Saturday, April 6, 2013

Industry Nine Factory Tour

Located in Asheville proper sits INDUSTRY NINE  If you're not a fan or owner of their wheels you should be.  I have had a set for a few years now and they have been as good now as the first ride.  Dave was the host today as we re-scheduled yesterday as their machine shop was getting ISO inspected.

I9 got it's name from being the 9th company that the parent machine shop owns / started.  The machine shop in addition to owning I9 has a customer, vendor relationship with it and also makes parts for the military and other applications.  Dave showed us the entire facility and the pictures below show the anodization tanks, the wheel building station, the CNC machines, spoke mills and raw aluminum.  The spoke machine, the raw hub shells pre anodization and the custom laser etching machine for the spokes and hubs.

One good thing about I9 is that they do not sell direct to the public which is good as the wall of hubs, and racks and racks of wheels make for some sweet eye candy.  The new torch hubs were in prototype mode for 18 months before being released early this year and the engagement and weight are significantly improved and they are offering a 2 cross lacing pattern with no strength loss.  The drag is also reduced and the rim options are great as well.  The I9 branded rims come in a good strength to weight ratio and the Renolyds carbon are well....carbon.

I started riding in the golden age of cottage industry CNC bike parts so being able to see that every aspect of your wheels are being built and assembled by hand and in house is bonus.  Seeing how it all comes together is really something amazing and the attention to detail is top notch.   There are 10 people that make up I9 and they are a key piece in the local riding culture. Really glad we got the chance to do this and hopefully we will connect with Dave tomorrow at Dupont Forest.  Can't wait for the ' new ' colors either.