Receiving a refresh this year, DT Swiss’s 1700 Spline range got new 350 hubs with the 36 SL Ratchet System, and is now only offered with a 30mm internal width – it used to be available in either 25mm or 30mm.
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The EX 1700 wheels were launched alongside a more expensive EX 1501 Spline One wheelset, which I’m also testing, but I’ve taken to the trails on the less expensive option first.
DT Swiss EX 1700 Spline wheels details
Built with tubeless-ready EX 511 aluminium clincher rims with a 30mm internal width, DT claims they’re renowned for their strength-to-weight ratio and that their fairly shallow profile is designed specifically for hardcore enduro racing.
DT Competition straight-pull double-butted spokes lace the rims to 350 hubs and the spoke nipples use Pro Lock technology – where an adhesive liquid, such as Loctite, is injected into the thread between the nipple and spoke – to help improve wheel build durability by reducing the chances of the spoke and nipple coming undone.
The rims also use PHR Technology (Pro Head Reinforcement), which is a system that uses a washer between the nipple and spoke hole in the rim to increase the surface area of the spoke nipple and should reduce excessive forces being exerted around the nipple. Because of the shape of the washer, DT claims it also acts like a ball joint to help better align the nipples and spokes.
The 350 hub has DT’s new 36 SL Ratchet System with a 10-degree engagement angle and tool-free freehub removal and fitment. According to DT, it has the same DNA as the formidable 240 hubs seen on more expensive wheels.
The wheels were delivered with valves and taped ready to be set up tubeless. My 29in pair, with XD Driver freehub body, weighed 2,023g without tubeless valves – the rear tipped the scales at 1,044g and the front 979g.
DT Swiss EX 1700 Spline wheels performance
The XD Driver freehub body supplied on the hub was easy to change out for the Micro Spline freehub body on my Shimano Deore-equipped test bike.
It was just a case of pulling it away from the hub’s main body, making sure not to lose the spring, and replacing it with the Micro Spline version.
Tubeless tyres proved incredibly easy to inflate even without the use of a tubeless inflator or air compressor. The fairly narrow Vittoria Mazzer 2.4in tyres inflated quickly and without stress, as did wider Maxxis 2.5in WT tyres.
The tyres didn’t hold air at first, losing around 10psi per hour. This was because the stem on the supplied valve wasn’t sealing correctly inside the rim bed, caused by the rubberised section being a little too thick for the hole.
After applying sealant and taking the bike for several rides, the leaking stopped altogether with Peaty’s tubeless sealant plugging the small gaps.
Once inflated to my preferred pressures, most tyres, except for the widest 2.6in rubber, had a fairly square profile on the rim. Although the 30mm internal rim width isn’t as big as some, it’s still quite wide and makes the tyre’s profile flatter than a narrower rim.
Tyre profile is personal preference and while I can see advantages for both, I prefer a slightly rounder tyre because the transition onto the side nobbles is more gradual, and greater lean angles can be achieved in turns before traction drops off compared to flatter-profile tyres.
The previous models of enduro-specific 1700 Spline wheels were offered with a 25mm internal width, and it’s a shame DT has removed that option for those riders who prefer narrower rim beds.
I tested the wheels on two different bikes and against two sets of other wheels. The first bike was my old long-term test rig, the Orange Stage 6 which was fitted with a set of Race Face ARC 30 wheels and later Zipp 3Zero Moto wheels (more on them below). The second bike, my 29in wheeled test bed, was a Marin Alpine Trail enduro bike. All of the wheels were fitted with the same tyres.
The wheels had a distinctly taut feel over bumps and down rough sections, making the bike feel harsher than Zipp’s 3Zero Moto wheels (although our super analytical tester Seb Stott would disagree, he perceived no additional compliance from the Zipps when compared to the DT Swiss EX1501 wheels).
The EX 1700s cost half as much as the Zipps, but whether that means they’re less compliant is tricky to measure on the trail beyond subjective feelings.
Spoke tension was quite high on the wheels and it’s possible this could also be contributing to ride feel.
That said, they didn’t make the bike feel overly harsh to the point of causing early fatigue on longer descents, but certainly required a tough hand to get the most from them, coming alive the faster and harder I rode.
This is true to DT’s claims, that they’re for enduro racing, and the EX 1700 feels like a tough wheelset that likes to be pushed through holes rather than danced over.
This tautness is reflected in their accuracy around turns and across cambers, but only when pushing on. I found that if I rode slower or backed off, I was getting deflected off some bumps across cambers rather than riding smoothly over them.
They stayed true during the rather gruelling testing period on the Tweed Valley’s toughest tracks and the spokes haven’t needed any re-tensioning at all, which isn’t a surprise considering their factory-set tightness.
The hubs also haven’t needed any maintenance, despite regular mud and slop riding and some careless jet washing.
DT Swiss EX 1700 Spline wheels bottom line
The EX 1700 Spline wheels are a true enduro racer’s dream; they’re relatively cheap, relatively light and have proven to be tough, responding best to hard riding rather than cruising.
It would be good to have some narrower internal rim widths available, and I’d also like the chance to have the spoke tension de-tuned from the factory, which could help contribute to a slightly smoother feeling ride, but considering the cost, these aren’t must-haves.
|Price||EUR €698.80GBP £664.98USD $885.90|
|Weight||2,023g (29in) – Pair without valves|
|What we tested||DT Swiss EX 1700 Spline 29in wheels with MicroSpline freehub|
|Features||350 hub with Ratchet System 36 SL. 30mm internal width. DT Competition straightpull spokes.|
|Hubs||DT Swiss 350|
|Rim internal width||30mm|
|Spoke count||28 front, 28 rear|
|Spokes||DT Swiss Competition|
|Tubeless compatibility||Tubeless ready|