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Crankbrothers made an impact in mountain bike wheels for years and most recently with their Synthesis line, we have seen more and more riders flocking to the trusty wheels the pros ride. Adding some Industry Nine hubs made the perfect combination for a durable and trusted wheel. Our friend Tyler recently made the upgrade. Let's see what he thought.
I was in the market for a new wheelset for my Specialized Stumpjumper Evo. I had ruled out getting a carbon wheelset for many reasons price being one of them. My next step was to begin scouring the internet for recommendations and reviews.
I wanted the wheelset to come with a higher engagement hub to help me get through technical rocky sections, and if I am being honest I also wanted my hub to make a bit more noise.
After hours of searching the internet, I had found the Industry 9 101 Enduro S wheelset (Best MTB Wheels Under $1k?). I loved the idea of getting Industry Nine quality at a great price but I was having a hard time getting past the fact that they were 28 hole wheels, even if there is no noticeable difference. With being a heavier rider and not always picking the best line I was concerned with the durability of the wheels. So I continued searching, found that Crank Brothers had come out with an alloy version of their tuned synthesis wheels and you could get it with I9 hubs. I reached out to Worldwide Cyclery and asked them for a recommendation on the two wheelsets. Their awesome customer service was quick to respond saying they had heard great things about both. I picked the Crank Bros for the peace of mind that the 32 hole rear would give me.
These wheels do not come across as a midrange wheelset. The finish on the rim is nice, They have a subtle brushed look and a silver/ grey "tag" that has the CB logo. The hub has both Industry Nine and Crank Bros. logos, unlike the i9 101 hubs directly from I9 these logos are black. I love the subtle branding of these wheels.
Something I think people don't talk about in wheel reviews is how difficult it can be to get the tires on. My past two wheelsets have been extremely hard to install wheels on. I would have to use tire levers and get soapy water if I wanted to have a chance of doing it on my own. That is not the case with these wheels. I was able to install the tire and insert it with just my hands. This is a huge bonus for me and something that I think should be noted. When It came to seating the bead I had no issues there as well. I was able to get the bead to seat with just a normal floor pump.
After Installing the tires and wheels on my bike I took this set out for a ride. The engagement of the I9 hub made climbing rocky and rooty sections easier. When it came to going downhill that is when I noticed the biggest difference between these wheels and my old one. They did not ping off of the rocks like my old wheels.
"For anyone looking for a solid mid-range wheelset, I would highly recommend taking a good look at the Crank Brothers Synthesis E I9s." - Tyler
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