Wheels are pretty much round and as long as they turn around on the axles, life is pretty much ok right? That was the way I felt until we did the article on wheel building and Dave Fike of the Peloton built me up a set of DT Swiss 240s custom wheels. It truly amazes me how ignorant I can actually be about some things. These wheels and DT 240s hubs literally added an easy 10% efficiency to my pedaling effectiveness. Simply said I go faster with a whole lot less effort. This efficiency can translate into greater distance or faster speed for the hammer cyclist or for the more relaxed rider, it can translate into just a nice smooth easy ride. Beyond ride qualities, the 3 cross lacing configuration all around with 14/15 gauge stainless steel spokes lends to a hard to break, comfortable wheel, with a high strength to weight ratio. This all paired with their understated elegance, which is completely overlooked by all but the most astute connoisseur, reads into a whole pant-load of snob appeal.
But one highly discernible, and immediately felt change in the transition from my Mavic to this DT Swiss wheelset was the immediate and profound improvement in road handling. I had built up the Cannondale Six13 that I tested these wheels on from the parts salvaged from a Cannondale R700. This included the stock Mavic wheel-set. The Mavics were about 5 years old and had gotten the minimum of maintenance, but they had last been trued about 2 months prior to swapping the wheelsets. The difference in handling and positive steering response is in my mind similar to driving a sports car with soft tires and hard. The cornering is there in both cases, but it is just ever so much sweeter with the proper tire inflation, and just a tad less positive and ever so slightly slower in answering the helm when they are soft. That was the difference I felt with the New DT's.
Positive steering response, easy rolling and strong, these wheels are obscenely light as well, the whole set weighs in at a mere 1550g, yet I have ridden these babies over some of the worst that Long Island, Nassau County, un-repaired winter heaved, pothole riddled, detritus littered roads had to offer and I gave them no quarter. We have hammered into potholes, slammed over broken auto parts, jumped off curbs, and slalom'd through road side sand. We also did 4 miles over the Long Beach Boardwalk, can you say buzzzzzzzz? None of this even slightly phased the trueness of these wheels.
Not gaudy, and certainly traditional in their lacing, these wheels do not look particularly radical. But if a true wheel weenie happens by, they will know you buy the best. Coming in at about $1,050 for the set, these are wheels for someone with deep pockets and an ability to appreciate fine machinery. Given the slightest spin, these wheels will continue to rotate until long after you are bored waiting for them to stop, and 9 times of ten the wheel will rotate forward back until the valve stem winds up at the bottom of the wheel because of the gravity.