The wheelset market these days is getting more and more competitive. There seems to be an endless number of decisions to be made: carbon or aluminum? 32 or 24 spokes? J-bend or straight pull spokes? 25mm, 30mm, or even 40mm wide??? The question can be daunting, to say the least. How can anyone possibly make the right decision? Enter the Industry Nine Enduro 305 wheelset.
The Enduro 305 wheelset is the next evolution of their enduro-oriented wheels. The aluminum wheels feature a slightly wider profile than their predecessor at an inner width of 30.5mm (do you get the name now?) while maintaining most of the formula that made the previous Enduro wheels such winners. Read below to learn a thing or two about this awesome set of wheels.
As you can probably tell, Industry Nine offers many configurations for your particular setup. The Enduro 305 is available for 29in, 27.5, and *gasp* even 26in wheels! The Torch hubs that are the heartbeat of the wheels come in a large variety of axle sizes and can be built to accommodate practically any drivetrain. I9 recommends tire widths anywhere from 2.3, which is essentially the enduro standard, all the way up to 2.8 tires, which will maximize your grip like no other. So these wheels can be built up to exactly the way you want them. What’s more to love? Well, there’s one more thing: The Ano Lab.
The Industry Nine Ano Lab must be the most customizable wheelset designing system in the world. You can choose from a rainbow of colors for your hub, each and every single individual spoke, and even your valve stem! Industry Nine even goes so far as to have partnered with Stikrd so that you can even customize the logo on the rims with whatever colors you want. While an all-black wheelset is pretty cool, haven’t you always wanted your bike to look like someone spilled a bag of Skittles on it? Or maybe you have an all black bike, but want a few orange spokes to accent the orange on your Fox suspension? Perhaps you love the DVO green on your black fork and your black shock and want just a little bit of extra lime on the front and back of your bike. Whether you want things stealth or loud, you can get exactly what you want for a small upcharge.
It’s very obvious just by looking at them that the Enduro 305s are premium and that feeling is only substantiated on the trail. If you’re coming off the stock wheelset on your enduro bike, the first thing you’ll notice is how light they are. I found it easier to pedal up to speed than on my older, heavier set of wheels. Acceleration is simply faster when you have less mass that you need to get rotating.
The next thing I noticed is the engagement. The 120 points of engagement are addicting and make me fear that I won’t ever want to try anything else with less engagement. While I am far from a climbing expert, the 305s certainly made things less difficult. There is one particular climb in our area called The Challenge, known for its punchiness, awkward rocks, steepness, and variety of line choice. It’s not a long climb, but it’s very technical and one that I’ve never cleared before. It’s the perfect test for a rear hub with 3°of engagement and lightweight acceleration. I may not have breezed up with the climb with ease, but the fact that I even made it from top to bottom is a testament to the climbing prowess of these wheels.
Climbing is fun and all (just kidding), but the downhills are where the Enduro 305s earn their keep. We all know that carbon wheelsets will always be stiffer than aluminum wheels, but the 305s are here to challenge that. Although they are made from metal, the straight pull spokes offer an incredible amount of stiffness without some of the harshness associated with carbon. This is most noticeable when sharply coming through turns or blasting through a rock garden. The wheels always keep their composure and make it feel like you can actually pilot of the bike instead of being led around by a wet noodle. The width of the rims gives you the perfect tire shape, assuming you have the correct width tire on and allow you to run slightly lower pressures than you would otherwise. Suffice it to say, these wide rims mean more traction.
The downhill performance of the Enduro 305s is incredible, but possibly my favorite part of the wheels is the buzz. Because there are so many points of engagement, the rear hub sounds like a massive swarm of angry bees is chasing you down the trail. Some people love it and some people can leave it, but it’s probably one of my favorite things about the Torch hubs. You might argue that it’s annoying to have something so loud near you at all times, but I’d counter that the noise alerts hikers that you’re a badass mountain biker about to blow them off the trail.
If you have a little extra cash to drop on your bike, the Industry Nine Enduro 305 wheelset should be on your upgrade shortlist. It might seem like the starting price of $1,255 is insane for some metal circles, but I can almost guarantee that once you try them, you’ll be hard-pressed to ever look at another wheelset again. The value gets even better when you realize that the Torch hubs are incredibly reliable and can move with you from bike to bike. Finally making the switch from 26in to 29in wheels? Some new spokes and rims and you can keep your amazing hubs. Want to try Eagle but you’re stuck with a Shimano freehub? I9 makes the switch to the XD driver super easy.
So, lighter, stiffer, reliable, and customizable like no other. You may have a ton of choice when looking for a new wheelset, but the Enduro 305s stand out as one of the absolute best options.