DT Swiss makes some great wheelsets, but is the DT Swiss XMC 1501 the gold standard of lightweight wheels? Find out in our review.
You might be surprised to learn that quite often product reviewers (well, this reviewer anyway) hope that the thing they’re expected to write hundreds of words about is a bit rubbish, or at least has one or two major flaws. Those reviews write themselves. The handlebar that’s a weird shape, the tyre that tries to break your neck even in dry conditions, or the gadget that tries to solve the proverbial problem that doesn’t exist – these are the things that might not be particularly enjoyable to use but they sure as hell provide a ton of entertaining, pithy, and sarcastic paragraphs. However, for those purposes, the DT Swiss XMC 1501 wheels fall short.
The DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset does not fall into that category. These wheels most definitely fall into the ‘Pretty Much Perfect’ category and as such, are a bugger to write about without it reading like an awful infomercial or like something written by an influencer on Instagram.
Just to make things abundantly clear – these are absolutely fantastic wheels.
DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review – Features
The DT Swiss XMC 1501 wheelset sit second-from-top in a range of four ‘All Mountain’ wheelsets (yes! All Mountain is still A Thing folks) – the top of the range ones are about 150 grams lighter and a thousand quid more expensive than these carbon-rimmed XMC 1501 wheels, while the two wheelsets below the XMC 1501s – no, I don’t know where the names come from… are plain-old (but still probably very nice) aluminium.
The XMC 1501 wheels have 30mm of internal width, straight pull 240 hubs and DT Competition Race spokes. Both hubs are Boost sized, the front is 15mm thru axle, the rear is 12/148. The rim is a hookless design and naturally, is tubeless-ready straight out of the box. All the tyres I mounted on these rims inflated easily just with a track pump. The rims have a classy, matte black finish that doesn’t seem to mark easily.
My favourite hubs ever must be DT 240s. They’ve been around for a few years and have lots of fans. They’re light, they’re tough and you can service them easily. These are the newest Ratchet EXP model, of which there are over 50 variations (Boost, non-Boost, 12mm, 15mm, straight pull, Centre lock… and so it goes on). There are 36 points of engagement so that’s a 10° engagement angle which results in no noticeable ‘lag’ when you pedal and they make a nice, not-loud-but-expensive-sounding buzz when you don’t.
The XMC1501 wheels come with 28 spokes with alloy DT Pro-Lock nipples. There is a 120kg ‘system weight’ limit – so, bike rider and pack full of snacks, which is still going to cover most people I know. They come in 27.5 and 29in sizes too.
Both SRAM and Shimano (12 speed) freehubs are supplied and swapping them over takes seconds. If you have six bolt brake rotors, you’re also looked after because DT have dropped a couple of Centrelock/six Bolt conversion kits in the box as well (like the ones I’ve used in the test). Some people might be a bit suspicious of conversion gadgets for their brakes but these have been faultless.
There are fewer parts inside the rear hub compared to the previous, so the claim is that they’re more reliable. The bearings are supposed to be better and they’re a shade lighter than the older version, too. They’re just brilliant hubs and I love ‘em.
DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review – On the trail
Unsurprisingly the DT XMC 1501 wheels made an immediate improvement in the overall weight of my bike, as well as being… well… just a much nicer pair of wheels to go mountain biking on.
The most obvious improvement is how much easier it is to pedal and how much less effort it takes to get the bike to go faster. Reduced rotating weight is always going to make more of a difference than anything else on a bike but it’s not just acceleration – changing direction quickly, lifting the front wheel over stuff at lower speeds, jumping – almost everything to do with converting energy from your pedals into forward motion and/or manoeuvrability instantly improves.
At 1565g, claimed weight, there are lighter, carbon wheels out there than the XMC 1501 wheels, but you’re starting to get into the Serious Money end of things.
As well as all of that, the comparative stiffness of the rim over a similar-weight aluminium one means that rough ground, big rocks and roots are easier to ride over or across. The lack of any twanginess or deflection would require a much heavier aluminium rim, which then makes your bike a bit crappier to ride.
The hubs and spokes have not needed any replacement, servicing or repair in the six month test period, which has included a Scottish winter. I told you those 240 hubs were good.
What we would like to see:
What we loved:
- Did I tell you how much I like these hubs?
- A noticable improvement to the feel and ride of my bike, and a really worthwhile upgrade.
This might be controversial, right, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re thinking of buying a carbon-framed bike with aluminium-rimmed wheels, you should perhaps swap those two priorities around.
If you don’t particularly need a bike for racing uphill on (and if you do, you should maybe try to save up a bit more and get a carbon frame AND wheels anyway), I reckon your money is better going into the posh wheels and get the cheaper aluminium version of the frame.
The quality of the wheels makes such a massive difference to the overall quality of the ride, the weight saving is precisely where you want it to be (science, innit) and a 30mm plus wide rim made of metal is always going to weigh a lot more, certainly if you want it to be still and hold a line without twanging all over the place. And don’t worry about olden-day stories of catastrophic failures and them being a dangerous and inappropriate material for mountain bike wheels – I’ve smacked these into all sorts of things and not so much as scratched them.
The DT XMC 1501 wheels are flawlessly built with some of the highest-quality and most reliable components you can buy. If you’re thinking of some posher wheels, you should have these on the list.
|Product:||XMC150 Spline One wheelset|
|Price:||£784.99 rear, £644.99 front|
|Tested:||by Jason Miles for 6 months|
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