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DT Swiss hubs are some of the most dependable, best performing bike hubs in the world. They are some of the lightest hubs on the market, often chosen by the worlds tops racers. While many hub brands focus solely on one key model in their lineup (or simply just offer one hub model), DT Swiss has a wide line of products that can be found everywhere from high end carbon aftermarket wheelsets, to OE spec models on brand new bikes. Additionally, companies such as Giant and Specialized have licensed the DT Swiss design to use on their house brand wheels for new bikes. The wide array of DT Swiss hubs leaves the customer with plenty of options, and luckily, some easy upgrades for many of the most popular models.
Most DT Swiss models (350/240 hubs) use the unique DT Swiss star ratchet design. This design is two interlocking ratchets inside the hub machined with teeth (hub engagement) that interlock when you pedal. Since the hub engagement is based off these ratchets, this means you can upgrade a lower engaging hub to a quicker engaging system. DT Swiss offers the star ratchet system in multiple configurations up to the DT Swiss 54 tooth ratchet upgrade. Your hub must be a star ratchet design to make this work, please keep in mind that certain OE spec hubs (DT Swiss 370s) use the more traditional pawl design and do not apply here (more on that later).
The 54T ratchet upgrade is a home run. The biggest improvement riders will experience is improved engagement on each pedal stroke, helping transfer the power to the ground more efficiently. This is an important aspect of any wheelset and can really improve the overall experience for all riders. The difference from lower teeth ratchets (24T) is significant and is felt immediately.
Install of the DT Swiss star ratchets is very straight forward, and most home mechanics with basic tools can perform this upgrade. Each star ratchet kit will come packed with a dab of Dt Swiss grease to help with your install.
A very popular DT Swiss model that comes stock on many bikes is the DT Swiss 370 rear hub. As mentioned above, this hub does use the traditional pawl system and it is a not a straight swap to a star ratchet kit. However, it is possible to remove the internals (replacing the internal ring, freehub, and a few spacers) and convert a 370 to the internals of a 350/240. Our primary recommendation if you are wanting to attempt this is to do this when your hub is preferably new or has minimal use on it. After you go out and hammer down for a year, that removeable lock ring is likely stuck and will be next to impossible to remove. We have broken both a vice and the removal tool in the past attempting this. While a little bit of heat can help removal, it is best to do this when you DT Swiss 370 hub is new.
Here is a quick overview of the DT Swiss hubs to use as a reference point if you are considering this upgrade –
DT Swiss 350 Hub: This is the bread and butter of DT Swiss hubs and has been the most popular version for years. It comes stock with a star ratchet system and can be easily upgraded to the 54T ratchet option.
DT Swiss 240 Hub: DT 240’s are often found on higher end wheelsets and bikes and comes stock with the Star ratchet system. It is not common to get a 240 with a 54T ratchet stock, so the upgrade is still necessary.
DT Swiss 370: A 3 pawl hub design that needs its internals gutted to use the star ratchet system. In stock form, it is a good hub with solid engagement for the price point.
OEM Spec Hubs utilizing DT Swiss designs: This is a common occurrence on many Specialized (Roval wheels) and Giant Bicycles wheel systems. These two companies license the designs to the DT Swiss system and manufacturer them with their logos on them. The end caps, internals, and freehubs are often interchangeable. This is convenient for many customers are DT Swiss parts are readily available through all retailers. Additionally, you get the added benefit of using the Star Ratchet upgrade systems in many of these hubs.
Many customers ask if the DT Swiss star ratchet system is worth it, and the general consensus is a resounding YES. If you have any of the above compatible systems, drop in the 54T upgrade on your next hub service.