While everyone has been making like Cool Hand Luke and seeing how much “plus” they can stuff into their husky stays, there has been another movement towards improving the standard 2.4″ – 2.5″ tires’ stance. To give the tire more lateral stability when running lower pressures, a 35 – 36mm wide rim can potentially spread out a tire just enough without flattening it out too much. Nestled in Asheville, NC neighboring the now not so secret Pisgah National Forest, Industry Nine is no stranger to aggressive trail riding. And while their Enduro 305 wheels are stout in their own right, the demand for wider is strong and Industry Nine has seized the opportunity.
We got our hands on a pre-production set of these bad boys, so check out the details and weights on Industry Nine’s new fluffy Backcountry 360 wheels, (they’re light, so I ruled out “Husky”), and how they look up close…
The 36mm Backcountry 360 falls into a sort of “aggressive bastard” size wise since the mid-fat family won’t accept it, yet it’s a far cry from your standard endurotastic width rim. This somewhat new crop of 36’ish mm rims allow you to run the same diameter wheel in your standard frame (with proper clearance), while adding a tad bit more volume and wider a footing for the tire’s bead. The wider rim alone should increase the lateral stiffness of the wheel, but it also increases the tire’s volume a little (due to the increased mounting width), and allows the bead to have a wider stance so the tire will squirm less when railing hard turns.
As you can see, this is one wide rim considering it won’t affect the tire’s overall width too much letting it still fit in most frames with standard 2.4 inch clearance. Not to mention it just looks badass when mounted up. They’ll take up to a 2.8 putting them on the edge of mid fat, but will likely be great with the small wave of 2.6 offerings suddenly popping up.
When we have an opportunity to test anything from Industry Nine, it’s law to take a close-up pics of their anodized hub and spoke carriage system. Though easy on the eyes, don’t let their good looks fool you. The aluminum spokes allow for lighter and stiffer wheel than if they were to use steel spokes. They also offer about any custom color combination with the 9 colors you have to choose from. All axle configurations from QR to Boost to popular fat bike widths are available on all Torch hubs.
At 1,857 grams (with tape and valve stems, the Back Country 360’s come in around 100 or so grams under their 45mm Back Country 45 wheels.
While a standard 2.4 might work, to perfect it, Maxxis took it a step further with their “Wide Trail” series tires and developed a tire designed specifically for this rim width. We’ll be getting our hands on some of those shortly and I’ll be sure to show you how they fan out on the rim compared to a standard 2.4.