Review: DT Swiss FR 1500 Wheelset

Oct 25, 2023 at 19:01
by Matt Beer  
DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

When it comes to quality hubs, spokes, and rims, DT Swiss is a brand that is held in high regard, even by keyboard warriors’ standards. Aimed to tackle gravity riding, from the World Cup downhill circuit to events like Red Bull Hardline, DT Swiss introduced their FR 1500 alloy wheelset.

These replace the FR 1950 with a higher-end hub and redesigned rim, which DT Swiss claims to reduce the occurrence of snake bite punctures during testing. They’re available in dual 27.5 or 29”, and also mixed diameters on hubs for popular enduro and downhill bike frame spacing.

Weight-wise, they're lighter than some carbon competitors and cost roughly half as much. Whether that adds up in the long run can be determined by how hard you are on wheels, but we'll let you know below how ours fared.
DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic Details

• Rim material: aluminum
• Wheel specs: 27.5 or 29" diameter, 30mm internal width
• Spokes: 28 front, 32 rear - J-bend Competition double butted
• ProLock Squorx ProHead aluminum nipples
• Drivers: Shimano HG, MS 12, SRAM XD
• Hubs: DT Swiss 240
• Hub width: 15x110mm, 20x110 Boost - front / 12x148 Boost, 12x150(157) - rear
• Weight: 2039g - actual (MX, 157, XD)
• Price: $1,152.80 USD / €899.80 EUR / ₣946.80 CHF
• Warranty: 2 years on all components
dtswiss.com

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

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The redesigned edge has a wider surface area. When tested with an undisclosed leading tire brand, the new rim proved to reduce the number of pinch flats by up to 17%, compared to the FR 1950 Classic wheels.

Design & Specs

Understanding DT Swiss' naming scheme can be complex, but it makes sense once you know the code. High-end alloy rims get two letters, and the lower the four-digit number, the higher the hub quality. Following that series, a word is used to describe the spoke type.

To de-code the wheels reviewed here, they use their premium mountain hubs, “Classic” J-bend spokes, alloy nipples, and aluminum rims featuring a welded seam versus a pinned join.

At the heart of these wheels are 240 hubs that run on DT’s Star-Ratchet system. The two clutch plates have opposing ramped teeth and are pushed together by a spring on each side. They rotate with little friction and put out an identifiable hum.

At the rear wheel, the 157mm wide option is built to the Super Boost specification, not the regular 157 DH option. The difference here lies in the spoke bracing angles (although the spoke hole offset on the rim can also influence this). Super Boost 157 maximizes the hub width and moves the disc-side flange further outboard for more lateral stiffness. 157 DH uses a narrower flange width but the same spoke length per side and therefore the same tension, at least in the case of DT Swiss's hubs and rims.

Changing drivers or rear hub ends caps is a tool-free process. The front hub caps take a bit more muscle to remove and press of sorts to replace them - a socket or similar sized cylinder will do the trick.

Moving outward, the spokes are DT Swiss’ J-bend, double-butted type and thread into aluminum ProLock Squorx ProHead nipples. Compared to brass nipples, you’ll save about 25g per wheel. The end of the nipple that rests in the rim eyelet can be tightened with six-sided Squorx tool, in addition to a regular four-sided spoke key. The nipples are not the longest that DT makes, so some attention is required when fitting a spoke key on there to avoid stripping them.

Aluminum is still DT Swiss’ preferred rim material for gravity riding but the big talking point is the new rim bead profile. During development DT Swiss observed that the wider lip reduced flat by up to 17% when using control tires.

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

Pricing and weight

There are a ton of numbers being thrown around here, however, the 1500 refers to neither the price nor the weight. With a price tag of $1,152 USD, the gravity wheelset weighs in at 2039g (as tested).

Cost-wise, that’s not too far above another popular alloy wheel chosen by multiple World Cup teams, Stan’s Flow MK4 wheelset, which goes for $995 USD. Those come in all the same hub widths as the FR 1500, plus they include a 3-year warranty and 1-year crash replacement too.

Both wheelsets use double-butted, J-bend spokes and welded rim joints. The one upside to the DT Swiss is that you can upgrade the hub to a quicker engaging hub, but that can be a rider preference.

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

Test Setup

These wheels from DT Swiss are aimed at the freeride and downhill racing crowd so fitting them to a mixed-wheel Nukeproof Dissent Carbon that was in for testing seemed most appropriate. It wouldn't be out of line to consider mounting them to enduro and E-bike bikes either, however, DT Swiss has specific wheels for those segments too.

The hub dimensions used were Boost DH (20x110mm) and 12x157 Super Boost with an XD freehub body.

Mounting everything went as planned and even the stiff sidewalls of Michelin’s DH tires inflated easily using a regular floor pump for a tubeless setup. These were primarily set between 22-25 psi, depending on conditions. That might seem low, but those tires have a much stiffer casing than Maxxis or Schwalbe downhill tires. When Maxxis DH casing tires were installed, the pressures went up by 2-3 psi.

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

Ride Impressions

Carbon rims aren’t all built to the same stiffness, but what about aluminum hoops? Aren’t those basically all the same? No, but the differences can be less apparent. I’ve also found that aluminum wheels can also rely on spoke tension to provide certain ride characteristics more than carbon. That could be because a carbon rim naturally retains its shape - aluminum will do that too, but to much lower degree.

The DT Swiss FR 1500 wheelset gives a comfortable ride that is fairly stiff yet sends very little force from rim strikes through the bike. When the tire does bottom out against the rim, the noise and feedback is damped and dull, in a positive way. There were a few more of those than I’d like to admit as they were put through their paces during Whistler Crankworx.

Carving through turns, I never felt the rear wheel was too noodly at the stock spoke tension. They also tracked well across off-camber sections of trail without bouncing me offline or chattering through brake bumps.

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic
DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic

Durability

The FR 1500s have lasted the better part of a season with regular bike park abuse, including both dry and rainy weather stints. At the center, the hubs still spin freely and quietly. The Star Ratchet never skipped a beat and hasn’t shown signs of wear. In fact, the stock grease is still looking pristine.

Generally, I’d say I’m not overly abusive on wheels, keeping in mind that accidents do happen. However, I did manage to put a moderately small flat spot in the rim without recalling any poor line choice during the particular lap. That led to a very slow leak at the bead, but after pouring some extra sealant in and swishing it around, the problem was resolved. Other than that minor setback, no tires were blown off or pinch-flatted.

In terms of maintenance, I never experienced any sudden loss of spoke tension after the first few rides, and the wheels only required one or two quick visits to the truing stand throughout their use. During those jobs, you’ll want to use DT’s square spoke key that captures three corners of the square nipple. Those aren’t always on hand, which is why I’d prefer brass nipples for the sake of a small weight penalty. For the price, it'd be swell if the precise spoke key was supplied.



Pros

+ Reasonably stiff and robust for aluminum wheels
+ Hubs are well sealed witout sacrificing rolling resistance
+ Factory build held tension for impressively long period of time

Cons

- Aluminum nipples work best with specific spoke key - use of common spokes keys can strip the soft metal
- Front and rear rims are specific to the spoke hole count, which means you can't carry just one spare rim (if you use the same diameter wheels)



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesOverall, the DT Swiss FR 1500 wheelset has been the most reliable and trustworthy alloy option I’ve ridden. They’ve lasted through a solid chunk of the summer aboard a downhill bike without asking for much in the way of maintenance.

The low-friction Star Ratchet system and comfortable ride quality make the FR 1500s a desirable choice for racers who are seeking efficiency and compliance. 
Matt Beer


Author Info:
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Member since Mar 16, 2001
362 articles

141 Comments
  • 142 12
 These look like the perfect wheel for bumbling down the trail with a GoPro.
  • 34 1
 Loam Ranger?
  • 82 24
 #istandwithhenry
  • 29 3
 Make sure you post it on YouTube and somehow force people to watch it, to really piss them off enough to bitch about it in their bumbling podcast that they then post on YouTube!
  • 9 0
 @The-Wheel: can someone explain what’s going on here? I want to say it’s over a video the loam ranger made? But I’m lost.
  • 13 0
 @shandtke: I won’t link it here but you can go to the Loam Rangers channel and watch the video from yesterday and be right up to speed. Then you can voice your opinion here. I’ll wait

It’s obvious which video it is. You’ll see
  • 2 0
 Oh I need to get some then!
  • 7 0
 Though I also respect Henry's right to be a grumpy old ####. I personally enjoy both bumbling and grumping.
  • 2 0
 wow there you cant do that only pink bike can pull it off!
  • 35 9
 That Loam Ranger video had some good points. It's important to have different perspectives available for viewing, and I like seeing people's progress. That said, the whole video felt like a hit piece on PB in general. Yeah, the guys have some hot takes, but the Loam Ranger folks didn't need to take it so personally. They're just pissed that they aren't as big as Pinkbike.
  • 49 5
 @danielfloyd: My field is in mathematics. I cant imagine a math professor looking down on a high school math teacher making videos on math because the videos aren't at the PhD level. I also can't imagine someone with only a high school diploma looking down on someone else with only a high school diploma making math videos because they don't have a PhD...but that is what Henry and Kaz were doing.

I don't watch high-school level math videos and they aren't for me--but does that mean that I think they should never have been posted and make fun of the people who do? No.

"They're [Loam Ranger] just pissed that they aren't as big as Pinkbike." I think thats Loam Ranger's point...The guys at Pinkbink feel fine posting their perspective "looking down" from their giant brand on the new influencers posting videos/tiktoks trying to build their own content, but don't see how that stance is hypocritical/egotistical. Don't get me wrong, I love the field test videos, but by Henry's logic, why should I take advice/compare what bike to buy from a magazine company that hired a bunch of "failed racer low-lifes" who want to give me their opinion on the newest bikes?They're not experts (as in racers or engineers), so why should they post videos on it? By Henry's notion--they are just as much a "failed racer" as anyone else making YouTube videos. What do they offer more than anyone else? They're just like the rest of us. But because they work at Pinkbike, they feel fine looking down on smaller content creators who post content "bumbling down the train."

It's the negative/looking down egotistical hypocrisy that's the concerns. Sorry for writing so much but I despise "empty suit experts" to reference The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb.
  • 9 0
 @abgrant: I agree. That's what I'm saying. It's important to have videos from all skill levels so that people don't get unrealistic expectations about riding bikes. If the only videos out there are of pros, people who aren't pros will get discouraged in their riding. BUT they didn't have to make a 10 minute video shitting on PB. They could've said something in a social media post or called out the individual people they had beef with, but they didn't have to go after the whole site.
  • 16 2
 I used to live in the same community as the Loam Ranger and the local riding community had a collectively low opinion if him.
  • 30 0
 @ratedgg13: yeah. I think he achieved his goal here. He got tons of sympathetic feedback from his peers and supporters. He got lots of clicks and engagement.

He took 2 15 second sound bites from an edited 1 hour podcast and presented it without context. And that’s kinda what media does now. Clickbait title and thumbnail. Outrageous short clip. Cartoonish shock reaction.

If you are upset, go back and listen to the pod and get full context. You owe yourself that if nothing else.

Please keep bumbling and having fun.
  • 3 2
 @abgrant: Quite a few of the bike reviews by mear influencers are better done and easier to watch than PB reviews.
  • 4 4
 @danielfloyd: They're pissed that the "big" guys are shitting on the little guys. No one is forcing them to watch "bumbling down a trail" videos. Yet those videos just mean people are getting out there and enjoying riding! They should be embracing that, it literally means PB's whole market is growing.

Punching down like the PB guys did in that podcast is just a completely shitty thing to do, and LR took offense and decided to surface the shittiness to his own audience. (Note: he's already got more than 50% of the subs of the PB channel, very nice considering how big and old PB itself is) There is literally no reason to bitch about newbie vids on YT unless you just want to be mean. Everyone has to start somewhere.

They even have been known to respond to criticism right here on the site sometimes with "you don't have to read/watch it!" They need to take their own advice, and also not be complete a*sholes towards people just getting started with riding and sharing their love of riding!
  • 2 6
flag justinfoil (Nov 9, 2023 at 7:10) (Below Threshold)
 @danielfloyd: Why not go after the whole site? The guys talking shit are top "editors", the podcast is called "THE _Pinkbike_ Podcast". Everything they say on the site and on the podcast is as a representative of the site, and Outdoor, since they're getting paid to do it! Accountability matters. If they want to talk shit and consider it independent of PB, they need to do it on a different site, a different podcast, on their own dime.
  • 8 1
 @justinfoil: because its words. From 2 people. In order to be called gatekeeping, they would have to do something that physically limits the ability of people to post content. People are still gonna post their GoPro videos, and I see that as a good thing. But again, he's calling out an entire news site for the opinion of 2 tech editors. It's just not worth getting that pissed about.
  • 2 6
flag justinfoil (Nov 9, 2023 at 10:47) (Below Threshold)
 @danielfloyd: Who said gatekeeping? Not me. But it doesn't matter: gatekeeping doesn't have to be physical limits. Discouraging something by implying it's not good enough, or doesn't deserve to exist because it doesn't fit one person's opinion of what is good, is just as detrimental and definitely gatekeeping.

It _IS_ worth getting pissed about. They _are_ representing the whole site by getting paid by the site do to a podcast for the site. They are representing the whole industry by virtue of the fact they're one of the biggest and most well-known sites in the world. They are allegedly leaders of the business as "Managing Technical Editor" and "Senior Technical Editor & Video Strategy Manager". The guy in charge of videos is telling people not to bother posting their own videos to the biggest user-driven content site on the planet! And the manager of all technical editors agrees with him! That's f*cked up, since Pinkbike and the rest of the mtb internet community wouldn't f*cking exist as it is without people sharing janky videos of "bumbling down trails". I mean, PB's CMS _still_ has hosting and favoriting for user-posted videos and pictures: it's literally made for and of the very thing they're shitting on!

Not to mention that one could easily argue that no one needs to post yet another video of someone bumbling through "how to clean your headset". Questionable value demonstrated perfectly right there, since there are only a thousand of those arlready. That vid could have been replaced with a couple paragraphs and a handful of pictures, but I guess video views are more important than article views for the bosses over there, hence the recent proliferation of redundant videos about basic bike shit. Perhaps why they now want to discourage competition, and they're doing it by disparaging the very thing they grew from.
  • 4 1
 @justinfoil: The way to fix the "gatekeeping" problem is not to make a ten minute video whining about someone's opinion. The way to fix it is to keep posting riding videos. Ignore the haters, keep doing your thing and freaking move on. Nobody cares about your whiny BS, just like nobody cares about pinkbike's hot takes, just like nobody will care or do anything to you if you post a bumbling video. The whole thing is stupid
  • 3 0
 @abgrant: Ugh, "The Black Swan" talk about "bumbling down the trail." :-)

It is funny that us mortals shouldn't upload our rides, I mean how else do they get Friday Fails??
  • 46 0
 Hard to believe they can be even better than the EX 511. The 511's are the most durable alloy rims I've owned and I'll likely consider a set of these over some carbon hoops when it's time to upgrade. Bravo DT Swiss!
  • 6 1
 Same here! But i changed to the EX471, suits my riding style way better
  • 23 1
 fr 541 in this case, missing in the article unfortunately.
  • 9 3
 I'm genuinely curious about how long most riders are able to run DT (or other brands) aluminum rims before they're too dented/flat-spotted to hold spoke tension or air.

I'm only 145lbs and typically run 24/27psi with a rear insert, but went through a 511 in about a year and a 541 in 4 days (those were four Whistler days). I'm pretty tired of rebuilding alloy rims and leaning towards going all in on We Are One's.

Curious to hear what's working for other riders.
  • 2 0
 @gmcgurk: my experience varies drastically wheel to wheel. I have some EX511's that have a bit of a wobble but that's only developed after 2 seasons of hard riding. I've been through Spanks and Racefaces that only lasted a few rides. I've also got some Industry 9 Enduro's that have been fantastic (no wobbles or flat spots). I'm 220lbs so running 27/29 PSI and i found that running more air has been about the only thing that keeps me from destroying my alloy rims.
  • 4 0
 @gmcgurk: FWIW I am 185 lbs, run 26-28psi (rear) with no inserts, DD or DH casing tire depending on terrain. I have been running the same EX471 rim for the last 16 months. Multiple dents, a good flat spot, and pretty scraped up, but still holding air and round enough to ride hard. Riding in PNW and Sea to Sky.
  • 1 0
 @Hamburgi: right there with ya! Over the past two years I’ve switched to 471 rims on all of my bikes. From DJ to DH and everything in between. I couldn’t be happier. Strong AF, lighter than the 511, much better (rounder) tire profile, and excellent ride characteristics that I can tune with spoke tension if I want to. But I generally build them to the max tension and I’ve had zero issues.
  • 2 0
 @gmcgurk: in the end, its all the same. Everything breaks at some point. I broke two different brands of carbon wheels and also aluminum wheels. Wao is no exception. If you go bikepark, check spoke tension every other day. Not just once a week. In my experience, berms and big compressions loosen the spokes, then they break.
A good rim replacement is cool. Wao is great in that regard. Others not so much.
  • 1 0
 @gmcgurk: I’d run a couple psi more, and/or inserts. I’m not a racer, so I’ll take the weight penalty. As such, I’ll have at least a rear insert installed (Rimpact, in my case). I never dent quality rims, nor worry about pinch flats.
  • 7 2
 @gmcgurk: highly recommend WAO, I couldn’t keep an aluminum rear to save my life, been on WAO for a year and haven’t even had to retension with heavy shuttling use and bike park. Their original design is now cheaper and a wheel set is like $1250 I think for the unions w/ hydras
  • 3 0
 @loosegoat: as much as I swear by my 471 rims laced to RaceFace Vault hubs, and as much as I’ve come to resent just about every carbon rim I’ve tried due to catastrophic failures… it’s awesome to hear that someone is having an overwhelmingly positive experience on those rims. The last two years have gone the same way for me, just on DT alloy. I built them myself, I actually go a hair above max recommended tension, I pre-stress the spokes countless times before riding, and I haven’t had to touch a single spoke once in these two years. I periodically check tension with a high-accuracy gauge from Sapim when I’m doing a tire swap, and so far so good.
  • 4 0
 @gmcgurk: dang man, I am about the same weight as you (155lbs fully kitted). Haven't had an issue with either of the EX511 on the rear of my Sentinel nor the FR541 on the rear of my Patrol, also running cushcore. With the OCCASIONAL case of some pretty sizeable gaps... you must be WAY more aggressive/fast rider than I to be destroying these hoops! (Or way less precise, jk!)
  • 7 0
 @gmcgurk: I realistically get 1 bike park season out of an alloy rear, 2-3 out of a front when I use higher-quality (like DT for example) rims. Cheaper stuff I'll break within days (or sometimes single day), even when I ride with a spoke key and re-tension every lap.

Using mechanically locking nipples with Stans powder and rigorous pre-stressing has helped me a ton, I'm definitely of the opinion that a sub-par wheel build combined with a rider who never checks spoke tension is the root cause of many many short-lived alloy rims.

I've been toying around with building a hybrid (alloy front, carbon rear) wheelset, love the way alloy rims ride (especially on the front) but I'm not convinced you can build any alloy DH rear strong enough to truly be "set and forget" level of reliable. DT or Spank 28h front paired with WAO strafe 32h rear would be how I'd build it up.
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: @gmcgurk will have to concur on this. I built both of my wheels I mentioned and did a LOT of pre-stressing when lacing these up. Haven't had to retention them, with the exception of the FR541, since that one is about a year old now and has seen some really big gap jumps and heavy loaded berms.
  • 4 0
 @gmcgurk: I typically destroy rims. Went through 5 we are one Union warrantees in the two years.
I swapped to 511's and they are straight as they are bought them. 195 pounds from 23 read 26
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: this is exactly what I’ve done for about four years. The front alloy is totally cool. The rear weareone just works. Spokes stay tight. Less to worry with. It’s the way to go
  • 1 0
 @gmcgurk: Breaking and rebuilding wheels has to be the worst part of bike maintenance. You might want to consider running lower pressure since you are going through some of the strongest alloy wheels out there. Also maybe an insert in the front will help even it out
  • 1 0
 @gmcgurk: 135 lbs kitted up. Stock rims don't last long. Blew up my stock hardtail rear in a bike park. The stock rear on my Status 160 has 20+ sizeable dents and isn't quite true but somehow made it through my race/DH season holding air perfectly.

The custom MK4s I had built for the hardtail have been bulletproof and I intend to get a FR541 built up for the Status. Anything 28H I stay away from.
  • 2 6
flag Symmech (Nov 8, 2023 at 11:59) (Below Threshold)
 @gmcgurk: Smoked a FR 541 on my RM Altitude Powerplay pretty quickly, 2 flat spots and big wobble. I was running Continental Kryptotals DH, 25/30psi. The ride good but lose spoke tension easily and while the edge of the rim doesn't dent, the wheel will get a flat spot at the point of impact. Wish I was back on my old Nobl wheels
  • 2 0
 @loosegoat: same, worth every penny with lack of maintenance
  • 1 0
 @loosegoat: they are one 1/1 but still good price.
  • 1 0
 @gmcgurk: I am a fat bastard and if I want to I can write off a rim in one trail. If you really are a smasher i'd recommend the union/strife over the convergence but both sets of mine have been rock solid, other than blowing a spoke on the convergence.
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: Im running that setup. On the new Specialized Alloy wheel up front with the WAO Strife in the rear both laced to Hydras and i love it. Honestly though the WAO Union rims are great also.
Very impressed with the Ibis Blackbird alloy wheels that i have on another bike. The wider rim gives 2.5 Maxxis tires a very nice profile. I raced the Trans Madeira on those wheels with Maxxis DH tires and no inserts and never had an issue. I think that the Ibis alloy wheels might be my favorite setup currently
  • 1 0
 @gmcgurk: I'm 220lbs and have been thrashing my We Are One Convergences all year with no issues-- Haven't even had to true them. I think they ride just as comfortably as aluminum while also having a more lively feel on climbs.
  • 1 0
 @RBalicious: I'd lean towards the side of less precise. I'm generally pack filler pro category fast and really good at hitting all the sharp rocks when I ride. My Cushcores my be past their prime based on the fact that I'm still denting alloy rims when running Cushcore pro and 26/27 psi rear. Kind of leaning towards WAO and keeping an alloy backup set after seeing everyone's input here.
  • 46 10
 Alloy spoke nipples need to disappear. Eventually they fatigue and start too fail while you are riding.
  • 12 3
 not only that, but if your rim tape fails the sealant will eat the nipples and then you're stuck rebuilding with new nips
  • 8 8
 @vtracer: Only if you're using the first formula of Stan's sealant. Otherwise, this is not true.
  • 7 0
 I'm not an alloy nipple fanboy, but most of the issues surrounding them come from when the wheels are built with spokes that are too short (i.e. a lot of factory built wheels...). The spoke doesn't fully engage with the head of the spoke, and in time the head breaks off. The supplied DT nipples come with extended heads so when working out the spoke calc, you add a 1mm or 2 to the spoke length to get proper strength and fatigue resistance.
My own DT EX511 builds are fine, and I have a bag full of the OEM nipples because people didn't want wheels built with them. More decent nipples for my own builds I guess....
I've also not noticed spoke key engagement issues, but maybe these nipples have shorter keyed sections than the ones that come with the rims only. Greasing under the heads of the nipples helps keep the nipples turning easier in the long term.
FWIW I wouldn't use alloy nipples if I was riding in the wet all the time, and keeping the bike in a wet environment but otherwise I'm not too picky.
  • 4 0
 @vtracer: as a wheel builder at a bike shop, relacing because of corroded spoke nipples is an unfortunately stable source of revenue. It seems like most of them are Roval wheels with bad rim strips.
  • 6 0
 Eventually everything fatigues and fails. I find a good wheel builder makes a big difference. Like someone said above, a lot of the OEM wheels on bike come with spokes that are too short and other flaws. I’ve had trouble with those breaking at the nipple. Since then I’ve had a few custom wheels with alloy nipples and they’ve been pretty trouble free.
  • 4 1
 I’ve had plenty of good wheels built by good wheel builders with aluminum nipples. It’s just not a good application for aluminum. The cycles they are subjected to is crazy high. On a 15 mile ride your wheel might do 10400+ revolutions. And we aren’t talking rolling over pavement of course. In two seasons I’d guess my wheels see a minimum of 3,100,000 low stress cycles. There’s a significant number of higher stress cycles on top of that, but hard to put a number on that. Aluminum does terrible in fatigue and that many cycles is nothing to scoff at. It adds up that they only last me two seasons. Meanwhile the exact same wheels rebuilt with brass nipples have lasted forever. And no, not everything fatigues. Steel, for example, has a fatigue limit. Below a certain stress level it will never fatigue.
  • 2 0
 @taquitos: Definitely do what works for you. Please understand I’m not suggesting you do otherwise. I’m just saying I haven’t had any problems with excessive breakage of alloy nipples on well-built wheels—not within an acceptable lifespan of everything else around them (allow hubs, rims, etc.). I’ve also had wheels rebuilt with brass. No problem with that, either.
  • 5 1
 @taquitos: I have been building wheels at a pro level since the mid 1990's. Alloy is 100% fine for MTB applications and endless BMX, MTB (XC, DH, Slalom, DJ) examples of them. As a few noted earlier, usually shit/no name nipples, incorrect wrenches, too short spokes, etc. etc. That said, they are high performance (light weight) and need to be built properly. I have a set on a DJ that are damn near 20 years old with zero issue. Trail set that is ridden and raced at an expert level at least 5 seasons old. Brass is technically stronger , but your hyperbole on alloy spokes just isn't true as a blanket statement.
  • 1 3
 @bman33: the most notable was a set of EX511s. DT rims, spokes, nipples. All properly done. If you beat on them enough they will fail. That’s just how fatigue works.
  • 3 2
 @taquitos: What does that statement even mean? "If you beat on them enough, they will fail.". That is true for 100% or every single wheel ever built regardless of brass, stainless steal, alloy, carbon, etc etc for bikes, motos, trikes, wheel chairs, etc. ALL materials have a fatigue breaking point. Zero execptions. lol
  • 2 3
 @bman33: steel has an endurance limit. Google it. I’m not going to explain basic mechanics and materials.
  • 3 2
 @bman33: what do you guys love so much about aluminum nipples? There is no denying they fail sooner unless you live under a rock.
  • 3 3
 @taquitos: it’s a mystery to me. I’ve been building wheels professionally for 15+ years, and have been a full-time mechanic at nearly every type of shop you can imagine for even longer. Sure, a well-built wheel with alloy nipples might not have issues in the short run, on a bike that’s well cared for. Fine. But the amount of absolutely enraging BS us mechanics have to put up with on old, budget-oriented, or otherwise mistreated wheels BECAUSE they have alloy nipples rather than something way stronger and, let’s face it, hardly any heavier, is mind-blowing to me. I lost count many years ago how many wheels I had to toss in the trash or rebuild entirely because the alloy nipples fell apart long before any other part of the wheel was near the end of its life. That’s my long-winded way of saying I agree with you and that, unless you’re trying to win an award for lightest wheel build or, there’s literally no reason to build with anything that crappy.
  • 2 1
 @taquitos: You don't have to. You being pedantic at this point. Maybe you just don't know choose your lines? Point is, I built wheels for many pros.. many of them with alloy nipples. Done correctly they can be showing up for entire season or multiple seasons of riding.
  • 2 3
 @bman33: oh here we go with the “you suck at riding stuff”… it’s really convincing especially when you haven’t the slightest clue what I do on a bike.

@rbsnyder333: exactly. The grams saved are tiny. The same EX511 that had aluminum nipples that started popping off in their second season was rebuilt with brass nipples back in 2019. Not a single issue with that wheel since.
  • 1 1
 @taquitos: looking at your photos and reading about your lack of success with wheels. Pretty decent conclusions can be drawn. You don't like alloy nipples? Fine. However, blanket statements and absolutes are laughable
  • 2 0
 @bman33: oh yeah all my photos that’s what I love pinkbike for. If you are unwilling to accept that aluminum is not a preferred material when fatigue is a concern that is your loss.
  • 23 0
 So is this just 541's on 240's, but pre-built?
  • 7 0
 Yes. The older set was 240s with 560frs. Prolly the best wheelset you could ever buy
  • 1 1
 @bigmeatpete420: Brilliant. Was trying to find this info and failed.

Did you see it published somewhere? Or dealer only info or somesuch.
  • 2 0
 @bigmeatpete420: These are lighter, more durable and less pinch-flat prone than the older ones, so they are better, at least in theory.
  • 14 4
 I haven't been in the Wheel market for a few years now so forgive me if my perception is skewed, but isn't that a lot of dough for an aluminum wheel set? Or has that price point been the norm for the high-end DH wheels?

They're bordering on a carbon wheelset in terms of price so I'm scratching my head a little trying to figure this one out. A set of We Are Ones are only ~$400 more and you get Carbon and I9 Hydra hubs, for comparison.
  • 11 30
flag 5poundplumbbob (Nov 8, 2023 at 8:25) (Below Threshold)
 The think you're getting with the DT's is durability. The We Are Ones will break in under a year, and you'll have to overhaul the hydras at least twice in that time frame, if you're lucky.
  • 3 1
 *thing not think.
  • 6 1
 @5poundplumbbob: Thanks for some context, I'm not familiar with the lifespan of I9 hubs, never ridden them but thought they were pretty decent in terms of performance and durability.

Another argument I'd make for carbon (for WaO since we're already discussing that brand) is the lifetime warranty. My experience with carbon (Raceface rims in my case) has been flawless so far in ~3 years of riding them so I don't really agree with the sentiment that they will break in a year. But all brands are different
  • 6 0
 £900 for a pair of wheels that weighs 2.1kg. No thanks.
  • 5 4
 @PeakHopper: The other guy is out of his mind. We Are One makes some ridiculously durable wheels that people overall are happy with. The i9 Hydras have had their issues in the past but you can get their 1-1 hubs instead which are very good.
  • 2 1
 @schu2470: Ya I know two dudes on WaO rims that ride like demons and haven't broken them yet, and another on Nobls with the same experience. None are on the I9s so no frame of reference for me there, thanks for the response.
  • 7 1
 @5poundplumbbob: you’re so right. The Hydra has been hands down the most disappointing high-end hub I’ve ever owned. I’m in the PNW, so lots of wet riding. I has to replace the bearings on both hubs three times in one year. THREE! Whereas my DT 350 hubs and my RaceFace Vault hubs have gone years without any need for maintenance other than occasionally cleaning and greasing the ratchet mechanism. To add insult to injury, the Hydra hubs require specialty bearings that are quite expensive and most shops don’t stock them. It baffles me how much people drool over the engagement and styling while overlooking their blatant and significant flaws.
  • 6 1
 i9 hubs aren't as reliable as DTs. The axles break, bearings burn up and the drive ring and pawls break under hard use. DT bearings last longer, I've never seen one of their axles fail (all the way back to pre-DT Hugi hubs) and if you neglect the driver rings and they chip, it's a 2 minute tool free swap.

i9's also require a dedicated set of specialty tools to service-DT you only need bearing tools. WAO rims are good-but better than DT? No. And you'd have to burn through 3 DT rims to get to the same cost.
  • 5 3
 @schu2470: maybe, but there are countless people who’ve had the same experience. I broke 3-4 carbon rims from each of the four big-name brands per year during the 3-year period I tried carbon rims to no avail. The laughable part is that I was attracted to carbon because I destroyed just as many alloy rims in the years prior… but I came to learn that I was picking sub-par alloy rims over and over, so that explained the failures. The carbon failures on the other hand are inexcusable. I’ve found my way to DT Swiss 471 rims for the past couple of years and have yet to have a single failure. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. At this point I couldn’t care less about WAO’s strength claims, warranty or anything else. I’ll happily buy a $100 rim if I ever need a replacement and not have to wait around like a dummy while a company processes a warranty and figures out how to build me a replacement in the middle of a busy riding season.
  • 4 1
 @rbsnyder333: This is getting a little personal, but may I ask where you ride, your weight and your bike? I see stories of people braking Carbon wheels consistently like you and it just doesn't align with any of my experiences or anyone else I know so I'm always curious.

Personally, I ride the North Shore/Squamish/Whistler mountains, riding pretty fast and hard and I'm about 230 lbs with all the gear on. No broken carbon wheels under me yet. My riding buddies with carbon aren't as big as I am (175 to 200lb range) but they certainly ride harder, also without a carbon rim failure in their history.
  • 3 0
 I ordered custom build fr541 (same rim than in this review) rear wheel with dt swiss 350 hub, sapim spokes and brass nipples from FitWheels and it was 320 euros (postage and 24 % vat included). Front wheel would have been even cheaper.
  • 4 0
 @PeakHopper: no worries, happy to talk about it. I’m 170lbs, I ride Rocky bikes (Altitude, Slayer, Maiden), and I currently live in Bellingham and I ride lots all over the PNW, the Shore, Sea to Sky, etc. But I also travel lots for racing and guiding, and I’ve broken rims in just about every different kind of riding environment imaginable. What’s crazy is that I’m not hard on equipment, especially wheels, as silly as that sounds. I’m very light-footed on the bike, at least as light-footed as one can reasonably be when you’re riding at race-pace or hitting big freeride lines. I think that, at the end of the day, my biggest frustration with the carbon rims that I broke is that 80% or more of the failures happened during relatively mundane bits of riding, not on massive hits or destructive moments.
  • 4 1
 WAO now offer the option of building their wheels on DT350. A set of Strife of DT 350 is 1499$. With that, you get a wheelset that requires none of those two yearly visits to the truing stand, and carry a lifetime warranty. DT makes great product, but WAO appears to be the better value of the two.
  • 2 2
 @5poundplumbbob: We Are Ones will break in a year?
  • 3 3
 @rbsnyder333: Everyone I ride with here in Pittsburgh tried I-9 for about 6 months. About when they had them fail on the trail the first time (bearings) Most replaced the bearings and sold them. DT 350's are incredibly durable for sure.
  • 2 0
 @rbsnyder333: Interesting, it sounds like you put far more miles on your wheels than I do with. Perhaps it's the composite fatiguing, not large impacts that's causing these early failures on carbon rims. Gonna do some googling on that now.
  • 2 3
 It's another wheel review for everyone in the comments to point out that We Are One is a better set for a better price.
  • 13 1
 It's just a no Bull$hit wheelset that you'll be able to ride multiple seasons...
  • 8 0
 for 1500CDN
  • 7 2
 Exp is bullshit imo. Rather have 350 hubs
  • 13 5
 @madmon: Yeah, they're nice, but NOBL and WAO both have carbon fibre options in the same price range or less with better warranties.
  • 10 2
 I feel that every product tested should be benchmarked against the industry standard for that product when that's possible. For example-any dropper should be benchmarked against a OneUp.
Any flat pedals should be benchmarked against Deftraps.
Any wheels should be benchmarked against DTs.

Without that context, a product can get a positive review even if that product isn't as good (or as good a value) as the best option.
  • 4 3
 Any tires should be benchmarked against Maxxis
  • 3 0
 Reference equipment. Good idea.
  • 12 1
 J-bend for life
  • 3 0
 Yes, I'd rather take the weight penalty over straight pull and have the confidence that I can source replacements without too much trouble if I'm away on a biking trip.
  • 2 0
 I prefer straight pull (bladed) having a few spares, knowing I can swap a spoke without having to remove cassette, disks, or even take the wheel out of the bike. Road bike shops probably likely to have spares for 29/700c at least
  • 4 0
 I'm glad to see all the alu rims moving to the wider bead. I don't really want to ride with inserts mainly cause they are annoying if you get a more serious flat and you have to put in a tube. Plus, they make changing tires way more work than it used to be. I've been running ibis BlkBrd rims which have a really wide bead and I've had lots of rocky strikes on the rims and zero flats. Chromag rims do the same and I've been running those for years with zero flats on my hardtail.
  • 1 0
 These look like a great option.
  • 5 0
 FYI the 240 has Ratchet EXP, which is only sprung on the outboard side. The inboard side is threaded right into the hub body and doesn't move.
  • 2 0
 Yup, and it's been this way for a few years now, long enough that DT has had time to make a running change to fix the first revision's freehub ring often getting bound up and not engaging.

Hilarious that you had to put an "FYI" on this. They're supposed to be giving us the info!
  • 6 1
 The spoke nipples are trash - dt swiss please use brass proloc nipples or sapim aluminum nipples because the nipples that come on these wheels are hot garbage and brittle.
  • 3 0
 Isn't this the first DT wheelset with different spoke count F28 and R32? Seems like the logical thing to do, I understand the downside of spare rim compatibility, but for me it's a more than welcome choice.

About the spoke tension, can somebody redirect me to some proof of this having an impact on wheel stiffness??
In theory, the only case where it has an impact is if some spokes see sometimes 0N of tension during the ride... Which should never happen right?
  • 1 0
 You're correct that according to linearized theory, wheel stiffness is independent of spoke tension. The only data I've seen is from Damon Rinard's road bike wheel test, and its pretty basic considering he never even quantifies the spoke tension, but it does support the linear theory, up until tension gets very low of course. Its interesting to see so many top DH and Enduro teams playing with spoke tension as a tuning option, it also makes me wonder just how often spokes see slacking during heavy DH usage. My guess is it happens quite a bit, especially with modern rim profiles getting lower for more compliance, but I have very little evidence here other than the fact that broken spokes and rims are so common. So IF slack spokes are common, then the tension changing the stiffness makes sense, but again no real good proof there. I suppose its possible to calculate both the side and vertical loads required to slacken a spoke given a spoke diameter, tension, rim profile and associated sectional moments and material properties, and actually I'm sure the engineers at DT Swiss do exactly that, but we need a superior nerd than I to do these calcs for the public. Would be very curious to know what these loads are, and also how they compare to the loads that cause complete failure of the rim
  • 4 1
 "Aluminum nipples work best with specific spoke key - use of common spokes keys can strip the soft metal"

Isn't this the case with any spoke nipple? Even brass nips can get stripped if you use the wrong sized tool. And is it the material or the size that has you concerned? In the main article the short length was mentioned, but the con was about the material itself...
  • 3 1
 aluminum nipples suck
  • 5 2
 Can the red decals be removed? Looks like a great wheelset but I don't want the red
  • 7 0
 I think, they can't. On my FR 1950 they are printed. But you can build the set yourself with 240 hubs and 541 Rims. The rim bought seperatly has stickers.
  • 5 0
 I removed the decals on my FR560 set, saved 10g of unsprung, rotational weight.
  • 4 0
 yes just use a sharpie
  • 3 0
 I think they're water slide decals, rather than stickers found on some DT Swiss rims. I did successfully remove some water slide decals on an OEM DT Swiss wheelset using paint stripper a few years ago.
  • 1 0
 @Jaylynx: better than Mavic yellow but it's marginal
  • 5 0
 @hermes1987: and if you build it up yourself, you can use brass locking nipples for an even better wheelset
  • 1 0
 yes, and it might have the other color decals
  • 4 0
 Could have just said it's a 541 rim, that everybody loves, man...
  • 1 0
 "you can upgrade the hub to a quicker engaging hub"

You made me go look up what the stock ratchet is. DT site is a bit cagey, but I assume "EXP36" means 36 teeth, or 10 degrees.
  • 1 0
 EXP 36 is 36 teeth. There is a 54t option
  • 1 0
 It's a bit harder to upgrade now with EXP, used to be a 5 minute job. Have to push out the fixed ratchet part now.
  • 2 1
 Good time for alloy DH wheels!

These look burly, but are crushed in price by Santa Cruz Reserve alloy DH wheels with I9 1-1 hubs & lifetime warranty at under $600 shipped to your door.
  • 3 1
 I love DT, but there are lifetime warranty carbon wheels for this price. And the Reserve Alloys are nearly half this price.
  • 2 1
 Are the Reserve alloys built for downhill use though?
  • 2 0
 @NWBasser: they are specced on the new v10.
  • 1 0
 @Roost66: Thanks for the answer. I guess they do make a good comparison then.
  • 2 0
 where is that guy who called these DT'S swiss cheese or something. nowhere to be seen
  • 1 1
 Prolock is a crutch for shitty wheel builds. Also a crutch to use inferior alu nipples, so the shitty wheelbuild doesn't have to be trued that often and you are less likely to round off a nipple.
  • 1 1
 Prices of alloy wheels goes up. Prices of carbon wheels comes down. Insane times. Mad love for DT Swiss though. One of the best in the biz.
  • 1 0
 Who the f*ck carries a spare rim when riding his bike? Why is that point even in the "cons"?
  • 2 1
 Or, you know, get a 32H FR541 rims, 350 hubs, Sapim race spokes, mullet/full 29" wheelset to your door for 440€.
  • 1 0
 Just ordered some reserve 30 hd 350 for $1140. Must say that’s a way better deal than these
  • 2 0
 Gotta love DT wheels
  • 2 2
 I cannot count how many squorx alu nipples are on my shelf. I never use it.
  • 1 2
 go brass
  • 1 0
 What are good Ebike wheels from DT
  • 2 2
 alloy nipples are a deal breaker.
  • 1 2
 Im so confused. This year we replaced a splintered FR560 and blew apart the FR541. What the heck is FR1500?
  • 1 3
 No lifetime warranty... no deal. Love DT but they need to get with the times.
  • 4 0
 lifetime warranties do not exist in real life.
  • 1 2
 @opignonlibre: I've broken a carbon wheel (doing something that would have broken any wheel) with a lifetime warranty... they sent out an entire new wheel in 3 days... seems like it worked fine and as advertised.
  • 1 0
 @ridedigrepeat: how many years after purchase?
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