In terms of the highly competitive best mountain bike wheels segment, the updated DT Swiss M1900 wheelset brings the stiffness, strength and reliability of the brand’s pricier wheels to a much friendlier price point. If you can forgive a slightly weightier and pricier build than similar wheels from competing brands, there’s very little not to like here.
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DT Swiss M 1900 SPLINE 29 wheelset - Technical details
The DT Swiss M1900 wheelset has seen the benefit of the classic trickle-down effect. Updated in 2021, it importantly features the brand’s new Ratchet LN 18 freehub that drops the pawl system in favour of a ratchet mechanism. That freehub finds its home within the 370 hub.
This is great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it not only brings the system’s known reliability to an accessible price point but it’s also pretty simple to maintain. It’s easily upgradable if you’re after faster engagement, too. Simply buy the £90 54T Star Ratchet Upgrade and the replacement is a job that can easily be done with almost no tools at all.
Another thing that’s appreciated with the Ratchet LN freehub is that it’s nearly silent. Granted, this might not be for everyone but there’s something quite pure about riding with only the sound of tyres engaging with the trail.
This alloy wheelset features a 30mm wide (internal) M 502 rim, which is the brand’s budget version of the XM 481 but this one is joined using a sleeve that’s glued within the rim. This method of construction adds a bit of weight, making the wheelset come in at a round 2,000g.
While each wheel dons 28 straight-pull spokes, the wheelset uses centrelock brake mounts. If adapters weren’t included with full wheelset purchases, I would be grumbling here but kudos to DT Swiss for doing this; saving the customer a bit of cash and generally making life a little bit easier.
DT Swiss M 1900 SPLINE 29 wheelset - Performance
The DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheelset was put through just over six months worth of testing where they saw the depths of winter, straight through to dry springtime trails and the wheels haven’t missed a beat. While I did manage to pick up a bit of a ding on the rear wheel, I had no idea of this until I struggled to seat a fresh tyre. Even with the dent, the wheel ran absolutely perfectly, with no subsequent spoke issues.
After finding the dent in the rim, all it took was a quick bend with an adjustable spanner and the wheel was ready to go. That’s the joy of alloy rims, people!
As for tubeless inflation, these rims have been dressed with a good handful of different tyres and have even seen a CushCore installation. Usually, I would do my best to avoid swapping tyres regularly and I prefer to stay away from tyre inserts to keep my heart rate low but, on each of these occasions, tubeless inflation and messing about with tyre inserts was surprisingly easy. That’s with a mix of brands including WTB, Continental and Maxxis to name a few. Oh, and the wheels come tubeless ready out of the box with valves.
Coming from a proper spendy carbon wheelset, I didn’t have high hopes for the M1900s, expecting a good deal of flex during testing. Surprisingly, they held up on all counts.
I rode these wheels exactly how I would ride any other and while they’re a little more laterally compliant than my usual set, the minimal flex is nothing out of the ordinary. The fact that they remain almost perfectly true is impressive, and it’s very rare that I don’t put a wobble into a wheel after such a time period.
As for the bearings, they’re running as smoothly as they did the moment I pulled the wheels out of the box. Again, these were ridden through a pretty wet winter and spring, so it’s great to see that they can cope with the worst the UK’s weather can throw at them.
As standard, the Ratchet LN freehub comes with the 18T ratchet rings and technically, the system has one engagement point as the entire faces of the rings contact each other under power, reducing peak torque values and boosting the system's service life. During testing, I've found that the rear hub's pickup is nothing to be sniffed at for the money. While not instantaneous, or as urgent as pricer freehubs, I never felt hindered or at a disadvantage. Though, if it's too slow for your tastes, there is of course the 54T upgrade kit.
DT Swiss M 1900 SPLINE 29 wheelset - Verdict
As I mentioned at the start of this review, this wheelset has seen a price increase since the previous model and that’s put it into a rather hot price point. Hunt’s Trail Wide wheelset will set you back £340 and we found them to be perfectly reliable. The Hunt’s are 150g lighter, too.
There’s also Shimano’s XT M8120 wheelset that’s just a bit pricier at £410. Though, with these wheels you’ll be committing to a Microspline freehub and potentially, a Shimano drivetrain (but only if you can’t cope with mixing brands). The DT Swiss’s and the Shimanos only have a few grams between them, with the former being slightly heavier.
During my time with the DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheelset, I’ve really struggled to find something to complain about. They’re stiff enough, strong enough and absolutely reliable while bringing useful tech from the brand's more expensive products to an accessible price. They are slightly weightier and pricier than other brands entry-level offerings, however.