The slow freehub doesn’t stop these affordable alloy wheels being very enjoyable and utterly dependable for all sorts of riding
- Bombproof quality
- Great ride feel
- Wide rims
- Full extras pack
- Good price
- Very slow hub engagement
- Fragile rim tape
- Chunky weight
DT Swiss has an exceptional reputation for superb riding wheels with bombproof reliability and it's bought both those strengths together in the affordable GR1600 gravel wheels.
The alloy rims have a 28mm outer and 24mm inner width between the bead hooks with tubeless tape fitted as standard. They’re laced into the sculptural looking Spline hubs with 24 DT Aero Comp Wide straight-pull spokes and DT ProLock Squorx ProHead nipples. The hubs are 350 based which means you get the legendary sawtooth Ratchet System freehub. You get both Shimano HG and SRAM XDR freehubs, plus sbolt adaptors, QR and 15mm front axles and QR rear hub adaptors and tubeless valves included in the box.
The 24mm rims will happily support the fattest tyres that can probably fit your frame and because they’re hooked, there’s no restriction on what gravel tyre brands you can use tubeless. Inflation is generally easy with just a track pump but the tubeless tape is a bit delicate so be careful not to split it with levers when installing. The 25mm deep rounded profile means there are no obvious aero gains, but no handling downsides either and while the aero spokes are a deep blade they don’t obviously catch the wind either.
Immaculate hand building and the interplay of the DT Swiss components (rather than a mash of different brand parts) mean that while the weight isn’t particularly low the GR1600s seems to shrink their mass as soon as climbs come along. In terms of ride feel they’re never harsh, but they’re never too twangy or soft either, they’re just an excellent sweet-spot wheel that is an absolute pleasure to ride however punishing the terrain. The rims are tough enough to cope with low-pressure tyre bumping and the bearings and freehub are relentlessly reliable.
The ratchet drive has up to 20-degrees of lag which can mean a big gap in pick up and a serious clang when they do connect which can both upset the otherwise blissful composure, but you can upgrade to ratchets with more teeth that engage faster. They’re noisy when freewheeling which will upset some folk, too, but the sawtooth design minimises drag and they can be pulled apart without tools for easy cleaning. Not that you’re likely to do that much as did we say they’re the undisputed benchmark of bombproof reliability.
The stats of the GR1600 Spline 25s don’t look particularly special but if the lag and noise don’t cheese you off their performance on- or off-road rivals carbon wheels at two or three times the price. Their toughness and legendary reliability make that price an excellent investment for years to come, too.
Tech specs: DT Swiss GR1600 Spline 25 wheels
- Weight: 835 + 940g = 1775g (700c with valves)
- Depth: 25mm
- Material: Alloy
- Width: 24mm (internal)
- Price: $710 /€560/ £495
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