by Joe Schneider
The new Spline ONE wheels from DT Swiss combine several innovative features with some standby technology to create an excellent wheelset, at least on paper. From the unique Squorx nipples to the Ratchet Freewheel System, they look to be among the most advanced aluminum hoops available at the moment. Curious how they'd hold up, I mounted up a pair of the tubeless ready XM1501 wheels, which are designed for all-mountain and enduro use.
XM 1501 Spline ONE Wheelset Highlights
- 26, 27.5, and 29-inch versions
- 22.5mm internal rim width
- Tubeless ready
- 28 double-butted DT Competition spokes per wheel
- DT ProLock aluminum nipples
- Straight-pull hubs and spokes
- Upgraded 36-tooth Ratchet Freewheel System
- Strength Boost Welding Technology at the joint
- Convertible 15mm or QR front axle and 12x142mm or 135QR rear
- 1545 grams per set (26-inch)
- MSRP $1,099
Aside from the XM1501 wheels, the Spline ONE line also includes the XC oriented XR1501 and the heavy duty EX1501's. Have a gander and learn about everything that makes them awesome in this in-depth First Look feature:
The first thing I noticed when I pulled the wheels out of the bag was how light and solid the XM1501 wheels felt. The spokes had good tension, they were true and round and respectably light for the general trail shredding and occasional enduro race I was about to put them through. The look was impressive too - graphics were not cheap stickers, but something of higher quality, which complimented the anodizing nicely. One decal has all the spoke lengths and rim measurements if you ever need to replace a spoke, which is convenient. The hubs also have some interesting lines, with rounded edges everywhere, not the sharp lines from machining I'm used to seeing. The cool part about that is, the shells are used in their net shape from forging, so DT Swiss didn't waste money on cosmetic machining in their effort to keep the wheels at a reasonable price. The look is different, but still says light, stiff and possibly revolutionary. That's all for not if they don't perform on the dirt, though...
On The Trail
I immediately noticed a difference with these wheels on my Trek Remedy. Losing more than 300 grams from the stock wheelset quickened my acceleration and flickability, giving the bike a much more responsive feel to rider inputs.
I have had several DT 240 hubs in the past, and the ratchet system in the Spline rear hub functioned every bit as well. The upgrade to the 36-tooth ratchets was a nice perk and almost necessary for the market they are competing against. They were slightly slow rolling on the first few rides but as the bearings, ratchets and grease settled in, they picked up speed. Replacing the stock grease in the ratchets with something thinner may have helped reduce the rolling resistance, but would increase the maintenance interval. I had high expectations for the hubs performance and they delivered.
I was skeptical of the rims, mostly because of the material. Let's be honest here - DT Swiss doesn't exactly have a glowing reputation in the rim durability department. An aluminum alloy change could be the answer, and the entire Spline ONE wheelset features an updated material.
Over the course of my rides,I saw a huge improvement in durability. I have raced four multi-stage enduro events and have been on numerous other rides and I still have not dented the rim or taken the wheel significantly out of true. There is a slight wobble / hop in the rear wheel and a couple spokes with slightly less tension than the surrounding ones on both wheels, but it isn't anything the write home about.
I hit the rim a solid handful of times, and to my amazement I still have not flatted. I've been running moderately wide Continental tires with the Protection Casing the whole time which are pretty flat resistant. On a couple separate occasions I heard both of the rims de-tension on a harder hit but they always came back. Overall, I am amazed and pleasantly surprised at the durability of the rim and its material.
Things That Could Be Improved
There is not much I would change about these wheels. Finding replacement straight pull spokes may be harder than the standard J-bend spokes, but, given the fact that they're made by one of the most popular spoke companies, their likely relatively easier those for any of the other proprietary or prebuilt wheels.
What's The Bottom Line?
In my opinion, DT Swiss hit a home run with the XM1501 Spline ONE wheels. They are light, durable, the width is generous for trail use, and they have great engagement with the upgraded Ratchet Freewheel System. They also bring a few new technologies to the table that actually seem very worthwhile, like the Squorx nipple design. If you cannot afford the upgrade to carbon hoops, the Spline ONE lineup should be high on your list of alternatives.
For more details, visit www.dtswiss.com.
About The Reviewer
Joe Schneider grew up in Durango, Colorado. Beginning in 2002, at the age of 13, he started riding mountain bikes and racing in the local race series. One thing led to another and he eventually made it into the mid-ranks of the pro cross-country field. Collegiate racing shed light on technical riding and he began to pursue longer travel bikes and most recently dirt bikes. He enjoys smashing through rocks or getting loose on flowy singletrack. Ultimately the alpine shuttle is his favorite, with a couple thousand feet of climbing and two or three times that in descending. He is currently a Mechanical Engineer who designs tools to blow things up. He loves to ride snowmobiles, motos, and mountain bikes whenever possible with his lady and many good friends. As a practiced mechanic, he enjoys spending the remainder of his free time fixing and maintaining all of his rides.