Woof! I’m not here to debate the oh-so-controversial “degrees/points of engagement”, but I am here to offer you a cheaper more affordable Chinese solution for your DT Swiss 350/240/180 hubs if you are a believer in the effectiveness of increased engagement points/decreased degree of engagement. I also want to say that I do not own a DT Swiss 54T upgrade so I cannot directly compare the two, all of the information is based on DT Swiss specifications.
I normally wouldn’t bother upgrading my gravel bike, but I was cruising AliExpress on 11.11 aka Singles’ Day when I came across a deal that was too hard to pass on. A ZTTO brand 54 tooth ratchet upgrade for DT Swiss hubs for $32.21. It was no surprise that the ratchet arrived before the J&L ceramic headset for my 696.
Now, I’m not recommending anyone buy an 18T ratchet as they don’t appear to be widely available. Most DT Swiss come standard with them if you don’t specifically request the upgrade, but for the sake of comparing my stock setup to the thirty two dollar upgrade I’ve included it along side the name brand DT Swiss upgrade.
DT SWISS 18T vs. DT SWISS 54T vs. ZTTO 54T Ratchets
|DT Swiss 18T||DT Swiss 54T||ZTTO 54T|
|Degree of Engagement||20°||6.6°||6.6°|
|Degree at the Crank (175mm)||~5.5°||~1.5° (assumed)||~1.5°|
|Compatibility||350, 240S, and 180 hubs||350, 240S, and 180 hubs||350, 240S, and 180 hubs|
Initial Thoughts on the ZTTO 54T Upgrade
Logically, a reduction in degree of engagement means faster power to the ground, but are there any adverse side effects? TBD.
Things To Consider
- Materials: During my research I saw a recurring issue being mentioned where the aluminum DT Swiss 54T ratchet’s teeth would chip especially in the cases of strong sprinters.
It might be worth the 2.5g weight penalty going with the ZTTO high-tensile steel version if you plan to put the watts down.
- Noise: Initially I thought the noise was going to be ridiculously annoying, but after taking the bike out for a ride I barely noticed it. This could be because I was pedaling the entire time and never really gave the hub enough time to annoy me.