Podcast: Wheels for your Gravel Bike by DT Swiss – With Taylor Bushong

DT Swiss gravel bike podcast

Our partner in podcasting, The Gravel Ride Podcast, sits down this week with Taylor Bushong of DT Swiss, to discuss gravel wheels. We dig into the considerations surrounding rim width and wheel sizes to tease out the considerations when upgrading your wheels. We also get a glimpse into the company’s interesting history.

You can also check out Gravel Cyclist’s review of the DT Swiss GRC1400 Spline 650b & 700c Carbon Wheelsets for Gravel

DT Swiss Website

Click to Play the Podcast

Automatic Transcription by The Gravel Ride (please excuse all errors)

[00:00:00]Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I’m your host Craig Dalton.

[00:00:10]This week on the podcast I’m excited to welcome Taylor Bushong from DT Swiss to the show.

[00:00:15]We’re going to explore a little bit of the interesting history behind DT Swiss as the company. But also critically explore some of the dimensions and rim technology and some of the features. You need to be considering when looking at wheel sets.

[00:00:30]Before we jump in, I need to thank this week, sponsors our friends at athletic greens, the most comprehensive daily nutritional beverage I’ve ever tried. As you know, if you’ve been a listener, I’ve been a athletic greens customer for about three years. And I really consider it the fundamental building block.

DT Swiss gravel bike podcast
JOM of GC rolling the DT Swiss GRC1400 Wheelset

[00:00:48] Of my, sometimes less than perfect nutritional strategy.

[00:00:52]With so many life stressors this last year and into 2021 with the COVID pandemic, it’s difficult to maintain effective [00:01:00] nutritional habits and give our bodies the nutrients.   It needs to thrive where their busy schedules, our workouts are tough rides. We simply cannot eat enough of the right foods and it can leave us deficient in key nutrients.

[00:01:13]For me, that’s where athletic greens slips in with 75 vitamins minerals and whole foods sourced ingredients. Including multivitamins, multi minerals, probiotic. Green superfood blend and more. They all work together to fill that nutritional gap in my diet, increase energy and focus aid with digestion and support a healthy immune system.

[00:01:35] All without having to take multiple products or pills. So, if you’re interested in more information, please visit athleticgreens.com/thegravelride gravel ride. They’ve been a long time supporter of the show and you having curiosity about what they provide is very important to me and the podcast. So thanks for visiting [00:02:00] www.athleticgreens.com/thegravelride to check them out.

[00:02:02]

[00:02:02]One further note from last week’s episode where Randall had a great interview with Ted Wong. I’m definitely curious to get your feedback on that episode. It’s a bit of a departure and something I felt strongly was well within Randall’s wheelhouse. To conduct that type of interview and really extract those points about motivations around why we ride.

[00:02:24] I was excited to hear it myself. It was great being on the other side of this feed and getting delivered at episode I enjoyed. So if you have any specific feedback about that episode, definitely hit me up or visit us in theRidership forum.  www.theridership.com to let us know your thoughts. With that said let’s dive right in to this week show.

[00:02:46]Taylor welcome to the show.

[00:02:48] Taylor: [00:02:48] Thanks. Glad to be here.

[00:02:49]Craig: [00:02:49] Yeah. I’m excited to have you and just kind of dig into wheel technology and rim technology for the listener. I think so many people, obviously we get a wheel [00:03:00] set with the bike we buy from the bike shop and at the onset, we don’t think too much about it, but as we get into the sport more and more and learn a bit more.

[00:03:10] A replacement wheel set, a wheel set upgrade is always been one of those things that can really increase the performance of a bike. So it’s going to be great to dig into some of those details with you.

[00:03:22] Taylor: [00:03:22] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, as you know, as we all know, you’re the motor on a bike, so the more efficient you can make that motor the the better time you’re going to have, whether it’s a update in the wheel or anything along the lines.

[00:03:34] So

[00:03:34] Craig: [00:03:34] right on, we’ll tell her, let’s start off by just learning a little bit more about you and get a brief background about you as a cyclist. And then let’s talk about some of the storied history of DT Swiss as a brand.

[00:03:46]Taylor: [00:03:46] Okay. Yeah. Not that I have an incredibly exciting cycling background. I studied exercise physiology in college that got me real excited on you know, more endurance during sports.

[00:03:56] I grew up in Valdez, Alaska, where there’s a [00:04:00] heavy adrenaline rush. You know, upbringing there, you have snowmobiles snowboards, all that sort of business. So I’m the kind of the combination of the two led me to more, more of the the Enduro free rides type mountain biking. But then as I went through the schooling there got realized that cardiovascular health is a very important for longevity.

[00:04:20] So I started making roads into the more narrow, tired drop bar realm and been. Yeah, recreationally and recreationally competitively riding bikes for probably seven, eight years now. Right. And how long have you been working at DT Swiss? Yeah. So I am rounding out year with, with DT and I am the representative for North America in most of the marketing activities, whether that’s a road, mountain gravel, I’m just kind of the liaison between our think tank over in Switzerland and the us market and North American market in general.

[00:04:58] So.

[00:04:58] Craig: [00:04:58] Nice for [00:05:00] me as someone who’s been around the sport for a while. I always think about DT Swiss in terms of the hubs. When we were talking earlier, before the broadcast, you were telling me about some of the rich history of the company, and I’d love for the listener to understand more about DT Swiss and what was the origins of the company?

[00:05:19] Taylor: [00:05:19] Yeah, that’s a great question. And you know, when most people revert back to the, the huggy hub and the star ratchet system, as knowing though that’s the identity of DET we actually have a long lineage. It’s been in Switzerland for many, many years. DT as most people know it started with a management buyout in 1994 from United wire works.

[00:05:39]And United wire works was a manufacturer spokes in Switzerland, probably since then, early 1930s. And prior to that if you’re aware of what drawn wire was used for in Switzerland as, as a very neutral area in Europe that’s where the hired mercenaries lived and worked. And that drawn wire was [00:06:00] actually used to make chain mail.

[00:06:01] So way back in the day this drawn wire was used for chain mail and it slowly, it started working its way into bicycles as that, you know, turn of the century became a little more. Exciting to do. And then in 94 our current man, our current owners you know, did a management buyout. And at that time they had three skews of spokes.

[00:06:20] That was the revolution, the competition and the champion. So since 1994, our portfolio has grown to having a skew chart. So big that I can’t tell you everything that’s on it today. So. It’s kind of a short, skinny, amazing. So that says it, suffice it to say that it sounds like DT Swiss as whoever figured out to put metal spokes on a bicycle DT Swiss sounds like they were around for when that happened.

[00:06:48] And we’re supplying spokes to the first wheels that were ever made. Yeah. And, and I don’t want to say that was DT Swiss at that time. It would have been United wire works. But yeah, I mean, long, [00:07:00] long ago they realized that the stainless steel or steel in a spoke provided a better ride quality than you know, wooden spokes or something.

[00:07:08] So since then it’s been the meat and potatoes kind of, of DT Swiss. Spoke to themselves. So

[00:07:14] Craig: [00:07:14] interesting. Well, I wanted to speak to you as an expert on wheels and wheels technology, because I, as I said earlier, I think a lot of listeners think about getting an upgraded wheel set for their bike and with gravel as with everything in this sector of the sport.

[00:07:29] There’s so many variables to consider whether it’s. The size of wheel between 706 50 B the type of spoke the type of Ram. So kind of Le let’s break down the wheel set for people and just talk about those different components and the effect it has on ride quality. For example.

[00:07:49] Taylor: [00:07:49] Yeah. So that’s a good place to start with, with anyone looking for any sort of upgrade or, or, you know, entry-level or any sort of level of bike.

[00:07:58] My first question would [00:08:00] be, what is your intended purpose? What are you trying to get out of the ride? What are you trying to get out of the bike? Because that could really, that could really narrow down your selection and make it a lot easier to digest. I mean, we’re in. The today’s the day and age where you can pretty much anything under the sun is available.

[00:08:15] If your pocket book is large enough. So that’s, that’s the best place to start is what are the intended needs of the, of the rider and then going from there.

[00:08:25] Craig: [00:08:25] How broad would you like if we were having, if you were asking me about it, what are the broad categories we’re talking about there? Are we talking about a spectrum from.

[00:08:34] Hey, I want to race my gravel bike on one side too. Hey, I want to go on a bike packing trip on the other side.

[00:08:41] Taylor: [00:08:41] Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question as well. And that’s why I think the gravel space is so cool is because there’s not the biggest definition of you know, what a gravel bike is. I went to an event I guess that was two years ago now where I had never seen a flat bars on a six 50 B with a frame bag and a dropper post, but that’s [00:09:00] gravel and that’s, that’s, that’s just fine.

[00:09:01] So there’s there’s categories from, you know, more skinny tire. Not DK. Oh, what is that one called now? Unbound gravel. Yes. There’s, you know, more skinnier tire events like Unbound gravel, or more party type atmosphere with a bigger tire like grinders. So or any bike packing needs in between.

[00:09:20] So whether it’s recreational or racing, there’s also different avenues within those within gravel and particularly picking a particular wheel to match your needs. I think. Goes far better than than just getting something off the, off the shelf and going from there.

[00:09:35]Craig: [00:09:35] Before we blow out and sort of talk about wheel sizes and rim diameters, let’s start at the hub.

[00:09:42] Is there, are there things that we should be considering when looking for a wheel set in terms of comparing one hub to another, for example?

[00:09:49] Taylor: [00:09:49] Well, in general I would say, GRA gravel can get you into some places kind of far away from any sort of support. So, number one, to me, my thoughts would [00:10:00] be durability reliability of those products, but also that comes off a little bias as I am you know, work for DT.

[00:10:06] And, you know, the, the restart ratchet hub has been pretty, pretty strong for many, many years. So yeah, hubs As long as you have something that’s durable, reliable engagement is somewhat of a question, you know, but also drag is, is another thing to keep in mind because you are going to be on these these bicycles for a really long period of time, not have to be, but that’s kind of the allure of gravel as well.

[00:10:31] Craig: [00:10:31] Is there a way to quantify these things sort of beyond the reputation of the hub manufacturer?

[00:10:37]Taylor: [00:10:37] You know, there that’s, that’s a good question. And getting me kind of on point here. I don’t know if we actually have exact data that says you know, one system or one type of system is better than another. But yeah, that’s definitely something that I should follow up on with you and see if I can provide more info.

[00:10:54] Craig: [00:10:54] Yeah. Not to put you on the spot. Cause I do think, you know, for me, oftentimes I seek out. [00:11:00] The reputation of the brand to get a sense from other writers as to the hubs durability, but at the end of the day, you know, who knows how hard people are riding these products when they’re giving me their personal feedback, you know it’s going to vary a ton, I imagine.

[00:11:16] Taylor: [00:11:16] Yeah. Yeah. And the, and the interesting thing that we see with gravel especially is you get kind of in a In the middle ground between the road, you know, road grupos and mountain group hose, and people are mixing and matching certain things and you can get really big cassettes that put more torque on the, you know, on the hub driving systems.

[00:11:36] So that that’s where a durable, reliable hub in a gravel wheel is pretty important because you can get these super low gear ratios. And if your bikes weighed down and you’re pedaling up a steep Hill, that’s you got to think that that’s Wearing on your equipment, a little more than a you know, a smaller cog set with a, you know, a road road set up on there.

[00:11:54] So

[00:11:55]Craig: [00:11:55] that’s a good point that it’s so interesting to think about because obviously we’re all these [00:12:00] bikes, regardless of what category and you’re pedaling the bike. You’re putting some torque on your components and onto the wheel set. But thinking about how you apply torque to the bike on a mountain biker, gravel bike is obviously different than sort of the consistent power you’re often putting into a road bike.

[00:12:18]So if we, if we move out from the hub now we’re then into the spokes. Is there a modern kind of sort of average number of spokes that people are putting in these wheels? Or is it, is it all over the board? Is that something that as a buyer you need to consider at this point?

[00:12:33] Taylor: [00:12:33] Yeah. You know, if, if you have some specific needs you know, in terms of, you know, that you’re going to.

[00:12:39] Put all of your life on this bike. Then, you know a higher spoke count is probably, is probably the, the place to go. But I would say most you know, speaking for our brand itself, DT itself we’ve, we’ve settled in at 24. Spokes is for the, for the gravel or application, but we also do have.

[00:12:57] Components that are available, that if a [00:13:00] driver has specific needs, you can bump that to 28 32 holes. So it, you know, our system wheels not to get into our product, right. Right out the gate we’re fixed on a 24 hole setup, but yeah, there’s different, you know, different needs require different products.

[00:13:16] So there are,

[00:13:17] Craig: [00:13:17] is it safe to assume then that your mountain bike wheel sets would have more than 24 spokes?

[00:13:23] Taylor: [00:13:23] That is safe to say. And the DT mountain bike wheel lines, if it’s a you know, out of the box, DT set is going to be a 28 hole.

[00:13:31] Craig: [00:13:31] Okay. And then do they go even less for road wheels or is 24 kind of where you landed there as well?

[00:13:37]Taylor: [00:13:37] 24 is where we landed with our road wheel lineup. If you start getting into rim brake road wheels with the less, you know, less torque off the hub itself and more on the rim there are options that have 20 and 21 holes. Actually our road wheels have like an asymmetric lacing where two to one on the rear wheels.

[00:13:54] So it just kind of depends on the intended use of that product. And that’s where You know, knowing, [00:14:00] knowing kind of what you’re going for is, is a great place to start. And then, then folks can help you narrow down those best to use categories for you.

[00:14:09] Craig: [00:14:09] Yeah. It’s an interesting thing. You highlighted around the torque on the hub and I hadn’t really thought about it specifically until you mentioned it.

[00:14:16] The idea that obviously the disc brake is putting a lot of torque on that hub and it’s gotta be a little stronger down there than a rim brake equivalent.

[00:14:25]Taylor: [00:14:25] Yeah. Yeah. And breaking force is pretty darn heavy compared to peddling force peddling forces, mostly, you know, not all the time, but it’s a, it’s oftentimes consistent or breaking force.

[00:14:37]Something runs out in front of you and you grab a whole handful. Like it’s that’s a lot.

[00:14:42] Craig: [00:14:42] Yeah. And then if we continue moving out along the spoke, you then come to the nipple. And in modern wheel technology, you, you have both, I don’t know if it’s referred to as nipple LIS, but you’ve got nippled spokes and, and sort of non replaceable spokes.

[00:14:56] When we talked earlier, we had talked about how [00:15:00] bike packing sort of the replaceability factor is, can be super important and critical. Can you talk about the differences between a nippled spoke and a non nipple spoke?

[00:15:12] Taylor: [00:15:12] Yeah. So with that Speaking for our brand. We’ve moved away from any of the proprietary stuff that would, it would require a nipple list.

[00:15:20]Fastener. Now what we’re using is called hidden spoken nipples that are actually inside of the rim. So they just, they have a little concaved. Piece that fits buttons right up in next to the rim. And that saves a few you know, half a water, so on, you know, for those people who are looking for aerodynamics, but you’re exactly right on a bike packing more adventure type setup.

[00:15:40] The external spoke nipple is a, is a. Far more practical use for those. And you know, if you’re weighing down that bike with everything, you’re on it you know, a watt or two in aerodynamic gains may not necessarily be the most highly sought after items. So the fact that you know, you have external [00:16:00] spoke nipples and can, and can, you know, true up something if you know, right there on the bike using, you know A chopstick and a zip tie or brake calipers, if you’re a rim breaker or, you know, anything like that.

[00:16:10]So that’s where the external versus internal spoke nipples would be beneficial for each intended use. And if you’ve got an internal spoke nipple, is it a different tool that’s used in truing? Yeah, so you’re gonna have to for one the tire, and if there’s an inner tube, the inner tube will have to be removed.

[00:16:31] If there’s tubeless tape, the tubeless tape would have to be removed. And then there is a specific square driver that would fit into that rim that allows you to actually turn those. .

[00:16:41] Craig: [00:16:41] Gotcha. As you say, more labor intensive. Yeah. As you say things, I’m just processing in my mind thinking, Oh, okay.

[00:16:47] I get how that would work.

[00:16:50] Taylor: [00:16:50] And imagine if you had a sew up that’s glued on these days, man, that’s even another step. Absolutely glad we’re behind the, those for the most part.

[00:17:00] [00:17:00] Craig: [00:17:00] So going out to rims and rim with let’s tackle rim width first, because I think that’s one area that I struggled to get my head around for a while.

[00:17:10] So for the uninitiated. How do people, how should people think about the width of a rim and the ramifications on, you know, the tire, et cetera?

[00:17:21]Taylor: [00:17:21] Yeah. So that’s, that’s all, that’s great question there. And that’s one that can be hotly debated, depending on who, where, what you’re, you’re looking to do rim with does it does a multitude of things.

[00:17:32] It also increases the amount of air volume that you have in your. Having your tire because that just simply makes that chamber a little bit larger. And the biggest thing that we’re seeing with a wider rim with is that you can lower those tire pressures and that allows for a little less rolling resistance.

[00:17:51]And the rolling resistance is that tire deforming, that leading edge of that tire deforming, as it hits the ground, the less air you have in [00:18:00] that tire, the easier it does that. But the less air you have in that tire, if you have a low volume, then you can get the snake bites or pinch flats. So with an increased volume, you can reduce the amount of air.

[00:18:12] And one way to do that without only going with the tire is increasing that rim. So that’s where a gravel bike may differ from a cyclocross or a road bike, is it allows for bigger tires and bigger rims too, to do that is to lower that air pressure. So that’s just one Avenue.

[00:18:28] Craig: [00:18:28] So maybe to set the stage for the listener.

[00:18:31] And if we think about, and I, and I know this number could be all over the board, but if we think about a road bike rim, and maybe even take one that someone might’ve had for the last five years, what type of rim diameter would that likely be? Ballpark wise? Rim diameter or rim wit that we’re talking. What do you think is the easiest thing for people to understand?

[00:18:52] Between the two

[00:18:54]Taylor: [00:18:54] well rim diameter on the drop bar segment, hasn’t changed much in a long [00:19:00] time. We have now started to see the introduction of the six 50 B or the 27 and a half inch wheel making its way to the road bike or gravel bike aspects. So I would say maybe in a rim width would be a better place to start and set the scene here because.

[00:19:19] Yeah, cause there’s a S a more incremental changes that we’ve seen over the years in those, in that realm that has got us to where we are today. And so what would our inner rim width, what would it, what would one be on the road typically? So a road bike say five to eight years ago. You’d probably see a 15 mil internal rim with And, you know, five to eight years ago, mountain bikes had a 22 mil internal rim.

[00:19:47] So, and that has grown over the, over the years with you know, roadies, Anita. 30 or 23 C with a 15 mil rim, because narrow is arrow and it’s light. [00:20:00] Well with a little more technology behind things we’re finding you know, other things like rolling resistance are a bigger Bigger headwind to overcome.

[00:20:07] So those rims have bumped our aerodynamic road wheel. These days has a 20 mil internal rim. So if you’re following me, mountain bike of five to eight years ago was at 22. Now our aerodynamic road wheels that we’re putting on triathletes and time trial, his bikes are coming in at a 20 mil internal rim. So just to own it.

[00:20:29] Yeah, there’s a huge progression in that, you know, inner rim width moving, moving forward. And over the past years it’s changed quite a bit.

[00:20:37]Craig: [00:20:37] And where did it go for mountain bike rims then if it started at 22 millimeter five years ago, where is it today?

[00:20:44]Taylor: [00:20:44] You know, it, it, it did one of the, you know, the classic  it got wide enough and has been reeled back in.

[00:20:50] And so now we’re finding about, about 30 mil is, is the You know, if you’re using a microwave number, a number that ends in a five or a zero, it’s probably right there. Some [00:21:00] brands use a 29, some brands use a 32 but about 30 mill from all disciplines our, our land in there. I mean, even in cross-country racing, we’re starting to see 30 mill internal rims with 2.4 inch tires on, on a cross-country race track.

[00:21:15] So which, you know, three, four years ago, you wouldn’t. See a 2.4 anywhere except, you know, downhill purposes. So the about 30 mil is where mountain bikes have landed. All right. So we’ve, we’ve sort of looked at the, the inner and outer edges, where do your gravel wheel setups land? The gravel comes. The gravel wheel line from DT comes in at 24 mil.

[00:21:38] And the cool thing about that number is from our entry-level wheel on the G 1800, all the way up to our high end carbon wheel, they will have the same internal rim width. So doesn’t matter. The quality of the components used the. The ideas behind them are going to be the same, whether entry-level or top of the line.

[00:21:58] Craig: [00:21:58] And does that number [00:22:00] stayed the same between 700 C and six 50?

[00:22:03]Taylor: [00:22:03] It does. Yes, it does.

[00:22:06] Craig: [00:22:06] And yeah. Is there a thought on the optimum tire size for that, or is it, is it sort of based around a range?

[00:22:16] Taylor: [00:22:16] It’s based around a range and also your, your intended use. If you’re doing the Unbound gravel, and you, you have a, you know, you want to keep 20 miles per hour for X amount of time, then we’d recommend, you know, a, about a 40 C tire on that 24, because then you still gain some aerodynamic advantages.

[00:22:37] If you’re going to be using a six 50 B wheel You know, on a, on a bike packing application pretty much is as wide as your frame will accept or about 2.2 is what we, 2.2 inches is what we say is is that range for that 24 mil internal.

[00:22:52]Craig: [00:22:52] Gotcha. That makes sense. Yeah. And then, so if we look at the DT Swiss lineup, I [00:23:00] believe you’ve got three models focused on gravel right now.

[00:23:03] Is that right?

[00:23:04] Taylor: [00:23:04] That is correct. Yeah. So the G 1800 is the most entry-level wheel. The gr 1600 is our mid range. And then the GRC 1400 is the, the high end option.

[00:23:18]Craig: [00:23:18] And from your website, I’m just going to read to give people a context of what these wheels let’s go for. The G 1800 has an MSRP of $492.

[00:23:28] The gr 1600 has an MSRP of $707. And the GRC 1400, which is the carbon wheel set is starting at 24 79, 2,479.

[00:23:45] Taylor: [00:23:45] Yeah. Yeah. And that’s exactly correct. And you notice that there is a, you know, pretty close jump between the two aluminum versions and then a large jump into the the, the carbon option. And there’s some R and D purposes that maybe we’ll get into a [00:24:00] little later in this talk behind behind what, what led to those Those different price points, but yeah they’re pretty wide range there to meet different needs, but also hopefully a price for an entry-level set to get someone excited, whether they have a 700 C current set and want to just give six 50 B a try without breaking the bank.

[00:24:19]That’s, that’s a great spot for that entry-level wheel.

[00:24:22] Craig: [00:24:22] There’s a lot of interest in that, in my audience about getting that second set of wheels, regardless of whether you started it. Six 50 or 700. I see a lot of people obviously riding the wider tires on their six 50 B wheel set for more adventure riding or hardcore off-road riding.

[00:24:40] Whereas the 700 C might be your road wheel set, or your more lighter gravel fare.

[00:24:46]Taylor: [00:24:46] Yeah, that’s definitely a good, a good mix between the, between the two. And that’s, that’s honestly what I’m doing with my gravel bike as well. I got a G 1800, six 50 set and a GRC 14, 700 C set, [00:25:00] so narrow and arrow and Widen having a lot of fun on the other ones.

[00:25:05] Craig: [00:25:05] And frankly, for me, for me, the realization has come, you know, I’m not religious about six 50 versus 700, but I am more religious about the ties, the tire size that I want to be riding. And as frame design continues to evolve, we’ll probably start to see. And obviously there are examples of this in the market today of 700 C.

[00:25:30] Wheel sets on frames that can take a 700 by 50 tire.

[00:25:36] Taylor: [00:25:36] Yeah. And that’s that’s do you know, that’s one thing where people ask wheel brands, Hey, are you the one who’s changing the HubSpot, Hey, are you the one who’s changing this? And that’s all down to the frames, you know? So those guys keep pushing those frames a little wider.

[00:25:49] That’s going to continue. I’m making for adaptations on the component suppliers. So. Yeah.

[00:25:55] Craig: [00:25:55] Do you want to dig into sort of what type of riders or experiences each, [00:26:00] each model of wheel is sort of designed for in your mind?

[00:26:04] Taylor: [00:26:04] Yeah. I think starting with just kind of the, the, a little bit of the technical differences between the two, because what I don’t want to do is put a rider, you know, exclude them from a category.

[00:26:14]What I think would be best is, is talking about the differences between, between them and let the viewers figure out why, you know, what might be the most relevant for them. If that’s a good place to go. All right. So just starting starting from the work in the way from entry to the, to the top of the line and we’ll start from the inside out.

[00:26:33]Just kind of the way we did with with the breakdown of hubs, spokes, nipples, and rims. So the G 1800 is based around DT. Swiss is three Paul hub design. So if you’re familiar with the star ratchet system, this wheel does not feature that system. This and that, that’s what gets you that you know, very entry level price point, and that is an entry level for DT Swiss, not necessarily entry-level for the bicycle industry [00:27:00] itself.

[00:27:00] So just getting that out there right away. But with that, there is no hold backs from you. You can, you can run it. 12 by one 42. So the actual spacing and the ability to change within those axle spacing, not future proof, but future resistance is also built into this wheel as well. We are using a bladed spoke on this wheel to give you some it allows for radial you know, with radial torque to it, it’s very stiff, but also allows for a little lateral compliance.

[00:27:30] If you’re getting off of a, you know, onto a bumpy gravel ride because of the, because of the intended use of these wheels, more adventure, more You know, that that sort of element there are external spoke nipples and it is a sleeve jointed, aluminum rim. And the reason I say it like that is that’s another breakdown between the 1800 and the 1600 model.

[00:27:52] So when the rim. Leaves the extrusion, there is a small aluminum sleep that is placed in there and then pins. It [00:28:00] does accept a tubeless tire and as long as that tape inspect the tape and it goes from wall to wall and that tire fits in there. So it is a tubeless ready rim profile. And that’s kind of the, you know, 10,000 foot view of what what’s inside the G 1800.

[00:28:16] Okay. And then onto the, the gr 1600. Yep. And so moving on there, that is that, that hub based in that one is a three 50 level hub. If, if your viewers are familiar with the breakdown of DT Swiss hub hierarchy, the three 50 is the the entry point to the star ratchet system. So with that It has an 18, two star ratchet in there.

[00:28:41] It does have the ability to swap freehub bodies, just like all wheels in our lineup. Whether you have even the new, even the new campy 13 speed or XDR or GX or whatever you would like to use these wheels. All throughout the whole lineup do have and are free, have bodies and end [00:29:00] caps that can be changed to, to accommodate those differences.

[00:29:03]Like I mentioned before at is 24, 24 hole 24 spoke wheel. This also features the same arrows bladed spoke to. To have that radial rigidity, but a little bit of lateral compliance built in there. And then moving on to the spoken nipple, it does have the external spoke nipple because the, the idea of this gr 1600 from our product management was to be kind of an all around wheel, if you wanted to You know, get out and bike pack on it.

[00:29:31]It’s, it’s a really robust, really sturdy rim in this product. And it also has a welded rim joint. So I mentioned when the rim comes out of the extrusion on the 1800 it’s asleep, but then on the 1600 model, then we actually do a finishing weld around that sleep joint to just make a more robust product.

[00:29:51]It is a tubeless ready rim as well. So To meet all of the, you know, all of those cool new tires that everyone else is trying out, whether it’s a [00:30:00] 57 C or a 38 C you know, it can it’s compatible here. So that’s kind of the, the over overview of the 1600 model. Nice. And I will say I’ve been riding the DT Swiss three 50 hub on my primary wheel set for at least the last two years.

[00:30:20] Craig: [00:30:20] And I, it, it takes everything I’ve ever thrown at it. It’s, I mean, there’s a reason why it’s been a industry standard hub for so long. It’s just super high quality in my opinion.

[00:30:31] Taylor: [00:30:31] Yeah. And so when you do look at this, this hub, it’ll look just a little different than than the aftermarket three 50 that’s out there.

[00:30:38] That’s black with the white and black sticker down the middle. These wheels all are designated by the spline or the straight pole line of wheels. So it is the gr 1600 spline that spline references, the straight pull hub. So this is a three 50 version of that straight pull hub. So just getting that one out [00:31:00] there as well.

[00:31:00] That was a nice, nice lead in

[00:31:03] Craig: [00:31:03] and onto the the top end of the line, the GRC 1400.

[00:31:08] Taylor: [00:31:08] Yeah. So as you could see, there’s a C in the nomenclature, it stands for carbon. Anytime you see that in the DT wheel lineup, whether it’s the XMC or which is a cross mountain carbon, or an all mountain carbon wheel, or the PRC and the road we align, that’s the performance road, carbon line.

[00:31:26] So that’s just like designation there. But the cool thing with this particular rim, as well as a few other Road wheels in our product lineup, we partnered with an aerodynamics expert called Swiss side. That group there is you know, they came from the formula one racing background and designed wind foils for those different cars.

[00:31:44]Well they happen to be. Extreme bike nerds. So they fully dove into helping us design the aerodynamic profile of this rim. So that’s where that tire rim combination recommendation earlier. As soon as you start getting too wide [00:32:00] out of that recommendation, of course it will work, but.

[00:32:03] If you become less arrow at that time. So some of those design features in this wheel also give it that bigger jump that we talked about earlier in price points. But I kinda jumped ahead and went straight from the rim to the rim, not started with the hubs. So I’m going to backtrack just real quick.

[00:32:19] This is a two 40 version of the straight pole hub. So with that, it has a little more refining than that three 50 version on the The hub shell itself. So you get a little lighter weight product. And , the inner axles and bearings are a little higher quality than the three 50 version, but you still have the same star ratchet system inside, but this one comes stock with the 36 tooth upgrade.

[00:32:44]And as well freehub bodies. Future resistant as possible. Axle spacing resistant as possible on this product. So the classic DT tool necessary swapping is exactly what you’ll get with this product. [00:33:00] Spokes are a arrow comp and arrow light on this product. So a little, a little lighter weight, but still bladed spoke that you saw featured in the other two options.

[00:33:11]And this is just you know, To help increase the, the quality of this product and have the most durable, reliable one out there. So moving on from the spoke comes the spoken nipple with this product. The fact that it has a aerodynamic prowess to it. We chose to use the hidden or internal spoke nipples on this one.

[00:33:32] So you will notice that no, no turning from the outside on these ones. And I already dove into the rim tech behind this, the sky rims developed by Swiss side, full carbon full carbon rim. And it’s got a 42 millimeter. Deep rim on it that allows for that to aerodynamics, to, to play more of effect in there.

[00:33:54]And as I mentioned earlier, they’re all 24 mil internal rim. So interesting. And that I [00:34:00] have to say that GRC room, that wheel set is a badass looking wheel set. It does. And you know, if you, if you choose to go that direction with a six 50 B and put an extra big tire on there, you’re starting to get into, you know, it looks like a deep dish wheel on a gravel bike.

[00:34:17] So it’s kinda, it’s kind of a cool look to it.

[00:34:20] Craig: [00:34:20] Yeah, definitely. It’s interesting. When are we can, vanity is in bicycles. No one’s ever bought a product just because of that. Yeah, exactly. I had a question for you on the on the ability to change the, the axle. How does that, how does that work in practice?

[00:34:36]Taylor: [00:34:36] So the, the I’m gonna check you there real quick. We’re not changing the axle. We’re changing the end caps, which allows the interact are for the. The axle of the bike to meet the specific needs. So the interactional itself say on the rear wheel is just over a 12 mil because it’s a fit a 12 mil axle through there.

[00:34:58] You’re going to have to be just a tiny [00:35:00] bit larger. But with that, if you, if you happen to have a bike that has the one 35 quick release But still with disc brake option, then those end caps can actually pop off. And that quick release skewer will then push the frame to, to push on those end caps and use that 12 mil inner axle as, as the support piece.

[00:35:22] So whether your QR or there’s a 10 mill interacts, all that was used kind of before through axles were a thing. Those are options in all three of these different wheels.

[00:35:33] Craig: [00:35:33] Gotcha. So it’s just as an capstan. Is that a tool free swap over.

[00:35:38] Taylor: [00:35:38] Yeah. Yeah. They’re, they’re pressed fitted on there with, with the two 40 version of the hubs.

[00:35:42] So the GRC 1400, there’s a little there’s a little detent cut into the interactional. So yeah, you can even you know, yeah, it’s tool-free and that’s, that’s the whole name of the game. It doesn’t pop off, you know, very easily. There is a little bit of elbow grease that’s needed in there. But there’s a YouTube video out there probably [00:36:00] by not just us to show you any sort of compatibility needs there.

[00:36:05] Craig: [00:36:05] Yeah. Gotcha. If you have the opportunity as a listener, if you’re listening in front of your computer or have access to your computer, the DTS was.com website. Has some very useful visuals, obviously you’ll be, you can see the wheels as we’ve described them, but also have some visuals. If you’re looking for an adventure wheel versus a race wheel, some of the different dynamics that come into play across the product line.

[00:36:30] Taylor: [00:36:30] Yeah. Yeah. And I appreciate you mentioning that we have been working to put some more 3d renderings on our website. So if you’re curious about what the inside of a hub looks like while it’s actually ratcheting around you can see what’s going on with the, with the little Springs and the gears that are rolling on each other.

[00:36:48] So if you, if you have questions yeah. Toodle around on there. And you could probably answer them or if not hit that support button and just doesn’t matter what region you’re in. We’ll have someone reply to you in whatever your native [00:37:00] languages,

[00:37:00] Craig: [00:37:00] so perfect. Taylor, thanks for the overview. I appreciate you letting me dig in a little bit and I hope we’ve provided some good guidance to people as they’re thinking about upgrading or swapping out wheels for their gravel bikes.

[00:37:12] Taylor: [00:37:12] Yeah, yeah. Not a problem at all. And like I mentioned, if you have more questions, have you have your listeners reach out? We’re happy to help.

[00:37:18]Craig: [00:37:18] Cheers. Thanks, Taylor.

[00:37:20] All right. Thank you.

[00:37:21]So that’s it for another episode of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed digging into wheel technology with Taylor. I appreciate his time and I appreciate everything DT Swiss has done in the wheel market over the years.

[00:37:36] We’ve always got a pretty active discussion about wheels and tires over in the ridership forum so if you’ve got interest in engaging in that discussion just visit www.theridership.com for your invite or if you’re already a member jump right in

[00:37:52]And finally, if you’re interested in supporting the show, as you know, we’re supported by a small number of sponsors. But we’re also supported [00:38:00] by listeners. Like you simply visit buymeacoffee.com/thegravelride and contribute to our efforts here at the gravel ride podcast and the ridership community.

[00:38:12]Until next time here’s to finding some dirt under your wheels

Craig
The Gravel Ride Podcast

One thought on “Podcast: Wheels for your Gravel Bike by DT Swiss – With Taylor Bushong

  1. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it the ability to swap freehub bodies or endcaps is severely restricted on the basic (below 350 level) DT hubs/wheels. My local DT agent certainly thinks this is the case, and I’ve not seen any evidence online to suggest they’re wrong. And, FWIW, DT’s documentation on these things has been difficult to find or make sense of for several years now. 🙁

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