Industry Nine are a small company from North Carolina making big noises worldwide. Their shouty colour wheelsets grabbed our attention and we were itching to see if their trail performance matched their catwalk presence.
We chose the mid-weight Enduro wheelset, clocking in at 830g for the front with 15mm through-axle and 1,020g for the 135 quick-release rear, with the dependable DT Swiss EX5.1D rim.
Industry Nine’s own 7075 T6 aluminium spokes aren’t just colourful sticks, they’re both lighter and stronger than a double-butted stainless spoke. Aluminium spokes are longitudinally stiffer than steel, and this reduced elasticity results in a laterally and radially stiffer wheel.
This is instantly noticeable when pushing hard on the trail. Very little flex and zero twang is felt, even when hitting high compression berms or rough corners, giving the confidence to slide the bike into downhill berms and stomp it through the turn. The 28mm wide rim accentuates this – it supports the tyre well, even when running relatively low pressures.
There’s some well thought out design here too. No spoke nipple means rotating weight is reduced at the most important point – the rim. The button-ended spoke is laced through the rim, threading directly into the hub flange, and is trued via flats on the rim end. Despite our initial concerns, it’s just as easy as a standard wheel, and certainly easier than an aluminium spoked Mavic wheel.
Inside the chunky, funky flanged hubs are high quality ABEC Grade 5 bearings. The aluminium freehub body engages via a 120-point, six-pawl mechanism, giving just three degrees of rotation till your power gets to the ground. There isn’t the normal wailing scream we are used to with 120-point hubs, instead there’s just a muted whirr that builds to a mechanical whizz as speed approaches the big 30kph.
There was noticeable drag in the freehub when freewheeling, which drove the chain forward slightly when in smaller sprockets. This did mean that instant power hook-up was delayed as the chain unwound itself. Industry Nine assured us that this is down to the supreme weather sealing of the ABEC 5 bearings, and would dissipate given time.
We gave the wheels a hard time in winter conditions and they ran quietly and acceptably true during the test. These are trick-looking wheels that offer the stiffness of aluminium spokes, without the prospect of an empty bank account if you destroy a rim. Definitely well worth considering.