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I was a little surprised when the mountainbike world seemingly fell head over heals in love with 650b. It appeared to be a whirlwind romance, an overnight infatuation and one I couldn’t understand. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I did my best … I looked at the figures and scratched my head, I begged and borrowed the occasional bike and I rode them with an open mind but still I didn’t ‘get it’. Perhaps it’s deep rooted cynicism lurking within me that makes them feel no different to something sporting 26″ wheels or maybe, it really is a case of the Emperor’s new clothes? Whatever the reasons for my misgivings, I didn’t need to remain confused and bemused for long. Luckily, someone within ‘the industry’ decided to apply the PLUS principle to the nondescript, middle of the road wheel size and turned it into something I ‘do get’. 

Subtle – we like subtle.


In very simple terms, PLUS involves fitting what might be considered an oversize tyre onto an appropriately over-sized rim and sticking them on a bike. Why? might be a reasonable response to that last sentence, so for anyone who has just mouthed the letters w, h and y silently to themselves, allow me to highlight some of the benefits. A wider / taller tyre has a larger air volume which in turn means more inherent cushioning or suspension if you’d like to think of it that way. The rim / tyre combination also allows the use of lower tyre pressures, which not only allows us to take full advantage of the additional cushioning but also increases grip and if recent thinking is to be believed, lowers rolling resistance. The larger circumference also helps ‘flatten’ the trail, in just the same way that a 29er rolls over things better than something 3″ smaller. I also personally believe, that the larger tyre (mainly due to the additional mass and the force of inertia) produces a similar sensation to what I imagine driving a runaway steamroller must feel like – unstoppable!

QR to bolt-through – change bike, change fork, change spacers.

While I’m sure all of the above sounds interesting or at least vaguely intriguing, you might be wondering what any of it has to do with you? You already have a bike and it’s not one designed for 650b+ and besides, even if you wanted a new bike, the ‘fun police’ would soon persuade you otherwise. Well, I’m here to tell you that the benefits of PLUS may be within your grasp without the expense of a new bike. Many 29ers can happily accept 650b+ wheels and tyres, whether that’s intentional or a rare and happy coincidence I’m not sure but either way, it’s good news. A simple change of wheels and tyres might be all that’s required to transform your 29er into something that still feels like a 29er … but a grippier, softer, unstoppable one.

If you’ve been anywhere near a computer within the last five months, you’re probably aware that AlpKit have branched out into the bike world. Besides their Sonder bike range, they also have a parts / accessories range called, Love Mud and these Rumpus wheels are one of their new products. I’m still awaiting the arrival of Gwyn the Post with some new tyres, so I thought I’d give you a quick run-down before I get them covered in a thick coating of that lovely mud.


45mm wide and tubeless happy.

Lets start with the most obvious bit – the rims. Firstly, they’re 45mm inside to inside so will provide a stable platform for your larger than life tyres. They’re also tubeless compatible and have a very pronounced ‘bead well’, meaning your tyres should remain nice and secure even when pressures drop to ‘are you sure’ levels. They’re capped of with a nice anodised black finish and subtle Love Mud graphics.

In these days of multiple standards, it’s important to future-proof yourself whenever possible and the Love Mud hubs allow you to do that. These can be converted between 100mm QR and 100mm 15mm front and 135mm QR and 142mm rear with a simple change of included end caps, it’s not ‘tool free’ but requires no more than two minutes, a cone spanner and an allen key. As you might expect, the aluminium axle spins on sealed cartridge bearings as does the aluminium freehub body. There’s six pawls living in there too, which should help keep things ticking along nicely and transfer all that awesome power your legs develop to where it’s most use.

Joining the hubs to the rims are 32 plain gauge, black stainless spokes accompanied by brass nipples. Straight out of the box, they’re true, tight and evenly tensioned … which surprisingly, isn’t something you can say about all pre-built wheels. Weights seem pretty reasonable with the front weighing 1238g and the rear 1342g.


The bit that makes the clicky noises.

I’ll report back once I’ve put a few miles on them but in the meantime you can nip over to Alpkit and get yourself a pair should you so wish. Rumpus 650b+ wheels £199 the pair, delivered.

17 Comments

  1. drain says:

    My wheels arrived today – lovely! I've just spent a fruitless hour trying to get a tyre (Nobby Nic 3.0") onto the rim but to no avail, despite using DH tyre levers (like plastic-covered screwdrivers with a curved end). Will have to come back to it after a breather as my fingers and forearms feel like I've just climbed a 4 pitch limestone E2! 😉 Any helpful tips gratefully received!

  2. Still awaiting a pair of WTB Trail Blazers … I'll let you know whether it's just you ;o)

  3. drain says:

    Yeah yeah yeah, tyrannosaur arms – not! 😉 Occasionally referred to as Popeye (and I even like spinach…) If you could let me know that'd be great, ta.

    Normally I find Schwalbe a doddle to fit tubeless on 'normal' rims so I'm not holding out much hope for me :-/

  4. Duncan says:

    Opted for the Halo 35mm wheels thinking 45mm internal is OTT for a 29er retro fit where 3" up front and 2.8 out back is the maximum my TI Mariachi can handle. It's sort of good fun… on the road. Am yet to try ORFFF ROAD as the local mud is hard enough with a pair of Bonty Mud X tyres on crests. 45mm… that's Larrrrge.

  5. drain says:

    Managed to get the Rocket Ron on with the old cable ties trick! Just letting my fingers recover before attempting the Nic on the front!

  6. Unknown says:

    Cable tie trick??

  7. Well, at long last a pair of WTB TrailBlazers have arrived. Even with two generous wraps of Gorilla tape they mounted fairy easily. A few strokes of the track pump had them inflated and a little sealant later, we're good to go.

  8. Unknown says:

    Looking forward to your thoughts on this wheel set, any idea on when that might be? Considering buying too. Cheers

  9. Hopefully not too long, although it's only fair that they get a true test / plenty of miles but so far, so good and nothing bad to report.

  10. Unknown says:

    Look forward to it!
    Are you running them with triple, double or single chainset, with or without front mech? Trying to work out if that setup will foul the front mech on my Ogre with triple chainset in its granny gear.

    Cheers

  11. At present, these are fitted to a MK1 Stooge, set-up 1 x 10. Although, I've not tried it, I'd be surprised if a front mech' would clear … however, Surly are known for big clearances so you might be in luck.

  12. Unknown says:

    I guess the only way to find out is to give them ago! Cheers

  13. drain says:

    Put a cable tie at the points where the tyre isn't yet inside the rim, to stop it pulling away at one point when you push the other end inside the rim. HArd to describe without pix! Best to google.

  14. drain says:

    Having had them running tubed (?) for the last month to give my fingers a chance to recover ;-), I got round to doing the tubeless conversion last week and it was a doddle. I guess the tyres may have stretched when inflated for a while.

    One wrap round of gorilla tape, a couple of Joe's NoFlats valves, some sealant and an Airshot – straight up. It's made a significant difference to traction and to rolling mass (lost about 300g per wheel). A great product from Alpkit.

  15. I have to agree Adrian, they set-up very easily. The deep bead well really holds the tyre in place so there's virtually no chance of it 'popping off' even at low pressure … in fact, it's so good, getting the tyre and rim to seperate again requires quite a bit of effort ;o)

  16. drain says:

    If it's any help, my Mariachi runs a triple ok with these using a 2.8" Rocket Ron on the rear – I can use the granny except about the lowest 2 sprockets on the cassette. Obviously your chain line may differ but hope that's of use!

  17. Duncan says:

    mmmm that sounds like a post ride trip home from the pub accidental geared steep hill apocalypse?

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