Bikerumor Review – Industry Nine i30 Road Wheels
Industry Nine originally introduced their road wheels a couple years back as the Id and Ego, both of which used their proprietary aluminum spokes…but they never made it into full production because of a few issues with spoke breakage due to the particular stresses of road riding.
Then, last year, we broke the exclusive first look at these new road wheels and I9 went to work getting them into production. We’ve had our test set for a few months, mostly under Evan’s short but powerful legs, and, should you like what you read here, you’ll be pleased to know they’re finally in full production and stocked. Jump past the break for a full review…
For more photos, check out our First Look post here. The official specs are:
- FRONT: 17mm oversized axle, Ultra low profile design, 78 grams (claimed)
- REAR: 15mm oversized axle, stacked flange design, 240 grams (claimed)
- DRIVER: 39 tooth drive ring, 3 pawl mechanism, 9 degree engagement
- SPOKES: Sapim X-ray
- RIM: i30 Rim, 30mm deep Niobium enhanced alloy, 450 grams (claimed)
- WEIGHT: 1450 grams (claimed)
- PRICE: $950.00 USD
OPTIONS: Ceramic bearings and Campagnolo freehubs are available
Our test set (with rim tape) came in at 610g (F) and 840g (R) for a total of 1,450g, exactly what they claim.
Rim width at the brake track’s widest point is 18mm and a couple of hairs. If I had to guess, I’d put it at 18.2mm. That’s pretty narrow, but tire installation was fairly easy and as shown below, it kept the tire’s actual mounted width pretty close to claimed:
Inside width is 14mm, which made our 23c Bontrager R3 tire bulge to 24mm at about 90-110psi. To be fair, we haven’t measured this tire’s width on any other rims, so it could be that the tire itself is a bit wider than claimed, but it’s within 1mm of labeled size. Speaking of the rim, it’s a fairly standard “V” shaped aero rim, nothing too fancy, and it’s made for I9 in Asia.
One of the most frequent questions we got as soon as we unboxed them was about their sound. Yes, they sound just as bad ass as their mountain bike hubs. Our first video did a sound check out of the box, this one (above) is with tires and mounted on a bike. On the road, we’ve noticed that they’re slightly less noisy now but still have that trademark “whine”. (Tyler: I’ve noticed that my MTB I9 hubs have also quieted down quite a bit since I got them with no loss in performance, so I don’t think it’s wear)
Let me start by saying that this is one appealing and almost arousing wheelset. 30mm deep, silver aero rims, silver Sapim CX Ray spokes and I9’s very own precision hubs, also in silver. These wheels look as sharp as a Samurai’s sword.
My testing consisted of flat to rolling rides here in Greensboro, NC, and also some steep, pitched mountainous stuff in and around Asheville. They were wrapped with Bontrager R4’s and mounted on my BH G5 with a SRAM Red cassette.
Going into the testing of these wheels I was excited about getting to try out some of I9’s road wheel making prowess. We all know that Industry Nine makes killer mountain bike wheels but hey, hairy legs can’t always find home in the land of the shaven and vice versa. At times there is chemistry and in other instances, flops.
Bikerumor was the first to lay hands on this wheelset, so I was getting on a never ridden set of i30’s…..sweet! They were strikingly true out of the box and the only thing left up to me was to throw some tires and a cassette on and pedal! My first ride out was a mainly flat one with a firm breeze and some of my first impressions were: these wheels roll like butter, they beg for you to keep hammering them from start to finish. The 30mm rim glides smoothly through the air, and they are confidently stable through turns, bumps and climbs up light rollers. What I started noticing and liked about this wheelset was its predictability and the fact that it kept delivering a consistent ride performance.
What about the mountains you ask? Well, I took these wheels to the hills to try and absolutely punish them and ride the hound out of them. I tried sprinting up most every mountain I encountered and barreled down the other side….more of the same out of the i30’s. Predictability and a high quality ride. It really was astounding; these wheels are just so primo throughout a whole host of riding. Sure, they may not be at the precipice of every riding facet but, they receive high marks from me across the board as an all around performer. They are a light, have favorable aerodynamic qualities and the exceptional build quality people have come to expect from Industry Nine.
I will sum up with the following: For an aluminum clincher wheelset that you can rely on day in and day out and all the while have a blast riding, these i30 getups will hook you up with satisfaction. Take them anywhere and do anything.
Two disclaimers on my comments: First, I had only limited time on these wheels – Evan definitely got the best of this review. And yes, I’m jealous. Second, I’m a fan of I9. After visiting their factory and seeing how the hubs and spokes are made, I ended up getting a pair of their 29er mountain bike wheels laced up with Stan’s rims and love them. I’ve raced them at the Breck Epic and in a few six hour races among other things. So I had some pretty high expectations for their road wheels based on the design and their reputation for quality.
For the most part, they didn’t disappoint. As anticipated, the quality of the build was fantastic. As of the last ride on them a couple days before posting this review, they’re still perfectly true, and we’ve performed exactly zero maintenance on them.
Ride impressions: I’m much taller than Evan and about 35 pounds heavier, yet I’d second his opinion on their stiffness. Coming into corners hot, I didn’t notice any brake rub, flex or steering inaccuracies. I could whip the bike back and forth for dotted line slaloms and the wheels always kept up. I didn’t notice any flex under power, even on all-out county line sprints.
I’d also agree on their cruising prowess. Once at speed, they’ll just roll and roll with the best of them. On a group ride they should serve you well keeping up with or pulling the pack. I didn’t have any crosswinds on my time with them, but in a straight line, they fly.
The only issue I had with them was the rims. While the aerodynamics seem fine and they’re strong enough to take our abuse without losing their shape in the slightest, they just feel a little dead. Maybe I’m spoiled by some of the other lightweight wheels we’ve got in on review, but they don’t snap to attention when you jump to attack. That means you may have to put a bit more effort into sudden accelerations, and compared to something with a lighter rim, they don’t dance up the climbs.
All that said, they’re an excellent set of wheels that should serve most riders well. And they look stunning, with a classic/modern silver that classes up any bike. For the climbers and sprinters, or those with a bit more coin to spare, there are a number of other rim options built with the same hubs and spokes. Either way, the heart and soul of Industry Nine’s wheels are the hubs (and for MTB, the spokes), and they’re absolutely worth the money in our opinion.
Industry Nine’s i30 road wheels are a great all-around wheelset that should serve the majority of roadies well. They’re smooth, stiff and roll easily. If our past experience with I9 holds true, they should also last you a good long time. For the price and weight, they’re on par with similar wheelsets, but with I9 you have a wide range of color options for the hubs and a choice of silver, black or white rims, giving you quite a few extra degrees of customization.
As an aside, Jacob at I9 said many of them have raced cyclocross on their i25 wheelset (same hubs/spokes but with HED C2 rims) and he said there’s no issue or warranty concern with running these for ‘cross. This makes them a solid year-round wheelset, and the deeper V of the i30 may actually give it an edge in the muck. This is something we’ll test in the future if possible and update accordingly.