For a brand known for its wheels, it’s a bit of a surprise that DT Swiss has such a shallow catalog of carbon mountain rims. In fact, they could all probably fit on one page. The front page, specifically, because the XMR, XMC and EXC 1200 wheels are high-price, performance-first products that put the “Swiss” in DT Swiss. Each model 1200 wheelset, spanning cross-country, all-mountain and enduro, goes for about $2,700. That’s why the DT Swiss 1501 lineup of carbon wheelsets is such a welcome sight. 

Mind you, they’re still not cheap. Making up the DT Swiss 1501 lineup are the XMR, XMC and EXC models, and each go for $1,900 for a pair. But DT doesn’t want to race to the bottom. They just want to race. And if you’re looking for more of a price-point DT wheelset, well we’ve got news there too. Today also sees a reworking of the 1700 wheelset, which we’ll get to later. First, carbon.

DT Swiss 1501 carbon rim cross section
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

Though each model varies in weight and durability, the XMR, XMC and EXC wheels all run on a 30-millimeter internal width. It’s wide enough for the all-mountain and enduro wheels to run 2.6-inch tires, but not too wide to run 2.4s. And on the XC wheels, it allows for lower pressure with less squirm. From road to gravel to cross-country, we’re learning that harder isn’t necessarily faster, and especially on short-travel cross-country bikes, the little bit of bump absorption offered by a little lower pressure is worth the small sacrifice in hard-packed speed.

DT Swiss 240 hub
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

Also, all the DT Swiss 1501 carbon wheels run on DT’s newly redesigned 240 hubs, which now offer many of the features on the brand’s flagship 180 hubs. The 240s got wider bearing placement and a simpler version of DT’s ever-present ratchet rings. Instead of the inboard ratchet ring sliding inside a housing just outside of the hub bearing, it’s now stationary and the bearing essentially sits inside of it. Now, only the outboard ratchet ring slides, which DT claims makes for faster “full engagement.” The number of engagement points out of the box is 36, which strikes a balance between quickness and durability, though the classic hubs have been available in 24 and 54 POI. All the 240 hubs on the 1501 wheels are straight-pull 28-hole, and all those holes are filled with DT’s Competition Race double-butted spokes.

DT Swiss XRC 1501 specs
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

The XRC (above) is the XC-race oriented offering It’s 29-inch only and weighs a claimed 1544 grams. 

DT Swiss XMC 1501 specs
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

The XMC is the all-mountain wheel, and the 27.5-inch version is 1545 grams and the 2-inch is 1639 grams

DT Swiss EXC 1501 specs
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

The EXC is the enduro build. Its 27.5-inch version is 1609 grams and the 29-inch is 1719 grams. One welcomed option only available on the EXC is an out-of-the-box 6-bolt brake rotor interface. DT is rather fond of Centerlock, which is why the XRC and XMC are both exclusively Centerlock and require their included adaptors to work with  6-bolt rotors. And if you really want it, you can also get the EXC wheels in Centerlock.

DT Swiss also introduces its Fair Share crash-replacement policy today. Instead of the lifetime no-fault warranties that are gaining popularity, DT now offers a crash-replacement plan for 10 years to the original owner. If you kill your rim while riding and it isn’t a defect, DT will replace the rim for $250. No, that’s not free, but as DT puts it, it is “fair for you, our customer, as well as us, while remaining conscious of the environment.”

Of course, if you don’t want to deal with any of that carbon nonsense, DT’s workhorse wheelset, the 1700 now has that custom-build cachet. For years, they have been built around their own rims, in various widths and weights. But now, the wheels you will see printed with the bold 1700 number will all use one of DT Swiss’ flagship aftermarket rims. They also use DT’s 350 hub which is based on the classic ratchet ring with 36 POI. All of the new 1700-series wheels go for the odd price of $885.90

DT Swiss XR 1700 specs
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

The XR 1700 (above) now uses the XR 391 rim is 29-inch only, and weighs 1672 grams.

DT Swiss xm1700 specs
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

The XM 1700 is based on the XM481 rim. The 27.5-inch version is 1748 grams, but we’re still waiting on the 29-inch weight.

DT Swiss ex1700 specs
Photo Credit: DT Swiss

The EX 1700 wheels now run the EX511 rims. The 27.5-inch version is 1878 grams, and we’re still waiting on the 29-inch weight. Like the EXC 1501, the EX1700 wheels are available with either Centerlock or 6-bolt rotor mounts.

This is the kind of component update that will have broader effects than most would. DT Swiss has a huge OEM presence, but their carbon rims have been far out of reach for far too long. It’s part of the reason why Yeti, the boutique of boutiques, top out at DT’s 1700 alloy rims. The addition of a more reasonable carbon wheel from DT will surely change the way ultra high-end bikes are specced in 2021 and beyond. And the improved 1700 wheels will change how regular-high-end bikes are specced.

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