Industry Nine Ultralite 27.5in Wheelset $1,195.00
At this point, we're sure that you've heard of 27.5-inch wheels proving themselves at the highest level of cross country racing. And if you haven't heard this, well, it's because the benefits of the mid-sized wheels are easily recognized on the race course. So, if you're on board with the 27.5 phenomena, and your priority is fast lap times, consider the sub-1400 gram Industry Nine Ultralite 27.5in Wheelset for your competitive advantage. Don't feel bad, it's OK to wipe the race course with your buddies -- just don't let them catch you gloating.
To fully grasp the I9 experience, you have to start at its spokes. You see, while traditional spokes are drawn from steel wire, I-9 spokes are machined from 7075 aluminum. The spokes are straight pull, and they have roughly a 25% greater cross section then comparable 14/15 double-butted steel spokes. This translates into a greater tensile strength. Additionally, the threading on these spokes is also exclusive to Industry Nine. On traditional spokes, threads are rolled, not cut. This adds to strength, but it creates a stress riser where the thread channel is narrower than the diameter of the spoke itself. However, Industry Nine doesn't need to roll its threads. Instead, they're created during the machining process, and they're cut so that the thread channel is the same as the spoke's diameter. In fact, the threads themselves are actually larger than the spoke in order to create a stronger interface with the hub.
Moving on to the hubs, the Enduro wheelset features I9's new Torch hubs. And with a great sigh of relief, we're happy to say that they're compatible with all axle standards via separately available end caps. The big news, however, is actually within the hub. The Torch preserves the 120 points of contact and near-instant three degrees of engagement that's earned Industry Nine its cult following. 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 freehub drag in comparison to previous iterations. Additionally, the Torch hubs now incorporate a proprietary mechanism that features two sets of three pawls that are phased three degrees from each other.
The rear hub was tested to withstand 700ft/lbs of torque -- roughly what a built diesel truck puts out. This fact quiets any fears of slippage when you're putting out full power. But, it's the Torch's quick engagement that enables you to clean steep, technical trail sections. And with three degrees of rotation between engagement points, that won't be an issue.
Furthering this, Industry Nine's engineers have removed the large bearing between the freehub body and shell, opting for smaller bearings directly between the body and shell. The reduced bearing size equates to 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 and lubing, and like before, the springs and pawls are captured. Home mechanics rejoice -- this means that you won't be scrambling on the floor looking for small parts.
These wheels feature a low 24 spoke count. And to make them significantly stronger than other low spoke count wheels, they employ a 2:1 lacing ratio. This means that there's 16 spokes on the side bearing the greatest load, and 8 on the less-stressed side. The effect is that the wheel achieves a far more balanced tension, rather than experiencing vastly different loads on each side of the wheel -- as is the case in traditional wheel constructions. To further improve the balance, spokes on the higher count side are butted for weight savings, while those on the lower spoke count side are straight gauge, to boost stiffness. There's a 180 pound weight limit, which given the crazy-light weight, shouldn't be a surprise. However, our experience has shown that, for those inside the weight limit, these hold up admirably, day in and day out.
That brings to light another defining feature of these wheels -- there are no nipples. Instead, the spokes thread directly into the hub in order to eliminate apparently redundant part. They also use a standard 15-gauge spoke wrench and conventional truing methods in order to maintain serviceability for long-term use.
And with a 21mm inner-width and a 25.2mm outer-width, Industry Nine's Ultralite rim is wide enough to fit a true 2.4-inch tire. But, it's the feathery 350 gram weight per rim that you'll really notice. This makes them lighter than many carbon fiber clinchers. Additionally, they feature a double-wall extrusion, which keeps the rim stiff in spite of its light overall weight. In turn, it keeps you locked into your line on the trail, while your friends on lesser wheels curse your precise steering.
The Industry Nine Ultralite 27.5in wheels are available with a 15mm front and 12x142mm rear thru-axle compatibility. They're tubeless-ready and come in either the color Black or Red. Please note that these wheels ship with the Presta valve stems and rim tape already installed.