On 5.16.08, we took at tour of the Industry Nine facilities. Industry Nine Tour
If you haven’t seen a set of Industry Nine wheels…you are missing out. Named one of Bike Magazines top 15 Editors Choice products in 2008, these wheelsets have hit the industry by storm over the past couple of years. Their precision machining and stunning good looks have put them at the top of the most wanted list for most cycling enthusiasts. Industry Nine’s goal was to produce the best wheels that money could buy. They have achieved their goal and surpassed most of our expectations.
Industry Nine is located in Asheville, NC where they make each one of their components in house. I had the pleasure of getting the $5 tour from Jeff during a visit I had there last year. The parent company of Industry Nine produces fixtures for robotics and high end manufacturing, so anything you would need to build high end wheels…is already in place. The owner, a mountain biking enthusiast, set out to use his knowledge to build the best wheels that money could buy. His result was Industry Nine and his success has led to a long wait for the precious wheels. Trust me, the wait is worth it.
More company information can be found at IndustryNine.net.
Throughout my tour of the plant, I could see the amount of care that goes into every component for these wheels. For example, each spoke is machined out of 7075-T6 aluminum. The machining process take 2 minutes per spoke and is done all at once on machines that use to produce medical products. Long rods of aluminum are fed into these machines and complete spokes come out the other end. It is pretty impressive to see in person.
For specific details on the rest of the components visit IndustryNine.net.
So, why did I semi rush through the background information? Because how the wheels ride on the trail is really the most important part anyway right? With 120 points of engagement through a 6 pawl system, there is no delay in power transfer. This actually takes some getting used to, but is extremely important. After getting off I9’s (Industry Nine’s), you really notice the gap in power transfer in your other hubs. It really turns into one of those “I didn’t know what I was missing until I had it” situations. Where I noticed it the most was in double clutch situations on the single speed. This is where the I9’s truly shine and I would be hard pressed to have any other wheel on my single speeds from now on. The engagement is instant and you don’t waste any energy waiting on the hub. This is what Industry Nine was setting to accomplish with their drive, instant engagement, and there is no one else on the market that does it this well (I have a set of King hubs for those that were wondering). The wheel is also incredibly stiff. I personally find this very appealing because my favorite riding is in really rough terrain where wheel deflection can become dangerous. The last thing I want to worry about is a wheel coming apart or coming loose causing wrecks and tight situations. I like my components to work correctly on every ride…and these wheels deliver that in spades.
No one can argue that these wheels are absolutely stunning. They are probably the first component that I have ever put on a bike that actually looks better than the frame. While they are the best looking wheels on the planet, that is probably the smallest feature of the wheels, and that is saying a lot. There are dozens of combinations that you can choose from to make your wheels unlike anyone else’s. For the right price, you can even fade the spokes into different colors. Mine were the green and black singlespeed set that you see to the left and there will be another set in the works soon. Below is a gallery of some of my personal favorites that I have seen over the past couple of years. If you want yours included…shoot me a link or email.
These are the best wheels that money can buy, and they are worth every penny. You might have to wait a little while to get your set in, but it is worth the wait. Also check out their road wheels and regular flanged style hubs. In 2007, I9 released the regular flanged style for riders who wanted traditional pull spokes.
The Good News on Industry Nine Wheels
- 120 point engagement is an industry leader
- Multiple color combination’s allow for infinite customization
- Interchangeable end caps allow for multiple axle sizes
- Lightweight stiff wheel when built correctly
The Bad News on Industry Nine Wheels
- Long wait time – sometimes up to 9 months depending on color choices
- Have to mortgage your house for custom color combos off pallet (on pallet is red, black, silver)
- Proprietary spokes on straight pull models – Can’t pick up at your LBS
- Re-tensioning of spokes recommended after several rides
So, which set is your favorite?