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Industry Nine has spent more than a decade building its reputation as a top-line wheel manufacturer, but you can be forgiven for not knowing that if you’ve spent the last decade on the pavement. I9 has lived almost exclusively in the dirt realm, but now the Asheville, North Carolina company brings much of its technology to the road side. Meet the 19.45 Disc Road Wheels.
While the rims are new, it’s best to start an analysis of these wheels with the hubs. I9 is notorious for making beautiful, strong, and light hubs — which is possible because I9’s co-founder Clint Spiegel owns the manufacturing facility along with his dad. There’s an on-site anodizing facility as well, which allows I9 to offer its American-made hubs in an array of colors.
What’s so special about these hubs? For starters, anodizing is a difficult and messy process that requires skill and expensive equipment. I9 has it all on site, which is why you can get hubs in so many colors.
But beyond that, the drive system really sets the hubs apart. The freehub body contains a 60-point drive ring and three pawls, at 6-degree engagement.
What the heck does that mean? Basically, it means engagement is nearly instantaneous and incredibly strong. I9 tests its freehub with over 700 foot pounds of torque, which, according to its website, “amounts roughly to a super-chipped Ford Power Stroke turbo diesel engine.”
With a 21-millimeter inner rim width, it should come as no surprise that the rims allow you to take full advantage of your tire’s shape and width. That means you can run lower tire pressures for improved rolling resistance and traction. These wheels would even be appropriate as a gravel or cyclocross setup.
The 45-millimeter depth means these lean solidly into aero wheel territory. But if you want the full deep-profile aero experience, I9 also offers the 19.65 with a 65-millimeter depth. If both of those options offer more depth than you care to deal with, there’s the 19.35 wheels with a 35-millimeter rim depth.
We tested these wheels with wide 28-millimeter rubber, which mated nicely with the wide rim width. We can imagine pairing these wheels with tires up to 32 millimeters wide, even hitting the CX course with them.
They feel stiff and responsive under hard pedaling, particularly out of the saddle on climbs. And they track nicely in corners, with no noticeable vagueness.
But the real surprise was how little buffeting there was in crosswinds. Sure, a good gust can set you off your line, but that’s no different than any other wheel at this depth. Coming down Lookout Mountain in Golden on a blustery day was no more difficult than usual. The front wheel tracked well except during the biggest gusts. Otherwise, we felt in control and had to do little work to keep the front wheel feeling planted.
These wheels are priced competitively and are quite light for a rim at this depth with disc-brake compatibility. It’s a strong entry into the road market from a company that has already proven itself on the mountain bike side with strong, reliable, and attractive wheels.