Review: Industry Nine 101 Trail S Wheelset

Industry Nine 101 Trail S 29er wheelset

Starting today, complete tubeless-ready aluminum wheelsets featuring the Industry Nine 101 hubs are available for $750. The wheelsets are offered with either Trail S or Enduro S rims and feature 28-hole i9 101 hubs, and Sapim Race J-bend spokes laced 3-cross. Hub options include Boost (QR and TA) and Superboost spacing, ISO 6-bolt or Center Lock rotor mounts, HG, XD, and Micro Spline freehub options.

FAST FACTS
101 Hub: 90 points of engagement (POE), 4-degree, 6-pawl driver, 45-tooth drive ring
Wheel Size: 27.5”, 29”
Axle Spacing Front: 15×110 mm
Axle Spacing Rear: 141 QR, 12×148, 12×157 mm
Single Rim Weight: 455 grams
Internal / External Rim Width: 27 mm / 31 mm
Actual Wheelset Weight: Front: 801 grams / Rear: 950 grams
Retail Wheelset Price: Front: $300 / Rear: $455
Warranty: two-year limited warranty
Website: industrynine.com

Earlier this year when Industry Nine unveiled the company’s new hubs, the Hydra took all the buzz with its whopping 690 POE. Meanwhile, the new budget-friendly 101 hub is equally deserving of attention. Perhaps it was the overshadowing of the engagement since the 101 hubs ONLY have 90 POE. Let me remind you that Torch had 120 POE, and that was quite stellar before Hydra’s enormous leap. Maybe it was the fact that that the 101 hubs are ONLY available in black. Yes, you read that correctly, the 101 hubs are available in black or black. Even though Industry Nine has access to all 11 of your favorite anodized colors like pinks, blues, and golds, this hub is classic black. What these limitations get you is a damn fine set of hubs crafted in Asheville, North Carolina, for even the most budget-conscious shopper.

TRAIL REPORT
We’ve been lucky enough to have been on a set of the 101s laced into i9’s Trail S rims since June, and they’ve been flawless on both carbon and aluminum hardtails and briefly on a 120 mm full-squish bike. Initially, the aluminum 101 wheelset was included in the “Fast and Smooth – Four Carbon Wheelsets in Test” we conducted earlier this year, but due to the timing of the release, we had to exclude them when the post went live. They also were the wheelset relied on to get through the Breck Epic, a six-day mountain bike race held in Colorado last month.

THE HUB
The 101 hubs utilize a 45-tooth drive ring and 6-pawl design in a dual-phase system. In my personal opinion, engagement feels the same as the Torch hub only with a more subtle buzz as opposed to the more annoying high-pitched metallic sounding zing of the Torch. The higher engagement of the Hydra is without a doubt noticeable, but I would be perfectly content running the 101 on my daily driver as it’s still a hell of a workhorse. The 101 may be considered a budget hub, but it offers better engagement than a lot of high-end options out there.

Below is an informative video that Industry Nine put together explaining the differences of the company’s Legacy, Torch, Hydra and 101 series hubs.

THE WHEELSET
As I mentioned earlier, this wheelset was included in the wheelset comparison test we conducted in July. The Industry Nine Trail S wheelset sits at a fraction of the cost of the other four carbon wheelsets (two with i9 Hydra hubs) that averaged a retail price of $1,600. What surprised us the most was how pleasant the 101 wheelset was in back-to-back testing with the carbon offerings. The less expensive i9 wheelset performed so well that it was liked almost as much as the preferred carbon wheelset of the test when the cost wasn’t part of the equation.

The 28-hole Trail S hoops are stiffer than most other aluminum wheels that I have run, but that’s not a bad thing, quite the opposite. As wheels rolled beneath me, they felt firmly planted yet able to react as quickly as I was able to adjust the direction of travel. Unlike some aluminum wheelsets that feel like a liquid glob as they roll along trying to keep up with rapid direction changes only to find themselves three moves behind.

Technically, the Trail S rim is designed to handle a tire from 2.2 – 2.5 inches wide, but I mounted a Maxxis Rekon 2.6, and it looked perfectly fine to me. If you wanted a little more plump, the Enduro S rim is 65 grams heavier and is “technically” deemed appropriate for tires 2.3 – 2.8 inches wide. You could probably even do a mix and match with an Enduro S upfront ($300) and Trail S to the rear ($455) if you were looking to optimize your favorite tire setup.

FINAL THOUGHTS
After countless dings and truing sessions, I emptied my piggy bank and bought my first carbon wheelset half a decade ago and have not looked back until now. The i9 Trail S 101 wheelset officially changed my long-standing opinion that most aluminum wheelsets feel like a wet noodle and need to be trued on a weekly basis. For $750 you can have a top-notch hub that has premium engagement and a modern rim that’s built to last.

Words: Scott Williams | Photos: Brett Rothmeyer