Industry Nine – Torch Hubs, Ultralight, Enduro and Gravity Wheels

Wheels

Industry Nine has been busy revamping their entire wheel, rim and hub lineup this year. They announced the x-country and trail oriented Torch series back in January, and they’re now rolling out the Ultralight, Enduro and Gravity wheels and rims.

Wheels
All the wheels come with the new Torch hubs (Gravity gets DH hubs), and they’re tubeless ready, and come with tubeless tape and valves preinstalled. Some of the main design edict for all of their new series was to maximize the stiffness to weight ratio and inner width to weight ratio, and keep the final stiffness close to carbon but with the pricing of aluminum rims. They went with a bead hook design on the rim that would be a good fit for both tubeless ready and UST tires, and they went with a minimal height to maximize weight savings. There is a small bead barb on the inboard side on the inner shoulder, to keep the tire bead in place, so when using lower pressures, there are fewer chances of burping.

The Ultralight series is meant for racing, lighter riders and smoother trails, and it comes with the 24 hole Ultralight rim, which has a 25mm outer and 21mm inner width. The beefier Enduro is ready for the 5″-6″ suspension bikes and the new Enduro racing, and the wide and stiff 32 hole Enduro rim has 30mm outer and 26mm inner widths, and weighs 455 grams. Finally, the Gravity is their big daddy wheel, for downhill and freeriding, and has 34mm outer and 28mm inner widths, and weighs 530 grams, and uses the 150mm or 157mm wide DH hub.

Wheel Specs:

  • Ultralight – 25/21mm widths, 26″ 1300g, 27.5″ 1360g, 29 1410g
  • Enduro – 30/26mm widths, 26″ 1600+g, 27.5″ 1650g, 29 1700+g
  • Gravity – 34/28mm widths, 26″ 1800g, 29 1900g

Torch Hub
The new Torch series hubs are much lighter than their predecessor, dropping off almost 150 grams off the old Enduro hubs, and they have lower drag and use smaller and lighter bearing. The rear hub has a new drive ring, pawl geometry, relocated bearings and seals, and are compatible with the XD1 driver, and they kept the excellent 120 POE. They went with a universal pop off end cap design to change between axle specs, for both front and rear, so changing out adapter is quick and simple. The hubs are now tapered towards the braking side of the wheels to assist in reducing any torquing and twisting and loading.

They use a contact seal external to the bearings to keep grit and grime from getting to the face of the cartridge bearing, and they pack the space in between with marine grease, which should all help to extend longevity (4 times the life). They preload is preset from factory, and the redesign uses a set stop point on the axle, which loads the bearing races from both sides.

The rear hub redesign maximized bearing spread, and moved the inner drive side bearing off the free hub body, so that bearing isn’t holding the weight and torque of the cassette and body. They bumped the axle up to 20mm, with a step down to 17mm to pass through to the bearings, for better strength, stiffness and durability.

The hubs can be serviced by hand, and it’s easy to give the freebub a good tub to pull things apart. Because they went with a custom lip seal, they use freehub oil, for better lubrication and lower drag.

Industry Nine – Torch Hubs, Ultralight, Enduro and Gravity Wheels Gallery
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I9 Torch - Servcing the rear hub

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I9 Torch Hub - Freehub comparision, old vs new

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I9 Torch hub - Rear Hub Pawls and freehub body

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I9 Torch - Rear hub cutaway

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I9 Gravity Wheel

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I9 Enduro wheel

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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  • qq says:

    especially awesome captures!

  • grum says:

    Yes, it all looks very shiny and sounds great. Be very careful. I spent a large amount of money on an I9 wheelset, the rear hub has never been right, has (supposedly) been back to I9 and returned, now creaks, pings and generally sounds like it’s about to fail. I9 refused to replace it. I’d stick to something tried and true with a proven support record, even if it makes for less exciting sounding advertorial.

    • BobC says:

      grum – I ran a pair of I9s on my Truth for 3 years and never had any trouble at all! I’m not the worlds most aggressive rider – but I weigh in at a beefy 230lbs – so I still put a good load on my wheels! I’d happily run nothing but I9 wheels if I could afford to still – unfortunately my job situation no longer let’s me run quite that rich.

      I’m surprised at your problems – everyone I know that runs I9s swears by them.

    • mtbBern says:

      grum – i have the same experience w/ my I9 rear hub. within a month or so of use I got a knocking sound that could not be eliminated – cracked drive shell. replaced by a new one, a month later same problem – undersized bearing size/tolerance or something. replaced by a new one. problem came back another month or so, I have to adjust the preload every now and again, PITA… I now have the wheels on my SS, where I could care less about the hub, the pain of climbing makes me focus elsewhere, LOL.

  • grum says:

    BobC, You’re surprised. Well, imagine how surprised I was, at the technical issues followed by lack of support, for a wheel that cost a significant part of a month’s salary…
    I now have a rear wheel with I9 enduro hub sitting unused in my garage. It works, but I can’t bear the noises it makes and don’t trust it.
    Any suggestions? No shops in my city sell these wheels any more (they’ve been burnt too) and the guy who last looked at them said “No thanks” when I asked him to have another go at servicing the hub.
    If anyone from I9 wants to follow this up, I’m more than happy to talk.

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