DT Swiss revealed its all-new DT Swiss Tricon wheelset at the annual Eurobike show in Germany late last year, but at a not-so-sunny hotel resort near Girona in Spain last week, the Swiss company officially pulled the covers of its new wheels and gave us the lowdown.
Tricon stands for Triple Connection and the beginning of this story dates back nearly ten years, when DT first started work on the project. Despite several prototypes and a few hub designs, the company found itself too busy to devote enough time to developing the wheels so it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that it found itself in a position to push them through to production.
The wheels boast several interesting and unique design solutions. Most interesting is the spoke lacing, which DT Swiss have thus coined with the phrase ‘crow foot’, there’s one radial spoke and two crossed spokes grouped together on the hub flange which work in unison to provide high levels of stiffness and torque transmission, with 24 spokes front and rear. This gives the wheels their unique look with a hub shape unlike any other.
The other notable difference to the hub design is the three-piece shell. DT wanted to separate spoke tension from the bearings so the central shell is machined separately and the flanges are then bonded in place along with three retaining bolts to keep the flanges in situ. This, says DT, allows for a more precise bearing seat and improves durability of the bearings, as well as lowering rolling resistance.
New straight double threaded spokes have been developed which do away with the traditional spoke elbow, along with new Torx nipples which hold the spokes into the flanges. At the rim end a neat rim insert offers several advantages over a more typical design. Firstly the insert allows for a more precise fitment into the rim and increases the surface area of contact to spread the load of the spoke tension.
Secondly, the design allows the rim to be completely airtight (and thus tubeless compatible without rim strips) because the spoke holes only go through the inner layer. It also makes for a lighter and stiffer rim, which benefit from a concave shape which DT says counters the forces generated by both the spokes and the tyre.
Currently there’s just one mountain bike wheelset available, the XM 1550 Cross Mountains. Different hub configurations including 9mm QR or 15mm bolt-through front and 10mm or 12mm rear axles are available. Weight is quoted at 1550g. Expect more Tricon wheels to be available soon.
We were able to give the wheels a ride on a Yeti ASR 5 Carbon and despite the appalling trail conditions (snow everywhere and fallen trees scattered liberally across all the trails we ventured onto), it was immediately obvious that the results of the unique hub, rim and spoke design has delivered a wheel that is very stiff in hard uphill out of the saddle pedalling and also pushing hard through corners, with little noticeable deflection.
The XM 1550 is right up against the Mavic Crossmax and judged on weight and ride feel, it looks more than a good rival. It’s not easy reinventing the wheel, but with the Tricon design DT Swiss will hope to make a large impact into the wheel sector, and we can’t help think that the first impressions are highly favourable. It might have taken them years to develop, but it seems like the wait was worth it.
XM 1550 front wheel: £399.99; rear wheel: £499.99
We’ll be getting some in for testing soon…