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DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels review

EMTB-specific wheelset from hoop-building giants DT Swiss

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £794.98 RRP | USD $1,057.00
DT Swiss HX 1700 Hybrid electric mountain bike wheels

Our review

The HX 1700 blends stiffness and forgiving quality in a magical mix, but this comes at a cost
Pros: Robust; stiff and forgiving; low-maintenance freehub; easy to set up tubeless
Cons: Pricey; on-going spoke tensioning and trueing required
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The DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels are the brand’s top-end aluminium wheelset, aimed squarely at electric mountain bikes and the additional stresses and strains they involve.

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Accordingly, DT has redesigned its 350 hub with a chunkier body, and laced it to a HX 531 rim with reinforced spokes

Accommodating the trend of mullet-wheel setups (27.5in rear, 29in front diameter) commonly used on electric bikes, the HX 1700 is available in both 29in and 27.5in front and rear – or whatever combination your requirements dictate.

Adding to the configurability are 30mm and 35mm internal rim widths available in all rim diameters.

Prices start at £749.98 / $1,057 for the wheelset, but vary depending on which freehub body (HG, Microspline, XD Driver) is specced.

DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels details and specifications

Important technical details are printed on the rim.
Alex Evans / Our Media

DT’s 350 hub has been redesigned for the HX 1700 wheels, now with a bigger body that, the brand claims, is designed to give “better braking and drive torque resistance, resulting in better durability”.

But the redesign doesn’t just give them chunkier looks. The bearings have been reinforced, now featuring grooved ball bearings to reduce the chances of wear, plus they have increased in size.

The freehub body’s outer surface has been steel-hardened to help reduce the chances of damage caused by the higher torque on electric bikes. The change in material also means fatigue strength has been increased.

The 350 hub has been redesigned with a bigger body and a hardened freehub body.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Of course, the hubs still use DT’s famed ratchet freehub technology instead of the pawl and spring system. Ratchet hubs are claimed to be more reliable and user-serviceable.

HX 531 aluminium rims are connected to the Hybrid hubs using DT’s reinforced Hybrid 1 spokes that are claimed to increase both lateral and torsional stiffness, but also withstand fatiguing that can result in breakages.

Prolock technology features on all of the wheel’s nipples, where a thread lock is applied to reduce the chances of spokes undoing and losing tension.

The rims are rated for a 150kg maximum system weight thanks to reinforcing material where it matters most. Factory-fitted tubeless tape is installed.

DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels performance

The review set of wheels (Boost 12×148 front, 15×115 rear, 30mm internal width, 29in diameter) weighed 2,188g.
Alex Evans / Our Media

I tested the DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels on my home trails around Scotland’s Tweed Valley, the location of the UK’s round of the Enduro World Series. The wheels were fitted to my BikeRadar Builds Marin Alpine Trail E2 electric mountain bike, and testing happened over the course of six months.

I also tested additional sets of these wheels on other bikes, including Whyte’s E-160 RSX and E-180 RS among others, so I was able to get a rounded picture of reliability and performance.

I tested these rims with a host of tyres, including Maxxis’ DHR II and Assegai DoubleDown casings, EXO+ casings and e*thirteen’s new Grappler in both Enduro and DH casings.

DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels setup and tubeless inflation

The 30mm internal-width rims were on test, and a 35mm version is also available.
Alex Evans / Our Media

Thanks to the factory-fitted rim tape there were no air leaks out of the nipple eyelets through the rim bed.

The supplied tubeless valves required a significant amount of force to push home into position, but the tight fit meant that once they were in place no air could escape around them and they didn’t twist on the rim.

The relatively deep and wide rim profile meant installing tyres was easy, where if the bead was pushed into the centre of the rim, it left enough slack to get the remaining section of tyre installed. This was true for even the toughest wire-beaded tyres.

Tyre inflation was easy, too, with a high-volume track pump providing enough air to inflate all the tyres I tried. The ease of inflation appears to be shared across DT’s wheel range, including the E 1900, EX 1700 and EXC 1501 I’ve also tested.

DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels on-trail feel

DT uses its HX 531 rims on the HX 1700 Hybrid wheels.
Alex Evans / Our Media

I was surprised how forgiving the HX 1700s felt on the trail, given DT’s claims of increased stiffness.

No harshness was transmitted through the wheels into the bike. The potential for this smoothness being attributed to the tyres or frame was eliminated given how many different combinations of bike and tyre I tested the wheels with.

There was a damped softness most appreciated when hammering through rough, chattery terrain. A limited amount of fatigue-inducing buzz, usually generated by high-frequency bumps regardless of their size, was fed back into the bike.

But the forgiving feel didn’t cause any steering or line-tracking vagueness and high cornering loads or rough off cambers didn’t cause them to banana or flex.

It was the same in sharper berms, or when squaring off turns. They didn’t appear to flex in a way that was detrimental to performance or that sacrificed cornering feel.

The front hub’s body is as chunky as the rear one.
Alex Evans / Our Media

In these situations, the spokes didn’t twang or make any noises as the wheels flexed, but regular re-tensioning was required to keep them at their factory-set tension.

The rims remained free of dings and dents during the test period across multiple bikes, hinting at their impressive robustness.

However, if spoke tension wasn’t routinely monitored, small buckles did begin to develop. Re-tensioning the spokes and removing the buckle was straightforward given the minor wobble, but if left totally unchecked further deterioration happened, making getting them true harder.

DT Swiss is synonymous with quality.
Alex Evans / Our Media

This suggests the Prolock nipple thread lock isn’t as effective as DT claims. However, keeping the spokes tensioned correctly and the wheels true should be considered routine maintenance, so in my opinion marking them down for this isn’t fair.

If regular trueing and re-tensioning was carried out, they proved to be massively robust.

It was a different story for the hubs, which have been a true fit-and-forget affair.

Maintenance requirements have been non-existent, even when ridden in the gruelling dusty conditions of summer 2022. It was the same when I tested them on the Whyte E-180 in the mud, wet and snow during the 2021/2022 winter season. Clearly, the redesigned 350 Hybrid hub is worthy of the standard 350’s reputation.

The HX 1700 Spline wheels retail for £794.98 / $1,057, but prices vary slightly depending on which freehub is fitted.
Alex Evans / Our Media

The 24-point engagement freehub didn’t feel slow to pick up, even when winching up steeper, techy sections that required half or even quarter turns of the cranks to generate speed or avoid pedal-level obstacles.

The ebike’s motor helps mask any potential slowness here, because power is delivered on overrun, creating continued hub engagement.

The rim’s profile and 30mm internal width suited tyres from 2.4in to 2.6in wide. Its width meant the tyre’s sidewalls were upright enough to be supported effectively, reducing the chances of burping. However, they weren’t so wide that the tyre’s profile became square, quickening the transition between grip and slip at high lean angles.

How do the DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels compare?

The EX 1700s are a tough set of wheels.
Alex Evans

There are an increasing number of ebike-specific mountain bike wheels on the market from the likes of e*thirteen, Mavic and Hunt. The HX 1700 Spline wheels are at the pricier end of the spectrum, heading comfortably into the realms of carbon fibre rims from some brands.

Arguably, they don’t offer the best value for money when comparing outright purchase prices. However, the longevity of the factory build and the almost unbeatable performance of the 350 hubs go some way towards providing compelling reasons for their cost.

The HX 1700 is arguably more robust than the EX 1700 counterpart, with spoke tensions remaining tighter for longer, and trueing required less frequently. Stiffness felt similar to the EX 1700 front wheel, but the HX 1700 rear was more taught, which is especially noticeable in high-load, short-radius turns.

The EXC 1501 Spline One costs £1,499.
Alex Evans / Immediate Media

Against the EXC 1501, the HX 1700 wheels felt smoother with less harshness over chattery terrain. Clearly, the deeper profile of the carbon fibre EXC 1501 rim was at play here, and I found a similar pattern when I rode the E 1900 and EX 1700 with the pricier carbon counterpart.

DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheels bottom line

The HX 1700 Spline wheels are marvellously robust, while managing to blend accurate steering with an almost uncanny ability to insulate the rider from trail chatter and any harshness.

Mixing these three things gives them a truly premium feel, but this, understandably, comes at a significant cost that might be unpalatable to some.

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If you’re a hard-hitting ebike rider who prioritises feel and performance over value, there’s little to dislike about the HX 1700 Spline.

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £794.98USD $1057.00
Weight 2,188g (29) – 29in, 30mm internal width, 6-bolt rotor, XD Driver
What we tested DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline
Year 2022
Brand Dt swiss

Features

Brake type Disc
Freehub XD Driver, Microspline, HG
Hubs DT Swiss 350 Hybrid
Rim depth 21mm
Rim internal width 30mm
Rim material Aluminium
Spoke count 28 rear
Spokes 28
Tubeless compatibility Tubeless ready
Tyre type Tubeless
Wheel size 29in/700c