As you may have guessed from the name, the 450 27.5 Plus Wheelset has an internal width of 45mm. According to Industry Nine, it’s best suited to 2.8–4in tires, meaning that this rim width is suitable for a wide range of big rubber — from plus bikes to narrower fat bike treads.
Mountain bike rim width is all over the map currently. Although it does seem that the industry is coalescing around 40-45mm for plus bike rim width.
It’s worth noting that if you prefer 27.5x2.8in or mid-sized tires, Industry Nine also offers the Backcountry 360 wheelset. The internal width of 36mm makes it a better candidate for 2.4 to 2.8in tires.
I tested the Backcountry 450 with WTB’s 27x3in Bridger and Ranger tires. The wheelset is tubeless-ready and ships with rim strips installed. When compared to WTB’s i40 Scraper rims, the additional width gave the tires a more vertical rather than bowed out and rounded profile, which seemed to impart more stability into the tires while cornering.
The actual weight of the Backcountry 450s with valves and rim tape installed is 930g for the front and 1,090g for the rear wheel for a total wheelset weight of 2,020g.
The Backcountry 450 alloy rims are laced to the hubs with 32 of Industry Nine’s proprietary straight-pull aluminum spokes.
Many riders gravitate toward plus bikes for their flotation and superior traction. A freehub with rapid engagement can help you make the most of this traction by helping you navigate technical climbs.
This is where Industry Nine’s tried and true freehub system comes into play. It features six pawls engaging a 120-point drive ring, which results in a very speedy three degrees of engagement.
Plus-sized tires and Industry Nine’s fast-acting freehubs are a force to be reckoned with.
My standard test tracks included several techy climbs that often require building a head of steam to tackle, but not so with this wheelset. I was able to pace myself and leisurely pick a line knowing I had plenty of traction and could ratchet the crank arms forward the instant I needed to.
Plus bikes might not be for everyone, but this wheelset made me a believer in their merits.
It’s hard to find fault with this wheelset. Its price and weight are on par with other high-end alloy plus wheels and the speedy freehub system is reliable and very easy to service.
If you’re planning to use the Backcountry 450 for extended bikepacking trips be sure to pack extra spokes, which are included with the wheelset, because they’re not as easy to source in a pinch as the traditional J-bend type.