DT Swiss have earned an enviable reputation for building high quality, reliable wheel components. Their hubs, spokes and rims are all some of the very best available.
So, what about DT’s complete wheelsets? I’ve ridden a couple of sets aimed at the trail/enduro segment lately and come away very impressed. Over the last couple of months I have ridden this $1949, 29 inch 1501 wheelset, which is based on DT’s 240 hubs, EX511 rim with a 30mm internal width and a welded join, partnered with 28 double-butted, straight-pull spokes any alloy nipples. But I’ve also put a lot of hard miles (and mistreated!) my own slightly cheaper DT Swiss 1700 wheelset, which is based on DT’s 350 hubs (functionally the same but slightly heavier and with fewer points of engagement) and a very similar 30mm rim (that has a sleeved joint and eyelets). The 1700s are about $500 cheaper.
First off, the 1501’s feature DT’s 36 tooth star-ratchet freehub. This is an improvement over DT’s original 18 tooth (still found on the 1700 wheelset), though a 54 tooth is also available aftermarket. I don’t get too excited about the number of points of engagement (36 is plenty fast enough for getting on the gas exiting a corner I reckon); I’m more concerned about the reliability of free-hubs. DT’s freehub is one of the very few that has not once given me any cause for concern – I’ve never heard any weird popping or crunching sounds being emitted from any DT Star Ratchet freehub I’ve ridden. Kudos to DT Swiss. Bearings are also very high quality and the 1501s (and the 1700s) are still spinning as smoothly as when they were new. The 1501s feature Shimano’s spline-fitting for disc rotors, rather than the more common 6-bolt. But, the wheels come with tidy 6-bolt adapters, meaning any 6-bolt rotor will fit, so it’s a non-issue. In fact, the plus side of this spline fitting is that Shimano only make the most advanced version of their alloy-finned rotors with the spline fitting, so you’d be one of the few riders who could actually use them.
The 1501s are tubeless via a pre-installed rim-strip and valves. All the tyres I fitted pumped up easily with a floor-pump. A 30mm internal (35mm external) is a great width for providing excellent sidewall support, allowing for slightly lower pressures for comfort and grip without squirming, while not being so wide as to lose the profile intended by the tyre’s manufacturer. The 1501s have spun true and never needed a spoke key. But it’s worth mentioning that on my third day riding the 1700s (with almost the same rim as featured on the 1501 wheelset) I made a pretty decent rider-error and dropped very heavily and awkwardly onto a rock sticking out of a bank on a fast and rocky section of the bike-wrecking Porcupine Rim trail in Moab, Utah. The noise convinced me (and the rider just behind me) that I’d destroyed the rim. I did put a pretty darned good dent in it, but it was easily beaten back out with a small hammer later that day. The rim is still true, it hasn’t impacted the tubeless sealing and I’ve barely thought about it since. I find that very impressive.
Despite having a theoretical preference for 32 J-bend spokes, it’s hard for me to fault DT’s Spline 1501 wheelset. It reeks of high quality and has a ride to match, and the reliability is impressive. At just under 1800 grams, the weight is good. They may not be as stiff feeling as some carbon-rimmed wheels, but that can be a good thing and if you favour alloy rims, and top-notch reliable hubs, you can’t go wrong with DT’s 1501 wheelset. If you’re looking for similar quality and ride feel, but your budget can’t quite stretch to the 1501s, then the 1700s will do all the same things, albeit with a few more grams and fewer points of engagement.
Distributed by: Marleen Wholesalers
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