While Industry Nine has had a carbon-rimmed wheel in its range for a while now, for 2015 a collaboration with Reynolds Cycling brings rim production Stateside. This change makes the three-model PillarCarbon range probably the most ‘Merican wheelset available: rims, spokes, and hubs are all made in the US. Only the ball bearings are sourced from outside of the country.
Designed specifically to work with Industry Nine’s Torch hubs and trademark aluminium spokes, the Utah-made PillarCarbon rims all feature hookless walls. This increasingly-popular configuration allows for continuous edge-edge carbon fibres, making for stronger, more impact-resistant walls. The rims’ beds were designed from the start with tubeless compatibility in mind, with a centre channel shaped to allow easy tyre seating (via high-volume floor pump) and a bead shelf intended to minimise burping with both tubeless and tubelish tyres.
“Rims with exceptionally wide inner widths (for a given category)… cause the cornering blocks on many tires to become so ‘square’ that they no longer contact the trail surface in their the intended shear plane- causing a dramatic reduction in traction at the cornering limit or on off camber objects or sections of trail.”
Rim widths are wide- but not too wide. Industry Nine found that tyre designers create tread patterns to work with the sort of rim widths typically found in their category. When designers get too width-crazy things don’t work nearly as well. In addition to taking away from tyre performance, overly-wide rims expose more of the rim and tyre to impact and abrasion damage.
I9 also has realised the importance of the holy magazine review grails of vertical compliance alongside lateral stiffness- and designed its rims to balance the two. By keeping an eye on rim depth and carbon fibre layup, Industry Nine claims to have reduced the ‘wooden’ feel sometimes associated with too-stiff composite wheels. Not only are they more comfortable, but rims that are allowed to deflect ever-so-slightly, improving traction on rough terrain.
Four PillarCarbon wheels will be offered from later this year. Several standard colours will be offered and – for an upcharge – the spoke/hub colour combination of your dreams can be made real.