The ride quality is second to none
Born in World Cup XC racing, the DT Swiss XRC 1200 wheels are designed to be lightweight and accelerate rapidly; also strong enough for aggro trail riding.
Back in the day when every mountain bike rolled on 26in wheels, DT Swiss decided to use the actual wheel weights as model names. So the original 26in XRC 1200 wheelset weighed 1200g.
The 29in version tested here however, tips the scales at 1450g, which is still impressively light given that hub spacing has since increased in size too.
Part of that weight saving is down to the narrow carbon rim, which has a 22.5mm internal width and no bead hook. And while the narrower profile isn’t ideal for latest crop of high volume tyres, these wheels weren’t designed for that.
The straight-pull 240s hubs are the lightest DT has ever produced and the 29in version uses 28 hole rims and a 3x lacing pattern for improved stiffness. In contrast, the 27.5in wheelset drops the spoke count down to 24 while the lacing pattern switches to 2x. The reason? DT Swiss wanted both wheelsets to have a similar flex response. And it’s the flex in the XRC 1200s that makes them feel so good.
Yes, lighter wheels also make your suspension work better by reducing the unsprung mass, along with the more apparent benefits of improved acceleration and making it easier to initiate rapid changes in direction; both great benefits on any bike but even more important on a 29er.
Grip also plays a big part, and it’s the flex in the XRC 1200 wheelset that allows the wheels to track the terrain better when the bike is lent over. It’s also what stops the DT wheels feeling too snappy and jarring like some carbon hoops.
Like most high-end wheels, DT Swiss ships the XRC 1200s with two freehub bodies to cover Shimano and SRAM XD cassettes. It also throws in wheel bags, tubeless rim tap and valve stems. More importantly, the wheels come with 6-bold disc brake adapters so you can fit non-splined rotors to the hubs.
Even with all the extras, the DT Swiss XCM 1200s aren’t the cheapest carbon 29er wheels on the market. The build quality is first rate though and the ride quality is second to none. We’ve been less impressed by the bearing life however, so we’d like to see bigger bearings, even if that meant the weight of the wheels crept up a little.