It's been a few years since DT Swiss took over the production of suspension forks from Pace in the UK, but it's only now that they have finally removed any remnants of the old Pace designs. Whilst learning from what was already there, the product has been tweaked and refined to improve the forks in all ways. Of interest to us here at Pinkbike were the 140mm and 150mm travel offerings.
Pace and latterly DT were known for producing some slick carbon lowers on their forks. Two carbon tubes linked together with a hollow carbon arch on the back of the fork produce a light structure that also gives great stiffness for the weight. But new on display here was hollow magnesium arch lowers. Aimed at the all mountain end of the market they weigh a couple of ounces more than the carbon offering but come out significantly stiffer. Cast as a one piece lower with an open brace it then has the upper magnesium webbed structure bonded in place.
What can we say about this technology? Trying to twist the lowers without the bonded section in place showed the lowers to have barely any more flex than a standard all mountain lower but trying the same on a complete set of lowers and the stiffness impressed with barely a hint of deflection evident. The theory of this is that not only will steering be improved but suspension performance too as it enables the stantions to run squarely in the bushes and thus minimize friction, keeping the fork tracking straight and true.
Seen here is the 15mm dropout option which is available on the magnesium lowers in addition to a normal 9mm QR. Pocketing and hollowing out of these helps keep the weight down without sacrificing stiffness whilst their own quick release lever is smooth and uses the bulge of the fork leg to prevent unwinding. Meanwhile, at the top of the burlier forks fork are the options of both standard and taper steerers.
Three dampers are found on the DT line up. The first is an ultra light design called Single Shot. This features external low speed rebound LSR adjustment and compression lockout with internally adjustable high and low speed compression HSC and LSC and high speed rebound HSR. The damper seen in this picture is the Twin Shot and features externally adjustable LSR and LSC with three settings of lockout fully open, lowered and closed. The lowered position is an option that locks out the rebound at 70 percenttravel and helps keep the front end height in check when the travel isn't needed during climbs or on smooth trails.
Fitted across all forks is a twin chamber air spring which uses a single air valve to pressurise and automatically sets the positive and negative pressures from that. Here you can see the third damper in the range, the Launch Control II. This features a slightly softer, more compliant compression setup but still offers LSR & LSC adjustment externally along with a threshold adjuster for the compression. The Launch Control itself is the climbing aid which reduces fork travel by 30% by partially locking the rebound stroke. Handily it automatically releases itself when you hit the rougher terrain should you forget to release it yourself before starting.
DT Swiss wheels have been talked about a lot recently with the fitment of the custom freehub body to Monster/Specialized World Cup bikes. This week they have their full range of wheels on display but unfortunately not the custom set up featuring a stepped freehub body to accommodate the tiny 9t bottom cog. The EXC1550 Carbon wheelset on show here was certainly one of the most expensive at a tear enducing EUR2266 but at just 1550g for the pair of wheels and 400g per rim there is certainly no excess weight on show.
The 29mm carbon rims rims are aimed at the all mountain/enduro market with all axle options available with the exception of the downhillers preference of 12mmx150mm. Bladed spokes hold the whole wheelset together while a 18 engagement freehub comes stock with the option of an upgrade to 36 point available aftermarket.
These EX1750 wheels are not that much heavier than the EXC1550 but do come in at a far more wallet friendly EUR820. EX500 28mm rims again which replaced the older D5.1 aim the wheels at the lucrative all mountain and enduro market and are built around the well proven 240 hub with bladed spokes lacing the package together.
The main update on these slick looking wheels is visual but being available in all axle combinations means that there should be absolutely no problem in finding a pair of these to fit your bike no matter what you ride. Stainless steel bearings and the star ratchet drive system feel smooth and very drag free so should translate into a fast rolling pair of wheels.
The last wheels we're going to show you are the Tricon series. Two options with these, the XM1550 and the M1700. Whilst both feature the same basic architecture the hubs differ in their construction, the lighter option being of a three piece design to help to prevent spokes having the effect of pulling the hub body out of shape and affecting the bearings, causing drag. Both wheels feature the same 26mm rim which features clip in chips to hold the spokes into the undrilled, tubeless compatible, double wall rim.
The interesting feature of these wheels is the use of both radial and 1-cross straight pull spokes on both sides, alternating between cross and radial to create the 24 spoke design. The advantage of this is touted as allowing the radial spokes to produce a laterally stiff wheel whilst the less laterally stiff cross spokes take care of coping with and transmitting both braking and pedalling forces. As with the more expensive wheelset, the EUR765 M1700 wheelset offers stainless steel bearings and star drive ratchet as well as a splined Shimano compatible disc mount.
Words: Alasdair MacLennan, Pics: Jacob Gibbins, Additional work: Si Paton