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DT Swiss Mon Chasseral review

21 Sep 2016

The Mon Chasserals were once a mid-range aluminium clincher, now DT Swiss has given them the tubeless full carbon treatment.

Thanks to the UCI weight limit, bikes are currently as light as they are allowed to be. This means that on the whole the focus is on aerodynamics, as that is the only option left for the pros that want to gain more speed, especially with the alleged relaxation of the 3:1 rule due soon. For us amateurs however, these is no weight limit, which makes DT Swiss’s decision to reissue the Mon Chasseral wheels as full carbon tubeless climber’s wheels very exciting indeed. 

Fast movers 

DT Swiss Mon Chasseral rim

The rim is a brand new offering from DT Swiss. The Mon Chasseral wheels are 28mm deep, which is very shallow by modern standards and have an inner width of 15mm, again rather narrow by modern standards. That said, if low rolling weight is your primary goal, narrow rims is almost the only way to achieve it.

The hubs are from the new DT Swiss ‘Spline’ range, which combines superlight hubs with straight-pull spokes that DT Swiss claims ‘makes for a perfect training and racing partner’. The front hubs are laced radially using DT Aerolight spokes - the rear is 1x cross with Aero Comp on the drive side and Aerolight on the non-drive side. The spokes are all held in place by alloy ProLock nipples. What this makes for is a superlight pair of wheels – the front weighs just 560g and the rear is 690g.

Out on the road all this super lightness and quick engagement pays off. The Mon Chasserals fire up to speed with remarkable immediacy and hold that speed surprisingly well for such a shallow rim depth. Out in the wilds of the Chilterns, the Mon Chasserals made fantastic riding partners as their low rim weight meant they were easy to keep rolling through the constant undulations. Even when the ugliest of gradients reared their heads, the wheels remained as unflappable as ever. There was the odd moment of detectable flex, mostly from the front wheel as I wrestled the bike side to side, but it was not especially alarming. In fact, despite their depth, I’d place their stiffness right at the top end of the scale.

No diggidy, no tubes

DT Swiss Mon Chasseral rear hub

The Mon Chasserals are described as ‘tubeless’ ready and they come with tubeless valves and rim tape. We’ve waxed lyrical about the advantages of tubeless before but in short: better rolling resistance, lower rolling weight and decreased chance of punctures. We shod the Mon Chasserals with Vittoria’s new Corsa Speed tyres, which are infused with graphene (read more about that process here: Vittoria’s graphene factory). The Corsa Speeds weigh just 205g, which makes them the lightest tubeless tyres available and, in theory, a perfect partner to the Mon Chasserals, however it was not all plain sailing.

First off, the Corsa’s were incredibly difficult to inflate and leaked heavily during the first two days. After that it all seemed fine but they did need to be inflated regularly, much like a pair of expensive tubulars. Frustratingly the first puncture I received covered me, a fellow cyclist, a passing motorcyclist and a small patch of Camden’s pavement in latex before it finally sealed. It then let go again in the office and once again when I returned home. It was a very frustrating experience that spoiled a fast and grippy ride, which complimented the Mon Chasserals well.

Gimme a brake 

DT Swiss Mon Chasseral braking surface

I previously reviewed the RRC65 wheels from DT Swiss and came away feeling mightily disappointed by the braking surface: it lacked bite, squealed like mad and was really poor in the wet. Thankfully, I didn’t have the same experience with the Mon Chasserals, although I still wouldn’t describe the braking as absolutely outstanding. While there are wheelsets out there that are better on the brakes, there are also some that are worse, so it wouldn’t be enough to put me off purchasing them.

Which is the ultimate question – would I buy these wheels? It’s hard to say. If you’re a feather weight rider looking to gain even more of an advantage on the hills, these wheels would be a fantastic purchase. It’s worth noting that some riders were spotted at the Tour de France with a 35mm Mon Chasseral that, if it came in a little cheaper, could be an amazing all-rounder.


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