What is it
Anyone up to speed on the latest DT Swiss mountain bike wheel line knows that the Swiss company literally makes something for everyone. Cross-country, all-mountain, enduro, downhill, and fat bike are all well represented with multiple price-point options. You can learn more in this recent DT Swiss Factory Tour post. Tested here are the upper-tier DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One 35, which as the name reveals, are part of the highly regarded wheel and hub maker’s all-mountain line-up.
Indeed, to discern which wheel offers what features, it helps to understand the DT Swiss naming convention. In all cases, the higher numbers equate a lower price point, with lower numbers, say the 1200 in XRC 1200 Spline, referring to higher end product. The number of letters is also revealing, with the C in XRC denoting a carbon rim.
This holds true for all the mountain and road wheels. And if there’s no C, it means it’s an aluminum rim (as is the case for the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One wheels tested here). The numbers also provide information about the hub, with 1200 and 1500 level wheels receiving the premium DT Swiss 240, while the 1700 gets a 350 hub, and 1900 equates to a standard 3-pawl. Finally the 35 is the inner rim width measure. The DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One also come in 25, 30, and 40mm wide options.
Besides the high end 240 hubs, other features of the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One wheels include DT Competition straight pull spokes, three-cross spoke lacing, and centerlock rotor attachment. Freehubs are DT’s 36 SL ratchet system, and total wheelset weight in the boost spacing form tested here was 1794 grams.
For this test, Mtbr logged about 2.5 months of riding, averaging 4-5 rides a week and roughly 70,000 vertical feet of descending. That added up to approximately 500 miles on a mix of terrain that included everything from long trail rides to repeated laps at the Evolution Bike Park in Crested Butte, Colorado. Keep reading to find out how the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One wheels held up to all this abuse.
- Superb hub quality and reliability — no issues during testing
- Excellent build quality with no “break-in” period and no truing needed during test
- Low weight for 35mm aluminum trail wheels
- Easy tubeless set-up and never broke bead or pinched tire bead during test
- 35mm inner rim works great with preferred 2.3-2.6 tires
- Great balance between sharp turning precision and comfortable damping in rough stuff
- At this price we’d expect 54t star ratchet for increased engagement
- Lots of lower weight carbon wheel options for similar cost
- Managed to dent front and rear rim during testing
- Centerlock adapter developed play near end of test period
- Straight pull spokes can be harder to replace
Mtbr has always been a fan of DT Swiss products, especially their hubs which long have featured excellent design, impressive reliability, lack of required maintenance, and ease of service when that time does come. Indeed, their hub quality is among the best in the business even if they don’t come in anodized purple or turquoise. That’s why over the years, many of our personal bikes have had DT Swiss hubs. They are reliable and if needed you can service them and replace hub parts with no special tools.
It’s a similar story with DT Swiss rims, which have made great progress in the last few years both in quality and options. Admittedly in the past, while their rims were light and easy to build up, they were often a touch on the soft side. It’s not that they lost a tire bead or became flat prone; but often after about a month of hard riding they’d start to soften up. But not anymore. Their new rims, or at least the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline Ones tested here, capably stood up to a ton of punishment and remained stiff.
It’s also worth noting that the rim bed isn’t sealed, but the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One ship with rim tape installed. DT Swiss also claim they use a gentle anodizing process and bead blasting technique to increase surface durability. That translates to fewer dents and scratches, or at least that’s the idea. Truth is we did manage to dent the front and rear rim thanks to some particularly hard hits. But the wheels were easy to buff out, and once CushCore tire inserts were installed no more denting occurred.
One other small issue was with the centerlock adapter, which started to develop play during the last couple weeks of the test period. This may have been due to using powerful four-piston DH brakes, but whatever the case, the easy answer is invest in centerlock rotors if you’re going to run these wheels. Lastly, while we didn’t have issues with the straight pull spokes, if you do happen to break one it can be harder to source a replacement on short notice. We’d also love to see upgraded star ratchet hub internals for slightly better engagement.
Bottom line, though, if you can handle the cost the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One are a true set-and-forget wheelset that capably stood up to some serious trail smashing during this Mtbr test. We suffered zero flats, had no hub issues, and never had to pull out a spoke wrench. Combine that with their low weight and ample girth for today’s preferred wider tires, and you have a bomb proof wheelset that helps deliver gobs of traction, stiffness, and reliability. Slap these on your trail rig and know that you have one of the best alloy wheelsets available.
Rating: 4 out of 5
More Info: www.dtswiss.com
Editor’s Note: This test was conducted with input from Mtbr contributor Jeremy Kipp, who is also the lead shop mechanic at Big Al’s Bicycle Heaven in Crested Butte, Colorado.