DT Swiss overhauled their entire 1200 wheelset range, with the new lineup consisting of a total of four models: HXC, XMC, XRC and EXC 1200 Classic. The enduro-specific EXC 1200 Classic carbon wheelset is the most exciting variant for us and retails at a whopping € 2,499. We found out what new features it has and how it performs on the trail.

DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic | ratchet DEG | 1,778 g in 29” (without valves) | € 2,499 | Manuafacturer’s website

Founded in 1994, Helvetic component brand DT Swiss has established itself as one of the world’s leading wheel manufacturers. As befits a Swiss brand, DT Swiss produce high-quality spokes, hubs, rims and complete wheelsets, which have proven extremely popular amongst cyclists all over the globe. The new EXC 1200 Classic wheelset has been developed specifically for enduro bikes and employs carbon rims that are fabricated using a new manufacturing process – but more on that later. The rims are paired with DT Swiss 180 hubs, which rely on ceramic cartridge bearings and are laced with J-Bend spokes. Tipping the scales at just 1,778 g (front wheel 779 g, rear wheel 999 g), the wheelset is built to ensure a high level of stability. However, the low system weight comes at a price, with our EXC 1200 Classic test wheel retailing at a hefty € 2,499. Alongside the EXC 1200 Classic model, DT Swiss also introduced the HXC 1200 SPLINE, XMC 1200 SPLINE and XRC 1200 SPLINE models.

The decryption of DT Swiss naming. EXC refers to Enduro use and stands for the carbon rim. 1200 Classic indicates the hub: In this case with ceramic bearings and designed for J-bend spokes.

Alphabetti Spaghetti: Deciphering the DT Swiss Catalogue

What are all those cryptic letters and numbers in DT Swiss’ product names? There’s actually nothing particularly complex about it: quite simply, the more letters, the higher the quality of the rim, and the lower the number, the higher that quality of the hub.

    XMC = All Mountain
    XRC = Cross Country
    HXC = Hybrid MTB (E-MTB)
    EXC = Enduro

Starting from the bottom, DT Swiss wheelsets with just a single letter (M, R, H, E) employ sleeve-joined aluminium rims, while the addition of an X signifies a higher-quality welded alloy rim. If there’s a C on the end, that denotes a carbon fibre rim. The number in the name – in our case 1200 – refers to the hub type. The lower the number, the higher the quality of the hub: 1200 is the lowest number and indicates that the rims are paired with the top-tier 180 hub, which comes equipped with expensive ceramic ball bearings. Below our 1200 flagship model are the 1500, 1700 and 1900 variants, which all rely on steel bearings and progressively lower-priced hubs. The Classic name suffix indicates that the hub uses J-bend spokes, while the 1200 Spline models feature straight-pull spokes. For the new product line, the Swiss manufacturer also refreshed the logo design: the letter signifying the intended use (in our case E for enduro) comes in the same fancy, shiny silver as the DT Swiss lettering.

What’s different on the new 1200 carbon rims?

DT Swiss introduced and implemented several new production technologies with the new 1200 series:
The new rim manufacturing process is intended to minimise air bubbles and resin accumulations, encouraging a homogeneous material structure. Here, the rim is gradually layered up from the outside in, in a single mould. This should prevent displacements between the layers, and allow a consistent carbon structure with minimal irregularities.

The outer mould is intended to prevent air bubbles from forming between layers, and prevent resin from accumulating in the first (visible) layer, meaning the rims are ready to build straight from the mould, without the need for any additional finishing. This step helps save weight because it doesn’t require an additional layer for aesthetic purposes and allows DT Swiss to laminate the logos directly into the top layer – so these are no longer just stickers.

To protect the rims against higher stresses, DT Swiss also lay additional carbon fibres around the walls of the rim. This is called DT Swiss Carbon Shield technology and is intended to protect the edges of the rim even better by using uninterrupted fibres. The number of additional carbon layers is adjusted depending on the rims’ intended use.

According to DT Swiss, every carbon rim is scanned layer by layer after production to make sure that only blemishless rims go on sale – something that would justify the eye-watering price to some extent.

Key data for the new DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic wheelset

DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic
Wheel sizes 27.5″ and 29″
Axle size 15 x 110 mm front and 12 x 148 mm rear
Hub type 180 Classic with 90T Ratchet DEG freehub
Freehub Compatible with Sram XD and Shimano Micro Spline
Brake rotor standard Center Lock and 6-bolt
Internal rim width 30 mm
Spoke number 28 front and 32 rear, 3-cross pattern
Spokes J-Bend
Nipples DT Pro Lock
Weight 1,778 g in 29″
Max. system weight 130 kg
Price € 2,499.80
The 180 Classic hub with a 90T Ratchet DEG freehub has also changed and has become a little slimmer.

Our first impressions of the new DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic wheelset

We’ve been testing the DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic Carbon wheelset on a Trek Slash for the last few weeks, and putting it through the wringer both at the bike park and on the tough trails of Finale and the Ligurian hinterland. Particularly striking is the low system weight, which ensures excellent acceleration during sprints and when pumping through rollers and berms. In rough trail sections, where you can (and want to) feel the wheels flex, the EXC 1200 wheels impress with very pleasant compliance. They’re slightly stiffer than the FR 541 alloy wheelset, but still forgiving. Despite taking a couple of nasty, loud impacts, our rims survived the test period unscathed in combination with MAXXIS’ tough Doubledown tire casing – the Carbon Shield reinforced rim flanges really seem to do their job. Nevertheless, we will be putting the wheels through their paces over the next few months to test their long-term durability.

Our conclusions about the new DT Swiss EXC 1200 Classic wheelset

For the new EXC 1200 Classic Carbon MTB wheelset, DT Swiss rely on new, innovative production methods and, according to the manufacturer, use a complex quality control system to ensure the best possible product quality. That said, the eye watering price tag could be a limiting factor for many riders. Hole in the wallet aside, you’ll get a lightweight, robust carbon wheelset that can take a real beating.


  • Pleasant compliance for a carbon rim
  • Low system weight


  • Sinfully expensive

For more info, visit dtswiss.com

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Words: Julian Schwede Photos: Mike Hunger

About the author

Julian Schwede

Juli is used to dealing with big rigs. Besides working on his bike, he also tinkered and worked on buses after completing his training as a vehicle mechatronics engineer. Since the development of large-scale electric motors was too slow for him, he went on to study technical business administration while building carbon fibre tables on the side. Though his DJ bike is welded from thick aluminium tubes, his full-susser is made of carbon and it's already taken him to the top of numerous summits. Apart from biking, he likes climbing via ferratas or vertically on the wall. Nowadays, his personal bike gets ridden less as he tests the bikes that get sent to us, pushing them to their limits to see what they're capable of. In addition to bike reviews, Juli also takes care of the daily news and thinks of himself as the Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent.