dt swiss xmc 1501 review

DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review | “Pretty much perfect”

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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.

DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review

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. 

DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review

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.

They’re just brilliant hubs and I love’em

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. 

DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review

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:

  • Nothing

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.

Conclusion

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. 

For more, suitably Swiss, in-depth info on the XMC 1501 wheels, check out DT Swiss and they’re distributed in the UK by Freewheel.

Review Info

Brand: DT Swiss
Product: XMC150 Spline One wheelset
From: dtswiss.com
Price: £784.99 rear, £644.99 front
Tested: by Jason Miles for 6 months
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Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • DT Swiss XMC 1501 Spline One wheelset review | “Pretty much perfect”
  • Jim Trailrider
    Full Member

    Alloy nipples, 28 holes, straight pull spokes. All things I avoid when riding a hardtail all year round in the UK!

    Joe
    Free Member

    Spot on Jim.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Yeah i agree and it doesn’t even get a mention. Shorely we want sone sense of longevity being important. Either for financial or environmental reasons

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Read the review with interest after buying these exact wheels in 29er flavour earlier in summer.

    Whilst I like heaving mine about the room and bouncing them off the floor and being amazed at how light they feel with 2.6″ Rekons on them…

    I don’t actually notice that much difference in the actual riding. I was at Antur last weekend so had the DTSwiss 1650s with 2.5/2.6 Minnion DHFs on with an insert. Couldn’t be bothered swapping them out for the xmc1501s for the midweek peak evening ride so kept the heavies on. Did 54km with around 1600m ascent on the 1650s DHF2.6 Insert combo and didn’t really notice that much difference compared to the xmc1501s that I have been riding most of the summer. There’s 700g weight difference all told, and I’m pretty dedicated to light bikes, but was surprised how similar they felt.

    Certainly not to the extent that the reviewer raves about them.

    I like them and all, but ….

    PS. Paid £911 for mine:-)

    the00
    Free Member

    I have had some for 3 months, after my bike with XMC1200s was stolen.

    The 1200s were ok. The flat spokes were a bit noisy in a car park test, and were prone to damage. I had them 3 years.

    I went for the 1501s this time around because the 1200s were quite a bit more expensive, and the weight difference isn’t that big. I think the only difference is the spokes, but it’s hard to confirm which rims you get with these wheels.

    General performance has been fine, but a couple of weeks ago I cracked a rim. This wasn’t down to a faulty or weak part, just a combination of exo tyre, no insert, too little pressure, and a big whack. It was a hit enough to snakebite the tyre, and both holes needed two salamis to repair. It was a small crack and I used the wheel on chunky trails for another 2 weeks, albeit with a DH casing tyre and slightly higher than normal pressure.

    I returned the wheel to DT for repair. For 250chf they are replacing the rim, rebuilding with new spokes, and servicing the hub. That’s about what I’d have to pay for the rim only if I bought one from China, and that would be a heavier rim, so I think whilst it’s not a free replacement I think it’s actually a good deal.

    the00
    Free Member

    PS. I also like light wheels, and agree they just feel kind of normal. For my only experience of carbon wheels I think that’s probably a good thing.

    superdan
    Full Member

    I’d vaguely remember “the assumed wisdom” when I laced up some Light Bicycle rims for DH racing a few years back that carbon rims and ali nipples did something weird and corrosive together, and that it was a bad idea (use brass instead).

    Old wives tale, or has DT ignoring this, or got a neat technical solution?

    Blackflag
    Free Member

    Alloy nipples, 28 holes, straight pull spokes. All things I avoid when riding a hardtail all year round in the UK!

    Not heard this before. What’s the issue?

    nixie
    Full Member

    Umm 1639g for the 29″ version. 1565g is the 27.5″ version.

    lewzz10
    Full Member

    I’d vaguely remember “the assumed wisdom” when I laced up some Light Bicycle rims for DH racing a few years back that carbon rims and ali nipples did something weird and corrosive together, and that it was a bad idea (use brass instead).

    Old wives tale, or has DT ignoring this, or got a neat technical solution?

    My understanding is galvanic corrosion is very common between carbon & aluminium (see seized seatposts in carbon frames!), as carbon is obviously a very good conductor.

    Not sure about carbon, but DT use a special washer between rim & nipple on their alloy rims?

    stanley
    Full Member

    Think I’d stump up a little more to get one of the “Lifetime warranty” brands.

    davros
    Free Member

    I considered these but ended up with the roval controls which are a bit lighter at 1450g. I figured they’d be tough enough for a lightweight wuss.

    Tried them on the hardtail first and they felt way too stiff. Though I’d not been on the hardtail for a few weeks.

    They’ve been on the full-sus since and thankfully my experience is akin to the reviewer’s. I expected the improved acceleration and easier pedalling but it was the precision which surprised me. The way they hold a line takes a bit of getting used to, not necessarily in a bad way, just different. I’ve smashed some of my local PBs up and down, without busting a gut, so they’re doing something right.

    Hopefully they’ll last 🤞

    69erDude
    Full Member

    DT Swiss give a Lifetime warranty on all of their Carbon Wheels. They also include a 10 year Crash Replacement policy that means they will put the wheel back to new for a maximum of £199 including shipping, which you can use as many times as you like within that 10 year period.

    Vincent Gregory
    Full Member

    That’s useful to know @Crippo – GF has HXC-1200’s that came on her e-bike

    hot_fiat
    Full Member

    Does the freehub and cassette fall off, spilling its guts all over the floor if you dare to lean it the wrong way while changing a tyre, or have they fixed that superbly amusing DT Swiss attribute?

    davros
    Free Member

    Not sure about the new exp freehub, but the 350 hub needs a decent amount of force to remove the freehub body as the endcap is very tight fitting. Certainly no chance of it falling off.

    the00
    Free Member

    As far as I can see the offerings from lifetime guarantee brands are a fair bit heavier.
    Reserve rims are considerably more expensive, and a chunk heavier too.

    And for the freehub… I haven’t experienced this problem with my current wheels, or my last ones.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Alloy nipples, 28 holes, straight pull spokes. All things I avoid when riding a hardtail all year round in the UK!

    28 spokes is less strong than 32

    Alloy nippples are more likeky to corrode and seize

    Straight pull spokes can spin in the hub when the nipples have seized

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Not heard this before. What’s the issue?

    Alloy nipples, 28 holes, straight pull spokes. All things I avoid when riding a hardtail all year round in the UK!

    28 spokes is less strong than 32

    Alloy nippples are more likeky to corrode and seize

    Straight pull spokes can spin in the hub when the nipples have seized

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Nothing wrong with 28h with a decently strong rim. The wheel strength comes from the whole system, so running a couple less spokes can allow for an overall stronger wheel at the same weight- less grams in spokes means you can put more strength in the rim. I used to see it as a downside too but I, er, accidentally bought some wheels with 28h and they turned out great, happy to be proved wrong.

    Definitely rather have J pull spokes and brass nipples though.

    benos
    Free Member

    I have a set from Bird (their own spec with 6-bolt 240 hubs but identical otherwise).

    I like them a great deal. They’re my first 29ers but there was no negative impression of extra weight and inertia. Pretty sprightly in all. They also seem nicely predictable – forgiving of my poor line choices (although maybe that’s 29ers?)

    They’re my first straight pull wheels, so the comments about that and alloy nipples has made me think. I didn’t intend this to be a bike for summer only 😀

    kimbers
    Full Member

    Wrong thread .

    twonks
    Full Member

    Wheel strength is a weird one. I’d love to see actual footage and figures of how close to the edge wheel builds go when ridden – be it hard and fast or with too much weight etc.

    Main reason is an interest in physics and engineering but, I am also keen to learn if my 28H, DT240exp straight pull hubs with XM481 rims will cope with 130KG over rooty and rocky blasts.

    One (easy) ride in and I’m still trying to convince myself they’ll be ok on trickier stuff, despite reassuring messages from others saying they’ll be fine.

    For example – will the above wheels be 20% less strong than the previous 32H Pro 4. EX511 wheels? 50%, 10%, I dunno. And just how much does it matter if I’m only using them to 50% of their capacity.

    Simple weight limits are not reassuring enough.

    Rich
    Full Member

    Sounds like DT Swiss haven’t got a clue what they are doing to me!
    Always have been my go to wheels TBH.

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)

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