First Look: The New 1900 Spline Wheelsets from DT Swiss


The entry level can bring connotations of something that might crumble right after you’ve gotten far enough away from the store to do anything about it. But entry level at DT Swiss could mean something else.

Of course, they are priced a bit higher than other truly entry-level wheelsets from other brands. But the Swiss brand has incorporated as many technologies as possible from its top-of-the-line wheels into its new 1900 Spline range while maintaining a price close to that of the previous generation wheels. Plus, these entry-level wheels employ exactly the same level of attention to detail and quality control in their construction as every other wheel that comes out of their doors, regardless of the price.

The Spline 1900 range is split into X, M and E denotations for cross country, offroad and enduro respectively, the biggest addition to the new range being that they all ride on the ratchet system of DT Swiss. A change which now means that the entire range of MTB wheels use the famous system, more ratchet hubs to be seen here.

For the 1900 Spline range, the Ratchet LN system uses the same two main ratchet parts as the higher end 350 and 240 hubs, but differs from the Ratchet and Ratchet EXP hubs with the gasket on the freewheel body and not in the the hub shell. This little detail allowed the hubs to get a lower price while still using the ratchet system instead of a ratchet system.

The DT Swiss ratchet system uses two rotating parts, one driven by the hub shell and one driven by the freewheel. The advantage over a ratchet system would be the amount of surface contact when the pawls engage, as all faces of the two pawls mesh.

This increased area distributes loads over a larger area, lowering peak loads while also reducing the amount of point loads. All of this comes together to create a system that is remarkably easy to maintain and continues to run smoothly for a long time.

This means that the 370 hubs at the center of the system are now up there with the 350, 240 and 180 hubs as lifetime hubs. Because of wear and tear, there will inevitably be a time when the rims and spokes may need to be replaced. So it is quite plausible that these new 370 hubs could be transferred from a wheelset to a wheelset or even from bike to bike and run, with very little maintenance, smoothly for a long time.

The Ratchet LN system can also be fitted to older DT Swiss ratchet hubs with the Ratchet LN upgrade kit. The upgrade kit includes the threaded ring, 18 tooth pawls, springs, spacer, shim ring, freehub body and special grease. While a 3-ratchet ring nut removal tool and ratchet ring nut removal tool are required to complete the conversion, which you might only find at a bicycle shop, unless you don’t be a complete tool nerd.

With the LN Ratchet System using the same ratchet parts as the 350 hubs, there are several options for engagement points with 24, 36, and 54 tooth ratchet upgrade kits available for purchase. The X 1900 and M 1900 splined wheels are center locking only, but come with the 6 bolt adapter. E 1900 wheels are available with central locking or 6-bolt brake disc interfaces.

The rims on the 1900 Spline axles use a sleeve rim, as opposed to the welded rims on the company’s premium axles. A small aluminum insert that fits inside the rim cavity aligns the rims and, with the high strength glue, creates a stiff, strong seal at a lower manufacturing cost.

The X 1900 wheels use the X 432 rim with an inner width of 25mm to better align with the slightly narrower tires used in cross country and have a lower overall weight.

The M 1900 wheels use the M 502 rim, the sheathed version of the XM 481 rim, with an inner width of 30mm and the E1900 wheels use the E 532 rim, the little brother of the EX 511 rim, although made in a different grade aluminum alloy.

All three rims use eyelets, instead of the PHR washer system in premium wheels, and DT Swiss Champion straight spokes with a constant diameter of 2.0mm. All wheels come taped up and include the steel version of DT Swiss’s tubeless valve for quick and easy installation.

There is the usual information included on the rim to detail tire width and pressure ranges as well as the dot code which, when scanned, retrieves all of the necessary data and parts the wheel uses to make it easier to find parts. spare parts, attaching the wheels or viewing which upgrade parts will fit.

Despite being called an entry-level wheelset, the entire 1900 Spline range receives no less attention to detail in the construction and quality control of the wheels. All wheels are completely handcrafted, with the only machine involved being the one that strains the wheel multiple times on either side during the build process. This ensures that each component is in its final resting place during construction, ensuring that when tensioned, the wheel will be tensioned more evenly and, more importantly, will keep that tension constant and high for longer. We all rolled out budget wheels for the first time, only to hear the clicking noises as you roll and bounce as everything sets in, and with that, change the spoke tensions. With this constant relaxation of the spokes and their connections to the rim and hub during construction, none of this happens when you go riding.

DT Swiss also emphasizes the importance of using their Pro Lock nipples which include a thread locking compound on the internal threads of the nipples. While this adds a bit more effort to the wheel building process due to the extra effort to turn the nipples, this is another reason why the wheels retain their tension and truth as long as they go. do. A small short term loss in the construction process for the long term gain in wheel durability.

Each wheel is also meticulously checked in the quality control process to record the wheel manufacturer and each spoke tension on the wheel, to ensure that the spoke tension is set as close to maximum as possible while maintaining the shift in spoke tension of a spoke. to the other as little as possible. The centricity and concentricity of the entire wheel is also recorded in this individual wheel fingerprint.

When DT Swiss first ventured into making wheels, they experimented with machine-made wheels, but found that they just couldn’t live up to the quality that can be achieved by making wheels. entirely by hand. If you’ve ever spoken to an experienced wheel builder, chances are they will know exactly how much turn to give for a certain situation, something that can only come with experience in wheel building. For DT Swiss, wheel-making machines simply cannot compete with this practical experience.

DT Swiss made a point of emphasizing the nuances of spoke tension in the wheel construction, which is one of the details they take care of on the 1900 Spline wheels. With a correctly built wheel it is well and also preloaded and with the rider on the bike the weight of the system will be distributed over almost all of the spokes in the top half of the wheel increasing the spoke tension in them while still doing so. decreasing the tension in the area of ​​the contact area.

If the preload is too low overall, it can cause the spokes to completely unload around the contact area, meaning the rim has to do more heavy work and the spokes can loosen even more and the wheel becomes unstable.

Conversely, however, if the tensions in the spokes are too high at maximum loads, such as when you land or jump, the force in the spoke can become so high that the spoke would deform plastically, essentially stretching enough that it would not. don’t go away. return to its original length. This excessive spoke stretching reduces tension and again the wheel becomes unstable. So it’s really a good balance between all the parts of the wheel equation to make a wheel as performant and durable as possible.

We just received a set of E 1900 Spline wheels to put them to the test. With experience with DT Swiss’s premium 1700, 1501 and 1200 axles, it should be easy to compare how these entry-level wheels stack up against their more expensive counterparts, as well as truly entry-level offerings from range of other brands.


Wiley C. Thompson

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