Industry Nine Wheels Review

Photos Jon Harris
Video Jon Harris

“Wow look at those!” is the cry as I wheel my bike into the SRAM tent at Crankworx. A young girl is pointing at my wheels. Her mum comes over for a look too… she just happens to be a previous World-Champion, Leigh Donovan, and if my wheels have impressed her daughter, who must be surrounded by cool bike stuff daily, it’s impressive.


You may have seen the glory shots when the wheels were new in an earlier article, now they are dirty.

Looks aside, what are these blinged out wheels like to live with? Since I got them they have been in severe duty mode on my hardtail.  Supporting the back of a hardtail is an unforgiving task, with no shock to share the duties of absorbing hits on the trail when the rider picks a clumsy line and any vagueness due to wheel flex is laid bare. With the longer spokes required for 29ers flex can be a serious issue.

I’m happy to say t’s been a busy month since I fitted the wheels. These have been ridden on my local trails, in Leavenworth WA on fast flowing hard packed trails with big fast berms and in Whistler on trails all over the valley. They have seen rock, roots and dust but no mud, because of the stellar weather we’ve been having.

The rear wheel had a slight wobble in it from a poorly picked line at the end of a long day. It was easily trued out.

The rear wheel had a slight wobble in it from a poorly picked line at the end of a long day. It was easily trued up.

Jumping on the wheels for the first time, the feature that you notice immediately is the noise and the quick engagement of the freehub. The rear hub engagement is a big selling point for the I9 hubs and rightly so; with a 3 degree engagement, these are some of the fastest engaging hubs on the market. To be honest I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about a hub with quick engagement. Call me a convert, but it’s difficult to sense any slack as the hub picks up the power and I really like it. I’m sure that it doesn’t save me much energy in the long term but it does make the bike feel even more snappy. I’m also impressed that I’ve never caught the hub napping; every time the freehub has engaged cleanly.

As for the noise, again I’m a fan of loud hubs and the noise that the I9 emits is quite distinct. On a decibel basis, I think it is actually quieter than my Hope hub on my other wheels, and probably a DT Swiss hub too. However the I9 hub emits more of a whirring buzz rather than distinct clicks. It’s hard to describe so I decided to record the noise.

Industry Nine spokes are unusual as well. Rather than being made from the traditional stainless steel the I9 spokes are machined from aluminium. They are also straight pull; no nipples here. The spokes have flats machined into them so they can be turned with a spoke key to true them in the traditional way, but at the hub end the spoke actually threads directly into the hub. I was a little wary of the spokes at first, especially when it came time to tweak the spoke tension to true the rim slightly. I couldn’t find my proper spoke key but despite using my multi-tool I’m happy to report that the flats machined onto the spoke have ample surface area and they are not prone to rounding.  Retro-grouches may question the strength of these spokes, especially if something gets flicked up into the wheel. I’ve had that happen and I’m happy to report that other than scarring to show the hit the spokes are still uncompromised.

Some of the spokes show evidence of having had a rock interact with them.

Some of the spokes show evidence of having had a rock interact with them.

The rims are jiving with me too. With the exception of a minor wobble in the rear wheel due to a misjudged gap they have stayed true and free of flat spots. There were a few rim shots while I was messing around with tire pressures on some new rubber but no dents are evident. Rim profile is nice and wide on the Enduro rims, helping wider tires sit nicely and with a flatter profile.

All those features add up on the trail into a wheelset that feels light, stiff and snappy. I have a set of very still Enve carbon rims on another bike (also a 29er) and I rode the bikes back to back to get a reference. Even with the aluminum rims, the I9’s feel as stiff as the Enves. I’d put that down to the one-piece straight pull spokes. I imagine that the combination of these hubs and spokes with the new carbon Pillar rims that I9 have developed with Reynolds would make for an even stiffer wheel set.

Bling! The wheels work well with the silver grey of my Chromag Surface frame.

Bling! The wheels get a lot of attention at the trail head and make a bike stand out.

These wheels look awesome. The blue hubs and spokes really catch the sunlight and if you fit them to your bike it will grab attention. If you went black on black then they may fly under the radar a little better, but there is no escaping the fact that the I9 wheels are the biking equivalent of a diamond encrusted Rolex on your wrist. The I9 designed Enduro rims are also finished in a classy flat black anodizing which fools many into thinking they are carbon.

These wheels will be staying on my rig for the winter and will be subjected to some proper muck to see how the hubs stand up. Given that the riding around the I9 factory is wet and muddy too I have high hopes that the hubs will take it like a junkie takes an aspirin.

The enduro wheel set is available in silver, Blue, Gold, Orange, Pink, Purple, Green, and Turquoise, and a carbon rim option is around the corner. The base price for these wheels (Using black hubs, Black spokes, and Black rims or Red hubs, Red spokes, and Black rims) is US$1210. As seen here in blue you’ll need to add $150. Click here for more info.

All around a flash looking wheelset that backs up the looks with in use benefits and reliability.

Tags: Hubs, I9, Industry Nine, Torch
Posted in: News

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I have a set on my 650b Drurango Moonshine, and I ride dumb… no drama, no trouble and no wobble after a few hundred miles of throwing them around the Colorado frontrange!


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