What is it that makes Industry Nine new Hydra hubs stand out? Is it the eleven shiny anodized color options? What about the option to run Microspline for the new Shimano XTR M9100? Or is it, perhaps, the 690 points of engagement and 0.52 degrees between those points?

The Hydra hubs have been in the works for the last two and a half years, building on Industry Nine’s previous drive systems. The result is a hub that pretty much knocks most existing hubs out of the water in terms of engagement, with only a few others, like Onyx and Project 321, offering competing numbers. With only 0.52 degrees between engagements, Hydra improves on the existing line of Torch Classic hubs 3 degrees by a significant margin. Both hubs have six pawls, but that’s about where the similarities end.

In the Hydra hubs, each pawl is phased independently, engaging in procession as the axle rotates. With 115 teeth on the drivering, this creates 690 points where a pawl is engaged for every rotation of the freehub. Industry Nine doesn’t rely on only one pawl for engagement though, and as the axle flexes under load more pawls are pushed into engagement—Industry Nine says the hub will engage four pawls at once sometimes.

“As the axle flexes under load, it will cause the proceeding pawls to come into engagement. It will always be the proceeding pawls [that] engage in the same sequential order,” says  Michael Dulken, lead engineer on Hydra. “If you were to look at it in its unloaded state, (x) is the length of an individual drive ring tooth. Pawl #1 will be engaged, pawl #2 will be 1/6th*(x) distance from engagement, pawl #3 will be 2/6th*(x) distance from engagement, pawl #4 will be 3/6th*(x) distance from engagement and so forth. Following this logic, pawl #2 will be the next to engage. If enough load is applied pawl #3 then #4 could become engaged”

The pawls also play a role in hubs we haven’t seen before—they act as support to ensure that the bearings aren’t put under too much stress while under load.

Dulken explains, “It does this by precisely controlling the amount the system is allowed to flex by having the proceeding pawls engage and mitigate the flex. The proceeding pawl will always be 1/6th*(x) from engagement. The distance 1/6*(x) controls these loads to be within the hub/freehub/axle/bearings yield strength threshold.”

In other designs, like the existing Torch hubs, that “x” distance is bigger and so there’s more opportunity for materials to flex and exceed optimal conditions. Hydra uses the pawls to mitigate and limit flex for better performance.

The new Hydra hubs are available in eleven colors and sold as a set or in pre-built wheels. Customers can customize things like freehub body, disc mounting and spoke color. Hubsets start at $690 and full wheelsets at $975.

Industry Nine didn’t stop with the Hydra, though, and they’ve also just announced the 101 hubset, a more budget-friendly option. The 101 runs six pawls like the Hydra, but uses a dual phase system where two of the pawls are engaged at once. With a 45 tooth drivering, this creates 90 points of engagement and 4 degrees between engagement points.

The 101 hubs are machined, anodized and assembled at Industry Nine’s facility in Asheville, North Carolina. Customers can choose spoke count, disc mounting, and freehub body, but unlike the Hydras, the 101s will only be available in black. On the plus side, a hubset will only run you $425 and a full wheelset $750.

For more information about Hydra or 101, visit Industry Nine’s website here.