TESTED: DT Swiss PR 1400 OXIC wheels – Bike Magazine Australia

A set of wheels can only be as good as the parts that are used to build them – and the quality of the build. Ride in any bunch and you’ll hear proponents of hand-built wheels, but also from those to who swear by them being built in a factory. What are the differences?

A hand-built wheel will typically use the hubs, spokes, nipples and rims that suit you the best, built by a wheelbuilder after consultation to match your specific size and riding style. A factory built wheel has to do the job for you, the 45kg junior in your club, and someone who lives in a flat area on bad roads. They’re built to a standard that should suit most people. And wheels like the Mavic Ksyrium SL, or Shimano Dura Ace C24 or some examples of factory wheels with broad appeal.

DT Swiss have expanded their range of wheels and the PR 1400 OXIC sits at the top of their aluminium range. The DT Swiss 240s hubs mean they roll on some of the best hubs in the business, with long service intervals, high quality bearings and the patented star-ratchet for hub engagement. DT Aero Comp spokes tie the hubs to the rims, and as straight-pull spokes they remove the weak point – the bend. The rims are tubeless ready, asymmetric, 21mm high aluminium rim, with an inner width of 18mm. With this model, it’s the OXIC coating that makes them stand out.

OXIC accounts for the black appearance. It’s not just a coating but a complete electrochemical treatment to the rim surface. In the same way that classic rims like the Mavic Open Pro had a ceramic option, the OXIC treatment increases braking performance in all conditions.

The process isn’t unlike anodising, but the temperature is so high the surface melts and reforms – this time with the ceramic crystalised into the surface. This is what makes it so hard wearing. The surface is far harder than normal aluminium rims, and DT Swiss claim it is even harder than quartz. This means you get excellent wear resistance.

Setup and riding

As the wheels are tubeless ready, I set them up as such, with the included kit that includes a syringe, and two nifty valves that are one way even without the valve core. By following the instructions it was a reasonably painless experience. The PR 1400 wheels come with unique brake pads for the rims, and DT RWS skewers – these are the ones that wind up instead of operating on a cam for closing tension.

Once fitted to my bike, the wheels look very smart – not unlike a shallow carbon tubular thanks to the all-black wheels and very round profile of the tyres. And while it’s vain, it is comforting to know these black wheels stay black, the OXIC coating isn’t just anodising that wears off in the first few hundred kilometres.

I hit the road at 90psi in the Maxxis Padrone TR 23mm tyres. The 1435g weight of the wheels is apparent. They’re low profile and alloy, so this is a very respectable weight. Living on the edge of a considerable hill, light and stiff wheels are my personal choice – and these are noticeably stiffer than the 20/24 hole H Plus Son Archetype rims I ride on Bitex hubs normally.

The first few rides weren’t quiet though, with pinging noises coming from the hubs. I added a light grease to the RWS skewer springs, and tightened them up. I also put a small drop of heavy chain lube on the flange where the spoke sits in the hub, which finally silenced the wheels.

This was my first experience with road tubeless and I really enjoyed it. The 23mm Padrones have a round profile and lower pressures of the tubeless tyres (I settled on 85psi front and 90psi rear) felt great on the roads in my area.

One of the benefits of a more traditional looking wheel – that is not a deep and aero wheel – is ride comfort. At 72kg I didn’t find the wheels lacked anything in the stiffness I needed, but they were a lot more comfortable than even 40mm deep rims I have tested previously.

Pair this with astounding braking performance and durability, fast rolling hubs and low weight and you have a great wheel set for rim-braked road bikes I think DT Swiss have developed another class leading factory built wheel with this wheel set. If you rate ride comfort, durability, quality and braking performance over ‘rolling deep’ – then you should speak to your local shop about the DT PR 1400 OXIC wheels. 

RRP: $1,399

From: Apollo Bikes