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A little while ago, I introduced you to the Love Mud Rumpus 650b+ wheel set from Alpkit. At the time of writing, I was awaiting the arrival of some suitable tyres and after a slight delay, Gwyn the post finally arrived with a box containing some appropriately sized rubber. 

I’d spent some time last year riding the 2016 Genesis Longitude and had been impressed enough with the WTB Trail Blazers to put my hand inside my personal pocket and buy a pair. They’re reasonably light given their size, not too expensive and importantly, the 2.8″ width would fit inside the chainstays of my MK1 Stooge. Two valves, some Gorilla tape and a splash of Stan’s later and my new tyres were duly installed. I should just say here that the combination was probably one of the easiest I’ve ever had the pleasure to set up tubeless. A couple of strokes of the track-pump was enough to seat the tyres onto the rims with an audible ‘pop’ … a reassuring noise, that lets you know all is well with the world. 

They certainly do.

With the wheels fitted, I armed myself with yet another Gwyn the post delivery, in this case a rather expensive digital pressure gauge and retreated outside to fiddle with tyre pressures. My initial experiment involved no more that giving both tyres a firm squeeze and raising one eyebrow before throwing a leg over and pedalling off down the lane. It felt alright, I stopped, lay the bike against a convenient fence post and checked the pressures. Uhm, 12 psi front and 13 in the rear, I let some air out and checked again. The display now registered a whopping 6 pounds in each tyre. Common sense alerted me to the fact that I might have gone a bit mad with the reduction in pressure but stupidity and forgetfulness (I’d left my pump in the workshop) overrode it and I climbed aboard and wobbled my way back up the gravel track to Bear Bones Towers. The next hour was spent repeating the process only this time with a pump, by 5.00 pm I’d confused myself enough for one day and I settled on 12 psi front and back.

It’s fair to say that, the following day was one of mixed emotion. It started well … I pedalled out of the forest in the company of two women, while not exactly ‘out’ the sun was present and the bike felt good on the long steady climb. For the previous eight months, I’d ridden the Stooge with a 29″ Dually rim and 3″ Maxxis Chronicle up front and a 2.2″ Conti’ X-King bringing up the rear. It was a combination which worked well (even if it looked odd) but this felt better. I can’t really define ‘better’ in any great detail but something about the 650B+ wheels just felt right. 

I incorporated a high degree of enthusiasm into the first descent of the day. A steep, rocky track that encourages you to ride like a dick and not wanting to disappoint, I did my best to oblige. I was rewarded with a weird sensation, a feeling of instability not too dissimilar to what I’d experienced the previous day when I’d ridden with 6 psi in the tyres. That’s right, my rear tyre was now rapidly deflating through  two cuts in the sidewall and no amount of sealant or vigorous wheel shaking was going to stem the flow. I apologised to my companions and set about removing the tyre. I apologised again at four minutes and once more after ten minutes of sweary tyre wrestling. Let’s just say, the bead-lock in the rim works brilliantly, it’s so good that I think it might be possible to drop pressures down to zero without the tyre rolling off the rim. However, it does mean that should the need arise to remove a tyre in the field (mountain, forest or wherever) you’ll require a decent tyre lever and strong thumbs. I’d also suggest, that when you set up your wheels for tubeless applications, you only apply one wrap of tape … as they say, you live and learn.

Meet the new boss. It produces a much more rounded profile.

I’m sure lack of luck played a major part in the destruction of my tyre but I couldn’t help wonder whether the wide rim coupled with the tyre’s size / shape might be producing a squared off profile which leaves the sidewall somewhat exposed to the elements? It was something I was able to quiz Alpkit Kenny about at the WRT a few weeks later. He assured me that it’s something they’d not had problems with throughout testing, so bad luck it was, although I did decide to hedge my bets when it came to buying a replacement.

Can you believe it? We have our own tyre.

I might only have room for a 2.8″ tyre in the back but I knew there was more than enough space for something bigger between the forks, so I fitted the front tyre to the back and went in search of something a touch bigger to replace it with. Karma was restored when I found a certain on-line retailer selling 3″ WTB Trail Boss tyres for less than £20. The price alone was enough to have me clicking ‘add to basket’ but the icing on the cake was the fact that WTB list the tyre’s primary role as bikepacking. I wasn’t really sure what a bikepacking tyre might look or behave like, so I thought I’d best find out.

The Trail Boss is quite a different beast to the Trail Blazer. Apart from being wider, it’s also has a more aggressive tread and when fitted to the Rumpus rims produces a much more rounded profile, which (I’m hoping) helps shield the sidewalls from sharp pointy things. As you can imagine, besides being grippier, the Trail Boss is noticeably heavier than the smaller 2.8″ Trail Blazer so is well suited to the role of braking and cornering up front. As a pair they seem to work very well together, but if I had the required clearance and were riding continually rocky trails, I might consider one for the back too … but maybe I’m just paranoid.

Trail Blazer … probably best left as a rear only tyre given the square profile?

So far, only a few hundred miles have rolled beneath the Rumpus wheels which isn’t many for something you’ll hope will last thousands before they require any attention … but, so far I’m very impressed. They’re still true and the spokes still evenly tensioned. They’re almost fool-proof should you wish to set them up tubeless and at a pound short of £200, they’re a bargain. I do think the width suits some (read that as wider) tyres better than others but that’s nothing to do with the wheels and any rim of a similar size would produce the same results, I’d just suggest you choose your tyres carefully and so you know, a Trail Blazer inflated to 12 psi will measure 69mm at its widest point, which is actually the tyre wall. A Trail Boss comes up at 76mm at the widest point, which happens to be the tread.

Rumpus wheels are available directly from Alpkit in numerous axle /  hub width configurations. If you’ve got the room, give ’em a go.


  1. velofeather says:

    Hi, I have just picked up a pair of these wheels & was wondering which valves you used in your tubeless setup? I just tried setting mine up with a pair of 'Stans No Tubes Universal 35mm Valve' & keep losing air from the valve. Cheers, Jay.

  2. I used Superstar Components alloy valves Jay … I would have used the brass version but they were out of stock. I tape wrapped the rims then fitted the valves through the tape. I did find that I had to gently tighten the valve lock-ring with pliers rather than just fitting it finger tight.

  3. velofeather says:

    That's great I will give them a try, cheers.

  4. Unknown says:

    Have decided to build myself a bike on the 2016 Genesis Tarn Frame and selected this wheel/tire combo (so pleased with the review!) Have never run tubeless before (I mainly road bike and dabbled with my old MTB after going 1×10 on it last year and decided I wanted to a full ground up build!)

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