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Evolution if the I9 revolution.
When Industry Nine shook up the knobby-tire world, the burgeoning 29er movement was limited to road wheels wearing hiking boots. Industry Nine saw potential, and developed a ground-breaking wheelset that addressed the nagging issues that prevented 29ers from shining. The Trail 24H Wheelset builds on the success of the original design by lowering weight, reducing drag, and increasing axle compatibility.
What placed Industry Nine on the map was speed and positive engagement, wrapped up in a visually appealing package. It's worth noting, also, that the wheels were complete with U.S. sourced materials and production. This was accompanied by spokes that screw directly into a precisely CNC'd hub shell without the need for nipples. The lack of steel 'J' bend spokes and nipples resulted in a stiff and light platform that uses traditional tools and techniques to service.
The Trail wheelset retains the same proprietary spoke and hub interface, but has received numerous advancements to the hub itself. The new Torch hubs are now compatible with all axle standards via separately available end caps. The big news, however, is within the hub. The Torch preserves the 120 points of contact and lightning-quick three degrees engagement that distinguished Industry Nine, only now, the pawls have two teeth instead of three. Along with that, a changed cantilever angle and shallower tooth profile on the hardened drive ring reduce drag for a less-restricted freehub. Remarkably, this occurs with the same holding power. And, that's not all that I9 did to improve the Torch.
Its engineers removed the large bearing between the freehub body and shell, opting for smaller bearings directly between the body and shell. The reduced bearing size means less seal surface area that, along with a new silicone lip design, significantly reduces mechanical drag. The freehub is also now easier to remove for cleaning/lubing, and like before, the springs and pawls are captured. So, you won't be scrambling on a floor looking for small parts.
Instead of steel spokes, Industry Nine's wheels use 7075 aluminum. The spokes are straight pull, and they have roughly a 25% greater cross section then comparable 14/15 double butted steel spokes. In other words, these spokes have a stronger tensile strength. Threading on these spokes is also exclusive to Industry Nine. On traditional spokes, threads are rolled, not cut. This adds to strength, but creates a stress riser where the thread channel is narrower than the diameter of spoke itself. However, Industry Nine doesn't need to roll its threads. Instead, they're created during the machining process, only they're cut so that the thread channel is the same as the spokes diameter. The threads themselves are actually larger than the spoke for a strong interface with the hub.
The Trail 24 hole wheelset features Industry Nine's new tubeless rims laced in a 2:1 ratio. And while they're intended for aggressive terrain, Industry Nine recommends these wheels for smoother, lighter riders. If you're a bruiser, I9 has you covered with its 32 hole Trail wheelset. With a 28mm outer-width (23.4mm inner), the Industry Nine's Trail rim is one of the widest 29er rim on the market, making it a perfect fit for the enduro purpose of this wheelset. They feature a double-wide design for strength without a heavy weight penalty, and they also provide an excellent level of stiffness for precise tracking over the rough stuff.
The Industry Nine Trail 24H 29in wheels ship with a 15mm front and 12x142mm rear compatibility. They're tubeless-ready and come in either the color Black or Red. Please note that they ship with the Presta valve stems and rim tape already installed.
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Fear not the beauty
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I9 sometimes get accused of focusing on the wrong areas of product design - aesthetics (colors and fancy machining) and novelty (using alloy spokes instead of steel) - at the sacrifice of quality. After a few weeks of hard XC and trail riding on these wheels, I can say their fantastic looks represent no compromise in functionality. They're incredibly stiff, responsive, durable, and the fact that this is a trail-ready wheel with a 23.4mm-wide rim bed at just 1540g is incredible. That they're USA-made is a wonderful bonus. A new favorite of mine, and highly recommended.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
For an Aluminum wheelset, it’s really hard to look further than I9. They really have stepped it up once again with the new Torch hubs. Their new hubs still offer uber high engagement and axle compatibility, while decreasing drag. The 24 aluminum spokes paired with their proprietary rim offer plenty of lateral stiffness. Depending on your riding, a Clyde could get away with the 24 hole versions for XC, but anything more it would be better insurance to just go with the 32 hole option. Lastly, if their stock color options don’t meet your predilection, I9 offers custom color options to create your own look.