Euro Test – DT-Swiss M 1800 29″er wheels ride impressions: (by c_g & M1)
There are many parts on a bike that fall into one of two categories: 1. Parts that you notice 2. Parts that I don’t notice. Wheels, I always hope, will fall into category No. 2 and here’s why. It seems to me that if you don’t notice them after the very beginning of the first ride or two, the wheels are probably well built, not too heavy and stiff enough that you don’t feel much, if any flex. If you do notice them after this time period, then it seems that, often, something is drastically wrong.
It has been a long time since I reported back on DT-SWISS´s first ever complete 29″er wheels, the M 1800 29″er wheels. In my First impression post on them (touching on every piece of them from a technical point of view, here) my only “real complaint” there was the non- tubeless compatibility of the rims and the slightly higher than expected weight (as these wheels are intended for Cross Mountain riding the weight is only secondary IMO). All other components, from hubs, to spokes, nipples and build were top notch and left me with very little wanting. The wheel served me pretty much all winter and spring as test wheels for the rigid fork shootout and after on several bikes and M1 has also spent some time on them converted single speed.
When I thinking of DT Swiss products two things come to mind:
1. Typical European Quality
2. Typical European BASIC design (Black/White/Red). To some great, to others, not so interesting.
Before we get into the ride impressions, let me touch on the tubeless issue with the current version– in early March I received the DT-SWISS tubeless kit for the wheels and have been
riding it tubeless in the later part of the test. The system consists of a double sided adhesive tape, a nicely profiled and snugly fitting rim strip, a valve and 50 ml bottle of latex based sealant. The kit sells for € 34.- but only contains the conversion for 1 wheel, so you´ll need two to convert your wheels tubeless. Once installed, the system works like a charm and creates a very nice tubeless profile and good bead locking action.
The diameter with the rim strips is on the larger side so mounting very tight tires like GEAX TNTs or other true UST tires may be difficult to impossible (contrary to DT´s claim to only use true UST tires with this system :)) but my tubeless ready SCHWALBE and folding MAXXIS and GEAX samples mounted and
inflated just fine with a floor pump. In the end I still blame the additional rim strip system to add approximately 45 g per wheel and create extra cost but in terms of function it performed just as nicely as any other tubeless system. For now the DT-SWISS M1800 wheels do receive some criticism for the rim design: I find the tubeless kit (despite its good function) to be a workaround of an outdated rim design but see those issues have been addressed with the 2012 version by optimizing the profile and making it tubeless from scratch.
c_g´s RIDE IMPRESSIONS: These wheels had been pleasantly uneventful, just what you want from a Do-It-All wheelset . Given the sturdy M520 rims, DT 370 hubs and DT-Comp spokes (32 x 3-crossed lacing) and evenly tensioned build the M1800 wheels were solid performers throughout. The hubs engaged securely and nicely fast with no complaint – I had never expected anything different after having years of experience on my 240s, whose internals the hubs share. The well executed seals kept the internals clean and working smoothly and the wheels remained true and stiff throughout the test period.
The total weight of just above 2000 g for the set (with rims alone weighing about 570g each) the wheels were not the snappy racer kind but felt about right for all around riding and anything where you´d want something strong and reliable. In terms of weight I see the wheels to be a bit on the heavy side, which is not uncommon for DT-wheels – they never seem to risk reliability and long term function over weight savings. Stiffness was good but not exceptional – perfectly fine for me and my style of riding but not flex free when talking about lateral rigidity. My riding experience with the 26 mm rim width (external and 19 mm internal) turned out to be good for most combinations. Only really wide tires and low pressure riding would
require the extra support from wider rims. If you run nothing wider than 2.25 (~ 58 mm) and don´t mind to add a few psi – then the M1800 29″er wheels will do the job just fine. IMO a 28 mm rim width would have made the wheels even more versatile but that might be me only. The RWS (Ratchet Wheel mounting System) quick releases work great and my sampled didn’t break but according to Sea Otter News, DT-SWISS have reacted to this weak spot and have now switched to modifying the design to alloy levers and another release knob.
The wheels are all built in SWITZERLAND by DT-SWISS´s master builders (and signed of by them personally) which seems to show in the pricing. I find the asking price to be on the upper end of what the components allow for (the Swiss have to maintain a certain status you know ;-)) – and additionally one needs to purchase an extra tubeless kit for now. With my time on these wheels I certainly back up DT´s claim for reliability. Versatility is better served with the rear hub, which can accommodate several standards, than with the front that will can be gotten in QR OR 15 mm through axle but is not convertible – so I´d say claim partly met.
M1´s RIDE IMPRESSIONS: I rode these wheels with tubes and set up for a single speed application in both winter and spring conditions. The Geax Saguaro tires/tubes mounted easily and I never had any problems throughout the testing period. There’s no undue flex with the wheels and they worked flawlessly the whole time as well. I never noticed any undue flex on these wheels and they also didn’t stand out due to being super stiff either. They have a really nice “whirring” sound when you coast and they engage as quickly as any other quality hub when you start pedaling again. In the few hundred kilometers I rode these wheels I never felt a hiccup or anything out of the ordinary of any sort. Even running them single speed and the extra forces that puts on a free hub all worked flawlessly The set comes with the DT Swiss RWS or „Ratchet Wheel-mounting System“ which takes a bit getting used to. The levers had some flex which felt a bit odd to me and I am happy to see DT going for alloy lever for the next generation.
VERDICT: Just like I had expected the DT-SWISS M 1800 29″er wheels proved to be hard running and rather tolerant to abusive riding which is really good news for those all around riders that are not “light” on their wheels or that mule through free hubs – the ratchet system is known to withstand even the worst free hub killers. These wheels do make for a very good wheelset for heavy or aggressive XC or trail riders. Overall the wheels have been a complete “mount and forget” item. So, if you look for reliability and function while, are not overly worried about weight and don´t mind running a rim strip to get tubeless qualities (or run tubes anyway) the DT- SWISS M1800 29″er wheels might be your ticket for a long running and worthy wheels set with a Swiss precision build. M1 says: The DT Swiss M 1800 29″er wheelset is a good pre-built wheelset which comes in at a reasonable weight to cost. I would definitely recommend them to others as a good all-around wheelset.
In the end, the DT Swiss M 1800 29″er wheels definitely fall into “the right category” No. 2!
c_g & M1
Ps: It is good to see how DT-Swiss (after initial skepticism :)), now is fully embracing the 29″er movement with their new product releases: For the more XC oriented riders and tubeless aficionados (with a bit bigger purse :)) DT-SWISS has just introduced the TRICON XM 1550 29″er wheels, and even a super high-end wheelset in form of the XRC 950 tubular 29″er wheels, which should become available later this year. And the XMM 29″er fork is raising more than one brow in anticipation as well.