DT Swiss have jumped back into the suspension game with their new 535 platform.
When visiting the DT Swiss HQ in January, I toured the workshop, test facility and wheel building areas. Some things I couldn't take photos of, and some things I could. There was plenty of things going on behind the test room door.
Ironically, while I wasn't allowed to photograph the process of making aero spokes, I could photograph what they were testing. Along with rolling resistance of wheels and tyres, impact resistance of carbon rims and other machines making a lot of noise trying to break parts, I spotted a machine putting what looked like a suspension fork damper through its paces.
At the time I was told that yes, DT Swiss would be coming back into the suspension world in a bigger way. They were still producing suspension, but nothing really for the demands of all-mountain riding. And now as they announce the 535 concept, we can see what they were working on.
DT Swiss 535 - holistic performance
Holistic performance? We didn't come up with their branding, but the concept is that they're combining many of the best attirubutes of suspension, to make an ideal all-mountain suspension platform for forks and rear shocks. From the efficiency of cross-country suspension to the stability of downhill suspension - they want it all in the 535 platform.
The F535 One fork has a speed dependant damping system to control the coil and air spring. Yes, coil and air. The coil spring is used for the supple initial stroke to remove any breakaway resistance, with the naturally progressive nature of an air spring taking over from there. There is an external adjustment sitting atop the right fork leg. Legs look to be 35mm and they use a 15mm axle. The forks also come with a neat intergrated fender.
DT Swiss call their damping Plushport. Imagine an opening in the low speed compression damping circuit that allows really free movement of oil, so it is super plush. But as you push deeper the hole closes, increasing compression damping. So, low speed you have smooth travel for stability, front wheel tracking and fatigue reduction. Go faster and you have the support to be taking big hits without blowing through your travel. That sounds pretty good. Need more tech insights? Get them from DT Swiss.
The fork weighs about 2kg - 2.02kg in 27.5 and 2.09kg in 29". Both forks come in 130, 140, 150 and 160mm travel, in Boost spacing only. Currently offset is 51mm in the 29/27.5+ model and 44mm in the 27.5" model.
The R535 One shock is a large chambered air shock, with a big negative chamber to help reduce the breakway force for small bump compliance., With a linear curve rate it should match the F535 One shock in terms of speed sensitive performance. Available in standard and trunnion mounts it's a big step compared to previous DT Swiss rear shocks, but it doesn't seem to be extolling virtues like the F535 fork. Weight starts at 266g and you can get it with a 3-position adjustment or with a remote lock out.
Pricing is yet to be set for Australia - but the development in the fork damping does sound exciting. We'll see if we get a chance to ride a bike equipped with the 535 platform in the future.