Industry Nine All Mountain Review

Pro Reviews Wheels

Impressions
I was pretty stocked up to try them out, as I had always respected the build quality of their wheels, and the highly engineered and innovative hub, but I was really craving to try out the 120 point of engagement freehub.

After a short couple of rides on the wheelset, I had to admit that the rear hub is simply amazing, and I was highly impressed with the high point of engagement or POE. In difficult technical terrain, you could just crank on the pedals, and the hubs would react instantaneously, as there was no lag whatsoever. I could power almost anywhere I wanted, at any angle, direction, and terrain obstacle. They also allowed you to track stand, catch your balance (and composure), and start up again, almost like you were on a Fixie (ok, just sort of). Technical sections, especially in low gears, take on a different feel, as you can virtually stop dead in your tracks, and crank a hard move or do small hop and reengage the drive trail without any loss of control, since there is no slop in the system, except for the chain. I have ridden 24 and 30 POE most of my biking careers, and although in most conditions, it doesn’t really make much of a difference, I have found the High POE to very useful and functional, and reverting back to Lower POE wasn’t much fun, as I have gotten spoiled. They were pretty quiet rear hubs, and only gave a muted whirl noise, buzzing up to a whiz sound at higher speeds, but not very noticeable when hammering down the trail.

I have been pummeling them pretty hard over the last 4-5 months on my local terrain, including lots of rock gardens, rocky ledges and plenty of abuse, and have found them to be laterally and torsionally stiff. The front wheel is especially one stout beast, and I couldn’t feel any sort of flex coming from them, though they still had a lively and resilient feel, and would turn on a dime, slicing and dicing wherever you wanted them to go. You could toss them into a corner or berm, with hardly a whimper from them, and they didn’t deflect and provided a very stable ride, and they were easy to leverage for additional torque when required. They are impressively light, and have great acceleration, and are a stiff, snappy and responsive wheelset.

I9_front

The wheels haven’t required much maintenance, and when I checked them, they were reasonably true. When the spokes do need to be adjusted, they only take a minute amount of movement, such as 1/8 to 1/4 turn, using a standard .126” (15 gauge) spoke wrench. The aluminum spokes are not as tough or robust as steel spokes against rocks, branches and trail debris, but I have only had one broken spoke during the test period when I kicked up a huge rock. The replacement was easy, and the wheel was still fairly true, so not much tweaking was required. They use two different spoke lengths, and I9 provides two spare spokes of each length with the wheelset. Since they are proprietary spokes, not every LBS is going to carry them, though fortunately they turned out to be fairly durable, so the spare ones have been adequate, though you’d be SOL if you destroyed your wheel.

The bearings have been fine for me, without any play, even after they broke in, and if required, the rear is easily adjusted using a 1.5mm allen wrench. I did notice a slight grittiness on the non drivetrain side in the race, so I added a touch of grease and they have been smoother. The freehub has been trouble free, and the subtle amount of HPOE drag is hardly noticeable. The freehub body using the tougher 7068 alloy has only minimal gouge marks, and the cassette slips off easily. I9 has some decent instructions on their website for servicing their hub’s if one was so inclined, though the drive system service does take some mechanical skills and expertise, and the proper tools.

I9_rim

I like to run my wheels in a tubeless mode, getting the benefits of lower pressure and a lack of pinch flats. The rims are not tubeless ready, so I ran a thin layer of rim tape (Stan’s, or whomever) to seal up the spoke holes, and then used a Stan’s rim strip. They never popped up with that distinctive tubeless sound when the tire bead snaps into the rim’s socket (love that sound), though they sealed up and have worked just fine, after performing the usual sealant treatment techniques. I would like to see them add their own optional tubeless kit made specifically for the rims and spokes.

I like the green color of the spokes and hub, as they almost sort of glow, with great brightness and vibrancy. I have gotten a few compliments on the combination, and they certainly have a high bling factor, and make for some nice eye candy. With 11 spoke and hub colors, you can have quite the plethora of zing.

Next » Bottom Line

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • cojacket says:

    One correction: Galling can happen to parts made of the same material. In this case the anodizing prevents it, not the material selection. Good review though!

  • Brian Mullin says:

    cojacket: You are correct, and thanks for info, and the article has been corrected. If it was hard anodized they will not gall, but it could be more of a regular decorative anodizing, and then durability would be an issue, but the spokes are not really going to be adjusted much? Not sure?

  • jen says:

    the machining in the first picture looks shit!

  • Kevin Kaehms says:

    I’ve had to constantly re-tighten my I9 spokes after every ride; yes they’re light, strong and have incredible engagement- but the spokes are continually coming loose.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Kevin: My spokes have been fine, and have only needed minor tweaking. The wheels have stayed in true better than most?

  • Brad Fitkin says:

    I bought my I9 AM wheelset about 8 months ago, even though I read quite a few claims about I9 wheels that spokes constantly loosen, they break easily, the freewheel has too much drag, etc. I’ve given ‘em hell, and they’ve chewed it up and spit it out. I’ve had to tighten one spoke, haven’t broken one yet (got a few dings and a slightly bent one due to rocks, etc), and the initial drag on the freewheel has quickly become a total non-issue after break-in. Despite a single loose spoke and a slightly bent one, my wheels remain true. My goal was to upgrade my wheelset to top-shelf, install it and forget about it status, and these wheels have exceeded my expectations.

  • Kevin Kaehms says:

    Brian, what kind of wheel build do you have,(XC, all mountain, DH, etc…)? My I-9 build is a DH wheelset and I’m 200+lbs so I tend to be hard on equipment. Still no complaints with the hubs, but if I were to do it over again I’d probably go with their “classic” hubs & standard spokes- may be a heavier build, but because of my weight I tend to prefer durability over total bike weight.

  • TOU93 says:

    I’ve had I9 AM on my bike for just over a year now and they have been awesome! Mine are laced up with Stans ZTR Flow rims and have handled many days at DH parks. I’ve only had to true them once. If you read the instructions that come with them it says to get them re-tentioned after 4-6h of first riding them to make sure everything is fine.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Kevin: AM setup, I am tough on wheels cause I do real low speed technical trials stuff, jamming a lot of torque onto the system, but I only weigh in at 155 lbs.

  • Jeff says:

    @ Kevin: The most common cause of chronic de-tensioning is overall low spoke tension. Have your bike shop tension the wheels and verify the tension with a Park or DT Swiss tensiometer. The conversion #’s are on Industry Nine’s website. If the wheels are properly tensioned, de-tensioning shouldn’t be an issue.

  • mc says:

    Great review! These are so much stiffer than my Hadley/Flow combo I was running. Engagement is about the same, but lateral stiffness if noticeable. Got them running tubeless with just two passes of Stans Yellow tape and WTB TCS tires. No issues so far and holds air just like my Stans did. Worth the extra money.

  • Brad says:

    I have a set of the I9 proprietary enduro hubs. They are tough as hell , with very little truing at all. However; I am consisently having a problem with the rear axle coming loose, which results in a very loud creaking noise. Anyone else have this issue going on?

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