Our "Rider Review" article series features honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
Besides the obvious stress tires take, the wheels are arguably next in line when it comes to riding forces on a single component. The average mountain bike wheel takes a lot of abuse but also they need to be relatively light as well. Our friend Fred shares his thoughts on the Industry Nine Trail 270 wheelset. Check it out!
After a couple of weeks of research on wheelsets, I finally decided on Industry Nine. My 2017 Giant Anthem 2 came with fairly narrow wheels at 23 mm and I was looking for something both lighter and wider. The Giant wheelset was also very heavy at over 2100 grams and I had been running Maxxis Aggressor tires, 27.5 X 2.3”. At first, I was only looking at what I could get for about $300-500. I soon found that both limited my choices and really would not improve my wheel performance that much. A mountain biking friend was also advising that I go to a Rekon Maxxis 2.6” on the front and Ardent 2.4” on the back. I don’t think there is enough clearance for much more than that on the bike with this Giant Anthem 2. I eventually came upon the Industry Nine Trail 270 aluminum wheelset. Since I only weigh about 140 lbs, the 24 spoke option was ideal for me and even lighter. They do claim a 1480 gm weight for the 27.5 wheelsets but I found it to weigh about 1596 gms. With the Industry Nine wheelset and the Rekon/Ardent tires that add up to a 600 gms wheelset/tire weight savings. A 15% discount coupon lowered my cost a bit so I ordered my wheels from Worldwide Cyclery….free shipping too. A factory direct order, which I considered, was going to take additional time and $40. Shipping cost and did not include a 15% discount either. Worldwide had my wheels in stock too except I mistakenly ordered the 29” version. Worldwide corrected this with a simple phone call and correct wheelset showed up days later, much to my relief. Please note that while the order says 29”…it was an error in the order that I made and the 27.5” wheels were what I bought.
The wheelset arrived in a few days and they were/are beautiful and light as carbon fiber really. On the bike, they look amazing. I could have gone directly to Industry Nine and customized these wheels with blue aluminum spokes but wanted to keep the wheels subtle given the bright blue and orange color of my frame. The wheels are laser etched with Industry Nine logos which are permanent and again not gaudy at all. The inside width came to 27.5mm. With the tires and wider rim width, I was able to run 17 psi on the front and 19 on the back. My 210 lb mountain biking friend runs that pressure, tubeless, without any issues and recommended even less pressure for me. I found 17/19 psi to be nearly ideal and I also set them up as tubeless. The wheels come with high-quality tubeless valves and perfect taping ready to be used tubeless.
The improvement in handling was a huge eye-opener. I’ve only been mountain bike 18 months now and found with this new wheel and tire set up I could carve corners with so much more confidence now. Where I used to washout my front tire would now hold a very solid and fast line helping me keep up with most of the faster intermediate riders in my group. I can’t say enough about how this has transformed my riding and confidence. While I had some misgivings about the Ardent 2.4” on the back, it’s proven to be incredible at climbing very steep, loose hills we encounter a lot in San Diego. The 3 deg rear hubs near instantaneous engagement are just amazing as well. My old giant hub was just so inexact and tinny sounding. Lots of noticeable delay and clunking in the engagement where the Industry Nine is solid sounding and seems like it’s always engaged! The weight savings was also a welcome surprise. My bike feels much more responsive too. It seems to accelerate a bit quicker and while I thought the 3 deg engagement noise might bother me, instead it’s almost comforting and confidence-inspiring in its precision.
In summary, I really didn’t totally believe that a wheelset/tire change like this could possibly transform my bike so much. The effect it’s had on my performance as well as sort of like night and day for me. No change I’ve made to my bike to date has been so transformational. I’ve changed cassettes, gone to an elliptical chainring, XT shifter, slimmer seat, etc. with much smaller improvements. While the Industry Nine wheelset might seem pricey to some, remember you can take these boost wheels to your next bike as well. They will become your “go-to” wheelset as they have for me and so many others. I see myself upgrading any future bike I buy to this wheelset option. The quality of this wheelset along with the lightweight, rigidity, precision engagement and the increased width makes this a win-win choice for me. The only other consideration might be the slightly heavier and wider 305 wheelset that Industry Nine offers. For me and these tires they have proven to be ideal. Remember you do get what you pay for and spending a bit more on a good wheelset can make a huge difference.