DT Swiss are considered to be the most influential wheel builders in the bike industry, products of the Swiss company stand for highest performance, quality and durability. Now DT is presenting a new range of E-MTB specific wheels, a move that wants to set a new benchmark in the industry. We managed to take a closer look at the DT Swiss HYBRID wheels.

Whenever a brand advertises E-MTB specific products, we get sceptical by default. A gold digger atmosphere is currently hovering above the bike industry, one we didn’t see since the 80’s sudden mountain biking boom. Everyone wants a slice of the E-Bike cake, but not every product displaying an “E” on the box really contains something special – let alone its performance on the trail.

At first glance, we barely notice a difference to normal DT Swiss MTB wheels, but the discreet-blue and the HYBRID writing tell us that we are looking at a special set of wheels.

DT Swiss is not claiming to have reinvented the wheel, but from the ground, the new HYBRID range has been developed for a sporty E-MTB application and wants to set a new reference for ambitious riders. This sort of bold statement from an otherwise very modest Swiss made us rather curious. That’s why we didn’t sit around for much longer and made our way to the DT Swiss headquarters in Biel, to find out what all the fuss is about “Mission HYBRID“.

DT Swiss Mission HYBRID

In order to get to the beginning of the story behind the HYBRID–wheels, we have to rewind back by two years, when DT Chief Marketing Officer Daniel Berger discovered the E-MTB for himself. The 52-year-old immediately caught the E-MTB-virus and quickly realised the great potential of these bikes. At first, his colleagues made fun out of him, but after some time everyone started realising one thing: E-MTBs are the next big trend in the mountain biking industry, and DT Swiss wanted to be part of it since the beginning.

Daniel Berger is responsible for all products and marketing at DT Swiss. His enthusiasm for E-MTBs was the green light for the development of the HYBRID-line.

When it comes to E-MTB, wheel developers face two big challenges. On one hand, electric support increases stress on components, materials suffer from the higher torque and heavier weight of the bike. On the other, longer distances are generally covered with E-MTBs. Higher, faster, further – and all of a sudden riding performances doubles, the E-MTB is more fun to ride and gets used more often than our traditional, dusty mountain bikes. As a final result workload on parts increases significantly, and limited durability is an immediate, obvious consequence.

What makes the DT Swiss HYBRID-wheelset so special?

Traditional DT’s mountain bike wheels are already suitable for an E-MTB use, but the Swiss manufacturer wanted to offer a wheelset which could offer not only a reliable product but also one that could maintain its reliability over many years. The result of this effort is a completely new line of wheels, in its development, nothing has remained untouched. Performance and durability in the HYBRID-wheels are supposed to satisfy requirements of the most ambitious E-MTB riders, making this series become a reference product in the matter of wheels.

The hubs on DT Swiss HYBRID-wheels

The hubs are based on the classic DT Swiss 240, but have been thoroughly customised.

Let’s start with the heart and soul of the wheel: the new HYBRID-hubs are based on the classic DT 240 hubs but have been comprehensively adapted and beefed up to withstand the higher stress of an E-MTB application. The hub shell features thicker sidewalls, a bigger housing, reinforced axles and wider spoke holes. Larger bearings, new 24-tooth star ratchets and a steel freehub complete the package. With these modifications, the HYBRID-hubs can withstand a torque of up to 500 Nm, 25 % more than the classic hubs. On more economical versions, similar hubs are based on the DT 350 and 370, the H 1900 had to settle for classic pawls. All HYBRID-line hubs feature a 6-hole brake-disc mount-system.

Self-developed 24-tooth star ratchets and a steel free-hub are just two of the special features on the HYBRID-hubs.

The spokes on the DT Swiss HYBRID-wheels.

The hubs offer a solid basis for the 28 straight-pull spokes, which have also been specifically developed for the HYBRID-Series. Reinforced spoke heads measure a diameter of 2,34 mm, the thickness of the spoke’s main body reduces to 1,8 mm and widens up to 2,0 mm on the other end. DTs Pro Lock Squorx Pro Head spoke nipples are supposedly the perfect final touch.

HYBRID-series rims are based on the EX-series rims, reinforced in the center for this specific application. Not only does this improve the spoke’s pull out force by 20%, but it also increases the maximum system weight from 120 kg to 150 kg. Engineers at DT test their products for long-term durability on their self-developed test benches. Here HYBRID-rims last more than twice as much than the classic MTB-product. High-end rims are welded, the more economical versions pinned.

Reinforced rims are supposed to withhold heavier loads typical of E-MTBs, even on the long run.

The HYBRID-range at a glance.

Exactly like the classic MTB-wheel series, the HYBRID-line comes in different price and quality categories. All wheels come exclusively in the Boost-Standard with 15/110 mm on the front and 12/148 mm for the rear. All HYBRID-wheels mount a Shimano-freewheel. However, an XD freehub is included and can be replaced without the need of tools. Tubeless-tape and tubeless valves are also included in the box.

DT Swiss is not only active in the after-market, also many bike manufacturers trust the expertise of the traditional Swiss brand – large scale production as an obvious consequence.

HXC 1200 SPLINE

The top end is represented by the HXC 1200 SPLINE carbon wheelset, which is exclusively available in a 30 mm internal rim width option. Weight stands at 1,678 g for the 27.5″ and 1,786 g for a set of 29″ rims. The HXC is the only HYBRID-Series model with a maximum system weight limited to 120 kg, but with a price tag of € 2,248, these are likely to be a realistic option only for a very restricted group of buyers.

HX 1501 SPLINE ONE

The HX 1501 SPLINE ONE is the high-end model of the aluminium range, and definitely the most exciting package of the whole line. As far as weight goes, it’s 200 g heavier than the classic EX 1501 SPLINE ONE-wheel. All of the HYBRID aluminium wheels are available in 27.5″ with optional 25 mm, 30 mm and 35 mm rim width, and in 29″ with 30 mm rim width. As explained above, the hubs are based on the DT 240 hub classic, and the rims are welded. We were able to test a set of HX 1501 before their official release, watch this space for the full review.

HX 1501 SPLINE ONE 25 mm 30 mm 35 mm
Weight 27.5″ 1,898 g 1,978 g 2,088 g
Weight 29″ N/A 2,081 g N/A
Price OEM only € 1,078 € 1,118

H 1700 SPLINE

The H 1700 is the mid-range option in the HYBRID-series and should be found on many complete bikes in a near future. The base for the hubs are the DT 350s classic and include a 24T star ratchet, like the top-end version. As opposed to the HX 1501 SPLINE ONE rims, these are sleeved and not welded. That makes the H 1700 heavier by a little more than 100 g than the HX.

H 1700 SPLINE 25 mm 30 mm 35 mm
Weight 27.5″ 2,000 g 2,090 g 2,200 g
Weight 29″ N/A 2,197 g N/A
Price OEM only € 698 € 718

H 1900 SPLINE

The H 1900 SPLINE is the starter version in the HYBRID-line. For this model, the basis for the hub was the DT 370, which uses standard pawls instead of ratchet stars. The other parts are the same as on an H 1700 SPLINE, the weight is pretty much the same, with only a difference of a few grams.

H 1900 SPLINE 25 mm 30 mm 35 mm
Weight 27.5″ 2,003 g 2,093 g 2,203 g
Weight 29″ N/A 2,198 g N/A
Price OEM only € 388 € 408

Testing the DT Swiss HX 1501 SPLINE ONE

We had the opportunity of testing an HX 1501 SPLINE ONE-wheelset already a few months before the official release, our test report will shortly be available on our website.

We were able to collect the first riding impressions of the new HYBRID wheels.

In addition, we invited the DT Swiss head of marketing and product, Daniel Berger, for an in-depth conversation. You can read his story in issue #010 of our E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine, which will be released in April 2017.

For more information head to dtswiss.com

Words: Moritz Dittmar Photos: Valentin Rühl

About the author

Moritz Dittmar