DT Swiss factory tour

Swiss precision at the DT Swiss facility

Company Spotlight Wheels
Aluminum is molten and mixed with other ingredients. Photo by DT Swiss AG

At DT Swiss, the wheel process starts with melted aluminum mixed with other ingredients (click to enlarge). Photo by DT Swiss AG

Wheels are one of the most important parts of a bike as they define its riding characteristics — put low quality wheels in a perfect bike and it will be compromised. DT Swiss realizes this and because they deliver a lot of wheels as OEM spec, they cannot afford to lose control over the production process at any point. This is why all rims, spokes, hubs and nipples are manufactured at DT Swiss owned and controlled plants.

The brand new DT Swiss distribution center in the south of France. Photo by Jeroen Tiggelman

Here is the brand new DT Swiss distribution center in the south of France (click to enlarge). Photo by Jeroen Tiggelman

Let’s talk about the production of rims — since it’s not a good idea to make rims of pure aluminum, an alloy is made: in molten state, a mix of other ingredients is added so the lightweight characteristics of the metal are guaranteed while stiffness and strength are added. The alloy is put in cylinder-shaped blocks and cooled down.

The cooling down process already undergoes strict quality control. Photo by DT Swiss AG

The cooling down process already undergoes strict quality control (click to enlarge). Photo by DT Swiss AG

The extruder is fed with these alloy cylinders and it spits out a straight rim profile on the other side. Straight in its raw state, this endless rim profile is bent into a helix shape. like a coil spring, the material is now in the right diameter (there are different curves for each wheel size).

The extruder shapes the alloy cylinders into straight rim profiles. Photo by DT Swiss AG

The extruder shapes the alloy cylinders into straight rim profiles (click to enlarge). Photo by DT Swiss AG

From straight to round. Photo by DT Swiss AG

From straight to round (click to enlarge). Photo by DT Swiss AG

Sliced at the exact size, the full length rim profile now slowly takes the shape of a rim for a single wheel. At each step detailed quality control takes place. To make the C shape of the rim a fully round one, DT Swiss use a proprietary welding process.

The at this point coil shaped rim is cut up. Photo by DT Swiss AG

At this point, the coil shaped rim is cut up (click to enlarge). Photo by DT Swiss AG

Continue to page 2 to see the completed product »

About the author: Jeroen Tiggelman

Jeroen is a contributor based in Belgium. He is expert in the field of photography and a fan of local beer.


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