World Cup events are always good places to spot new and tasty tech developments as the riders seek every marginal gain they can lay their hands on. A good place to start is always the Scott team, as they have something of a reputation for custom wheels – remember Thomas Frischknecht’s Scott Spark from a few years ago?
That bike, the keen eyed among you will notice, had a nice set of Dugust tubular wheels glued to carbon Ritchey rims. Step forward a couple of years and at the Dalby UCI World Cup the Scott-Swisspower team was using a similar setup, with a few noticeable differences, mainly the new DT Swiss wheels.
There were several sets of the new, and currently unavailable, DT Swiss XRC950T wheels. They’re a carbon fibre rim designed to tubular specification, more commonly used on road bikes and very rarely seen on mountain bikes. Their key advantage is because you don’t have to design the rim to accept tyres with a bead a far lighter rim can be built, hence the crazy light weight of DT’s wheels.
You can’t use any tyres however, and currently there’s few manufacturers offering compatible tyres, but Dugust is one of the few. The company is a small and legendary manufacturer of tubular tyres, and is sought after in the professional road racing ranks (most riders race them at events like Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders). It’s likely that the Swiss team approached Dugust and asked them to apply the fast looking low profile Ritchey sourced tread to the carcass.
We spotted both 26in and 29in versions of the wheelset, and they were raced in the elite men’s world cup, apparently with no problems by Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel. The rim is constructed purely form carbon fibre with a 30mm depth and 26mm width, and laced to new hubs, which look to be a lighter version of the current 190 hubs.
A quick visit to the Madison stand and we asked the DT Swiss chap if they’ll be available and he reckoned they’re due for launch later this summer. DT’s current lightest wheel, for reference, is the XRC1250. It’s a big step forward by DT and is a serious contender for the lightest wheelset, and will be attractive to the 29er fans. Slightly misleading is that the name doesn’t actually reflect the weight…
There’s also a new 29er DT fork, as well as more affordable aluminium 29er wheels on the way too, more on that soon.