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Industry Nine Enduro S Hydra Review

The Enduro S Hydra is the best alloy wheelset we've ever tested and the winner of our Editor's Choice award.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $975 List | $975.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Pros:  Industry-leading 0.52-degree freehub engagement, less expensive than carbon, great ride quality
Cons:  Expensive for alloy, heavier than carbon
Manufacturer:   Industry Nine
By Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue, Joshua Hutchens  ⋅  Nov 13, 2019
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RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Ride Quality - 35% 9
  • Freehub Engagement - 20% 10
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Durability - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Enduro S Hydra wheelset from Industry Nine is the best alloy wheelset we've ever tested. Our testers are carbon wheel fanboys, but they all agreed that these hoops could bring them back to the alloy side of the wheel debate. The Enduro S wheels are built on i9's alloy 305 rims with 28 steel spokes laced to their impressive Hydra hubs. The hubs are beautifully machined, but the real magic is on the inside. The Hydra freehub has lightning-quick 0.52-degree engagement that blows the competition away. This engagement pairs well with the balanced ride feel and lightweight (for alloy) of these wheels, and they easily rolled away with our Editor's Choice Award for alloy wheels.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $975.00 at Competitive Cyclist$724.99 at Competitive Cyclist
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$580.00 at REI$1,299.00 at Competitive Cyclist
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$1,298.95 at Competitive Cyclist
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Pros Industry-leading 0.52-degree freehub engagement, less expensive than carbon, great ride qualityExcellent freehub engagement, 2-year no fault guarantee, Vault hubs, lightweightLightweight, affordable for carbon, 3-degree freehub engagementLifetime warranty, lightweight, 5 degree freehub engagementLightweight, affordable for carbon, 35mm rim width, outrageous traction
Cons Expensive for alloy, heavier than carbonDecals peel easilyDifficult to mount some tires, SRAM XD driver sold separately, not as damp as competitionoccasionally twitchy at speed, less dampened feel10-degree freehub engagement
Bottom Line The Enduro S Hydra is the best alloy wheelset we've ever tested and the winner of our Editor's Choice award.The Race Face Next R31 Carbon wheels impressed us with their performance and quality and are the winner of our Editor's Choice Award.The Line Pro 30 is a reasonably priced high performance carbon wheelset.The TR 309 S wheels are a high quality, high performance, and lightweight carbon option from Reynolds.The Ibis S35 is a lightweight carbon wheelset with a nicely damped ride quality and excellent traction.
Rating Categories Industry Nine Enduro S Hydra Next R31 Carbon Wheelset Line Pro 30 TLR Boost 29" TR 309 S Carbon Wheelset Ibis S35 Logo Carbon Boost
Ride Quality (35%)
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9
10
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10
10
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8
10
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8
10
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9
Freehub Engagement (20%)
10
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10
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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7
Weight (25%)
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7
10
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10
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9
Durability (20%)
10
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7
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8
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9
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9
Specs Industry Nine... Next R31 Carbon... Line Pro 30 TLR... TR 309 S Carbon... Ibis S35 Logo...
Weight Per Wheelset 1,895g 1,776g 1,713g 1,738g 1,744g
Available Wheel Sizes 27.5", 29" 27.5", 29" 27.5", 29" 27.5", 29" 27.5", 29"
Available Axle Spacing Boost, non-Boost, Super Boost 157 Boost, non-Boost Boost Boost, non-Boost Boost
Available Freehub Body Options Shimano, SRAM XD, MicroSpline Shimano, SRAM XD Shimano, SRAM XD(aftermarket purchase) Shimano, SRAM XD Shimano, SRAM XD, MicroSpline
Rim Inner Dimension 30.5mm 31mm 29mm 30mm 35mm
Rim Outer Dimension 34.1mm 37mm 36mm 36mm 41mm
Offset 0mm 4.5mm 0mm 4.5mm 5mm
Spoke Count 28 28 28 28 32
Freehub P.O.E 0.52-degree 3-degree 3-degree 5-degree 10-degree
Warranty Policy 2-year 2-year no-fault 2-year no-fault Lifetime 7-year, no fault on rims, 2-year on hubs
Brake Rotor Attachment 6-bolt 6-bolt 6-bolt Center Lock 6-bolt

Our Analysis and Test Results

Industry Nine has been producing quality mountain bike hubs, wheels, and accessories for a while now, and they have a reputation for quality craftsmanship and impressive machine work. Their hubs, in particular, have grown a cult following and are often an upgrade option on high-end carbon wheelsets. Their Torch hubs set a standard a few years ago with impressive 3-degree freehub engagement, but their new Hydra hubs have upped the ante with a class-leading 0.52-degrees between engagement points. Our test team tried out Industry Nine's more affordable complete Enduro S Hydra wheelset and came away very impressed.

Performance Comparison


These wheels have a great neutral ride quality and they are defined by their incredible freehub engagement. It's seriously game-changing.
These wheels have a great neutral ride quality and they are defined by their incredible freehub engagement. It's seriously game-changing.

Product Specifications


The Enduro S Hydra is built with Industry Nine's high-quality aluminum Enduro S rim. This is a zero-offset rim crafted from 6000-series aluminum alloy with a modern 30.5mm internal and 34.1mm external width. The 30.5mm internal rim width is in line with today's standards and pairs very well with the current crop of wider tires. They are recommended for use with tires in the 2.3"-2.8" width range and come with tubeless rim tape and valve stems installed. The rim profile is relatively standard with a classic almost triangular shape. They come in anodized black only with laser-etched grey and white logo graphics.

It's what's inside that counts. That freehub body houses the fastest engaging freehub on the market.
It's what's inside that counts. That freehub body houses the fastest engaging freehub on the market.

Industry Nine is known for its engineering and machine work, and the hubs on the Enduro S Hydra wheels are a work of art. These beautifully machined hubs are drilled for 28 straight-pull spokes and feature i9's revolutionary new Hydra freehub. The Hydra hub features the fastest freehub engagement of any wheel we have ever tested with an industry-leading 0.52-degrees between engagement points. This is a 6-pawl system with a 115-tooth drive ring. The pawls engage independently of each other, making 6 separate engagement phases on the 115-tooth ring, or 690 separate points of engagement which is equal to 0.52-degrees. The hubs have a standard six-bolt brake rotor mount and are available with SRAM XD, Shimano HG, and MicroSpline freehub bodies.

These wheels come together very well as a total package. Not only is the freehub engagement incredible  but they have a very comfortable ride quality and relatively light weight.
These wheels come together very well as a total package. Not only is the freehub engagement incredible, but they have a very comfortable ride quality and relatively light weight.

The "S" in the Enduro S Hydra name stands for steel. These wheels have 28 straight-pull steel spokes which help to keep the cost of these wheels down compared to their Enduro 305 wheels that come with one-piece aluminum spokes and cost several hundred dollars more. The spokes are arranged in a three-cross pattern. The Enduro S wheels are available in both 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes as well as non-boost, boost, and super-boost axle spacing. They also come with a 2-year warranty.

Balanced is probably the best way to describe the ride quality of the Enduro S wheels. Stiff yet comfortable and trail-smoothing.
Balanced is probably the best way to describe the ride quality of the Enduro S wheels. Stiff yet comfortable and trail-smoothing.

Ride Quality


The Enduro S Hydra wheels have a balanced ride quality that could easily convert a carbon lover back to alloy. All of our testers said, "these are the best alloy wheelset I've ever ridden". They are stiff enough for precise control and handling, yet comfortable with nice vibration dampening. They offer a refined yet neutral ride that we generally associate with more expensive carbon options, and the super-quick freehub engagement only adds to their high-performance and responsive feel. Yes, the engagement is the standout feature here, but the entire package comes together very well on the trail.


Testers found the hubs to very fast rolling with very little resistance in the freehub system. This minimal freehub resistance along with the super quick engagement never allows for any slack in the chain which reduces chain slap noise making your whole bike sound better while riding. When you press down on your pedals the drivetrain responds immediately and there is virtually no lag in the system providing an especially direct and connected feel between the rider and the bike. Despite being slightly heavier than the carbon competition they have a lightweight feel and quick, energetic liveliness.

They might weigh a touch more than carbon  but you'd be hard-pressed to notice a performance difference.
They might weigh a touch more than carbon, but you'd be hard-pressed to notice a performance difference.

There's nothing especially noteworthy about the rim shape or overall design of the Enduro S wheels, but the rim stiffness and 28 straight pull steel spokes allow for some trail-smoothing compliance. This is especially noticeable when riding back to back with stiffer carbon options, as the i9's have a more comfortable and forgiving ride quality. These wheels are not prone to deflection, they hold a line well and help to mute some trail feedback in the process.

The internals of the Hydra freehub. 6 independent pawls plus a 115-tooth drive ring = 690 points of engagement. Incredible.
The internals of the Hydra freehub. 6 independent pawls plus a 115-tooth drive ring = 690 points of engagement. Incredible.

Freehub Engagement


Industry Nine has been an industry leader in freehub engagement and continues to raise the bar in the market. Their new Hydra hubs have 0.52-degree engagement which blows the proverbial doors off the competition. Before testing these wheels, the fastest engaging freehub we ever tried was 3-degrees, which is really quite impressive. This new freehub design, however, features engagement that is far superior. It is so quick that it feels almost like a direct drive, the lag between engagement points is almost imperceptible, especially when compared to the competition. Industry Nine freehubs have also always been known for their distinctive noise, and the new Hydra hub continues that trend. The buzz is a little higher frequency, and sounds a bit like a small swarm of bees.


Industry Nine has achieved this incredibly quick engagement by designing a freehub that has 690 points of engagement. You read that right, 690. This involves a 6-pawl 6-phase system paired with a 115 tooth drive ring. Each pawl operates independently, or in six separate phases, and when force is applied to the system only one pawl engages at a time, initially. As force continues to be applied to the system, the inherent flex allows additional pawls to engage along with the leading pawl so that no single pawl is taking the full pedaling load. The result is the most impressive and fastest engagement we have ever seen. There is virtually no lag whatsoever, and when you get on the pedals out of a corner the response is instantaneous. This impressive engagement helps you feel more connected to the bike and truly helps to make your drivetrain an entire bike feel more refined, faster, and better all the way around.

They are heavier on the scale than their carbon competition. They certainly didn't feel heavier on the trail.
They are heavier on the scale than their carbon competition. They certainly didn't feel heavier on the trail.

Weight


The Enduro S Hydra wheels are respectably lightweight, especially for an alloy model. While they can't compete with the carbon-rimmed competition in this metric, they are the lightest alloy wheels we've tested. Despite the fact that they are heavier than carbon, they don't feel much heavier, which we attribute to their impressive freehub engagement and snappy and energetic response to pedaling input.


Our 29" boost wheelset tipped the scales at 1,895 grams with tubeless rim tape and valve stems installed. This is the lightest alloy wheelset we tested, and only about 180 grams heavier than the lightest set of wheels we tested, the Bontrager Line Pro 30 Carbon. We feel this weight is very respectable and likely to be lighter than the vast majority of stock alloy wheelsets.

We didn't try to not damage these wheels  yet they impressed us with their seemingly excellent durability.
We didn't try to not damage these wheels, yet they impressed us with their seemingly excellent durability.

Durability


Our testers put each set of wheels in this test through the wringer. Our team put hundreds of miles on the Enduro S Hydra wheels, and they came through with flying colors. We experimented with tire pressure, rimmed out more than once, rode rock gardens with reckless abandon, and took plenty of airs to flat. These wheels took it all in stride with no dents, no broken spokes, and they remained perfectly true. This is not to say these rims are impervious to damage, as we are well aware that alloy rims can be dented and knocked out of shape. That said, we were impressed by the fact that they survived our testing period with the only damage being some scratches from normal wear and tear.


The hubs also seem incredibly durable. They roll as fast as the day we got them and the Hydra freehub works flawlessly. Industry Nine also backs the Enduro S wheelset with a 2-year warranty against defects.

Value


The Enduro S retails for $975. That makes them the most expensive alloy wheels in this review, and we feel they are worth every penny. The outstanding freehub engagement will enhance your bike's performance with a balanced ride quality that you'd expect from pricier carbon fiber options. If you're looking for a serious performance upgrade without breaking the thousand dollar mark, look no further.

We can't say enough good things about the Enduro S wheels. These are an excellent upgrade and our Editor's Choice alloy wheelset.
We can't say enough good things about the Enduro S wheels. These are an excellent upgrade and our Editor's Choice alloy wheelset.

Conclusion


The Enduro S Hydra is without question the best alloy wheelset we've ever tested. If you're looking to upgrade the performance of your trail, all-mountain, or enduro bike, this is a good place to start. The ridiculously quick freehub engagement of the Hydra hubs is their most stunning attribute, and we feel it will make any bike feel quicker, livelier, and higher performance. Add to that a balanced ride quality, outstanding craftsmanship, relatively lightweight, and the fact that they are less expensive than carbon fiber, and it's easy to see why these are our Editor's Choice alloy wheelset.

Other Versions and Accessories


Industry Nine makes the Enduro S Hydra in both 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes. They offer them in non-boost, boost, and super-boost 157 axle spacing, and with SRAM XD, Shimano HG, and MicroSpline freehub bodies.

In addition to the Enduro S model we tested, Industry Nine makes a full line of mountain, gravel, and road bike wheels. The Enduro 305 is based on the same rim design at the S with an alloy rim and Hydra freehub, though it employs one-piece aluminum spokes and retail for $1,355 ($1,375 with the MicroSpline freehub body).

Their top of the line model is the Enduro 310, a carbon rimmed version with one-piece aluminum spokes, Hydra hubs, and a 31mm internal rim width. They retail for $2,430, or $2,450 with the MicroSpline freehub body.


Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue, Joshua Hutchens