Industry Nine Hydra Complete Freehub Body [Rider Review]

Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for. 

Very few brands can compete with Industry Nine when it comes to hub engagement. Not only do they look incredible, but the engagement is almost instant. Did we mention how insane they sound too? Just read our customer Derek's review and see for yourself!

Industry Nine Hydra Complete Freehub Body Rider Review


Here’s my review on the Industry Nine Hydra freehub for Shimano Micro Spline cassettes. For starters, I have been a fan of Industry Nine since my first wheelset with their hubs back in 2012 (made in N. Carolina and super high quality). As a rider that weighs in the neighborhood of 200lbs, or 91kg for you metric fans, I’m rough on my bikes and I haven’t had any issues with I9 hubs or freehubs, only requirements have been the yearly bearing replacement, they do wear out no matter how good the bearings are, and periodic free hub greasing. Tip – to keep the bearing lasting longer, smear some waterproof grease over the seals, this will help keep water from getting through the cartridge bearing seals.

The freehub is a little different than the old Torch versions. Besides the practically instant engagement, 0.52 degrees, the second biggest difference lies in the pawl springs. Gone are the tiny coil springs that pop out of the body easily when removing the pawls. I9 has replaced them with a curled leaf spring. I’m a firm believer that this helps maintenance because you can remove the pawl, and the spring stays put. This will help you keep track of all the small parts as you remove them for cleaning and re-greasing.

Industry Nine Hydra Complete Freehub Body Rider Review

The build quality of the Industry Nine hub/freehub is typical of I9, top-notch. The machining looks great and the anodizing is perfect. Enduro bearings are the standard and it’s good to see those in there too. The pawls and ring gear are machined from hardened tool steel (the process looks like wire EDM if you don’t know how the process works, check it out, pretty cool stuff), and as long as properly maintained, they will last years and years. I’ve never had an issue, and a friend of mine is using my old hubs from 2012 with no problems.

My original Hydra freehub was for SRAM. I wanted to switch my drivetrain to Shimano, so a new freehub was in order. Once received from our friends at Worldwide Cyclery, the installation was easy. If you’re doing what I did, remove the rear wheel, leave the old SRAM cassette on, rotate the cassette and freehub counter-clockwise, and gently pull – the whole assembly will come off. Clean out the inside, put in some fresh freehub grease, and install the Micro Spline freehub by rotating it counter-clockwise and pushing it in until the freehub fully seats into the body. Install the Shimano cassette, the same way, as usual, torqueing the retaining ring to 40Nm. Reinstall the rear wheel and ride.

Riding Impressions

Hydra is awesome, flat out. Engagement is there, 0.52 degrees is instant for humans, and you can’t feel any lag or clunk like cheaper OEM freehubs, or even the old Torches (even though they’re at 3 degrees). Durability is still there like the Torches. The sound, well, it’s loud. The Hydras have a higher pitch due to the pitch of the pawl teeth. I’ve quieted them down using Shimano Hub Grease, works really well to lubricate and quiet the teeth ratcheting.

I’ve run the XD version for about a year and I haven’t had any problems or strange wear on the teeth.

As for the Micro Spline version, the only concern I have is the 12-speed SLX Shimano cassette is typical of the old Shimano cassettes where the middle to smallest cogs are individually floating, they aren’t pinned, only the largest cogs are pinned to a spider. I’m hoping the deeper splines in the Micro Spline hub hold up better than the old Shimano/SRAM HD freehubs, and don’t cut in so bad. I’m expecting a little since the hub is aluminum and the cogs steel, but I’m hoping the added surface area carries the load better and I can still remove the cassette easily when the time comes.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the freehub/hub is awesome. I would recommend Hydra to everyone; instant engagement, easy to maintain, high quality, looks good, and made in North Carolina – what’s more, to ask?

Shop Industry Nine Hydra Complete Freehub Body

March 25, 2021

freehub › Hydra › Industry Nine › Rider Review ›

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