DT Swiss XM1700 MTB wheelset review

DT Swiss say their new XM1700 All Mountain wheels are ‘The wheels you’d build yourself’. We’ve been battering several sets for months to find out if their ideal alloy all-rounder claims are true

DT Swiss XM1700
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

BikePerfect Verdict

They’re not light, cheap or instantly reactive but if you want a sweet feeling, speed sustaining, minimal kickback tough trail/enduro wheelset, XM1700s are a great investment in top quality Swiss engineering

Pros

  • +

    Bombproof, premium component build

  • +

    Tightly targeted feel

  • +

    Tire friendly rims

  • +

    Super reliable freehub

  • +

    Reduced suspension kickback

  • +

    Faster engagement option

  • +

    Easy spin

  • +

    Full freehub range

Cons

  • -

    Heavy

  • -

    30mm only

  • -

    Slow engagement as standard

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It’s been a while since DT’s wheel numbers matched up to its weight and if you’re thinking the recently refreshed XM1700's are going to weigh 1,700g you’re in for a 300g shock. The Ratchet System 36 SL freehubs only engage every 10-degrees of turn, too, so that can leave big gaps in pick up. In other words, if you’re looking for a lightweight, instant connection, bike pepping wheelset that sounds like a wasp in a jar, the XM1700's are not for you. However, if you’re sick of taking your wheels back to the shop for repair, scooting home because that wasp isn’t buzzing anymore or just comprehensively crumpling other wheels then keep on reading. 

DT Swiss XM1700

The 30mm rims come in either 27.5 or 29er wheelsizes (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Design and performance

DT has been making rims for less time than spokes and hubs but there are still decades of hoop designing experience in the XM1700s. That translates into a variable thickness extrusion where the material is concentrated on the sidewalls and base of the rim for added toughness where it counts. The fatter edges are also designed to be kinder on sidewalls to reduce pinch flats and that’s played out well so far with no split tires despite regular rim outs. It’s been a while since DT’s wheel numbers matched up to their weight however and if you’re thinking the recently refreshed XM1700s are going to weigh 1700g you’re in for a nearly 300g shock. Plus if you want really tough hoops though suck up an extra 50g apiece for the EX1700 which DT says are their toughest Enduro wheels ever. 

The ProLock spoke nipples sit in concave PHR washers to dissipate stress and the spokes are triple-butted Competition straight pulls to avoid any J bend weakness. The freehubs have a maximum lag of 10º which can leave big gaps in initial power pick up. The sloping teeth of the Ratchet System 36 SL plates mean minimum freehub drag though, so once you’ve got the wheels up to speed they hold onto it really well. The bearings are deliberately preloaded against the clamping pressure of the frame/fork too so they spin super smoothly when installed. While it obviously varies depending on where you are in the ratchet rotation or wheel path cycle bigger connection gaps also mean less chance of your cranks being yanked backwards and compromising the suspension. That all adds up to impressive speed through the roughest coasting sections especially on bikes with more anti-squat than average. If you want a faster reaction then you can upgrade to a 54 tooth ratchet kit for a 6.66º engagement beast mode, but the kit’s not cheap at £84.99.

Tight spoking and sturdy 350 Spline hubs mean wheel feel is unerringly accurate creating a wheelset that loves to be pushed hard and which precise, targeted riders will love. That can make them slightly punishing on really rocky sections compared to a deliberately compliant wheel but the hooked 30mm rim holds onto tires really securely at low pressures so you can soften them that way. Tubeless setup is really easy on the taped bed too, although you need to make sure the supplied valves are snugged up tight to avoid leaks.

The wheels are available in 29 and 27.5in formats with SRAM XD, Shimano HG or Microspline freehubs and 6 bolt or Centerlock rotor fittings. Like the rest of the 1700 family, they only come in a 30mm rim width, but DT says that’s a direct response to which of the previous generation wheels actually sold and it’s great for 2.4-2.6in tires. DT’s Hybrid E-bike wheels and separate rim range do offer wider options. 

DT Swiss XM1700

The 30mm internal diameter rim is best suited to tires between 2.4 and 2.6-inches (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

if you’re looking for a lightweight, instant connection, bike pepping wheelset that sounds like a wasp in a jar, the XM1700s are not for you. However, if you’re sick of taking your wheels back to the shop for repair or scooting home because that wasp isn’t buzzing anymore then XM1700s are probably your ideal wheelset.

Tech Specs: DT Swiss XM1700 MTB wheelset

  • Price: $886.00 / £689.98
  • Sizes: 29 and 27.5in  
  • Internal Widths: 30mm
  • Cassette: SRAM XD, Shimano HG or Microspline
  • Engagement: 10 degrees
  • Weight: 1975g (29, SRAM XD)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg