Monday 30 March 2020

Industry 9 hubs

Using the opportunity of the latest build for Matthias, I wanted to share with you why Industry 9 hubs are my favorites and how do they step above any other hubs on the market. 

Matthias is another member of BBVC club, who joined the Blackcat wheels family and will be riding on my wheels. It's a great satisfaction for me personally, seeing that more and more people put trust in my work and learn that custom-built wheels are really worth to try and that doesn't come with a higher cost than stock wheels. 

So what did I build for Matthias? Well, the task was a bit easier as I know him pretty well since we cycle almost every weekend together. The only thing was to hear his expectations, understand the budget and some finish touch preferences as he pays attention to the smallest details. 

I have to admit that I wouldn't be a good advocate of carbon rims, as initially, Matthias was looking into that direction. He was another person to whom I advised alloy based rims. 
Why? The rim brake bike and the places where we ride - small, narrow, very steep local roads which require a lot of braking. If you combine that with occasional rainy rides, then you quickly realize that you need a good and safe braking system and carbon rims are not ideal for that (except of disc of course).

My recommendation for this build was Boyd Altamont ceramic rim with 30mm profile. Combining those wide (almost 20mm inner) rims with Conti GP5000TL tires give a nice wheel profile with semi-aero benefits. A good look with a powerful braking set comes in the package. 

When you ride next to those wheels and you look from the side, you get the impression that those are disc wheels as the brake track is not silver and thus not visible. Lack of rotors gives a very clean look of the bike. This is one of the unique features of ceramic wheels.

The heart of those wheels - Industry 9 hubs:

Building yearly by average 120-150 unique wheelsets, gives me an excellent exposure for many rims and hubs brands. Bitex, Miche, Tune, DT Swiss, Erasecomponents, Chris King, Velotechnic, Hope, Carbon Ti, Acros, Soul-Kozak are the hubs I'm using mostly. Every of those is different and allows to customize every single build. However, out of all those hubs, Industry 9 is the closest to my ideal hubs. Let me explain to you why...

1. Geometry

Since we are talking about road wheels, let's have a look at road geometry.

Front, usually simple however not always. In general, wider the flanges are spaced here, more stiffness and therefore thinner spokes can be used. Industry 9 provide 38mm center to the flange which allows me to use the thinnest aero spokes I have - Pillar Wing20. Using those spokes, the front wheel will be always super stiff, even with shallow rim and heavy rider. 

Wider than this gives a risk that the fork will be rubbing the hub, so Bitex RAF12 which has 39mm might be sometimes tricky and simply not applicable for all road bikes. 

The rear is the one where you can learn if the company knows what they're doing. This is the hub that decides if the wheel will be stiff or not. 
For me, personally, in 1:1 lacing, the dimension of the left flange from the center tells how stiff the wheel be. I9 designed the hub with 35mm offset which is somehow standard-safe approach. Nevertheless, what they did differently, is the left flange PCD. It's large, 50mm, and that gives the extra stiffness (shorter spokes and better bracing angle). At the same time allows to obtain a high tension of non-drive spokes, so the best out from both worlds. 
The right flange is pushed towards the cassette as much as modern 11-speed gears allow. 17.5mm is maximum what you can get in order to allow cross spoke lacing.

Bearings used in torch road rear hubs are solid. 61803, 61903 and 17287 enduro bearings. Proprietary pawls, solid sealing from water and dust, all that greased using high-end Dumonde tech products. That combination works and it works very well giving trouble freehubs for many years. 

2. Finish and look

Absolutely beautiful! The colors, the look, and the shape of I9 hubs make your wheels super sexy. What I appreciate is classy, J-bend hubs, although Industry9 is leading in innovations and have own alloy SP spokes with thread on the hub-side and not the rim-nipple side. They could go with SP hubs only but knowing the stuff well, they stick to J-bend too. Big kudos for that!

3. Industry 9 as a company

Worth to follow. For me, privately as a product manager in another large company, it's an example to follow. The way how I9 grows and develops, leads to the conclusion, that there is a well-thought roadmap and business plan behind. 
Few examples:

- The recent partnership with We are the one composites company.

Such a size company could easily go for Chinese rims like most of the others do. Partnering with high-quality carbon rim manufacturer demonstrates that they take product development very seriously 

- Patented alloy spoke-hub system

Thick & heavy-looking spokes, lightweight and very strong in reality. I learned that preparing a spoke tension calibrator for I9

Totally different system, using spoke threads on the hub's side. Stiff and low weight wheels.

- Properly designed hubs

On top of the road hubs I described earlier, there are much more examples of well-thought design:

Truly super-boost plus hub, where the geometry of the hub is adjusted to benefit from the long axle. Most of the other manufacturers just make the end caps...

Hydra freehub is another innovation which needs to be mentioned here:

All this followed by top-class customer service. You simply can't ask for more...

Last but not least - at this moment when I'm writing this post, we are all fighting with COVID-19. Industry 9 stepped out beyond others and is actively working to with this combat:

And just to be clear... I do not have any sponsorship from I9. I simply admire good products and fair companies and Industry 9 is on top of my list in this category. 

So back to wheels for Matthias - I used here red Industry 9 torch hubs in 20/24h drilling.

Taking into account the rider's weight and symmetric Boyd 30mm rims I used Pillar Wing20 spokes on front, Wing23 on rear DR and Wing22 on NDR side. All was precisely tensioned using calibrated tension meters.

All came out really nicely. I had the opportunity to be part of the first ride when Matthias took them out. I was really pleased to see that wheels stay stiff and do not rub the brake pads during climbs out of the saddle. The best reward for a wheel builder, I can tell you!

Meeting the finish-touch expectations I used two red nippled and red tubeless valve to match the canyon bike and red hubs.

Talking about tubeless, of course fast and furious continental GP 5000TL... what else? :)

Stable, stiff, good looking wheels with super-strong braking capabilities. Weight-wise 1590g without rim tape. Not super light, but also not heavy. Few more grams sit in the rear hub, which is not a rotating mass and it will not slow down the wheel. 

I always repeat that to my customers - heavier but better designed hub, with stiff and thick hub shell and well designed bearing slots will work much better and will give you a much faster wheel than a lightweight plastic hub, where the overall design is questionable. In the high-class hubs you won't need to change the bearings every 5-10k km. 
Don't get fooled by upgrading to ceramic bearings in low-class hubs - you'll have to replace them as often as you'd replace system bearings. If you are in the workshop, who claims that they can improve cheap hubs by upgrading the bearings only, go away and spare your cash for a nice bike trip instead. 

Price tag for those - 1249CHF. That includes the wheels, brake pads, rim tape, and spare spokes+nipples.


Long post today, but I think it was worth it. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for other nice builds coming up very soon!



  1. One of the best reads about wheelbulding I have read lately. Well argumented, strong insights, lots of experience. Lovely read!

    1. Thank you so much! Your words give me the energy to keep going with the blog and write more!

  2. Hi Tomasz, great blog (as usual!) which creates a lot of anticipation for my disc brake wheel set with lime green i9 hubs! Best, Dirk

  3. Bravo, ça donne envie et ça fait plaisir de voir un monteur de roues en Suisse qui reste raisonnable sur les prix ��
    Je sais ou j'irai chercher mes prochaine roues ��

    Continuez comme ça !!!