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DT Swiss RWS "Ratchet Wheelmounting System"

Review: DT Swiss RWS "Ratchet Wheelmounting System"

Elaine Bothe's picture

We Liked

Earlier this summer I raced my mountain bike down a narrow trail full of switchbacks and rocks. Near the finish I hit the side of my bike on a rock or root, didn't go down, didn't really feel anything wrong but noticed the last big rock drop was bumpier than I remembered it. I held on. After I finished I looked down and saw an open quick release at my front wheel!

Thanking goodness for guardian angels and lawyer tabs, I got to thinking about how that could be avoided. Well, duh, avoid hitting rocks and roots. Besides that, zip ties around the quick lever? Duct tape? But what if you flat!

I found the answer, or, rather the answer found me. The DT Swiss Ratcheting Wheelmount System, or "RWS." Jude Kirstein from Sugar Wheel Works, in Portland, Oregon included a set with the custom wheel build she put together for our Colnago World Cup 2.0. "You'll like these!" she said.She was right. Too bad I didn't have the security of RWS on my mountain bike. I will soon however.

I love how easy they are to use.They screw on. The lever stays in place, there is no "open" and "closed" position. It's probably less likely to accidentally pop open like what happend to me. Installation will take a couple of times for practice, then they are as quick as a quick release in case you need to fix a flat. Zip ties... yeah right!

Just like a standard quick release, you string the axle through, attach the nut and screw it on until it tightens against the frame of your bike. To fully tighten, you place your thumb on the red button (it's not just for decoration) and pull the spring-loaded lever outward. Move it around until you have space to turn it, like a wrench. Then push the lever back in, tighten, and repeat until you're satisfied.

I love how you can fine tune the position of the handle once it's tight by pulling it and spinning it. I like the big levers that are easy to hold with gloves on --- that will be nice come 'cross season.

We tested the lightweight synthetic handles on our RWS. On the back wheel we installed the 5mm RWS which fits most wheels using a standard quick release system. The front wheel got the 10 mm thru-bolt system, which is more frequently seen on mountain bikes. The bigger axle increases stiffness and stability of the bike's front end, but requires the right hub, or at least the right end caps on the hub.

We Didn't Like

The only thing I didn't like about the DT Swiss RWS is that I didn't have them before.

And the beefy levers may look a little clunky to some, but I don't mind.

The Final Say

If you are concerned about wimpy quick releases popping open at inopportune times, consider the DT Swiss Ratchet Wheelmounting System. Never say never, however, weird stuff can always happen! The 5 mm option should fit most wheels, and in true DT Swiss fashion, there are lots of options for fine tuning the application. The RWS titanium, aluminum or steel axles come in a variety of sizes, and levers are either synthetic or aluminum. Check with your local bike shop or wheel builder to see what might work for you.

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