At A Glance
Industry Nine are well known for their high-end wheelsets and non-conformist approach to manufacturing and wheel design. My first experience of their products was a Torch hub built on a set of Reynolds carbon wheels and they blew my mind. The speed of engagement along with the stiff hoop felt incredible and had me hooked on the rapid hub speed and superb power transfer.Buy Wheels on
Industry Nine have a whole host of wheels, but the Trail 270 is a new offering which packages up the Torch hub with a 27mm wide rim and their renowned aluminium spokes. This combination aims to give a very light (for trail bikes) wheelset, super fast engagement and enough strength to keep up with all that modern trail bikes can throw at a set of wheels.
The weights come in at a svelte 1650g with the front weighing 765g and the rear 885g. Most axles are catered for with 15 and 20mm options and boost or non-boost versions all achieved through swapping end caps, but no Super Boost Plus (they do make a DH super boost hub though). The Freehub is either Shimano or SRAM with a mighty 6 pawl/120 point engagement.
As mentioned, the inner width is 27mm, which is wide, but not fashionably so, and this leads to a recommended tyre width of 2.2 to 2.5. The recommended rider weight is 105kg for the 32 spoke option tested here, but there is a 24 spoke build that drops that to 95kg and the overall wheel weight is reduced to 1560g.
The thicker spokes keep things stiff and give the unique look to the wheels. They screw directly into the hub flange and have a flat surface near the rim to act as a nipple to tighten them. The Torch hub is designed to be fast, robust and easy to service. This is evident in the easily swapped freehub body and end caps, and the bearings can be knocked out with its own axle.
Finally, the Ano Lab allows for endless customisation where one can choose from a huge range of colours for the rim, spokes and the valve, even alternating spoke colours are possible!
On The Trail
I'm going to try not to go on about the Torch hub too much, but it's pretty special. It's the sort of hub that ruins any other wheelset as once you've experienced a hub with such rapid pick-up, it's hard to go back to a wheel with lazy engagement. Many other hubs feel lazy and hungover in comparison, with what feels like half a pedal stroke before hitting the power.
The advantages from this rapid transfer of power are felt almost everywhere, but especially when getting on the gas out of corners where you may only get a few strokes before the next. Elsewhere, in rough and rocky ground where pedal strikes are near constant, the power can be laid down quickly, efficiently and small pedal taps can keep you moving in a trials-like style. Essentially it can feel like a fixie until you freehub clicks and you remember you're not a cycle courier.
So I like the hub, yes. However, the rest of the package is pretty smart too. The oversized spokes seem a bit of a novelty but have held the wheel straight and true, only needing a once-over after the first few rides after which they've been locked in. I have managed to bend a couple, but I regularly ride through vaguely organised boulder fields, so I expect that. Replacement is simple and once you get used to the steeper pitch on the threads, truing is the same, only smaller turns are needed for the same effect.
At 27mm the rim isn't trendy-wide, but neither is it too narrow to run a decent tyre. I tend to want to run 2.5 tyres regardless of a bikes intent so I was on the upper limit for the rims, and although I seated a 2.6 Vee Tire Flow Snap, it felt a bit too high and wobbly on the rim. Speaking of seating tyres, that has been no problem and all tyres have popped up easily with a track pump and no elaborate tactics required.
As far as rim width preference goes, a extra 3mm on the width would certainly be no bad thing for these wheels. With wider tyres being run on trail bikes, a 30mm internal width would just open up the profile of the tyre and allow 2.5 to sit a bit more comfortably.
The Trail 270 has proven to be exceptionally reliable throughout the punishment, which has been far above what a 'trail' wheelset should have to cope with. Stiffness has been good, but this is one aspect which those pushing them hard would find an issue, but hey, they make stiffer and heavy wheels if you need them. For most of the time it was not an issue, and only noticeable when switching to an enduro/DH style rim.
Rattling through the rocks is bound to cause a bit of damage and I did manage to dent the rear slightly, but I was very surprised by the strength offered and the dent hasn't affected performance.
The bearings and freehub and still spinning beautifully as you'd expect from a wheelset with a starting price of $1,245.00, which is where the only real downside comes. Although a lot of cash, I feel that money spent on wheels can really transform a ride, and these give a serious upgrade without resorting to super expensive carbon hoops.
Fast, light and durable, the Trail 270s can transform a bike, making it livelier and faster in one swoop. With trail bikes getting more and more competent, it is not enough to simply have light wheels and these are an ideal choice for a hard-hitting trail rider who is not easily seduced by carbon. A great example of excellent, well-executed engineering in a stylish, colour coordinated package.
This review was in Issue 55 of IMB.For more information visit Industry Nine
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.