Heavy wheels are more costly, in terms of performance, than heavy components elsewhere on the bike. This is because high rotational weight ruins a bike’s stability and handling characteristics. You don’t have to be a racer to feel the difference that a lightweight wheelset can make. When Industry Nine designed the Pillar Carbon Ultralite 29inch Wheelset, low weight was the number one objective. At around 1415 grams total, we’d have to say "mission accomplished."
Pillar Carbon rims aren't just any run-of-the-mill epoxy and fiber-reinforced rings. Industry Nine enlisted help from the composite wizards at Reynolds Cycling. This means that these 28mm outer, 24mm inner width, tubeless rims feature Reynolds' MR5 technology. It focuses on five key elements — spoke face, nipple bed, tire channel, rim sidewall, and hook bead — in order to optimize resin chemistry and carbon layup for the structural loads of each component. The result is the Pillar Carbon rim with Twin Pillar hookless bead walls. The rims, found exclusively on Industry Nine’s Pillar line of wheels, are tubeless-ready and offer an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and ride quality characteristics.
The Carbon Ultralite 29 uses 24 spokes per wheel in a 2/1 lacing pattern to keep weight down. Instead of steel spokes, I9's wheels use 7075 aluminum. The spokes are straight pull, and they have a 25% greater cross section then comparable 14/15 double butted steel spokes. In other words, these spokes have a stronger tensile strength. Also, 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.
Industry Nine, however, doesn't need to roll its threads. Instead, they're created during the machining process, but cut so that the thread channel is the same as the spoke's diameter. The threads themselves are actually larger than the spoke for a strong interface with the hub. That brings to light another defining feature of these wheels — there are no nipples. The spokes thread directly into hub and use a standard 15-gauge wrench and conventional truing methods in order to service. The Torch hubs that these spokes thread into are a fresh redesign of the groundbreaking Industry Nine hubs.
Industry Nine's new Torch hubs feature two sets of three pawls spaced three degrees apart. This 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, it has 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.