Specification: Weight: 1,701g / Contact: hotlines-uk.com
At over 1,700g, the DT Swiss XMM 120 TS isn’t particularly light, especially for a DT Swiss fork. The Fox 32 Float, for example, is more than 200g lighter. This is odd since the XMM sports a forged aluminium crown, aluminium stanchions and magnesium lowers; the latter feature a hollow reverse arch with a polished aluminium plate bonded in place for stiffness.A spin-style 15mm thru-axle adds torsional stiffness but it’s awkward to use, because as the lever starts to wind into the dropout, it catches on the lower leg. You can piggyback the lever over the leg as you wind it in, but it inevitably scuffs the lower. DT Swiss has stuck on a patch of helicopter tape to stop this, but it should have added a spacer to the axle to allow it to clear completely. The unique thread on the axle also means there’s no way to run an axle from another fork.
The fork’s Auto Balancing Spring is similar to the Solo Air on the RockShox SID. The positive and negative air chambers self-balance and are adjusted via a single Schrader valve on top of the left leg. Opposite is the Twin Shot damping system, with an orange dial for rebound and a blue one for low-speed compression. Sandwiched between the two sits the mode-select lever with three settings — open, climb and lock. The middle position is actually a lock down (it reduces the ride height by 30mm), but it took us a couple of rides to realise this setting was even there — the clicks are quite indistinct and there are no marks on the dial to indicate what setting you’re in.
Both the rebound and low-speed compression dials have a wide range of adjustment and there’s a noticeable difference in performance with every click. Riding the rocky trails at Afan the DT Swiss XMM 120 TS was predictable and controlled, but on steep descents with big forward weight shifts, it did tend to dive into its travel. It’s not as linear as the early DT Swiss forks we tested; if you want it to feel firmer on descents you’ll need to increase the air pressure, but you will lose some suppleness. DT has improved the performance of the XMM for trail riding and it’s also more affordable. The downsides are it’s carrying a bit of excess weight and the thru-axle needs sorting.
MBR rating: 7