While mountain bike forks & shocks might not be the first thing you think of when someone says DT Swiss, the unique position-sensitive damping and mini-coil+air technology inside the 535 suspension family has been delivering supple DT trail and all-mountain performance for 5 years now. Some of that tech is even licensed by one of the 2 biggest MTB suspension makers. And now an upgraded 535 family is even better, with more refined damping, bigger volume air springs, and a new more affordable 535 version to complement the top-tier 535 One.
DT Swiss 535 MTB suspension fork & shock
The new 535s look quite a bit different – with new more conventional crown designs that make 35mm stanchion fork setup and adjustment more straightforward – but inside the technologies are for the most part conceptually unchanged. But that’s not really a downside – DT’s mountain bike suspension has quietly been innovating for decades as a small fish in the big suspension game.
The 535 already introduced two impressive core technologies back in 2018 – the Plushport that varies compression damping through the fork’s travel, and Coilpair where a tiny coil shock works together with the main air spring to deliver immediately supple travel that counteracts air spring seal stiction, eating up tiny trail chatter.
Plushport updated position-specific compression damping
One of the first core updates of the new DT Swiss mountain bike forks is a refined evolution of the Plushport in their right leg damper cartridge.
A patented series of oil ports inside the low-speed compression circuit of the 535 One & 535, Plushport allows compression damping to be open for roughly the first 1/3 of the fork’s travel so you get unmatched small sensitivity bump and optimal traction. But then as the fork compresses, that Plushport is gradually closed, stiffening up the fork to resist trail impacts for more support through the middle and end of fork travel. And once fully closed, the Plushport effectively diverts oil in the damper through the high-speed compression damping circuit instead making for a progressive, bottomless feel that DT says complements the revised large-volume air springs.
Effectively, the progressive Plushport compression damping should allow you to ride the 535 forks with normal low air spring pressure, and benefit from extra small bump control and plush early travel, while maintaining support in the middle travel which you use most of the time out on the trail, and smoother bottom-out protection as you push the fork to its limit.
The top 535 One forks pair the Plushport damper with ODL 3-position compression damping lock-out remotes, while the standard 535 keeps it simpler with OL 2-position open or locked levers.
Coilpair combination between coil & air spring benefits
In the left leg, DT Swiss gets a little creative (at least on the 535 One) by combing a coil spring and an air spring for the best of both worlds – their patented Coilpair.
The tiny ~25mm long steel coil spring doesn’t add much weight, but since it starts to move immediately and linearly when any force impacts the axle, the little coil eliminates the lag of an air shock that must overcome seal stiction. Together, the Coilpair (coil + air) both work to smooth out the first 30mm of fork travel. Working side-by-side with the Plushport in the oil damper side, the result is better small bump sensitivity without having to run extra low pressure or suffer from compromised mid-travel support & pedaling efficiency to get real sensitivity.
Look a bit closer at the Coilpair tech, and like us you might notice that it looks similar in concept to a Buttercup – that’s because the DT Swiss patented design is licensed by RockShox for their premium trail and all-mountain forks, too. So, even though DT makes a lot fewer forks than RockShox, you may have already benefited from DT Swiss suspension development tech.
Other Tech Details
Beyond the refined Plushport in all the 535 family forks, and the Coilpair carrying-over to the top 535 One fork, but not the more affordable 535 – all forks & shocks get increased air volume that DT is calling Lineair tech. Essentially revised large-volume air spring chambers are able to provide more linear suspension travel both front & rear in a lightweight setup, better mimicking coil shock performance. And the bigger space inside can always be reduced with volume spacers to create a more progressive feel for riders looking to ramp up support through their travel.
As for the rear shocks, the tech sounds a bit less hi-tech, but follows the same line of updates. Larger volume positive & negative Lineair air springs improve the linear spring curve to better mimic coil shock performance. The shocks also get an updated self-balancing bypass that provides higher negative pressure at top-out for reduced breakaway force and better small bump sensitivity, while then delivering more support from mid-stroke to the end of rear wheel travel. It’s a bit simpler on the air side, but works in a similar, complimentary way to Plushport up front. Damping-wise the new 535 shocks get 3-position ODL compression damping – Open, Drive & Locked-out – for maximum pedaling and descending efficiency.
DT Swiss 535 Suspension – Pricing, options & availability
The new 535 series forks are now 29″ only with 120-160mm of travel in 10mm increments to fit all disciplines from XC & trail to enduro. I’ll just call this sweet spot all-mountain again. The top 535 One forks sell for $1150 / 1150€ including the Coilpair, larger volume air spring, and 3-position compression lock-out on top of the crown – open, ride & closed.
The all-new 535 fork is a bit lower-priced at $989 / 989€ with the big volume air spring and a 2-position compression lock-out on top of the crown – open or closed. Both with claimed weights from 2090g, the 29″ forks all get boost thru-axles, 44mm offset, post mount 180mm brakes, and max 130kg/287lb rider+bike weight limits. DT even approves them for ebike systems up to 150kg/331lb.
Matching the front end, there are also updated dual-air chamber 535 One and all-new standard 535 rear air shocks as well. Here the updated shocks come in pretty much any length your trail bike could need in Trunnion or conventional mounts – 165-230mm overall and 40-65mm stroke, in six increments of each. The top R 535 One shocks sell for $449 / 449€ with weights from 300g with 3-position lockouts.
And the standard R 535 shocks retail for $399 / 399€ also with weights from 300g with 2-position lockouts, all with the latest slippery self-lubricating DU bushings.