Alrighty just gonna come out and say it, this Industry Nine carbon wheelset is amazing. Fucking duhhhhh, for $2500 it better be sweet right? Well, yeah, it is. If you’ve read this far and gleamed as much as you need to know about a really expensive wheelset that you (and me honestly) can’t afford, great, look at the cool photos and enjoy.
If you are seriously interested in making this purchase and want to know my thoughts then, please follow me down the rabbit hole…
For clarity, I tested a set of Enduro 315c 24 hole rims laced to boost Hydra hubs. Since this has already started somewhat uniquely let’s jump into the things I didn’t like about the wheels since we will spend much more time devoted to the things I did like:
-Really expensive (~$2500 as tested)
-Rim tape didn’t seem to stick to the rim bed
-Loud ratchet noise (might be a plus for some)
So let’s delve into those points a bit:
Really Expensive: At $2500 as tested, that is pretty much the cost of most people’s whole bikes, mine included. You could save a few hundred by not making the spokes and hubs look like a rainbow possessed the body of the anodizer at I9, but hey they let me run hog-wild on this one. So yeah, the cost is prohibitive on these for sure, which is why I never had a pair until I was offered to review them, I always wanted a set of carbon rims but it wasn’t in the cards.
Proprietary spokes: The bike tourist/tinkerer in my always worries about, “how will I fix it?” Well since these are no regular spokes, you aren’t gonna just go down the bike shop and get a replacement easily. That being said, they sent two extra spokes with the set and I can scarcely foresee ever needing to replace one, much less two, but hey it’s on my brain.
Slippery Rim Bed: I had a few instances when swapping tires that the rim tape would roll back when I broke the bead, leaving me to have to re-tape my rim most times I swapped tires. The factory tape lasted a few changes, but then a home fix of gorilla tape was too thick to get a tire on, then two wraps of Stan’s tape didn’t hold. Finally, a single layer of Stan’s tape seemed to do the trick. Shoddy mechanic work on my part? Highly possible, nonetheless these are my conclusions. Just before publishing this, I heard from I9 that they are aware of the issue and are working on a solution that is almost ready to be rolled out
Loud ratchet: I’m sure I’ll get a lot of naysayers on this, but I just prefer quieter hubs. Does the amazing whirring noise make me feel fancy and cool as hell, yeah totally, its cool as hell. I’m sure most people get I9 hubs because they want that noise. Hell yeah, loud hubs save lives brother. Admittedly the noise is more subdued compared to older torch hubs and extra grease can take it down a few decibels as well. When I first got the wheelset it was such a fine purr that I thought I had a small hole in my tire a few times, whistling at a high pitch as it deflated, but nope just those amazing 690 points of engagement.
In the end, nothing is wrong with this wheelset, but these are my digging deep critiques because I gotta find something to moan about right?
Let’s move onto some talking points from I9 about these new rims and what I loved about these wheels:
Manufactured by We Are One Composites in Kamloops, BC making the whole wheelset manufactured in North America
-It’s pretty rad to support two North American Manufacturing companies that are making amazing products.
Thicker bead wall to reduce the risk of pinch flats or damage from impacts.
-Never had a pinch the whole time riding so must be working.
Shallow rim depth + enhanced layup schedule provide compliance for the rider and improved tracking in challenging terrain.
-Look good feel good? I dunno, these wheels felt amazing always, it was probably due to some amazing engineer.
Ok enough with the industry jargon and talking points, let’s delve into what I loved about this wheelset:
Colors: Holy shit the colors y’all. When I got the ok to go ham on their Anolab to design these wheels I spent hours trying the find the most colorful combo that looked cool and I think I did a great job. If you’re gonna spend $2k+ on a wheelset might as well spend a few hundred more and get all the colors you could want. Between the ratchet noise and the rainbow-AF wheel, I might as well have been piloting a unicorn mating call instead of a bike.
Carbon Rims: I have been lusting over this upgrade for YEARS, carbon rims, the ultimate. Light, hell yeah. Strong, double hell yeah. Seriously though, after riding this wheelset I’m terrified to go back to my old shitbird take-off wheelset. Wheelies feel so much easier to keep in the air, acceleration is amazing, and they give ya some wings when ya get them off the ground.
Ratchet: Well I know I already poo-poo’d the noise of the ratchet a bit, but all of those points of engagement (690 woooow) really do make a difference. The engagement is instantaneous and solid. For rock crawling in the Southwest, I have found this to be paramount for technical climbing. Add that the already low weight of the carbon rims and shit, I tell you what, these can climb like a rattlesnake with a locking rear differential in 4-low (did I get the offroad terminology right, John?).
Y’all ready for some numbers? So I’m gonna contrast the I9 wheelset I tested with my old shitty wheelset and two sets of tires to see what the weight difference was and let you decide if that’s worth it for you.
I9 wheel weight:
My shitty old wheelset weight:
Two sets of tires:
Teravail Kessel 29×2.4 (tan wall durable bead to bead) 1140g
WTB Trail Boss 29×2.4 (tan wall light&fast) 838g
Sunrace 11-46 465g
So to begin, down here in southern Arizona ya really need to be running tough tires, between sharp rocks and cactus ya just need a stout tire. That will really eat into your weight savings on a fancy carbon wheelset. Running a set of the Teravail Kessels the I9 wheelset the weight difference was 11% (rear)/13% (front) compared to the same setup on my old shitty wheelset. Now if you were able to run a lightweight tire on the I9 wheelset that jumps your weight savings up to 22%/24% compared to my old shitty wheelset with durable tires. If you live in a place with trails acceptable to running light and supple tires you will feel a much more palpable reduction in weight. This summer I spent a good chunk of time in the upper Midwest and was able to run a set of light and supple WTB Trail Boss tires. It was exhilarating to be able to run a set of tires that really made this wheelset sing down the trail.
Something I never did but always considered if I was going to get a carbon wheelset would be to install Cush Core or some similar rim protection. When I did the math on my old wheels with durable tires vs the I9 wheels with Cush Core and durable tires it was pretty much awash in terms of weight. So, carbon rims and nice hubs were only enough to offset the weight of the Cush Core. Now, as mentioned that was only a hypothetical idea and after riding these wheels I doubt I would need Cush Core anyway.
That brings me to durability, probably the aspect I’m most impressed with this set of wheels. The genesis of this whole review was me basically having blown up all my other wheels since moving to Arizona and asking about connects to get a replacement. That led to an introduction to I9 and the new rims they wanted to get some thoughts on. I had assumed I’d just get another whatever wheel and keep kicking down the trials for a few months. These wheels are as true as the day I got them and have never even wavered one bit. They have spent the whole time on my hardtail mountain bike which also spent a few months as a fully rigid setup. Being the ding-dong I am having spent much of my early time on mountain bikes on fat bikes and plus bikes I love my lower tire pressure, which means, you guessed it, rim shots. I was so worried every time I felt that pang of dread coming up short on a sharp rock and feeling nothing but rim. These rims didn’t even flinch and haven’t shown any signs of damage, save for the scratch pictured in the gallery. Now, to be honest, I’m no DH racer nor do I come close to the weight rating of 220 lbs (I’m around 175) so I’m not pushing these to any extremes. Seeing as almost every other rim I’ve been riding has been succumbing to the trails down here I’m still very impressed with the durability of these new carbon rims.
In conclusion, I love these wheels. They look good, feel good perfectly embodied in a bike component. After damn nearly swapping or replacing every part on my mountain bike, the last thing on my dream list was a carbon wheelset. If you love your bike and want to make it feel even more amazing, get some carbon rims. I guarantee they will blow you away with how great they feel.
If you want amazing rims made in Canada paired with superb hubs machined in North Carolina, get this wheelset. Hell, make look and sound like a unicorn mating call, I believe in you.
See more at Industry Nine.
So on Christmas, I gave myself the present of cracking the carbon rim on this wheelset. I put a hole in my tire at some point on the ride and didn’t notice the reduced pressure while descending and hit a rock pretty hard and impacted the rim. In the process, I cracked the rim and put two additional holes in my tire. I was running durable casing Teravail Kessel which nonetheless at the end of the ride had two holes in the tread and on the bead where the rim was contacted, sharp Southern Arizona rocks are real y’all. Luckily it was a short walk out back to the truck. Doubly lucky that I9/We Are One Composites have an amazing lifetime warranty on these rims that covers ALMOST everything that could happen. I9 covers the shipping of the wheel back to HQ then replaces and re-laces a replacement rim. I also want to add that even with an impact hard enough to crack the rim, the wheel remained perfectly true, truly impressive (zing!). Still an amazing wheelset but not indestructuble.