Smooth Rolling with Industry Nine’s AR25 Disc All Road Wheels

For me, wheels can be measured by two factors: price and resilience. I try to act like weight doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t matter until it does. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion though. Anyway, for the past month, I’ve been riding the new Industry Nine AR25 wheels. Marketed for “all road” applications, these wheels use the Torch disc hub system with a three-pawl, 6º freehub mechanism, a 21mm inner width rim, and are laced with 24 Sapim CXray spokes. Industry Nine reduced the pawls by half to cut down on weight, drag and that insanely loud noise they’re well known for. There’s always that moment of anxiety when you spin an i9 hub for the first time. Just how loud is this one going to be?

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The G word is everywhere these days. Gravel, gravel, gravel. It’s an all-in-one marketing machine. Truth is, wheels like this are a great companion for your drop bar disc bike. Be it a road, ‘cross or yes, all-road. I’ve been riding them on my Firefly with Maxxis Refuse 40mm tires on pavement, steep dirt roads, and singletrack. While I haven’t ridden on gravel, I ride plenty of loose, sandy and rocky roads with them.

Weight Matters

As much as I try to front, saying weight doesn’t matter, the one place it does is your wheels. For me, there’s a line in the sand, or gravel, or whatever substrate you ride. On one side is “yeah, those are light” and the other “holy fuck, is that hub made from lead?” Luckily, the i9 wheels felt so light, I thought the box only had one wheel in it upon arrival. Surprise! Part of this has to do with the pawl reduction, another part, the lacing pattern and spoke manufacturer, but when you add up all these marginal gains, you’re looking at or at least feeling a 1450g wheelset. Not bad.

Compatibility

Thru, or quick-release, the front hub comes in QR 100mm, 9x100mm, 12x100mm, 15x100mm axle sizes and the rear, QR 135mm, 10x135mm, 12x142mm. Like all i9 hubs, swapping out the end caps is a cinch. Either use their tool or a solid steel punch. Same with the driver. In terms of disc brake type, use either centerlock or ISO. Bottom line: if your drop bar bike has disc brakes, these wheels will work.

Ping Ping Ping

That’s the sound of rocks hitting the spokes, rims and probably hubs on these wheels. I’ll be honest here. Coming from ENVE M50 wheels to these, I didn’t notice a difference. I’ve hit rocks, and other hard things on the trail and have yet to dent these wheels, even while running lower pressure on that fat rubber. One thing I will note about carbon rims versus aluminum is you’re less likely to dent a carbon rim on a rock… So far, so good however. While some people comment on the radial, direct spoke mounting, I’ve yet to have any issues with ANY i9 product, so my faith is with their engineering.

Take Away

Industry Nine makes some of the finest wheelsets on the market. All from North Carolina, my home state, in the mountains where I fell in love with mountain biking in college. They’re trail tested, resilient, good-looking and yes, light. Starting at $1,195.00 for a wheelset, they’re less likely to cripple you financially and would make a great tax return purchase. Head to Industry Nine for more information.

  • Nicholas Tingey

    Which hubs are louder: Chris Kings or I9s?

    • bikecow

      I think i9s are louder, but not necessarily in a good way. CK hubs have a nice, buttery purr to them :)

      • Talabardio

        I have had both. The road i9s are *much* quieter than CK hubs, which I can no longer use because I just can’t stand that unique beehive sound.

        • bikecow

          Good point. I believe the i9 road hubs have less engagement which would make them quieter. My experience is with their MTB hubs which are a bit obnoxious.

        • Andy Moore

          I’m not too familiar with i9 IRL, but do know that there is a huge difference between King Classic and King R45 hubs in sound output – so it seems necessary to identify models for comparison, rather than just brand.

    • King are louder than these.

  • boomforeal

    the rule is to add a comma before and after an interjection, so: “they’re trail tested, resilient, good-looking and, yes, light,” and “be it a road, ‘cross or, yes, all-road.” strunk and white don’t mention how this rule works in lists in conjunction oxford comas, but thankfully you don’t use them

    really, i’m just jealous of that bike ;-)

    • You vs. Grammarly – I’m going with Grammarly.

    • Photos are my strong suit, then perhaps writing, leaving grammar last. I’ve been using Grammarly (https://app.grammarly.com/) for the past few months. It’s picked up on a lot of errors and does a pretty good job at correcting my writing. That said, we’re talking about commas on a cycling website. :-)

      • Ian Stone

        What comma is that?

    • Andy Moore

      Comma coma, anyone? ;)

  • Brian Richard Walbergh

    How do you like the Refuse? Thinking of trying the 27.5 version on my Wolverine when my WTB Horizions go out, seem similar but the extra width might be more ideal for the rougher stuff I get into as summer starts.

    • I first rode them on my track bike years ago in NYC and have really enjoyed them as an off-road tire. They’ve got more traction than other “slicks”, set up tubeless easily and are resilient to rock cuts or road debris.

      • How supple are the sidewalls?

        • They’re not as soft as the Compass tires, but then again, they don’t rip or tear anywhere near as easily. I’ve spent so much money on those last year and I’m over getting sealant all over me when I ride the mountain roads here.

    • Jonathan McCurdy

      I’ve got them on my vaya… coming back from “as big of gravel tires as will fit” I find myself riding this bike much more than even my steel roadie. The refuse 40 are pretty plush and still seem to roll rather fast. I haven’t ridden too extensively on dirt roads, but they’ve performed pretty well for the few miles of gravel canal paths I’ve ridden on.

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  • Harry

    One bottle per order man sheesh

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  • Draw Imagine

    Looks lovely, but I must make a remark. For me as a middleclass working guy a lot of stuff you guys view on here just is not in reach. And I think/hope I’m not the only one. I also noticed that it’s been a while that I’ve seen brands like Surly, Salsa, Soma etc. viewed here. Please show us “poor” folks some great rides that are in reach, please. ;-)

    • Well, I apologize. NAHBS is a lot to consume. Even I get bummed out when there’s too much high end stuff on the site. But I will note that of the last (5) posts, I see an All-City Mr. Pink and a $500 frame off eBay built with used parts.
      http://theradavist.com/2017/03/a-sunday-spin-on-artist-drive-in-death-valley-national-park/#1 http://theradavist.com/2017/03/dannys-independence-musa-cannondale-caad5-road/#1
      I also wouldn’t consider i9’s wheels as high end. Which is why I try to not review carbon wheels anymore. :-)

      • Draw Imagine

        Yes John, I overlooked that one. It’s not that I don’t love to see handbuild bikes and high end stuff. But I miss those photo shoots of guys who ride simple but still rad bikes where I can identify with. And yes the NAHBS sure had to do a lot with the recent posts I understand.

        Thanks for the quick reply.

      • breed007

        You should mix in galleries of parts bin bikes. I realize they’d be harder to find and not as aesthetically pleasing, but I think people would appreciate them alongside all the high end custom builds on here.

        • Noel Smith

          I find a heavily used bike to be infinitely more aesthetically pleasing than most show bikes.. +1 on the parts bin bikes!

        • Plenty of the bikes here are built with used parts, but I getcha. Noted. Thanks!

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