When you get past the baffling acronyms the DT Swiss is a good option for short travel bikes
For 2015, DT Swiss has simplified its whole fork line, even if the new acronyms are somewhat baffling.
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OPM stands for one-piece magnesium, and refers to the single lower leg casting. DT Swiss is one of the few manufacturers using a reverse arch, but while quirky, it does add a ton of stiffness. It’s so stiff that DT can get away with smaller-diameter 32mm stanchions, which saves a load of weight.
The second acronym is ODL, and this refers to a new three-position compression adjustment — it stands for open, drive and lock. Depending on the fork, ODL is either adjusted via a lever on the top of the crown, or by a new bar-mounted remote.
We were sent the latter for test, but the remote was missing on our sample and we waited a month for it to turn up. As a result, we haven’t been able to put as much time as we’d like on the new remote, but it does offer instant access to firmer damping for climbing and sprinting. At 45g, the remote is pretty light too, and there’s also a two-in-one option if you have a DT Swiss rear shock with ODL.
Previous DT Swiss forks we’ve tested were also a bit firm at the start of the stroke, but the ODL forks get new seals and bushings to reduce this initial stiction. There is also a new two-stage NCS (negative coil spring) that improves small-bump sensitivity, but at the same times allows the fork to ramp a bit more and also reduces fork dive — another problem with the older forks.
On smooth surfaces, the DT Swiss ODL is compliant and stable, however, as the trail starts to get rowdy there’s a harshness to the damping, especially over square-edge hits. The fork is noticeably less controlled than the RockShox Pike or Fox 34, and we really had to work hard to stop it deflecting off rocks on longer descents.
With its low weight, firm damping and 130mm travel, the DT Swiss ODL may suit a short-travel trail bike, but it needs updating for anything with longer travel.