DT Swiss has simplified its damping and chassis for 2014 and moved production to Taiwan but the excellent XMM proves less can sometimes be more.
The new one-piece, injection-moulded magnesium lowers include a deeply webbed rear-mounted arch and lighter 15mm dropouts for the brand’s ratchet-handle RWS axle. Staying with taper wall 32mm legs makes this very light for a mid-travel fork. You wouldn’t necessarily know it from the precise and accurate steering manners though, and the warranty allows you to use 210mm rotors for max stopping power.
The Single Shot II damper is stripped down to the bare-minimum rebound adjuster and lockout lever but this is still the best performing DT fork we’ve used. The coil negative spring means small-bump response is smooth and grippy enough to flatter the precise feel, and the naturally progressive stroke (rather than seriously linear like before) keeps ride height consistent through hard cornering or braking.
We’ve not had any binding or spiking moments smashing through or launching off big stuff either. It’s well priced too, so if reliability proves OK it’ll be the surprise lightweight trail fork benchmark for 2014.