing” to be found here.

What’s The Bottom Line?

$2900 USD is about as expensive as a pair of carbon mountain bike hoops can get, and while many might scoff at the idea of spending that much on just a wheelset, that is not to say that it doesn’t provide value for money. In the case of the new 1200 series from DT Swiss, you get a very well-made product that is remarkably light, strong, and offers great performance on the trail. The unique construction process yields a rim that should be 100% free of manufacturing defects, with a uniform layup and no excess resin present in the finished goods. DT Swiss offers a lifetime guarantee against any manufacturing defects, and they also have a “Fair-Share” crash replacement program that allows the original owner to repair a crash-damaged wheel for $249 USD (which covers a new rim, nipples, and tubeless tape) during a period of ten years after the purchase. This level of backing does take a little bit of the sting out of the initial sticker shock, and we think the ride quality on offer would be an upgrade over many a wheel out there currently.

More information at: www.dtswiss.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 51 // Years Riding MTB: 19 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Tal Rozow (action) and Johan Hjord

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Specifications

Product
DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic Wheelset
Riding Type
Enduro / All-Mountain
Freeride / Bike Park
Trail
Wheel Size
27.5" (650b)
29"
Rim Material
Carbon
Rim
EXC 1200
Inner Rim Width
30mm
Hole Count
28/32
Tubeless Compatible
Yes
Rear Hub
DT Swiss 180 CLassic Ratchet DEG
Rear Axle
12mm x 148mm (Boost)
Front Hub
 
Front Axle
15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Disc Mount Type
Centerlock
6 Bolt
Spokes
DT Swiss Revolite, 28 front/32 rear
Nipples
DT Pro Lock Hex, black
Colors
Silver decals on black
Weight
3 lb 15.3 oz (1,795 g)
Miscellaneous
Weight: 1795 grams, 29-inch wheelset, verified
Price
$2,911.80
More Info
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Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
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