Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
Inherently most big component upgrades to a mountain bike aren't going to be something that's easy on the wallet. Fortunately upgrading a DT Swiss rear hub ratcheting system is not only inexpensive but also makes a huge difference. Our friend Chase shares his thoughts on the DT Swiss 54t Star Ratcheting Upgrade Kit. Check it out!
This last Spring, 2019, I purchased the Yeti SB 150 Race Edition. It came with the DT Swiss 240S hubs with allow wheels. The hub came with a 32t drive ring. My previous bike, Evil Insurgent with Race Face Affect wheels, only had an 18t drive ring freehub so initially, it felt like a big improvement but still a lot of slap and play when I needed it. I had bought my wife a Yeti SB130 that we custom-built vs doing a box build and she got Industry Nine wheels with Hydra hubs. The Hydra hubs have an impressive 115t drive ring which engages probably unnecessarily fast. I didn’t realize the big benefit to the points of engagement until I took her bike for a ride down some technical sections on my usual trails. The instantaneous engagement of these hubs really helped keep me balanced on technical rock sections. I found that high engagement hubs came in the handiest when it was time to climb technical steep rocks and you need a quick backpedal or when you are trying to balance at a stop trying to make a technical turn downhill. I was sold on upgrading my hubs after trying out such a high engagement hub.
Initially, I was looking at Industry Nine wheelsets but the same wheels we got my wife were $1,300 and weren’t necessarily in my budget. I could have just bought the Hydra hubs for $650 but again that is a big price to pay for extra engagement and I would still have to pay a wheel builder to true the wheels after swapping them. After a lot of research and YouTube videos, I came across the 1X DT Swiss 54t Star Ratchet Upgrade Kit which includes 2 Star Ratchets, 2 Springs and Grease kit. This interested me so I began to watch YouTube videos on recommended points of engagement for hubs and numerous reviewers stated that 50t is a great optimal number and after that, it is a nominal difference in feel. Worldwide Cyclery had its own review in combination with a How-To video for installation. It seemed too easy and too cheap of a fix to upgrade the hubs within 10 minutes taking your time to clean everything out and only costing $100.
I watched a Worldwide Cyclery’s video on how to install the ratchet kit as well as a How-To on DT Swiss website. It was super simple, just take the wheel off, pull on the cassette until it pops off, take out the old ratchets and springs, replace with new ones after greasing everything, pop back the cassette side and put the wheel back on the bike. I took my time cleaning and greasing everything and literally only took me 10 minutes.
I have been riding on the upgraded hubs for a month now and noticed a lot smoother transition when having to do harder shifts and climbing through technical sections didn’t have any amount of noticeable play. Going downhill is actually where I think it earns its cost. There are a lot of rock sections on my trails where I may not have enough momentum to get up a rock to go down the steep roller on the other side and there isn’t any room to get back on and pedal at all to get situated before going down. Before I would end up walking some sections because I couldn’t get balanced on my bike because the slop in the engagement made it difficult. With the near-instantaneous engagement, I can get balanced and momentum-driven a lot faster. I would suggest this item 100 times over.