dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels
04 Nov 2019

DT Swiss has a new carbon fibre wheelset called the EXC 1200, and it's built to survive the toughest and nastiest Enduro World Series race courses

DT Swiss isn’t exactly a brand that’s short of options when it comes to mountain bike wheels. Yet despite the plethora of hubs, spokes, rims and complete wheels on offer from the Swiss-based manufacturer, it might be surprising to learn that DT Swiss hasn’t actually had a fully-fledged carbon fibre wheelset available for enduro riders. Well, until now that is.

Enduro-Ready Carbon

The EXC 1200 is a brand new carbon fibre wheelset from DT Swiss. It joins the XRC 1200 series (XC) and the XMC 1200 series (All Mountain) as a super tough, and super premium carbon wheelset that’s designed specifically to handle the rigours of modern day enduro racing.

dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels
DT Swiss has rolled out (sorry…) a new carbon fibre enduro wheelset called the EXC 1200.
dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels
3mm thick hookless beads, along with a more robust layup mean these rims are built for a’punishing.

Developed in conjunction with DT Swiss’ EWS athletes, the EXC 1200 wheelset features heavy duty carbon fibre rims that use a tubeless-ready profile with 3mm thick hookless beads. The new rim design is claimed to offer more strength and impact resistance than the lighter rims found on the XRC and XMC wheelsets.

Just like those other wheelsets though, the EXC 1200 is built around DT Swiss’ high-end 180 hubs, which feature the new Ratchet EXP freehub mechanism inside the rear hub. For those who are wondering what the heck that’s all about, we recently took an in-depth look into how the new Ratchet EXP internals work and why DT Swiss has switched things up from its proven Star Ratchet freehub design.

dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels
Super trick DT Swiss 180 Straightpull hubs sit in the middle of each wheel.
dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels 180 hubs
The rear hub comes loaded with DT Swiss’ new Ratchet EXP freehub system.

What Options We Got?

DT Swiss is producing two EXC 1200 wheelsets. There’s the Spline 30 (29in) and the Spline 35 (27.5in). The latter number refers to the internal rim width. The ‘Spline’ bit is just a cool name that DT gives to its complete wheelsets.

Both wheelsets are built with DT Swiss bladed straight-pull spokes and alloy ProLock nipples. On a sweet side note – the spoke length is exactly the same for front and rear wheels, and drive and non-drive sides. How good is that!

At the centre of each wheel you’ll find a DT Swiss 180 Straightpull hub that comes loaded with SINC ceramic cartridge bearings. Axle spacing is Boost-only, so that’s 110x15mm front & 148x12mm rear.

Since the hubs use a Centerlock rotor spline, DT Swiss kindly includes 6-bolt adapters. You also get both SRAM XD and Shimano Micro Spline freehub bodies in the box. A Shimano HG freehub body is also available to purchase separately for any prehistoric folks still using 11-speed.

dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels centerlock micro spline freehub body
6-Bolt adapters, a spoke tool, and a Shimano Micro Spline freehub body are included in the box.

How Light Are They?

Pretty light! We’ve got a set of the EXC 1200 Spline 30 wheels on test, and including the pre-installed tubeless tape and supplied tubeless valves, these clocked in at 1697g on the Scales Of Broken Dreams™. If you’re running 6-bolt rotors, you can add 82g for the adapters.

That weight is pretty impressive when you consider they’re about 200g lighter than the alloy version, the DT Swiss EX 1501 Spline One 30 wheels, which come in at 1895g. A good portion of that weight difference is in the rim too, and that should lead to improved acceleration and quicker handling.

dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels
The 30mm internal rim width should suit tyres from 2.3-2.6in wide.
dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels
Yes, the valve caps double as a core removal tool – tidy!

And How Do They Compare To The XMC 1200 Wheels?

On the spec sheet, there are actually a lot of similarities between the XMC 1200 and EXC 1200 wheelsets. Both use the same hubs and spokes, and both feature carbon fibre rims that measure 36mm externally, and 30mm internally.

The main difference though is in the rim profile, which is significantly shallower on the EXC 1200 wheelset (25mm vs 30mm). There’s a substantial difference in the layup and overall thickness of the rims too, because the EXC 1200 wheelset is around 150g heavier, and most of that weight would appear to be in the rims.

All-up, DT Swiss states that trail and All Mountain riders will be better suited to the XMC 1200 wheelset. If you’re subjecting bike and body to properly flat-out enduro racing though, the tougher EXC 1200 is the wheelset for you.

dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels rims
While the EXC 1200 rims share the same inner and outer dimensions as the lighter XMC 1200 rims, the carbon layup is very different between the two.

DT Swiss EXC 1200 Spline 30 Carbon Wheel Specs

  • Carbon fibre enduro wheelset
  • Tubeless compatible profile w/3mm thick hookless beads
  • External rim width: 36mm
  • Internal rim width: 30mm
  • Rim depth: 25mm
  • DT Swiss 180 Straightpull hubs
  • Boost hub spacing only
  • SINC Ceramic bearings
  • 36T Star Ratchet freehub mechanism
  • Includes both SRAM XD & Shimano Micro Spline freehub bodies
  • Front wheel build: 28 x DT Swiss Aerolite bladed & butted stainless steel spokes, 3X lacing
  • Rear wheel build: 28 x DT Swiss Aero Comp bladed & butted stainless steel spokes, 3X lacing
  • Nipples: DT Swiss ProLock Squorx ProHead alloy
  • 130kg system weight limit (rider + gear + bike)
  • In the box: 6-Bolt rotor adapters, tubeless valves, spoke tool, and wheel bags
  • Actual weight: 1697g (including tape & valves)
  • RRP: $2,999
dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels maxxis minion dhf
We’ve got a set of the EXC 1200 Spline 30 wheels, which are only available in a 29in diameter.
dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels maxxis minion dhr ii tyre tread pattern
Shown here with a 2.3in wide Maxxis Minion tyre combo.
dt swiss exc 1200 carbon 30mm 29er mountain bike wheels maxxis
Are they as tough as DT Swiss say they are? Time to find out!

We’ll be putting our test set of EXC 1200 wheels through the wringer over the coming months to find out just how tough they are. We’ll also be comparing them with the Curve Dirt Hoops wheels we also have on test, along with some other 30mm wide carbon wheels, so stay tuned for the full review!

In the meantime, you can check out our tech feature on the new DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub system here, head to the DT Swiss website for further info, or get in touch with the Australian distributor for DT Swiss, Apollo Bicycles, to find your nearest dealer.


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