Months in the making Project 9er has now made its début on the dirt. It all opened with a casual 4hr on the people’s favourite trail, just to get a feel for the bike. While the industry as a whole has been mad over 9ers for the last few years, this wheel size is fresh for me and Project 9er needed a fresh distinctive feel.
The basis of the Project 9er build would be around a custom wheel set. Selecting a set of well proven DT Swiss 240 hubs they were laced to wide carbon hoops. Even laced with 24 spokes the 380gm rims aren’t going to win any weight war but at a whooping 30mm outer width they have the potential to host a massive footprint. Wrapped in some standard 2.2 rubber and setup tubeless I weighed them, they came in comparable to a 26” XC wheel set with full UST 2.2 rubber. The same 2.2 tread measures 53mm wide on a XC rim, 55mm on more of a trail/AM rim and 57mm wide on these carbon beauties.
While the front wheel did get a look in early on a Yeti ASR-C setup in a 96er configuration this wasn't to be the place or bike for these Project 9er wheels.
Now as the dust has started to settle on this custom wheel set, I'm impressed that these built for purpose wheels are going to live quite well on the fast side of the single-track. On debut and during testing so far they have been light, lively and seem to always want to accelerate. There seems to be sufficient stiffness while under hard cornering and with foot long spokes I'm surprised.
With the big S's bringing carbon rims to the masses it won't be long before this becomes a little more standard. But in the mean time see what your local wheel builder can do for you.