C H Perfection Delivers above-average value and performance Recommended for intended application
Save your hard-earned bucks
The target everyone will be shooting for
Recommended for intended application
Shows potential but has drawbacks
Save your hard-earned bucks
We were speaking to a product manager at a major bike
company about how components are selected, and he confided, “And when I get to the wheels, I go for DT Swiss, or
at least wheels that use DT Swiss hubs. It helps me sleep
at night.” The $1139 EX 1501 Spline One wheelset is DT
Swiss’s latest attempt to make sure product managers and
riders alike sleep soundly.
Tech features: The EX 1501 Spline One wheelset was
designed for enduro racers who need wheels that are technically proficient in climbing, descending, cornering and adapting to varied terrain. In other words, this is DT Swiss’ do-it-all trailbike wheelset. True to their long-travel aggressiveness, they are only available for 26- and 27.5-inch wheels.
The rims are wider ( 30 millimeters), finished using a
welding process that looks seamless and are tubeless-ready.
DT Swiss’ Pro Head Reinforcement system (PHR system)
acts as a ball-and-socket interface, allowing the straight-pull
spoke to pivot and follow the trajectory from the hub to the
rim. Connecting the spoke to the rim is the DT Squorx nipple (short for Square-Torx nipple), a part of the PHR system
that provides a precise fit between the nipple and wrench.
Squorx nipples also feature a standard square interface at the
bottom for adjustment any time via a standard square nipple
Moving on to the hubs, they use a two-piece hub body
that DT Swiss claims allows them to use less material, sav-
ing weight without affecting hub strength. A modular hub
system allows the Spline One to adapt to different axle and
frame standards via a tool-free end-cap swap. Finally, the
patented DT Swiss ratchet system has 36-tooth ratchets with
10 degrees of engagement.
Our 26-inch DT Swiss EX 1501 Spline One wheelset
tipped the scales at 3 pounds 10. 5 ounces.
Field test results: There is no tapering needed to save
weight (that is done with wall-thickness reduction), so you
are left with a hub that is about 10 percent larger in diameter
than comparable conventional hubs. And while every wheel
company claims to have exchangeable end caps (for the vast
array of axle designs), these end caps actually are easy to
swap out. That is a big plus when it comes time to service
The Squorx end of the spoke nipples is not visible (they
seat inside the hub). They offer the greatest benefit during
assembly, but don’t sell that feature short. Any improvement
to quality control during wheel assembly means an improvement in durability, plus the wheel will stay true longer. The
best feature of the new DT Squorx nipples is that they allow
you to adjust tension using a conventional spoke wrench.
Wider rims are nothing new, but we have experienced
tire-mounting issues with them in the past (the wider rims
make it tough to stretch the tires on). Not so with the Spline
One. Because the rim’s size and shape are more compact, we
mounted the tires easily without tire tools and were able to
bead the tires with a hand pump. Oh, and be forewarned,
when the tire beads do seat, small children and dogs will
vacate the garage quickly. The tires seat with audible pops
that, to us, are reassuring, because they mean the tire is
We used a Pivot Mach 5. 7 with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain
and a RockShox Revelation fork with a 15-millimeter thru-axle for testing the EX 1501 Spline One wheelset, and
we ran Continental Trail King tires with Stan’s Sealant.
The first thing you notice on the trail is the instantaneous
engagement of the drivetrain after coasting. There is little
lag, and your pedaling efforts translate into immediate forward momentum. This is really noticeable when attacking a
climb or even rollers after a descent or coasting.
The hubs roll great, and the noise level while coasting
is moderate. We hammered the wheels for three months
(admittedly, only a fraction of a wheelset’s lifespan) without
Now, the hardest part, bestowing the Mountain Bike
Action star rating. We recently gave both the Mavic
CrossMax SLR and the DT Swiss M 1700 Tricon wheels
(tested on this same bike) five-star ratings. The EX 1501
Spline One easily takes it to another level over the Tricon
wheels. And while this isn’t a shootout, they would stand
rim to rim with the CrossMaxes. Maybe we need to add a
six-star rating. ;
DT SWISS EX 1501 SPLINE