It's not difficult to draw parallels between the internals of a hub and a clock or a watch. If anything, the complexity of the mechanism inside a hub pales in comparison to a clock. So it should surprise few people that the world's number one hub maker is based in the home of the world's finest watchmakers: Switzerland. DT Swiss don't have a huge marketing department, they have never been ones to shout about their achievements. Yet if you start to look objectively at the accomplishments, it is hard to see them as anything other than the world's number one. Their hubs are beyond question - only a few of the top providers of high-end exotica are comparable in terms of quality, and none of those other brands provide a full range of products or supply their internals to industry giants such as Trek and Specialized for their OE equipment. Then there are the spokes, they have long been the industry standard for wheel builders, the spokes against all others are measured. More recently they have set their sights on rims too and their range, after a couple of false starts, is now among the best in the world. What do Aaron Gwin, Nino Schurter, Richie Rude, Emmeline Ragot and Greg Callaghan all have in common? They all won on the world stage on DT Swiss wheels in 2015. Yet unless you were paying close attention, you could be forgiven for missing all of this. We traveled to their headquarters in Biel, Switzerland to have a look at what makes them tick.
DT Swiss' spokes have been one of the staples of their business for a long time now. Every spoke begins its life as one of these rolls of wire.
Following this rim being made would be identical in the new facility, just on a much larger scale. Production begins with lengths of metal already formed into the D shape that their bicycle wheels are based on. It is then carefully bent into a curve and cut into wheel-sized circles. Before it can be welded it needs to be scrupulously checked by hand for the quality of material and diameter. While diameter may seem an obvious measurement, it is slight variations in diameter that make some wheels harder or easier to mount tyres onto, coupled with similar variance with the diameter of the tyres.