The right set of wheels can make or break your bike. From rim strength, rim width, hub reliability and freehub engagement - there's a lot that makes one set of wheels right for you and how you ride. We have tested a number of DT Swiss wheels here at AMB, and even dropped in to their facility in Bielle to say g'day. This week, DT Swiss have revealed their new 1501 Spline mountain bike wheels, and the 1700 Spline wheels which have had big updates that improve strength, weight, reliability - and ride quality.

The DT Swiss 1501 Spline goes carbon

The DT Swiss 1501 has been a benchmark alloy wheel in the DT Swiss range for almost 10 years. With a DT Swiss 240 hub tied to a DT Swiss rim with their own spokes and nipples, you had a wheel that was made completely with quality parts. And over time, there were different rim width options as well.

None of that changes with the new models - but the rims are now carbon, falling into the XRC, XMC and EXC models, just like the 1200 series wheels we have been testing recently. The hubs are the new DT Swiss 240 EXP hubs, not the 180 models in the high end 1200 series of wheels. The EXP series hubs have removed a couple of parts to make a stronger, stiffer and lighter rear hub. All that adds up to greater reliability. All wheels will have a 36t ratchet, which is what DT Swiss feel is optimum for low drag and greater reliability. The new hubs also have a lighter end cap that is also easier to remove by hand - no more reaching for the multigrips. Not that that ever happened...

As a refresher, the DT Swiss XRC wheels are aimed at cross-country and marathon riding (but the 30mm XRC 1200 version did survive a visit to Maydena and Derby...) and you can get them in 25mm or 30mm internal widths. The XMC has a 30mm internal width, and is built for trail riding - and our test set of XMC 1200 Spline was happy doing runs on the Cannonball run.

What's the difference between 25 or 30mm rims for XC anyway?

The XMC rim has a 30mm internal width and 36mm external.

The EXC are the enduro wheel, with a heavier duty build and higher overall weight limit. Internal width stays at 30mm, for proven support of wider tyres. The rim profile is noticeably beefier, and this is the wheel for those who want the low weight of carbon for their enduro build. Weights start at just 1609g.

The EXC rim has more carbon on the spoke bed which assists with greater stiffness and strength.

Spokes are DT Competition Race spokes, and the butting helps save weight and increase fatigue resistance. DT Swiss claim about 180g is saved per wheel set compared to the alloy models. Prolock alloy nipples are used with the spokes, and the tape is done at the factory.

There are options for 6-bolt or centrelock rotor attachments, and while wheels will come stock with a SRAM XD Driver, Microspline drivers are included, as are valves. All hubs are Boost, so there's no option for 142x12 and 100x15mm hubs. The XRC and XMC models are 29er only, however the EXC models are available in both 29" and 27.5" models. All wheels use straight pull spokes.

DT Swiss have published a really basic chart showing impact strength between the XRC, XMC and EXC. While it's not validated by numbers, it does show the relative differences. If you hit a lot of stuff, the EXC are clearly the winner.

 Finalised pricing from DT Swiss Australia hasn't been confirmed as yet, but we imagine somewhere in the mid $2000 price point. But these are unprecedented times, as we get told daily, so let's see what pricing is revealed.

Not keen on carbon? Well DT Swiss also updated the 1700 Spline wheels.