DT Swiss GRC 1100 DICUT 30 and 50 Wheelsets and US Factory Visit

DT Swiss recently invited Travis and Spencer to their US headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado, to take a spin on the new GRC 1100 DICUT 30 and 50 carbon wheelsets. While at the facility, the pair were treated to a tour of the Swiss brand’s US operations, offering more than expected. Below, let’s take a look behind DT Swiss’ Colorado curtain, check out some eclectic employee bikes, and ogle their new top-end gravel wheelsets….

DT Swiss wheels seem to be everywhere in the bike world. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t even consider that DT Swiss might have manufacturing in the US.

Yet, DT Swiss has had a US base of operations since 1994 in Grand Junction, Colorado. DT Swiss originally set up a base of operations in Colorado to be closer to their suppliers as well as to keep spoke production closer to North American customers. From spoke manufacturing to lacing hubs to rims, much of what goes into each production DT Swiss wheelset happens here.

Fun side note: the brand’s European origins can be traced back to 1634 with a factory that produced wire for chain mail! 

DT Swiss USA

Spoke production is a major operation at the Grand Junction facility. Wire spools are sent over from Switzerland to be formed in the US. While not all spoke varietals are made there, certain butted, bladed, and aero models are made on site.

A single machinist oversees the four spoke-forming machines just one door from the corporate offices. I bet many mechanics didn’t realize those stacks of DT Swiss spokes in their shops were made in Colorado’s Western Slope.

Made Right Here

DT also has a team that applies decals (the technique is called “water slide”) and builds wheels in-house. Their wheel-building process is incredibly detailed, with data being logged for each wheel that goes out the door. There were truing stands covered in dials and gauges all over the place. It was the most technologically advanced wheel-building facility I’ve ever seen. I was impressed, if not overwhelmed.

You can see the Swiss-ness of it all when viewing their production line for wheelsets. Aside from a machine that aids in threading the spokes into the hubs, each wheel is hand-built and trued by a real human at DT Swiss. With rigorous and multiple-step quality control, each wheelset that leaves the building is the made according to high standards.

The Office Bike Rack

After a tour of the impressive domestic production and HQ offices, it was time to go to the best part of the compound: the employee bike rack. With rides ranging from a unicorn OG Rivendell Atlantis, to a modern carbon fiber Yeti ARC, to a Lemond Sarthe rim brake road bike with 80mm deep carbon rims, the staff at DT Swiss in Grand Junction certainly run the gamut of the cycling world.

Quick Hits: GRC 1100 DICUT 30/50 Carbon Gravel Wheelsets

There are a whole lotta letters and numbers in that name, let’s try and break it down a bit. With three letters at the beginning, GRC delineates one of the highest-quality rims produced by DT Swiss (with “G” indicating “gravel” and “C” indicating “carbon”). The 1100 is the series number which is also near the highest end, this signifies the use of the 180 hubs, versus the 240 hubs which are used at the 1400 level. DICUT refers to the interface of the hubs and spokes, and in this case the use of DT Swiss’ T-head aerolite spokes. Finally, the 30 and 50 refer to the depth of the rim.

-Hub: 180 DICUT with 36T Ratchet EXP System
-Spokes: T-Head Aerolite (24 spokes 2-cross)
-Weight: GRC 30 to1350 g / GRC 50 to 1567 g
-Rim Width: 24 mm
-Max System Weight: 130 kg
-ASTM rating: 2
-Price: $2999

Now, let’s get into the cheese fondue of this whole shindig: the new GRC 30 and GRC 50 rims with 30 and 50 corresponding to respective rim depths). The GRC 30 is geared toward adventurous riders seeking a high-end, light, and reliable wheelset rather than those seeking flat-out race performance. The GRC 50, then, is a specifically aero-optimized gravel rim for the most demanding riders in the sport. The rim is designed to create the least drag when combined with a 40 mm gravel tire.

Both rims sport the same 24 mm internal width and have returned to a hooked design. The rims are recommended to run tires as small as 29 mm up to 2.1”. The GRC 30 rim will be available in 650B or 700C with the GRC 50 rim only being available in 700C.

The same GRC 30/50 rims laced to 240-level hubs will also be available as a 1400-level wheel system at launch for $2399 if having the absolute lightest DT hubs isn’t a necessity for you.

GRC 30 On The Grav Grav

After some lengthy PowerPoint presentations and transcontinental conference calls, we got out to see what Grand Junction had to offer. Our first day of riding had us shuttled up to the top of the Colorado National Monument. The sage-topped plateau made a great test spot for the GRC 30 wheelset. After swapping the wheels on our personal bikes for the new GRC carbon wheelsets, they set us loose to try the rims out.

Of the two wheelsets I rode, the GRC 1100 DICUT 30 felt more approachable. With the aim being agility over all-out speed while keeping weight to a minimum and maintaining a strong and reliable rim, the 1100 series wheelset comes with 180 series hubs. These are the lightest and fanciest to come out of DT Swiss with all the machined weight savings possible and ceramic bearings.

Back in high school, I remember looking at the $100+ Bones ceramic Swiss bearings at the skate shop and never thought I’d ever ride them. Look at me now…

While a short afternoon of riding isn’t much time to divine long-lasting opinions on a product, I can safely say that ~$3,000 wheelsets are sweet. Can I afford that? Hell no, but they asked me to come try the wheels, and I did.

The GRC 30 1100 wheels are stiff and strong. I leaned on them as hard I could, sent them through rock gardens, pinging the rims multiple times, and they didn’t flinch. Yeah, a sub-1400-gram wheelset felt as fast as it should. No surprises there.

GRC 50 In the Dirt

On the second day, I got to take the GRC 50 wheelset for a spin, and, man, did I feel like a fish out of water. They handed me a wind tunnel optimized, 50 mm deep, highest- of the high-end aero gravel wheelset to put on my bike with a handlebar bag.

Once again, $3,000 gravel wheelsets are sweet, no surprise. Since it seems like gravel racing is quickly becoming a “time trial but make it off-road” discipline, ever focused on aero gains, I think DT Swiss is onto something here.

I learned that wheels account for approximately 7% to 8% of the total drag on a bike and rider, so if you’re looking to shave those seconds and make marginal gains, these might be for you. It is hard to see in the photos, but the rims form an elegant hourglass shape when paired with a 40c tire, which the engineers found to be the most aerodynamic wheel and tire combination.

I was impressed with the quality and finish of the wheelsets I saw and rode over the two days. The rims come straight out of the mold with the appearance you see in these photos. No finish work is needed, which is some true carbon wizardry.

I find myself, and I think many of our readers, less interested in the highest end of these products. I’m hoping that I can try a set of the GRC 30 rims paired with a 240 or even 350 hub in the future, with the hope of getting that price point to something somewhat more reasonable while still experiencing the new rim technology.

At the End of the Gravel Road

Shout out to all the DT Swiss staff who had us out to Grand Junction! I was impressed with the quality of domestic production happening in Colorado, and blown away by the range of riding right around the city. I can’t wait to get back and ride some mountain bikes next time. Stay tuned, as many amazing products are coming from DT Swiss right now and in the future. And, as the brand’s US and global operations turn 30 years old soon, you can bet they will celebrate with a few more exciting product launches…