Brilliant wheels for aluminium aficionados
DT Swiss XM1501 is an all-mountain offer and built 3-cross, with each multi-butted, straight-pull, DT Competition spoke the same length for easier service.
DT Swiss is hugely experienced in developing complete wheel packages. Hubs are based on DT’s high-end 240s and use aluminium freehub parts to save weight plus the 36SL Ratchet with a 10-degree engagement. The brand’s clever, mesh-together, ratchet system is proven durable and capable of handling super high torques under power, but it’s not quite as rapid engaging as some here.
A decade or so ago, DT’s rims were regarded as too soft, but its latest aluminium hoops are tough and extremely resistant. Even with this very light complete weight, it’s hard to dent or ding rims fatally whatever you chuck at them. Plus there’s also a thicker, tougher EX1501 version if you’re heavier, racing enduro or fancy riding downhill on a rim with no tyre like Aaron Gwin.
Spline One wheels come tubeless taped and ready to roll, and use a patented thread lock and special Torx nipples to stop spokes unwinding, which adds a claimed 20-times extra durability.
The lightweight 240 hubs use Centre Lock rotors, relatively small diameter bearings, and contact-free rubber seals to reduce friction. They spin rapidly, even under rider loads, but one flipside of the sheer pace is we’ve noticed slightly quicker bearing deterioration on Spline wheelsets than elsewhere. Some UK riders might be willing to sacrifice urgency for bearing life and minimal maintenance, others won’t, but this zingy feel is what makes the XMs so sweet in many ways.
Bolting the XM1501s in our test bike for back-to-backing, the fantastic ride quality is immediately noticeable. The XMs feel super fast, agile and even lighter than the scales indicate. With identical tyre pressures, they build speed swiftly and glide over rough stutter bumps better than most, so the bike never feels edgy or sharp. They stay true for ages too, presumably helped by the Pro Lock Torx nipple technology.
DT’s asking price here is steep for an alloy wheelset, but these are actually the lightest on test in any material, and pack an associated boost in response on the trail. The whole package works as a perfectly tuned system too, so if you prefer the ding-not-fracture security of aluminium, the Spline One family are simply some of the best wheelsets available.
DT Swiss wheel package is a beautifully refined product with a ride feel that’s a cut above. It has a real zip to it, but it isn’t the cheapest and also has less well sealed bearings that appear to prioritise rolling speed over sealing, which won’t suit everyone. DT Swiss XM1501 is a brilliant wheel for aluminium aficionados.