DT Swiss EXC 150 Review

Pro Reviews

The Test Bike
Frame: Ibis Mojo
Rear Shocks: Fox RPL (main), DT Swiss XR carbon
Wheelset: American Classic All Mountain
Tires: Conti Rubber Queens 2.4, Schwalbe Fat Alberts 2.4
Brakes: Magura Marta SL, Hayes Stroker Gram

Ride Impressions
The main competition during my long term test with the EXC 150, was the Manitou Elite and the Magura Thor (both 140mm), so I had some nice ways to evaluate how the fork functions and compares as I swapped back and forth between each of them.

The EXC 150 reminds me a lot of the Magura Thor, it has great mid range feel, and really firms up towards the end of the travel. The major differences are the EXC 150 is a bit plusher, and has better small bump compliance, but it can’t compete with the rigidity of the Thor’s double brace. The EXC 150 is plush, but cannot stand a candle to the Manitou Elite, which is the plush meister. The additional 10mm of travel is really nice to have, and it only takes a minimal adjustment period to get used to the extra height of the fork. I always seem to forget to measure the average maximum travel that I get on each of my rides, but it seems to revolve around 125-135mm. On some rare occasions (especially when I was running lower pressure) I did get the full 150mm of travel.

I took the fork up onto my favorite terrain, the Burn Zone in Monument Colorado. It has a very long section that has rock gardens, sharp turns, small drops offs, gravel, loose rocks, and some interspersed smooth sections. The fork climbs incredibly well up the rocky sections, and the rock gardens did not faze it at all. The fork just stuck like glue throughout the rough stuff. The plushness and the sweet mid travel of the fork were pretty impressive. Small side glances and trail changes did not affect the stability of the fork, it seemed to float along the trail. This is a very good climbing fork. When going downhill through the rock gardens the fork just squished along, fast or slow it seemed to be very comfortable and content. On an occasion, drop offs or hard sudden tweaks, the fork flexed just a bit, but it was usually very stout and stiff. On some drop offs and spots where the wheel got choked between rocks, the fork had a tendency to have some fork dive, adding more air to alleviate this issue caused the fork to lose too much of its characteristics (it got way to firm).

When I did get the fork dialed in, I was pleasantly surprised on how well the fork rode. The fork just seemed to float along the terrain, and I almost forgot I was using a long travel fork until I hit some big obstacles. I can’t recall a fork that just made the easier terrain sort of disappear beneath me. The fork gelled over small undulations, with incredible small to medium bump compliance. On larger bumps, it firmed up comparatively, and there was a tad of fork dive, that tuning did not totally solve. The additional travel, the nice linear travel (small to medium bumps), and the sweet plushness of the fork were very nice.

Here is a split video of a helmet and frame mount, using the EXC 150 fork:

Tuning
I weigh 155 lbs., and tend to ride a lot of rocky terrain that can really slam suspension pretty hard, and 70-80 psi seemed to work at the best for me. If you use lower pressure, you get more plushness, but the fork dive increases greatly. Increasing the pressure, the fork gets stiffer, with fewer fork dives, but it loses too much of its characteristics. Sag was usually around 25%. I used the rebound and low speed compression slightly positive from the middle setting.

Next » Bottom Line

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • derek says:

    Very nice review. I’m glad you were able to compare the EXC 150 against other all-mountain forks. It really helps put the review into perspective. Now if only the DT Swiss components were more accessible. They have high quality parts, but it always seems to be out of my price reach.

  • graves says:

    Excellent review. I’ve a TALAS 32 RLC on an Epiphany and have been pretty happy. Always curious about the DT forks – always seem to get get great ratings. This one will definitely make the short list when I’m set to upgrade. Thx.

  • rompemonster says:

    you made me buy it! and i’m very happy with that choice -thanks for a great review! (have you done an equally good job / write-up of a shock lately -cane creek or dt swiss??)

  • frijolemoreno says:

    Question: I know this review is a few months old now and maybe not fresh in your memory, but I’m wondering how this fork compares to the Talas RLC 150? Even better if you can compare it to the 2010 or 2011 w/ the FIT cartridge. The Talas seems to the this forks main competitor. thanks!
    david

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I haven’t gotten any in depth time on the new Fox 150 (only short rides at Interbike outdoor demo), and only around the block time on the new DT Swiss, I think the DT Swiss is still stiffer than the Fox (fork legs and arch), I still like the DT Swiss a tad better, but again I need more saddle time with them to have a better conclusion.

  • Jesus says:

    Hi, i read the review few moths ago, when i found an offer in internet, this fork with 15mm axe cost 400 euros….

    Watching photos and video, i copy the idea of how put the brake cable (cord)…. But i notice, this is a bad idea… When the fork is comprissed, it can break the cable, like a guillotine… If it happens to me, i think will happen to you….. In new fork (2010 or 2011), the manual tells you how put tha brake cord (cable)….

    At the momnet, i have just the way the brake is in me bike, to solve this little problem….

    P.D: Excuse my bad english, Hi from spain!

  • Marko1480 says:

    Hi – any issues re. downtube clearance or are the stanchions longer to accommodate the reverse arch? Want to fit to a 714 Zesty

    Thanks

    ,arl

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Never had any issues with interference

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