DT-SWISS XMM 100 Twin Shot Federgabel im Test
(von c_g)

Last we had itroduced you to the new DT-SWISS Tricon XM1550 29″er wheels (here), now we will introduce the content of the other box shipped to us out of Biel, Switzerland – the all new XMM 100 29″er suspension fork. It is an interesting thing with DT-SWISS MTB forks – after DT had bought all designs from British PACE CYCLES in 2008 the re-labelled forks were briefly available and then disappeared until DT-Swiss got all aspects dialed to their high standards. Now they are all back and while still holding some optical resemblance to the PACE heritage definitely are a DT-SWISS product through and through … all internals are completely redesigned and the chassis vastly stiffened up. Let´s see how that transfers to the performance aspects in practice.

Some long term frequent readers may remember, I had already reviewed a DT-SWISS fork, the rigid XRR 470 (verdict here) and found that while looking similar to the PACE RC31, it rode completely different (read: „super stiff and precise„ ) and is a much more contemporary version of a rigid fork (full carbon construction with carbon crown and steerer and much more).

With the suspension forks it took a bit longer to make it into 29″er size, but for 2012 there is a decent range available to cover the needs of racers and trail riders – only the
longer travel range above 120 m is currently still absent. For our test we chose the XMM in 100 mm travel 15 RWS tru axle dropouts, Twin Shot damping and tapered alloy upper, which is going on the ROCKY MOUNTAIN Element 970 for the first testing phase. At DT-SWISS the “XM“ stands for Cross Mountain application (kind of DT´s Do-It-All range) and the last “M“ describes the magnesium cast lower.

TECH TALK: All XMM forks (including the 29″er) share the same Torsion Box Magnesium lowers which simply are more cost effective in material and production compared to the carbon lowers of the top end 26“ forks. The reverse brake arch there is not exclusive to DT-SWISS but the specific execution with the two piece bonded bridge is unique. I haven´t had any contact with this system until now, but Grannygear has and his had comment on it during his Sea Otter visit last year (here) has been that it is an extremely stiff lower casting. Nothing wrong with maximizing stiffness in the casting already, sure won´t hurt the general performance .

The Twin shot is a DT-SWISS´s top end damping system and allows for lowering of the front end. All the suspension forks I had recently reviewed, be it the FOX Talas TERRALOGIC or GERAMAN:ANSWER`s Xcite have had some form of “Travel Adjust“. These are the three modes the fork can run in:

1, Open Mode – 100 % travel and full suspension activity
2, Climb Mode – for technical climbs, fork lowered by 30% and partially locked
3, Lockout – for starts, sprints and tarmac, 100% locked with a blow-off

The damping unit is placed in the upper right stanchion, allowing for better cooling of the damping oil and easy access by the rider. Because of this, the system is said to require very little damping oil which in turn leads to a low overall weight . The compression and rebound damping are still separately adjustable.

There are several other versions of this fork available: 120 mm travel (not convertible internally), the more simple Single Shot damping and 9 mm quick release version are only some of them. Besides the tapered alloy steerer on test, there are standard 1 1/8“ alloy steerer and two one piece carbon crown /steerer versions in tapered – one with the standard taper and one with an ultra short 85 mm taper length to fit even the shortest steerer.

At 1753 g for the testing sample (incl. 15 mm RWS Axle, 270 mm uncut steerer), it is competitively light. If you wanted to go all out light, you could go with the carbon crown/steerer version shaving of another 200 g and getting close to 1550 g for this fork. On the other hand, the MSRP of € 729.- for my version versus the € 999.- of the Carbon version is worth considering. US pricing is $1200.00– for the fork on test. For us Euros, the price is really competitive (given what we pay for ROCK SHOX or FOX forks over here ) but it may look differently from the US perspective;) .

The axle to crown length is 505 mm – pretty standard for a 100 mm fork.

The fork´s looks are also different from most any other fork. The two most striking features are the strongly sculptured rearward brace with its silver alloy insert (facing the front) and the deep black anodized 32 mm stanchions and alloy crown, which give the XMM a unique look. Not to say that this will necessarily translate into performance, but by the simple fingertip/fingernail testing – the stanchions´ coating appears verrry smoooth .

Looking at what this fork offers, I am really looking forward to this test and seeing how all this translates into the actual trail performance… It is always exciting to get ones hands on a new suspension fork …. with the XMM 100 and TRICON 1550 29 by DT-SWISS, known for their precision and excellent engineering even more so. Don´t you think the ROCKY MOUNTAIN Element test rig is looking sharp with them mounted? I do!!