So many mountain bikes these days have developed climb-o-phobia that you'd think there weren't any trails that actually go up the mountain. The good doctors at Indsutry Nine have the cure, though: the Ultralite 235 27.5in Wheelset. It bumps the internal rim width out to a generous 23.5mm, which swallows up the usual XC race wheels and lets tubeless tires plump out for greater traction on climbs and a little more plush security after dropping in.
Despite that added width, the rims are still built to put material where it's needed for structural integrity and limit it where it's just so many added grams. The result is a rim that eats abuse but still keeps rotational mass at a minimum so turning the wheels is as efficient as possible. And that's all well and good, but—this being I9—the hubs are the real stars in this regard.
Industry Nine made its name with precision CNC machining at its Indiana facility, and the latest generation of Torch hubs prove that they haven't just been playing around. The Torch freehub is built around six offset pawls that provide 120 points of engagement, all of which means that it's never more than three degrees away from translating pedal input to forward motion. While it's still possible to get hung-up on rocky cruxes, the Ultralite 235's combination of low rotational mass and virtually instant engagement make it far less likely.
- An XC wheelset that believes in the value of climbing
- Virtually instantaneous freehub engagement
- Wide rims accommodate the current trend of bigger tires
- Tubeless-ready rim profile increases tire retention
- Industry Nine CNC-machines its freehubs in the USA