As one of the newest items to come across the BikeRumor work bench, this DT Swiss beauty is destined to be part of one of our next test mules which ultimately should serve as the test platform for the new Shimano XT group. Considered an all mountain fork, this particular EXM 150 boasts 150mm of travel, a QR15 thru axle, tapered steerer tube, along with DT Swiss’s standard reverse arch design.
Ultimately, our goal is to build a fairly light weight all mountain rig, that doesn’t sacrifice any durability to get it there. How is the EXM going to factor in?
Find out after the break!
Like all DT Swiss suspension forks, the EXM utilizes a now familiar reverse arch that was initially acquired when DT purchased Pace suspension back in 2006. However, while the carbon lowers retain a similar arch to the original Pace forks, the magnesium lowers, like the ones seen here, were given a face lift in 2009 giving birth to the “Torsion Box”.
Obviously, the first thing you notice about the Torsion Box is the shiny, polished cover that not only adds some cosmetic flair to the fork, but it also keeps the arch sealed. You’ve been there, with a lot of forks after a muddy ride, the pockets inside the fork arch are packed with mud which adds weight and makes it difficult to clean. The inside of the Torsion Box holds similar hollow cross bracing as many arches, yet it is sheltered from the elements via the bonded cover.
While the EXM isn’t the high zoot, full carbon affair that DT has been known for, it certainly isnt’t heavy. Coming in at 3 lbs, 13 oz, or 1730 grams, the EXM is certainly up there with the lightest of 150mm, tapered, 15mm thru forks (fork was measured with an uncut steerer and 15mm axle installed). I’m happy to report DT Swiss claims the EXM to be 1770g, meaning real world weight beats that figure by 40 grams. While it isn’t much, I’m always happy to see a product lighter than claimed, than vice versa.
In order to take care of QR thru axle duty, DT Swiss employs basically a larger version of their RWS QR skewers. Simply turn the lever clockwise until tight which secures the wheel, and depressing the red button lifts the lever from the ratchet mechanism, which allows you to position the lever wherever you would like and snap it back in place.
Clearly, from this viewpoint you can also see the nicely machined blue compression knob which, like all of the adjustments on the EXM, are nicely detented to hold your adjustment. Having read a few reviews of older DT forks where riders complained of the knobs being moved unintentionally due to a lack of detent, this absolutely appears to be addressed, the result of which are some of the nicest feeling controls out there.
Like most lightweight forks these days, the EXM is an air fork which features DT Swiss’ ABS, or Auto Balancing Spring. Like some other Dual Air springs on the market, the EXM uses one air valve to inflate both positive and negative air chambers automatically adjusting for a perfect balance.
Obviously, there are many different travel adjust systems on the market, but for DT Swiss it comes in the form of Launch Control II. Although in reality, Launch Control is less of a travel adjust and more of a climbing aid. By simply pushing down on the red knob, the fork’s rebound circuit is closed causing it to drop in travel. Riding will continue in this manner, unless an impact larger than the adjustable threshold is reached, which causes the fork to return to its full 150mm travel. The Launch Control threshold is adjustable and includes 5 settings for tuning how large of an impact with open the fork up. Giving the red knob a slight tug will also cause the fork to exit Launch Control. The red knob also serves as the rebound adjuster, again with a precisely indexed 14 positions of damping.
Hopefully the EXM will be bolted up to a frame sooner, rather than later so we can get you some first ride impressions. So look for that as well as a full long term review in the near future!