DT Swiss launch the FR 1500 Classic downhill wheelset – a refreshed yet tried and tested formula

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic wheels
(Image credit: DT Swiss)

DT has just launched the new FR 1500 Classic wheelset that aims to take all the elements that made the EX 511 and FR 541 rims, along with the FR 1950 wheelsets, a hit on downhill races worldwide and improve upon them. They have been building some of the best mountain bike wheels for some time now, and these look to be no exception.

For a long time, DT’s alloy rims have been the go-to choice for privateer racers as a bombproof solid rim that can take the hits over the course of the season, and the latest FR 1500 Classic is the brand's premium offering launched just in time for the return of UCI World Cup in Lenzerheide this weekend.

A race mechanic working on a downhill bike

DT's alloy wheels have long been a favourite with DH racers (Image credit: DT Swiss)

Small changes, reliable performance

The FR 1500 Classic wheelset retains DT’s familiar subtle branding but with an updated rim profile and front wheel spoke count compared to the older FR 1950 wheels. DT has kept the specific alloy used in the rim a secret, but have redesigned the edge of the rim which now has a wider surface area. It claims the new rim profile is more resilient to dents and interestingly reduces the number of flat tires by pinch flats when tested with a leading unnamed tire brand. The rim sidewall has had an increase in material to improve its strength, but careful use of material and a reduced spoke count on the front wheel has led to a weight reduction of 7 percent over the FR 1950 wheels with weights from 1928g.

Available in both 27.5 and 29-inch versions, the wheels have a 30mm inner rim width which gives a good platform for tires from 2.3 to 2.6 inches wide, often used for DH and freeride. Using 28 spokes in the front compared to 32, not only saves weight but also helps to give a bit more flex to the front wheel to help with tracking and trail feedback. One of the criticisms of stiff carbon wheels is that they can be too harsh and for some riders that means they are harder to keep on a line.

a MTB wheel freehub being fitted to a wheel

The FR 1500 features the 240 hub with 36t Ratchet EXP internals (Image credit: DT Swiss)

DT have specced the 240 hub, which is a proven reliable item and features the latest Star Ratchet EXP with 36 teeth. It sounds like a good compromise between engagement speed without impacting suspension travel with pedal kickback, which makes sense given the FR 1500’s downhill intentions. As with other DT ratchet hubs, they are available in Shimano HG, Microspline, and SRAM XD drive formats in both Boost and Super Boost formats.

Spokes are DT’s own competition double butted J-bend variant paired with Squorx ProHead aluminum nipples. Using a J-bend spoke ensures spares will be easy to find if you have the misfortune of breaking one.

DT Swiss FR 1500 Classic wheelsets are available now and pricing starts at $1,150 / £999 / €899. Wheels can be purchased individually too, should you be running a mullet wheel setup.

For more information, check out DTSwiss.com

Neal Hunt
Freelance Writer

Neal has been riding bikes of all persuasions for over 20 years and has had a go at racing most of them to a pretty average level across the board. From town center criteriums to the Megavalanche and pretty much everything in between. Neal has worked in the bicycle industry his entire working life, from starting out as a Saturday lad at the local bike shop to working for global brands in a variety of roles; he has built an in-depth knowledge and love of all things tech. Based in Sheffield, UK, he can be found riding the incredible local trails on a wide variety of bikes whenever he can