DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet

    Just posting to share my recent experience, blowing my Novatec hub on my 29er and upgrading to a DT Swiss 350 star ratchet hub. I then swapped to the 54 tooth ratchet and went from 20 degrees to about 6 degrees of engagement. WOW, truly an amazing transformation and makes my forced upgrade/replacement hub worth it.

    So I got to thinking and began researching converting my fat bike (DT Swiss 370 hub on the Canyon Dude). Although it has a 3 pawl system, I found a fantastic video of a guy showing how to swap in a 240/350 ratchet drive. Parts are on order to make the fatty a 54t star ratchet as well.

    I just never considered something so small would impact my riding that much. Anyone else notice drastic changes with increased points of engagement? I ride very technical roots and rocks for what its worth.

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_XpRZCLTX4
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  2. #2
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    When the engagement point count goes up, the ride improves immensely.
    I have 108 point engagement on one bike and an Onyx sprag drive on another. The sprag is near zero lash engagement and makes 108 point seem sloppy. The difference on the trails is an outstanding ride experience as opposed to an average experience. With power more accessible, clearing a section becomes more enjoyable and easier.

    20 degree would be horrendous, indeed
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  3. #3
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    Some people notice the difference, some don't. Some think the difference is important, some simply don't care. Sounds like you're in the former camp on both.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Some people notice the difference, some don't. Some think the difference is important, some simply don't care.
    It's a very interesting observation!

    I was in the firmly in the 'Care' camp, and made a conscious decision to get i9 hubs for my plus bike build and I loved these when I got them. Fast forward 12 months, I did a wheel building course and laced up a wheelset for my Fatbike with DTSwiss 350 and standard 18t ratchet.

    I straight out thought that it was going to be awful with such low engagement, as when I ride the fatbike on the beach, its usually very technical rock crawling that frequently needs half pedals and the like. I was thinking I'll goto the 54t in the near future, as the fat hubs that were being replaced, were 36t.

    What I found, was that I don't/didn't notice. Or at least not to a point where it is causing me not to clean lines that we are trying. In fact, I prefer the 'reliability' that it may be offering; at one steep sharp climb I try, the hub see's full force on the pedals as you stall out in 1st grear, would a 54t hold up to that, time after time? Who knows? And the beauty is that if it did fail I could be back running in 5 mins if needed.

    Forward another 12 months, and I have built another 350 into my Salsa Vaya wheelset, I again don't notice the 18t engagement and in fact am now moving into the 'Don't care' camp.

    I am not saying I am right, just that it's not something that I think about when out playing about on the bike anymore!

    What camp are you in, Mike??

  5. #5
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    Care camp - I just got a new to me Yeti SB5.5 with a 18t DT350 hub. Coming from Hadleys with 72 POE of my other bikes I notice the difference right out the gate, and negatively in techie sections. 54t upgrade kit is on the way.

  6. #6
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    Also care camp....many years ago, I had to replace a wheel, the new hub had 36 poe vs 18-ish(?) of my previous. At the time, poe wasn't something that I thought of or even understood to be an upgrade. However, once I started riding in techy terrain (Moab) it was obvious. It was almost as if my brain subconsciously knew that ratcheting the pedals back while going up and over rocks (to avoid strikes) would suddenly be a useful thing to do.

    Now, lower poe bug me.

  7. #7
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    I've now blown out two Novatec hubs. Replaced both with DT Swiss 350 Big Rides. Absolutely love them!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    I've now blown out two Novatec hubs. Replaced both with DT Swiss 350 Big Rides. Absolutely love them!
    How did those Novatecs broke? I had one cracked freehub body in mine, but with a steel freehub those seem quite robust.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by solisti View Post
    How did those Novatecs broke? I had one cracked freehub body in mine, but with a steel freehub those seem quite robust.
    Both in the exact same way. Climbing a steep rocky chute which requires throw down power. CRACK!!! And then I could pedal in either direction with no resistance. No cracks on the hub body, just destruction of the pawls inside.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Both in the exact same way. Climbing a steep rocky chute which requires throw down power. CRACK!!! And then I could pedal in either direction with no resistance. No cracks on the hub body, just destruction of the pawls inside.
    Pretty similar to mine, though I was at the trail head after riding to the park, and when I pushed off the crank just spun. I didn't even take it apart to inspect, but the shop mentioned cracked by the bearing, which he hadn't seen before. I knew it was toast and ready to upgrade regardless.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying_Scotsman View Post
    am now moving into the 'Don't care' camp.

    I am not saying I am right, just that it's not something that I think about when out playing about on the bike anymore!

    What camp are you in, Mike??

    Don't care. Not even a little. I have DT hubs with 18t ratchets on 3 of my 4 bikes. Onyx on the other, because I like the less harsh engagement for maintaining traction when snow and ice riding.

  12. #12
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    I just recently started riding a pair of DT 350s with the 54t star ratchet. I did not purchase the 54t, but bought a used set (that I was told originally came from mikesee), and while Im not yet sure if the engagement is necessary to me, what I do like is the sound they make when free-wheeling. Its a bit louder than 18t DT (from my limited experience), but more than anything, it just sounds like quality and makes me happy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rth009 View Post
    it just sounds like quality and makes me happy.

    54t are definitely pitched higher than 18t. Might be louder too.

    I don't care for any noise when coasting, but I can see where the more the merrier for some.

  14. #14
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    I've got Griz to deal with, so the louder the better.

    I would not call the 54t DT 350 particularly loud, not as loud as a Hope, but it is louder than some.

  15. #15
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    You want an obnoxious hub? Older Hugi fills that position!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rth009 View Post
    I've got Griz to deal with, so the louder the better.
    But they can only hear you when you are coasting.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeRune View Post
    You want an obnoxious hub? Older Hugi fills that position!
    Boom! Yes, this is a loud hub. I had an even older (stupid me for selling it) Hayes/Hugi hub, that thing was ridiculous.
    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-001.jpg
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeepRage View Post
    Just posting to share my recent experience, blowing my Novatec hub on my 29er and upgrading to a DT Swiss 350 star ratchet hub. I then swapped to the 54 tooth ratchet and went from 20 degrees to about 6 degrees of engagement. WOW, truly an amazing transformation and makes my forced upgrade/replacement hub worth it.

    So I got to thinking and began researching converting my fat bike (DT Swiss 370 hub on the Canyon Dude). Although it has a 3 pawl system, I found a fantastic video of a guy showing how to swap in a 240/350 ratchet drive. Parts are on order to make the fatty a 54t star ratchet as well.

    I just never considered something so small would impact my riding that much. Anyone else notice drastic changes with increased points of engagement? I ride very technical roots and rocks for what its worth.

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_XpRZCLTX4
    For the record, this video was great.

    Too bad all of the parts and tools required to do it are what a new DT350 star ratchet hub costs
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlands R&C View Post
    Boom! Yes, this is a loud hub. I had an even older (stupid me for selling it) Hayes/Hugi hub, that thing was ridiculous.
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    I still have a pair of em with the logo in red. Noisy enough to wake the dead!
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    All of my bikes spend some time on the paved trails/paths, for various reasons...I love the loud freehub noise because I find it better to just stop pedaling and let my freehub do the "on your left" talking for me. Works like a champ. Love the Onyx to, my best bud has 'em on his fattie, sweet hubs, but I find noisy hubs useful so I'll always have 'em, and I do not care about points of engagement, at all.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    But they can only hear you when you are coasting.
    But blasting downhill in thick forest is when I need the noise to let them know I'm coming. When I'm grinding uphill at slow speeds the Griz can smell me or hear me grunting and belching my barbaric yawp over the hills of the world.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedaddict View Post
    All of my bikes spend some time on the paved trails/paths, for various reasons...I love the loud freehub noise because I find it better to just stop pedaling and let my freehub do the "on your left" talking for me. Works like a champ. Love the Onyx to, my best bud has 'em on his fattie, sweet hubs, but I find noisy hubs useful so I'll always have 'em, and I do not care about points of engagement, at all.
    If it weren't for trials, I likely wouldn't care about engagement however, 108 point spoiled that. Don't really care about SPL from a rear hub, so long as it engages sooner than later...
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeRune View Post
    I still have a pair of em with the logo in red. Noisy enough to wake the dead!
    I have a pair too. On my old Enduro SX. I'm always shocked how loud that bike is.

  24. #24
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    Can't beat the durability, despite the louder than a jackhammer driver!
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeRune View Post
    Can't beat the durability, despite the louder than a jackhammer driver!
    So, so loud.

  26. #26
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    Just read this thread, I am also thinking about upgrading to DTswiss 350 ratchet hub. Beside the engagement, sound etc. did you also feel any difference in how well the hub spins? Is there any difference in how easy the ratchet hub turns vs. a 3-pawl hub? Does it save any "watts", or is it neglegeable?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by EOS_ View Post
    Beside the engagement, sound etc. did you also feel any difference in how well the hub spins? Is there any difference in how easy the ratchet hub turns vs. a 3-pawl hub? Does it save any "watts", or is it neglegeable?
    You are not going to be able to tell the difference when coasting from a pawl to a star ratchet, assuming all your bearings are free running. However, the fact that some freehubs are loud and the 18t star ratchet is near silent; those loud hubs are using your kinetic energy to generate said sound, and therefor reducing your ability to maintain speed, it's going to be a tiny part of the loss but still there never the less.

  28. #28
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    When I upgraded to the DT Swiss 350 hub from a Salsa hub I thought I would notice the 18t engagement but I quickly forgot about it. Plus it's quiet. I might someday try a 36t for a compromise between the 18 and 54.

  29. #29
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    That's pretty neat, I didn't know you could convert the 3 pawl hubs to star ratchet hubs. 06HokieMTB is right though, the cost of the tools and required parts are likely to cost more than a new hub. But, if you buy a new hub, than you have to have the hub laced to your wheels, which can be pricey. It's still great info and if you have some of the stuff already, it's well worth swapping to the star ratchet for reliability and ease of maintenance.

    As for the POE argument, I'm kind of in the middle. I have DT hubs on all of my bikes, some are still 18t and some have been upgraded to 36t. I notice the difference at first when switching between them, but quickly adjust and it doesn't bother me. I do think it's an advantage on really techy trails though, and have the 36t on the bike that gets used for that. The singlespeed I'm building up will also have the 36t ratchets. I'd like to try the 54t, but have read about some durability issues, so I'm not sure I want to deal with that.

    Edit: Actually the tools can be had on Ebay for under $15 each, so not expensive at all. No, they're not actual DT Swiss tools, but they will work just fine and be fine for occasional use.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by EOS_ View Post
    Just read this thread, I am also thinking about upgrading to DTswiss 350 ratchet hub. Beside the engagement, sound etc. did you also feel any difference in how well the hub spins? Is there any difference in how easy the ratchet hub turns vs. a 3-pawl hub? Does it save any "watts", or is it neglegeable?
    I did not notice any difference is free spin, other than louder (mostly to others riding with me that heard it vs me being in front of the rear hub). I went 54t and immediately noticed the POE improvement. I ride North East with many many roots, tech sections, old farm rock walls, etc. I won't go back to a lower engagement hub.

    I bought the tool on ebay for little money. The 54t upgrade would have been money I'd have spent whether I bought a new hub or upgraded the 370, so that was not a factor to me. And because I didn't need to rebuild a wheel, I did this myself in 20 minutes.
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  31. #31
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    I had my new carbon wheels built with Onyx Racing hubs. To me, the difference in feel, control, ride, and rolling resistance is like night and day between these new wheels and the "decent but not exceptional" OEM wheels my 2017 Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon was delivered with. It feels like I just bought a whole new bicycle...

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  32. #32
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    Novatec Aluminum bodies are the problem. If you ask your carrier to up/downgrade or just sell you a spare Steel body they donít kerplode.

    At any rate, the DT Swiss ratchet system is so awesome to work on.
    Wipe it down, regrease from time to time - 5min job max.

    Here is a video of how simple that process is

    https://youtu.be/ouSzeR3ExO4

  33. #33
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    Thanx for all the info. So star ratchet system is mainly about durability and easy servis. When it comes to free spining, rolling resistance when coasting, there no significant difference to pawl hubs. Only with 36 or 54t compared to 18t: more teath = more drag so there will be a bit more resistance.
    rammalamma, in that video, the only thing that guy did was cleaned and regreased the ratchet rings and his free hub then was spinning so much smoother? He did not change/upgrade anything?

  34. #34
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    Uh, no.
    Points of engagement - not drag.
    The more teeth, the faster it engages.

    There is no more or less resistance if both ratchets have same amount of grease on them. The 18t had a bit more than the 54 in the video

  35. #35
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    FWIW I have noticed that my 54T 350 hub is quietin the winter with the thickening of the grease.
    Another benefit of the DT system is that you can swap the cassette to another wheelset very quickly if both wheelsets are DT.
    This is going to come in handy for my 27.5+ wheelset; I won't have to buy another 54T ratchet or steel freehub (or microspline freehub eventually)
    I also carry my original 18T in my pack just in case; can't do that with other systems.

  36. #36
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    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-7266269e-4685-4df2-9d30-ad6be400773d.jpg

    Summer or winter, if you are experiencing a quiet freehub, the engagement face is supposed to be DRY.

    The cog teeth on the outer edges and the receiving teeth in the hub and hub body are where you place the grease.

    NOT the engagement points.
    Thatís the last place you want slippery

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rammalammadingdong View Post
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    Summer or winter, if you are experiencing a quiet freehub, the engagement face is supposed to be DRY.

    The cog teeth on the outer edges and the receiving teeth in the hub and hub body are where you place the grease.

    NOT the engagement points.
    Thatís the last place you want slippery
    What? Am I reading that right? The engagement teeth needs the grease, DT will tell you this. They will be noisier without grease.

    Also, I can't believe any recreational mtb'er would be concerned with coasting friction.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by rammalammadingdong View Post
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    Summer or winter, if you are experiencing a quiet freehub, the engagement face is supposed to be DRY.

    The cog teeth on the outer edges and the receiving teeth in the hub and hub body are where you place the grease.

    NOT the engagement points.

    This is inaccurate.

    You definitely lube the engagement face -- like little glazed donuts.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by rammalammadingdong View Post
    Uh, no.
    Points of engagement - not drag.
    The more teeth, the faster it engages.

    There is no more or less resistance if both ratchets have same amount of grease on them. The 18t had a bit more than the 54 in the video

    My evidence is only anecdotal here, but I've always felt that 54t coasts/slows down faster. Subjectively feels like a substantial difference.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    My evidence is only anecdotal here, but I've always felt that 54t coasts/slows down faster. Subjectively feels like a substantial difference.
    Subjective wheels spin testing seems to agree

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by rammalammadingdong View Post
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    Summer or winter, if you are experiencing a quiet freehub, the engagement face is supposed to be DRY.

    The cog teeth on the outer edges and the receiving teeth in the hub and hub body are where you place the grease.

    NOT the engagement points.
    Thatís the last place you want slippery
    I'll reiterate what others have said, you most certainly want some grease on the engagement teeth! If you put too much on, they con't engage properly, but they need a thin coating.

  42. #42
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    i went from 18t to a 54t night and day difference. and it helps a lot on climbing and slow sections. besure to grease the star ractchs only a thin coat DO NOT let them run dry
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  43. #43
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    My lbs owner/mech and i use a light oil on our ratchets. Only downside is it flings out and your hub and spokes get dirty.

    Ive had zero issues. Pulling the ratchets out they still have a light coating of oil.


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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by solarplex View Post
    My lbs owner/mech and i use a light oil on our ratchets. Only downside is it flings out and your hub and spokes get dirty.

    Ive had zero issues. Pulling the ratchets out they still have a light coating of oil.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    What is the 'upside'?

  45. #45
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    my new Dt Swiss Xr 1501 29" 25mm Cl Boost

    I just got these Dt Swiss Xr 1501 29" 25mm Cl Boost, second hand, used less than a season. Rims are true, spokes tightened, my only concern are the bearings. I took off the end caps just to see what I have. Grease was there as it should be, only inside the rear hub it could have been cleaner. Engagement rings are the basic 18t just btw, to be upgraded soon. Hubs are 240s. Rear hub (without free hub) spins +- ok, still I expected better. With these I wanted to replace my wheels with Novatec hubs, my Novatec D712 hub spins noticeably with less resistance than this DT 240. My Roval Traverse Fattie rear hub (DT 370) spins even a bit better. The free hub of this DT 240 spins terribly. With my finger inside, I can bearly turn the bearings. Novatec and Roval (DT370) free hub both spin super smooth compared to this 240 free hub. The front 240 hub, even worse. My hand slips on the axle as I try to turn it. In the rear hub and free hub are bearings: IJK 6802RS, in the front FBJ 6803RS, both are one of the cheapest I found. Is this normal? When riding you will not feel less rolling resistance with higher quality bearings that spin easier? Now I am worried that I will be slower on these wheels than on my older wheels on Novatec hubs.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-img_5172.jpg  

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    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-img_5179.jpg  

    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-img_5168.jpg  

    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-img_5151.jpg  

    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-img_5165.jpg  

    DT Swiss Hub Upgrade time - Pawl to Star Ratchet-img_5166.jpg  


  46. #46
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    ^^^ without the axles in, stick your finger in the bearing and see how it spins. It sounds like you need to replace the bearings.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by EOS_ View Post
    Now I am worried that I will be slower on these wheels than on my older wheels on Novatec hubs.


    You'll probably spontaneously combust. Best to stay inside, avoid all windows, and fashion a tin foil hat for protection.

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    Aye, check the bearings. *All* bearings will need to be replaced eventually, and it shouldn't be surprising that you need to replace parts on used equipment.

    The bearings specified by DT for the 240 level hubs are of excellent quality. Don't replace them with $5 enduro cartridges and expect them to be wonderful; you pay for manufacturing tolerances AND seal quality with cartridge bearings--and seals are quite important (despite what companies like Ceramic Speed and BB Infinite would have you believe) to the longevity of cartridge bearings, since they are relying almost 100% on the [tiny, easily damaged] contact seals to prolong the life of the bearing. If you are obsessed with free movement, you can remove the inner shields that face the opposite bearing for each part (ie, the wheel bearings that face each other, the freehub bearings that face each other), though grease retention suffers.

  49. #49
    Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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    Provided you can find a local shop with the ring nut removal tools, here's the breakdown of costs:

    Star Ratchet Kit:
    - Chinese Star Ratchets are cheap, I see them as cheap as $25.
    - DT Swiss Star Ratchet kits range in price from $60-$100 or more, I usually get the genuine parts used. 24t ratchets are for e-bikes, designed and manufactured specifically for high-torque loads.

    New internals:
    240 Ring Nut M34x1mm : 7613052165578 - $6-$12
    240s Shim Ring: 7613052115252 - $3-$6
    240 Aluminum Bushing: 840121029814 $4-$15

    Freehub Body:
    This one is tricky. DT Swiss has done a good job of getting ebay to remove copied parts. There are sources of non-genuine freehubs, but you'll wait awhile as they get shipped across the oceans. I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with "Bali Express". You can find them as cheap as $30.

    Geniune DT Swiss parts are $50-$100 for the Freehub Body.

    So, provided you can find a local shop who has all the tools necessary, you're looking at about $80 on the low end, and $250 on the high end just for parts.

    A note on tools: you can find the ring nuts tools for $10-$15 each on ebay. That'd make the whole swap about $125 if you were careful on sourcing parts and doing it all yourself.

    In my case because I've got numerous DT wheels in the garage, I've got a lot of parts already. I already have spare ratchets, I already have spare freehub body, spare springs, etc, so my cost to do the conversion on a DT370 wheelset is whatever the shop charges me for removal of ring nuts and the small internal parts ($20).

    If these wheels come on someone's bike, it's totally worth the money, even on the high end, to convert the wheels.

    My only question would be - is the construction of the 370 hub body consistent with that of the DT350 hubs? Like, is the only difference the lack of Star Ratchet?
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