Unravel the mystery that is rim widths and find out what's best for you.
22.5MM Internal rim width
With a rim weight of 390g the XR 361 sits very nicely in the DT Swiss XC line up. The downside to including this rim size as part of this test is that we intend to use the same 27.5x2.4” tyres we will be using for both the XM 421 and XM 481 – this smaller rim is not designed to be used in such an aggressive style that the All Mountain rims are. It’s probable that this lighter and narrower rim size won’t cope with our intended riding style and therefore won’t stand up against its colleagues – XM 421 and XM 481, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This rim size represents where a lot of wheels are in the market, so it’s a great comparison for if wider is better.
With an internal rim width of only 22.5mm the XR 361 is noticeably smaller than our other two test subjects the XM 421 and the XM 481. Kicking off with our baseline air pressures of 27psi in the rear and 25psi in the front we first off hit the Thredbo Flow Track. This resulted in a fairly considered descent as we had to keep reminding ourselves that this is a slim, light XC rim and perhaps more suited to a 27.5x2.2” tyre than the 27.5x2.4” tyre we were using. Repeated runs at Stromlo Forest Park down both trails confirmed the above mindset: these rims are not ideal for the riding style used within this test, but more suited to XC or light trail use that you would do on a 100mm-120mm travel bike
Interestingly, even with this largely different rim width, the XR 361 still had our Onza IBEX tyres sitting at almost the same profile on the rim as the 30mm internal of the XM 481. At the baseline 27psi rear and 25psi front we were getting some good results, though not the same grip levels achieved when using the lower air pressure sweet spot on the XM 481, but considering the rim width of the XR 361, the grip was still steady.
As we were fairly impressed with the ride of the XR 361 with the current baseline air pressure setup we increased the pressure to 30psi rear and 27psi front. Other than a somewhat rougher ride we didn’t experience much change in the way the tyres worked at these higher pressures. However, when riding at really high speeds the rear tyre tended to skip around and wander under the brakes, searching for traction.
Keeping in line with our testing protocol, we repeated our runs with varying pressures until we reached the same air pressures determined to be optimal for the XM 481 (25psi rear and 22psi front). While grip was at an all-time high across all three trails, so too was the crisscrossing pattern on the sidewall of the tyre showing that the sidewalls were experiencing some serious load and pushed hard. At the lowest air pressure settings (23psi rear and 20psi front) the tyres rolled and burped and it meant that we had a long walk down the trail and back to the car.
While the XR 361 was up to the task paired with our 27.5x2.4 tyres, we didn’t see them going the distance in durability and stability due to their lightweight and inability to copy with the amount of strain the tyres sidewalls experienced in order for us to ride with the style as we did with the larger tyres mounted to them. In short, you can fit a wider tyre to rims with this internal width, but you won’t benefit form the better ride characteristics of a wide tyre if the rim doesn’t support it.
Claimed rim weight: 390g
Internal width: 22.5 mm
External Width: 26mm
Tyre: Onza IBEX 27.5x2.4” skinwall
Tyre weight: 885g average
Front wheel weight: 820g
Rear wheel weight: 923g
Installation pressure: 25psi
Tyre tread edge to edge: 60mm at 25psi
Tyre casing edge to edge: 56mm at 25psi