Industry Nine Enduro 29” Wheelset
Hub: Industry Nine Enduro
Spokes: Industry Nine Straight Pull
Rim: Stan’s Flow EX
Weight: About 1850 grams
Intended Use: Going fast while simultaneously being very pretty.
Bolted to: Canfield Yelli Screamy
Reviewer Info: 5’9”, 150 lbs.
Days Tested: ~70
Test Locations: Primarily in and around Whitefish, MT
One of the most important parts of a wheel review is the discussion of durability. That’s something that won’t be quantified on the fact sheet of any wheelset.
I’ve spent a little over a year on these wheels, I’ve got a pretty good idea as to how they’ll hold up (more on that below).
But here’s the caveat—in the year I’ve spent testing these wheels, Industry Nine has redesigned them. The Enduro wheelset that I tested uses Industry Nine’s Enduro series hub (which has been replaced by the Torch hubs), mated to a Stan’s Flow EX rim (now replaced with I9’s own rim) via I9’s straight pull butted aluminum spokes that appear to remain unchanged.
But wait – Here’s a caveat to the caveat: The Torch hubs appear to be quite similar in both design and functionality to the hubs I tested. The new hubs are a bit lighter and have some tweaks to the seals and freehub mechanism to reduce drag. And while Industry Nine is now offering their own rim as the “default” option, you can still get I9 to lace up the wheels with virtually any 32 hole rim on the market—including Stan’s Flow EX or whatever carbon fanciness you have your heart set on.
So while this longterm review doesn’t look at the latest offering from I9, I would venture an educated guess that the new Torch wheels will be quite similar to the Enduro wheels that I tested.
The most noteworthy feature of any Industry Nine wheel is the hub—in my opinion, they’re some of the best hubs on the market. The rear hub features an unprecedented 120 points of engagement, which is considerably more than pretty much every other hub on the market. For reference, most hubs have between 24 and 36 points of engagement, while some high dollar hubs like Chris King and Hadley have 72 points of engagement.
That quick engagement is achieved via six independent pawls, three of which engage at any given time. To those unfamiliar with hub lingo, pawls are little spring-loaded wedges inside the hub. The pawls engage into the drive ring, which is mated to the outer part of the shell—when the pawls engage, the wheel turns. When you’re coasting, the pawls click past each of the drive ring teeth until you start pedaling again and they re-engage.
Below is a drawing from I9’s website. The drive ring is on the left. The six pawls are shown on the freehub body (with one pawl and its associated spring floating), and the splined freehub body that the cassette slides on to is on the right.
And here’s a picture of the Industry Nine pawls and freehub body.
The drive ring has 60 teeth on it, and the pawls are phased in two sets of three. So at any given time, three of the pawls are engaged with the drive ring, and three of the pawls are half a tooth away from engaging. Thus, the hub has 120 points of engagement, which works out to an engagement point every 3 degrees. It’s also worth noting that each pawl has three teeth on it, so when a pawl engages, it simultaneously engages with three teeth on the drive ring rather than just one. This means that, whenever you’re pedaling, there are actually nine points of engagement on the drive ring.
In contrast, an “average” hub has 24 engagement points and three pawls that engage into the drive ring simultaneously. Those pawls are a simple wedge shape, so when they engage, they only engage one tooth on the drive ring at a time (thus engaging three teeth total).
And in the event that you are difficult to impress, the Industry Nine drive rings and pawls are made out of an extremely hard tool steel that appears to be well equipped to weather several rounds of biblically proportioned catastrophes. If you’re arming yourself for the zombie apocalypse, and you’re worried that your drive ring and / or pawls might fail you at an inopportune moment, the I9 hubs are for you.
Ok, so that was a lot of geekery all at once. But if your goal is to make a ridiculously awesome hub, this stuff matters. First, the quick engagement is really nice. On the trail it translates to nearly instant engagement—as soon as you push on the pedals, you go forward. This is especially handy when you’re working your way through a technical climb and need to “ratchet” your pedaling.
And the fact that each pawl engages three separate teeth on the drive ring means that, once the hub engages, it’s a very solid engagement. With many other hubs, I’ve had situations where I went to pedal, and the hub would “pop” and skip a bit. That popping comes from the pawls not fully engaging and therefore skipping to the next tooth on the drive ring. In my time riding the I9’s, I’ve never had this happen to me.
A potential downside of the ridiculous number of engagement points in the Enduro hub is increased friction when coasting. All of that awesomeness packed inside the hub can mean that the freehub doesn’t coast smoothly, which would usually manifest itself as a slack chain, particularly when in the smaller cogs on the cassette. While I have heard of older I9 hubs having this problem, it isn’t an issue I experienced. (Apparently, this is also an issue I9 addressed with their newly redesigned hubs, which are advertised as having reduced friction and weighing less.)
Aside from the internal workings, the Industry Nine hubs have all the options you’d expect from a high-end hub—they’ll fit pretty much any commonly used dropout configuration (including lefty front hubs with an adapter, and there is a 150mm rear hub available), and they come in lots of pretty colors.
They’re also available with an XD freehub driver for those inclined to jump on the 1×11 bandwagon. My rear hub was set at 10x135mm, and I used the front in both 9mm quick release as well as 20mm thru axle configurations, which is easily changed by swapping out the hub’s end caps (sold separately).
NEXT PAGE: The Spokes