Which hubs are for me, part 4: Industry Nine Classic Road

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Apologies in advance, this one will be a little photo light. I somehow mangled an SD card and we don't have any I9s in stock right now. They're expensive to carry and with each drilling opion in 11 colors and no color having a popularity edge, they're difficult to stock. 

That said, let's do the numbers...

I9's Road Classic Torch hubs (ain't that a mouthful?) are simple, elegant, beautifully made and finished hubs. Their specs are great (the front geometry is really great), they're light enough, they require bupkus for pre-use setup and are low maintenance, and they are made in one of the all-time awesom hippie towns in the universe - Asheville, NC. 

Axles are aluminum, as is the cassette body. The cassette body is subject to a bit of chew, nowhere near as much as DT cassette bodies (made of butter, apparently) but they're not ti. I've seen hints of a steel option, of course that adds weight. Bearings are straightforward, well sealed, and have no adjustment mechanism. That's either a plus or a minus for most people, but can also be neutral. Depends on you.

Yes I know this is a disc front hub, but the road hub's end caps (front and rear) are similar. That little sucker in the bench vise is called an axle vise, and you need it (or some other elegant solution, but an axle vise costs like $6) to get the end cap off. They're no chance going to fall out on you. The end cap does a good job of sealing out any gank from the bearings. 

The rear drive mechanism is standard drive ring and 3 pawls. 60 points of engagement, so the pickup is more or less instant when you pedal. They're fairly loud hubs. Not like their mountain bike hubs, which are sure to draw comments, but you notice them. 

Seriously this is the most handsome set of wheels everIt's tempting to compare the I9 hubs with Novatec, as they share a similar simplicity and straightforwardeness. The front hub geometry on the I9 is just plain better, but whether that's a functional difference is not absolute. If we'd experienced or heard of shaggy front wheels with Novatec hubs, I could say it is, but we haven't. I'd certainly be more comfortable putting some bull moose knuckle dragging crit sprinter on a 20h I9 front than an otherwise-equivalent Novatec front. For people toward the center of the bell curve? Not such a difference. Kind of same with the rears, although the geometry differences are less stark there. 

My sister-in-law uses this word that my brother (who's way more of a skin flint than I am) just hates, which is that she will describe something that's really elegant as "rich." Maybe she watches too much Project Runway, I don't know. In any case, I9 hubs positively exude "rich." It is impossible to experience an I9 hub without knowing that it's an elegant product. And it's not a false impression, their functionality matches that impression.

Gratuitous beef cake shot

So again, as some comments have discussed in previous posts in this series, we try to give you the objective as well as we can, so that you can either tame of unleash your personal subjective in your decision process. I totally admit that the other day I was sort of hemming and hawing to go out for my ride, it was cold and windy and I'm sick of cold and windy, and the flashy neon yellow logos on my wheels were like a dog bouncing around excited to go for a walk. I smiled and hopped out for a great ride. Anyone's relationship to his/her bike and riding and that whole ball of wax involves a good bit of alchemy, and the hippies at I9 are darn talented alchemists. 

My mtb wheels, which force many "hey - my eyes are up here, thank you!" moments. And lots of drool


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  • Dave on

    James – We’re more in love with them than ever. There is no trouble with them from bearings or anything else. Dave

  • James Einloth on

    I believe the I9 front road hub has significantly smaller bearings than most other hubs (DT for example). I9 is 17×26×5 while DT is 15×28×7. Now that you have had some more time with these hubs, have you noticed any trouble from the smaller bearings?

  • Greg on

    Have their first generation road hubs which are still in use and are as good and "rich" ;-) as the day I got them . Since then have added more to the collection . Best hubs on this planet .


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