Industry Nine has doubled in size over the past few years trying to fulfill demands for its wheelsets, but they are still a couple of dozen cyclists, joined by a passion for perfection. Industry Nine has earned its reputation by re-thinking every aspect of wheel design, and their hard work has produced a range of durable hubs, freehubs with near-instant engagement, a revolutionary straight-pull spoke design, and a number of high-performance rims. Each component is designed to be an integral part of an Industry Nine wheelset and, except for the spokes and bearings, the components are machined and assembled by hand at their modest factory in Asheville, North Carolina. Meet the Trail S Wheelset
What Industry Nine was missing, however, was the "Trail S" - a gateway wheelset that offered the same features as its elite-level Torch wheelsets
, but at a more affordable price that was within reach of riders who may be upgrading from OEM wheels for the first time, or for OEM customers who wanted to spec a premium brand with a personal story behind it. Industry Nine's MSRP for the Trail S is $845 USD, which is on the upper end of "affordable performance wheels" and claimed weights are 1635 grams in 27.5 and 1690 grams in 29 inch. After riding a pair around Whistler, BC's technical trails on a Knolly Endorphin, I can report good things about their latest effort.Construction
The Trail S wheel is sold in 29 and 27.5-inch sizes and it incorporates the Torch hub's straight-pull spoke arrangement, but it is designed around stainless steel spokes instead of their signature anodized aluminum items. In the tradition of Industry Nine, the rims are aluminum, and the rear hub uses an aluminum spline with their patented rapid-engagement ratchet system. While the engagement is a mere three degrees for high-end Torch hubs, the engagement is six degrees for the Trail S models. Customers who decide they would rather have the three-degree ratchet can upgrade it for $50. The two mechanisms are interchangeable.
The wheels are laced to 28 double butted Sapim Race spokes, fitted with "Double Square" locking aluminum nipples. While Industry Nine's techs would not tell me exactly how tight the spokes were, a squeeze test indicated that they were tensioned "sensibly high," which is what I would expect from wheel builders who ride in one of North America's most demading technical regions.
The 6000-series aluminum rims are also conservatively designed, with internal ramps and bead locks to assist seating and sealing the tire, and the wheels come with the sealing tape and tubeless valve stems installed. Industry Nine says that all of its Torch axle adapters interchange with the Trail S hubs and that they are working on a Boost compatible front and rear hub at present. As mentioned earler, claimed weights are 1635 grams in 27.5 and 1690 grams in 29-inch sizes. First Impressions:
|Two solid rides, even on Whistler's finest trails, were not enough to make a definitive call on Industry Nine's latest creations, but I can say that Trail S wheels share the same DNA as their pricier sisters. They steer well and took a pounding on the roots, rocks and innumerable bomb-holes there without burping air, suffering a flat spot, or contracting a wobble. The spokes passed the "ping test" afterwards, indicating that their tension remained consistent, which is a good sign that the wheels were pre-stressed properly when the spokes were originally tensioned. The Trail S is going to face some stiff competition from established wheel makers at its $845 price point, but that said, the crew at Industry Nine have given them the looks and the performance to stand shoulder to shoulder with all comers. - RC|