The DT Swiss GR 1600 Spline are a fantastic all-purpose aluminium wheelset that balances performance with reliability. Although they may not be the lightest, stiffest or cheapest option in the best gravel wheelset market, there isn't much to fault as a package.
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DT Swiss GR 1600 wheelset - Technical details
Although the DT Swiss GR 1600 wheels are available with various fitment options, they are all built on the same base components. The hubs are DT Swiss 350 and include the star ratchet freehub technology that was used in the 240S hubs of the previous generation. The 36-point ratchet drive version, which equates to a 10-degree pickup, has been chosen for the GR 1600. It provides very little free movement, which is great for off-road riding where there may be challenging uphill stretches that need on/off pedalling. If that doesn't sound enough, DT also makes a 54-tooth star ratchet (6.6-degree) version.
The low-profile aluminium rims measure 25 mm in height and 24 mm internally. Although it doesn't go as far as certain wheelsets, such as the Zipp 101 XPLR with a 27mm internal width, this is still within the range that most people agree provides adequate support for modern gravel tyres. DT suggest the wheelset can handle up to 55mm tyres when used in tubeless guise, or 69mm with tubes, which is moving into mountain bike territory. And, while it might be safe, I’d question the stability you can expect compared to a rim with a wider ID.
The wheels use ProLock aluminium spoke nipples laced with DT Swiss Aero Comp spokes, with 24 on each wheel. Although using aero profile spokes on a wheelset designed for gravel riding may seem unnecessary, they typically have a stronger centre strength than double-butted spokes.
The wheels weighed 845g (front) and 930g (rear) - 1,775g the pair - which was close to the build's advertised weights of 830g/927g front/rear (1,757g pair). The complete weight includes tubeless tape and valves. The wheels have a 130kg system weight limit.
DT offers a variety of fitment options, including the more popular 700mm diameter as well as 650b sizing. All versions use hub spacing of 100mm/142mm, with SRAM XD, Shimano HG, and Shimano Microspline freehub options available. If you need a different hub size, DT Swiss has a wide choice of aftermarket options.
DT Swiss GR 1600 wheelset - Performance
Tyre installation was easy and tested with a range of gravel tyres. All were fitted without a problem and inflation was hassle-free. For the majority of the testing, Michelin Power Adventure 700x36mm tyres were used.
They proved to be a reliable wheelset throughout testing on all roads, tracks and rough terrain. Even when you take into account the relatively low spoke count, the build is just as stiff as other aluminium rim wheels with similar specifications. On the first ride, there wasn't any noise or spokes pinging, which is a sign that the spokes had been pre-tensioned.
I tested them by riding them down some really rough descents, including those that you would happily ride a mountain bike down and I didn't experience any problems. There are no visible dents and the wheels are still absolutely true despite a few rim strikes.
The 350 with the 36-point ratchet is among the best on the market and I am a big fan of the star ratchet hub design. They are quiet with only a slight buzz when freewheeling, and the pick-up is as quick as you are going to need.
DT Swiss GR 1600 wheelset - Verdict
Priced at £539, the GR 1600 is not cheap for an aluminium wheelset with options such as the Ere Research GR20 (£399) and the £330 Scribe Gravel Wide++ undercutting it by a fair margin. DT Swiss is not alone at this price point, however, with Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 costing a significant £100 more at £660.
While the DT Swiss GR 1600 have no headline claims, there is also very little to fault. The DT Swiss brand has a long-established history of reliability and performance and these wheels aren't any different.