What happens when a mountain bike wheel company makes road wheels? They come out with wheels that are more designed for cyclocross than they are for a crit. This week, North Carolina-based Industry Nine is releasing their latest iteration of their i25 aluminum road wheels, and at Sea Otter this weekend, Operations Manager Jacob McGahey walked me through some of the new innovations.
For starters, the wheels will feature the new Industry Nine Torch series road hub. “It has the same drive rings as previous Torch MTB wheels, with 60 drive rings,” McGahey said, adding, “’Cross was one of the things we had in mind [when designing the wheels].”
The hub goes from being a nine-degree engagement hub to having a six-degree engagement. McGahey explains, “For a cyclocross application, we wanted to create an advantage, because you’re on and off the gas on the bike during a race, going over barriers and such, and traditional road wheels have a 15- to 20-degree engagement range, so every single time you come out of a corner, you lose that momentum when you start pedaling. So that was one of the things we looked at when we started to make the wheels.”
With the hub, Industry Nine also went from a six bolt mechanism to a three bolt, in order to minimize drag, “because for road and ’cross applications we wanted to minimize weight and drag a bit more.”
Cyclocross Magazine has long been a fan of anything tubeless (see Issue 20 for our reviews of two different disc-ready tubeless wheels) so we were intrigued by Industry Nine’s shared commitment to tubeless. The i25 comes tubeless-ready, and McGahey is quick to point out one of the more interesting features: it has a 19mm inner rim. “A normal road bike has a 13mm inner rim,” he explained, “And when you get into ’cross applications and wider tires, if you’re running cyclocross tires at low pressure, the tire folds over.”
He adds his own testament, since the staff of Industry Nine are all apparently just a little cyclocross-crazy. “I’ve ridden these with pressures in the low 30s in muddy conditions and they were fine.”
So with the i25, McGahey says that riders will be able to ride much low pressure tubeless.
Another new feature is the lacing pattern for the spokes. The rear wheel has an 11-speed free hub body, because “with everyone going to 11-speed hub, we needed to change it up.”
With the previous versions of the wheel that were a 9- or 10-speed format, spoke lacing was done 1-to-1 (the same amount of spokes on both sides of the wheel), but on this version, to allow for room for the wider cassette body, they shifted to a 2-to-1 spoke lacing on the wheel, with twice as many spokes on the drive side, “which allowed us to equalize the tension on both sides of the wheel, making the wheel stiffer laterally.”
This new version comes out this week, though the i25 has been available in different versions since 2010.
- MSRP: $1100
- Total weight: 1425 grams
- More information: IndustryNine.net
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