Industry Nine Rear Hub Issue

The short: When I tighten the thru axel the free hub binds and is very hard to spin. There is no pre-load adjustment on the hub. Anyone have experience with I9 and this problem?

The long: I had my LBS build up a set of wheels for my gravel ride (Nox rims/i9 hubs) late 2018. From early on when the bike was in my stand cleaning the chain etc…it always seemed like more than normal resistance turning the cranks. But, I didn’t ride the bike too much until this spring/summer and just chalked it up to I9 hubs must be extremely tight. Finally this April while riding the rear bearings (not sure which) failed. Super crunchy feel and sound. The shop replaced them. Asked if that was normal and they said no, but, they know I ride hard and said maybe the amount I ride and where I ride contributed.

Fast forward to July. Bearings replaced again.

Fast forward to last week. After another ride where it just felt like way too much effort I had had enough and began to investigate. Chain was too short? It’s perfect length as per Park and it was new. I took the cranks (SRAM Force gxp) off and felt the BB. All good. Took the rear wheel out and spun the cassette. All good and spun free/normal. Put the wheel back on the bike and took the chain off and finally felt the binding or restriction on the free hub. Loosened the axel to unsafe riding pressure and it spun fine.

Suggestions for the mechanics? He said there is no pre-load on this thing. All bearings are new. Seals checked. What is left? Is there some crazy axel spacer they are unaware of? It’s a mountain centric shop and the mech is an avid mountain biker himself. Thanks

Contact industry 9?

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I am waiting to hear back.

Have you put a different wheel in the frame to see if it feels normal?

Have not. Great suggestion! Thx