Building on 25 years of Star Ratchet hub experience, the new DT Swiss Ratchet EXP drive system takes what was great about it, then improves on pretty much every hub metric. Lighter, stiffer, and more durable, it also has a drastically simplified layout with fewer parts. The new Ratchet EXP launches at the top-level in 180 hub, where it has already been ridden to a Cape Epic win this year, but DT expects that these improvements will make their way throughout their hub lineup…

DT Swiss Ratchet EXP introduces Star Ratchet 2.0

new DT Swiss Ratchet EXP star rings how have a fixed side with only one spring-loaded ratchet

25 years ago DT Swiss patented their Star Ratchet freewheel engagement design with their original DT Hügi hubs, creating a generation of reliable, serviceable high performance hubs. Now that that patent has expired, we’ve been seeing more ratchet-style hubs vs. pawl hubs, so DT is upping the ante with promises of lighter weight, added stiffness, higher precision performance, longer durability, easier maintenance & simpler compatibility.

Ratchet EXP: It’s what is (or isn’t) on the inside that counts

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals fewer internal parts

The trick to almost all of the improvements in Ratchet EXP (the EXP is for Experience, BTW) is fewer internal parts. Everyone wants lighter weight with the same performance, so DT redeveloped the internals of their hubs to use fewer individual components. Now just 13 components make up the hub (with the freehub body also including its two pressed-in bearings).

DT has also tucked in another easy maintenance trick with the new endcaps incorporating a notch/lip design that make it easier to remove them tool free.

new DT Swiss Ratchet EXP star rings how have a fixed side with only one spring-loaded ratchet

How did DT get rid of parts? By making the inboard ratchet & its threaded ring into a single, lighter element, one of the old conical springs also is no longer needed. That helps drop a little weight, but also results in more consistently precise placement of the new inboard ratchet. Threaded into the hubshell (with a new DT-made tool), the inner ratchet stays in place when the hub is opened up or you go to swap freehubs, making everything easier to access as well, with fewer parts falling out.

The new outboard ratchet ring is also now pushed against its opposing ratchet with a single cylindrical spring. DT says this results in faster, more complete engagement of the ratchet teeth for more precise contact, and therefore a longer lifespan.

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals wider bearing spacing

Integrating the inner ratchet & threaded ring also allowed DT to tuck the primary driveside bearing inside the new ratchet mechanism moving the bearing about 7mm closer to the dropout. The result is a claimed 15% increase in stiffness. And while DT says hub stiffness was never a major issue for them, the extra stiffness means more precise alignment of the forces the bearing are exposed to, resulting in a significant increase in bearing durability.

As an example, DT says they hadn’t really ever supplied their top SINC ceramic bearings to their pro MTB teams, because they preferred the traditional reliability of precision steel bearings. But with these new Ratchet EXP hubs, Scott-SRAM has been racing now on the ceramic bearings and Schurter & Forster have already won the Cape Epic with the new hubs.

DT 180 hubs with Ratchet EXP options & tech details

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals freehub bodiesDT Swiss’ overall concept for their hubs is to deliver high performance and durability, but never at the expense of usability. All major freehub body styles are available for the new Ratchet EXP design. While each build offers only the standard spec appropriate to the hubshell spacing & brake type, all of the new hubs can be converted to any of these six freehub bodies.

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals

The new EXP-equipped hubs all come standard with a 36 tooth ratchet ring for 10° engagement – what DT thinks is the sweet spot for high performance. More engagement point means smaller teeth for slightly decreased long-term durability, but also measurably increased drag. With that said, the recognize that some riders would prioritize engagement over the addition drag, so 54T rings are also available separately as an upgrade.

Availability & pricing

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals road rim brake

The new Ratchet EXP engagement system is first being made available exclusively in DT’s not-cheap, top-level straight pull 180 hubs with SINC Ceramic bearings.

Rim brake hubs are offered for road bikes with traditional road spacing and QR/RWS levers. The Road front hubs sells for $380/262€ with a claimed 87g weight and 20 hole drilling. The Road rear is $706/487€, just 175g and gets 24 holes. It can be spec’ed with Shimano 11s road, SRAM XDR, or Campagnolo.

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals road discA Centerlock Road Disc brake hubset is also available with 12mm thru-axles (100 & 142mm), again for Shimano 11s, XDR, or Campy. The Road Disc front hub sells for the same $380/262€ with 92g claimed weight and 24 holes. The Road Disc rear is $706/487€, just 180g and gets 28 hole drilling.

2020 DT Swiss Ratchet EXP freehub, Star Ratchet 2.0, new high engagement bike hub internals MTB

 

Centerlock disc Mountain Bike hubs are also available, only with 15mm/12mm thru-axles & Boost spacing. They can be configured with traditional Shimano freehubs, the newer MicroSpline, or SRAM XD. The MTB front hub sells for $394/272€ at a claimed 94g with 28 holes. The MTB rear is $750/497€ at only 185g, again with 28 hole drilling.

All of the new 180 Ratchet EXP hubs are in production now, with consumer availability expected within the next month or so. While the new hub engagement mechanism is available now exclusively in these super premium pricepoint hubsets, DT suggested to us that they can be expected to trickle down through their hubs, replacing current ratchet hub internals with these high performing internals.

DTSwiss.com

41 COMMENTS

  1. I’m going to miss searching my basement for the end cap that flew off using my DT Swiss removal tools (an Allen key, QR skewer, and a mallet) 🙂

  2. Holy price differnce! 487€ for the road rear converts today to about $545, closer to $450 with VAT taken out (the US adds sakes taxes back in on the other side of msrp). I’ve always liked DT hubs because they’re reliable and parts are east to come by but it’s hard to see spending 55% more here than they charge at home. Get it closer to a 20% premium and we’ll talk.

    • The rear here is listed at $750. The rear 180 disc hub on Wheelbuilder is $829. Seems fine to me.
      Kinda funny, though, as original star ratchet systems had just one moving side. I believe the two spring system has lower drag. Could be wrong.

      • Right: the road rear retails without tax in the US for $706. In the EU its the equivalent of $450 before tax (check my math, though) . It’s not a price jump between generations, it’s the $250 they want for shipping it to the US and providing the similar tech/warranty support as they would for hubs sold in Europe. That’s nutty.

  3. Any word on the actual flange to center distances and flange diameters? One of the things that I didn’t like about DT Swiss is that they have a pretty shallow spoke angle that result in a less stiff wheel compared to other options.

    • You can find the dimensions on the DT spoke calculator.

      Road Rim Brake- CF=17.3, FD= 42.3
      Road Disc- CF= 15.4, FD= 42.3
      148 MTB- CF= 21.5, FD= 41.3

      We generally will skew to the conservative end on the CF spacing to ensure sufficient spoke clearance.

        • Robert,

          For comparison, the new 180 hub in 148 spacing has left center to flange of 35.7mm. A comparable Hope hub has 35mm, Shimano XT is 36.5, Sram 900 is 37.25, Industry 9 Hydra is 38mm, Onyx is 37mm, King is 36.3.

          All in all, each brand above is +- 1.5mm from our flange distance choice. Less than 5% variance from our 180 to all brands listed. There is always a balance to be struck of wheel stiffness vs. more equal lfet/right spoke tension. Our choice is a compromise of both, as you can see based on our competitors being either wider or narrower than our choices.

          Does that answer your question?

  4. so the drive rings are now a wear item and that side ratchet is no longer sprung. does this increase or decrease drag? im thinking it increases drag.

    • How are the drive rings any more of a wear item now than before? I see 1 moving drive ring now, vs. 2 before. Regarding the drag increase, you might be right. I’m not quite sure. I it might depend on the wind of the spring/s in question, but it would be nice to hear some actual figures from DT.

    • I don’t see wear increasing for any of the parts, but I expect that inner ratchet ring will be pretty difficult to remove from the hub shell at the end of it’s service life.

      And holy moly! Are people actually going to spend that much on HUBS? I bet we find these hubs (or hubs with these internals) in whole wheelsets for only a couple hundred $$ more than they’re asking for the hubs.

      • That’s not true. I have 18 POE on my 240s on my road bike and I long for better POE. Makes track stands a lot easier with higher POE.

      • That’s not true at all. I’m swapping out the 18 POE internals on my 240SP hubs to a 36 system asap. More POE makes track stands a lot easier.

        • Regarding track stands, please explain further. If you are in really tight gridlock, and need your pedals level, I guess more POE would be helpful, but if you have room to roll forward/back a few inches, or aren’t hung up on level pedals, then I don’t see how POE matters.

  5. Historical correction: the Hügi hubs with star ratchet existed before DT Swiss bought them out. They had a gorgeous polished silver finish to the hub.

  6. Why do they bother with Sram XD and Shimano 10/11s bodies when there are already other ones than will work with the 1.8mm spacer?

    • I’m guessing that’s to increase flange spacing on mountain (XD, 10/11s HG) hubs. Will have to learn more but that approach would be a bummer for frankenbuilds (if the XDR driver is too wide for the mountain hubs for example).

    • Because those freehub styles are now almost exclusively used on mtbs, where every bit of flange width helps wheel stiffness. I see your point though, since not all of these are truly interchangeable. The road freehub versions are longer, and while they CAN be installed on a mtb hub, the spacing will increase. DT doesn’t openly advertise this, since they’d tell you to run the longer version with a spacer if needed. It looks like the shorter width designs are here to stay, especially as Microspline is mtb only for now.

      Basically you’re asking a typical “tire-kicker” question that we hear in shops often. Buy what you need now, not what you think you MIGHT need later. If it’s a road/cx/gravel/etc bike, get the “road” version. For mtb get the other.

  7. So far as I can tell the drive side bearing is retained by the drive ratchet, which is threaded into the body? Ratchet rings are often near-impossible to remove, so how are they insuring that you can reliably unthread the ratchet ring to get to that bearing?

    • On a lot of their hubs, the drive ring had to come out to replace the right rear bearing already.
      That said, it would be nice if DT would have put multiple helixes in the thread, steepening the thread angle, and giving the ring less tightening leverage. It wouldn’t have cost them a thing.

      • DT Swiss actually double threaded the new inner Ratchet ring to do exactly what you said, so it should technically be easier to remove. Still not entirely convinced when looking at the new tools they made to remove it. Since we not yet have any experience with these, but it should be easier to remove, in theory.

  8. I wonder whether EXP stands for EXpired Patent? Because DT’s ratchet patent expired, now we will see similar designs popping up everywhere.
    Funny enough I think the EXP design would not even have been covered by their patent.

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