DT-SWISS XM 1550 Tricon 29″er wheels: by c_g

It has been some time since we last reviewed products by DT-SWISS here at TNI Europe. In 2010/11 we have had the first ever 29er complete wheel on test – the XM 1800 29″er, which were a great workhorse set but lacking in tubeless qualities and weight (see here). These wheels had been revised for 2012 and received a completely new tubeless rim design which makes them a whole lot more attractive.

All new for ´12 and adding quite a bit of bling is their Tricon XM 1550 29″er set of wheels. Tricon stands for „Triple Connection“ and is a technology envisioned by DT-SWISS and already well established in 26“ format. Now for 2012 they have added a set in 29″er format.

This is what DT-SWISS say about them : “Tricon technology evolves by using the feedback of pro riders, test riders from all disciplines and progress in material- and manufacturing-technology, proven components are improved and new wheels designed. …. the other new family member, the XM 1550 Tricon® 29, also makes good use of the stiffness provided by the open crowfoot lacing. It combines the immense grip of the big wheels with the suppleness of tubeless tires. At the same time it is elegant, lightweight and has the stiffness which makes all the difference between a mediocre and a good 29″er bike.“

THE NUMBER GAME: The XM 1550 29″er wheels are stated by DT-SWISS with an core applications in what they call Cross-Mountain – which ranges from XC-Allround to All Mountain / Trail riding. DT-SWISS extends the range weill into XC racing and even Enduro riding. DT-SWISS is known for emphasizing reliability and function over weight. The complete set weighs in at 1800 g (835 g – 100/15 mm front and 965 g – 142/12 mm rear), which is well within the ball park of the core applications. The wheels came to us in 15 mm through axle

front and 10 mm RWS quick release rear, but with all parts necessary to adapt to any other axle standard. Conversion is easily achieved by different end caps. There is even a Lefty-specific front wheel available for those many lefty lovers ;) .

DT-SWISS states a maximum rider weight of 100 kg for them which knowing their approach to safety can surely be called conservative.

Here a short rundown of the technologies involved in these wheels (directly out of the DT-SWISS tech book, with our comments):

Two piece hubs: The two piece flange and hub shell design keeps the bearing seat free of tension. This allows the bearings to spin as smoothly as possible.
(The discs are mounted via Centerlock adapters. The black shell and silver flanges make for a strikingly technical appearance – I like it!! No comment on function yet)

Straight double threaded spokes: This spoke connection is considerably stronger as it is play free on both ends and therefore subject to smaller peak loads (The spokes are the bladed kind – my favorite for their strength and weight. The aerodynamic advantage probably is negligible for the intended use, but the larger side profile sure helps making the all white spokes stand out even more ..)

Open crowfoot: Spoke pattern with combined radial and crossed spokes for high stiffness and perfect transmission of torques.-(Without being an expert wheel builder – having radial and crossed spoke lacing in combination makes sense to me … radial to maximize lateral stiffness and tangential for optimal power transfer. The special design requires a spoke count that can be divided by 3 – in the case of the Tricon 29″er it is a never before seen spoke count of 30!!)-

Torx nipples : Thanks to the Torx design the truing tool has a better grip on the nipple. (Anyone here, who has not fought with rounded alloy spoke nipples? )

Rim insert: The spoke inserts are supported on two sides in the rim creating a big contact surface. The rim can be designed lighter and is airtight for tubeless compatibility. (The silver inserts have a very large rim interface, which considering the really high spoke tension of 1050 N on the front and up to 1350 N on the rear, seems very sensible. Besides the blend in nicely into the rim, but add contrast by the silver color.)

Star ratchet: Thanks to the proven DT Swiss Ratchet System® the hubs can easily be converted to different axle standards and rotors. (Well known and proven system that is gret both in function and serviceability)

Concave rim profile: The concave shaped sidewalls counteract the expansion force induced by tire pressure and spoke pull. (25.8 mm wide on the outside and 19.5 mm inner width, completely tubeless and smooth welded joints)-

You see there are a whole lot of new technologies included in these wheels – some immediately make sense, some have a bit of “marketing air“ about them . I like the way the spokes are integrated into the hubs and rims. I am happy to see the rims being tubeless and how the inserts are integrated into the rim, but reading about the smoothly spinning bearings from the two piece hubs makes me wonder how I could have survived with my conventional hub designs all these years ;) . Somehow I have never fought with badly spinning bearings on other hubs? Did you?

The DT-SWISS Racheting system is dead secure and bomb proof and seals/bearings usually are top notch with DT Swiss, so I am not expecting any issues with that, but how about the superior wheels stiffness by the Crowfoot lacing? How will the tubeless rims do tubeless? If I ever need to work on them, will the Torx Nipples really be better? How about converting to other axle standards and how about the overall ride feel of them?

… and how about the MSRP of € 1159.- (? $1650.00-)? That is about 30% less than the REYNOLDS MT29 (also on test) but a huge step up from the AMERICAN CLASSIC All- Mountain 29″er wheel set (reviewed recently on this site – see here).

Well, we will find out in the coming months … one thing though I can say right out of the box already: By looks these wheels are the most desirable set of wheels I have seen in
a long time. You may disagree, but I am looking forward to see them mounted up on my equally white´n red ROCKY MOUNTAIN Element 970 .

Stay tuned for the build and my first impressions on them to come your way soon.