EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK! Industry Nine has been quietly working on an entirely new road wheel over the past few months, and we’ve got the first photos and video to show you!
Last April, Industry 9 showed off their first set of road hoops using their house-made aluminum spokes, and they were gorgeous.Ã‚Â But, riders that put a lot of miles on them or rode them hard reported some spoke breakage. While their alloy spokes work great for mountain biking in a 32-hole design, the lower spoke count of the road wheels created too much stress.
Now, they’ve totally redesigned the spoke layout in a truly unique vertical pattern and gone with the ever-popular Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes to create a stiffer, lighter and more aerodynamic wheelset.Ã‚Â They’re as beautiful as ever, and we’ve got lots of great pics to show you!
Hit ‘more’ for all the goods…
The biggest, most obvious changes are the new spokes and spoke layout.Ã‚Â Whereas Industry Nine has always made their alloy spokes (and everything else, for that matter) in house, only outsourcing the rims and bearings, to correct the problems with their original road designs, they’ve gone with proven stainless steel Sapim bladed spokes.
The rear wheel is a 24-spoke, 2-cross design and the front is a radially laced 18-spoke layout.Ã‚Â They could have made durable 32-hole road wheels with their fat alloy spokes but, let’s be honest, there’s a pretty limited (ie. none) market for 32-spoke $1,000 road hoops.
The new rear road hub uses vertically stacked mounting points for the straight pull spokes.Ã‚Â Versus the original horizontally opposed design, this allows them to spread all spokes further outboard to create a larger bracing angle for a laterally stiffer wheel.Ã‚Â The thinner, bladed spokes allow them to place them much closer and use a traditional “woven” cross lacing pattern, which adds a lot of strength.
The front wheel gets the same straight pull Sapim spokes in a radial pattern.Ã‚Â The spokes have been pushed out as wide as they can while still fitting in the most common forks.
Industry Nine’s Jeff Baucom pointed his finger at the Trek Madone’s fork, saying it’s inward sweeping design limited how far out they could go.Ã‚Â Regardless, the spokes are pretty far outboard, something that’s more obvious when you can see the wheels in person…watch the video closely as Jeff’s holding the front wheel, there are few parts where he’s got it aimed directly at the camera to illustrate the width.
The wide spokes create lateral stiffness at the rim.Ã‚Â For the hubs, I9 has pushed the bearings to the outermost edge, then internally sleeved them with edge-to-edge axle.Ã‚Â While they haven’t done any testing to prove that this internal axle creates a stiffer wheel, anecdotally Jeff says many riders have been thrilled with the feel.Ã‚Â In theory, it makes sense: Provide a solid, fixed platform for the bearings to rotate on rather than sitting on the endcaps and the entire system should be stiffer.
From there, the end cap slides into the inner axle and has a broad serrated surface to increase the contact patch with your fork.Ã‚Â Every piece of the hub except the bearings is machined and anodized in-house at I9.
A couple more glamour shots for ya before we get to the rims…
RIMS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY
The Industry Nine road wheels, which don’t officially have a name (they’re doing away with the Id, Ego and SuperEgo scheme), will initially be offered in five sets.Ã‚Â Two will have alloy rims, starting with the model shown here.Ã‚Â The rim is the only part coming from a foreign source on the wheelset.Ã‚Â Jeff says Trek was the last company that extruded rims in the U.S., and they moved their production overseas recently, too.
The base model will have a 50mm deep alloy rim and start at about $900 to $950.Ã‚Â Pricing is still being finalized, but it’ll go up from there.
Cyclocrossers take note:Ã‚Â The other alloy rim model will use the HED Ardennes C2 24mm wide ‘cross-friendly rim (left, compared to the standard rim), making for a pretty bomb-proof set of mud hoops.Ã‚Â It’s the same rim that’s raced in those cobbly Belgian classics.
Above that, there’ll be three carbon rim models, all using rims from U.S.-made Edge Composites.Ã‚Â That means they’ll be expensive, but like any good cyclist I know, you can justify it somehow.Ã‚Â All five models will be clincher only.
Industry Nine says they’ll start taking orders in March for delivery in late April or early May. The official release isn’t until Sea Otter (mid-April), and they’ll be showing some prototypes at the NAHBS.
MOUNTAIN BIKE VERSION?
Yep, they’re working on prototypes of this spoke layout for mountain bikes, too.Ã‚Â Current test models are laced up with 24-spoke, 2-cross lacing on front and rear with the same vertical stacking at the hub.Ã‚Â They’re laced to the same 285g rim used on Stan’s Podium MMX wheelset.Ã‚Â Target weight is around 1200 to 1280g for the set, making them technically “race only” but they’re also working on a set with a more durable rim (all else the same) to come in around 1400 to 1450g, which would give them one of the lightest “everyday” XC wheelsets out there.
Big thanks to Jeff and the crew for the sneak peek!