Trek’s Bontrager group has been working with DT Swiss to develop an exclusive 54-tooth Rapid Drive star ratchet for use in 2014 Bontrager hubs. It’s part of a large scale overhaul of the Bontrager wheel lineup, which they’re branding Wheelworks, and we’ll have more info on that at Eurobike and/or Interbike.
This gives it a 6.67º engagement, which is pretty darn tight. DT’s field reps have been testing it on their mountain bikes. So despite the minimal looking surface area on the flat faces of each tooth, it’s proven to hold up to XC/Trail use. Our hunch is it’ll find it’s way to road bike wheels, too.
For Trek’s part, Bontrager’s marketing man Sam Foos told us this:
“For our Rapid Drive technology, we went to DT and asked them to make us a “Rapid Drive” star ratchet for the XXX wheelset and they were able to do that. It’s the same technology story as the Rhythm Elite/Pro wheels we just launched, just done with DT star ratchet internals instead of a pawl system like on the Rhythms. The 54 tooth star ratchets are currently only available as part of the XXX wheelset. No other company currently has access to these.”
Spin past the break for comparison pics of the standard DT options, plus a new video from Bontrager…
The original Star Ratchet had 18 teeth (bottom, foreground), then they doubled it to 36 teeth (right) for higher end wheels. They couldn’t quite double it again, so the increase was kept at another 18 teeth for the new Rapid Drive (top).
Like all DT Swiss Star Ratchets, they’re simple to service and replace. For now, these higher tooth count rings are for Trek only, but should they become available aftermarket from a willing Trek dealer, you simply pull the freehub body off, remove the old rings and drop these in. DT’s reps did say that grease/oil selections are a bit more critical with the smaller teeth. Anything too thick would prevent proper engagement.
Here’s their promotional video for Wheelworks: