A Close Look at the DT Swiss FR 541

When DT Swiss announced their new aluminium rim recently, most comparisons were to the outdated FR 560 but the rim shape, technologies used (like the PHR nipple washers), and type of aluminium alloy struck us that a better comparison was to the modern EX 511 and HX 531 rims. With the FR 541 now in-hand the similarity to the rest of the range is even more apparent and the only visible difference between the rims is the new bead lip on the FR 541 which DT Swiss claims increases pinch flat resistance.  

Are there more differences that we’re unable to see?  Well there’s only one way to find out - cut them up and measure them!

In case you need a refresher, the modern DT Swiss rim lineup for 30mm internal 29" rims looks like this:

The XM 481 is the lightest at around 521 grams for a 29” rim and works really well on Down-Country bikes. 

The EX 511 is the Enduro version adding about  50 grams and is probably the best known DT Swiss rim.

The HX 531 is the “hybrid” e-bike version.  It’s another 30g heavier than the EX 511.

The new FR 541 rims weigh 590 grams each, plus each of these rims needs 10 grams for the required nipple washers.

Build Quality

The build quality of this new FR 541 is exactly what we’ve come to expect from DT Swiss: it’s amazing.  

It’s interesting, but unsurprising, to note that the internal quality of the rims, which you can’t see until you cut them up, is as good as the outside quality.  This is a true sign of something being well made by people who take pride in what they’re producing.

So after the first look who do we think these are for?

The FR 541 looks to be really well suited for enduro and e-bikes, especially as a rear wheel which takes the most abuse.

We expect we’ll be pairing a lot of FR 541 rear rims with EX 511 front rims. The EX 511 is a little lighter and most riders simply don’t need the extra front rim durability or pinch flat resistance of the heavier FR 541.

We expect the FR 541 will be taking the place of the HX 531, as it’s the same weight and same spec, but with the slightly improved new bead. The HX 531 is labelled by DT Swiss as a “hybrid” rim and never really gets the street cred which it deserves, and a lot of our customers don’t even know it exists until we suggest it. The new FR 541 is pitched as a hardcore rim and is already gathering hype so I’m guessing it will quickly be as well known as the iconic EX 511.

If you’re hard on rims the FR 541 looks like a great option for you.