Bicycle rim tape explained - article comments

Support BikeGremlin

Help BikeGremlin stay online with a Patreon donation:

Not open for further replies.


Staff member
To prevent article pages from being miles long, but preserve all the useful questions and answers provided over time, I've decided to copy/paste the website comments to the forum - and "move" further discussions here.

These are the comments from the article:
Bicycle rim tape explained

This topic is closed for further replies.

If you can't find the answer to your question in this thread, please open a separate thread with your question/problem, in an appropriate forum section (this is the Wheels, hubs, rims and tyres section).

Last edited:
  1. TheGrave
    23/12/2016 at 05:54
    Thanks for the good article! Your links to Amazon at the end of it are missing though.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      23/12/2016 at 06:15
      Thanks for the note.
      The original idea was to provide a link for people to conveniently buy decent quality at low price, without need for looking loads of adds, comparing prices. Recommending something I know works well.
      However, Amazon offers seem to change, so links work for quite short amount of time often. Can’t manage to update them all, so I’m removing them.
    • 5bee215ef4c20f306cfbe0d50c828f7b.jpg

      01/01/2023 at 09:22
      Many thanks, for the very detailed instructions and tips on how to remove and change and reinstall the rim tape, inner tube and type back on the rear derailleur. Your detailed tips are very useful indeed.
  2. 1cf6d94c1381ccce20417ad97dabaeb9.jpg

    adi pe
    08/09/2019 at 17:03
    the rim tape should be wide enough and thick enough as to ensure that the tire bead presses on the rim seat with some force – depending on the torque generated by braking or pedaling etc. the tire will be pressing on the side walls of the rim but with not so high force as to ensure there is no movement and there’s also tire flex allowing the tire beads to move up and down and not be precisely true to the rim.
    the rim’s channel is deeper for rims that are designed for tubeless to make tire mounting easier and also ensure that the tire bead presses on the rim seat. if the rim channel is not deep enough then you either have to work harder when mounting the tire or you can have a compressible rim tape like butyl. i have had good results with laying an additional layer of butyl – cut tube – over a more harder layer that covers the holes.
    so, even for a tubed wheel this is advisable. in some cases, not all. there are plenty of tires that are easy to mount but will not stay at fixed positions and there are symptoms, one of them is that the spoke tension remains exactly the same after mounting the tire, inflating them a bit and then lowering (tire) pressure to zero. the spoke tension should be a bit lower. that’s how you know that the tire bead is pressing on the rim seat to some degree. you either want a higher force or are comfortable with a lower one.
    the rim can have have it’s diameter shortened as high as 1mm if the builder managed to achieve a high spoke tension that is appropriate with plain gauge spokes and high spoke count. the wheel will be heavier but more durable. high average tension makes the additional tension at dynamic loads to be raised with less delta tension. but it is not advised getting to higher than recommended tension for the rim unless spoke tension variance is low, like +/-5% (having radial runout at +/-0.05mm). if non drive side spokes are not butted but are the same thick spokes as for the DS then the additional tension that occurs at 4:30 and 7:30 positions for the DS will not be as high as for using butted spokes on the NDS (non drive side) which would participate less in holding the wheel together radially (the lever effect).
    thinner spokes should be used for being lighter, not so large loads on the rims. at lower average tension that is appropriate for thinner spokes there will be less compression on the rim.
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      08/09/2019 at 18:05
      Nice points and nicely explained. 🙂
      As far as I know, tyre is held on by the side-walls, not on the part where the rim tape is. All that rim tape needs “to do” in those terms is not interfere with proper tyre seating when it is being mounted and inflated.
      Super low pressure tubeless tyres are also similar in those terms, though I have limited experience with them.
      For the total aggregate spoke tension, I’d advise to leave some 20 – 30 % “room” – not go with the rim’s max. tension capacity.
      I’d agree with the rest.
    • 25ed7633bd4083133becac77d0f03761.jpg

      Andrew McMamil
      25/03/2020 at 13:27
      adi pe: I read your amazing lecture post and I’m so depressed, I thought I was reasonably intelligent and knew a bit about bike mechanics but now I realise I am just pond life!!
      I just hope you are the Jedi master of wheel building and this level of knowledge is not normal.
      Anyway, as Lance said, it’s not about the bike – I’ll stick some rim tape in and pedal on…
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      25/03/2020 at 13:57
      I made a series of videos on bicycle wheel building (in Tarzan English 🙂 ) – with recommended wheel building books in the video description. Think that is good enough to make reasonably durable and reliable wheels:
      Wheel Building
  3. 25ed7633bd4083133becac77d0f03761.jpg

    Andrew McMamil
    25/03/2020 at 14:59
    Thanks Relja, I had a look – very useful.
  4. 9d2198faf057a1997b412566a919b53d.jpg

    04/04/2020 at 22:45
    My bike tire says 32-622 (28x 1 1/4 x 1 3/4). So what does the 622 stand for? Several websites say 622 mm but that converts to 24 inches, but the diameter really is 28 inches. I don’t get it.
  5. bd10a96125e7218afa769ea342670350.jpg

    06/09/2021 at 10:48
    the best rim tapes i have ever used for clincher rims are zefal cloth adhesive rim tapes,they never fail,i use size 17mm wide ones on most skinny road bike tires,zefal even make a 13mm wide tape for ultra skninny rims and they make a 22mm wider one for mountain bike rims,these rim tapes last a long time and they can be trusted,rubber rim tapes tend to break and fail as they age.i have seen zefal tape still in place and not damaged on 15 year old rims,they are tough,you can use them on double walled alloy rims or single walled rims.
  1. bertie
    13/01/2022 at 05:13
    That looks like a copy of the Velox rim tape that I’ve been using since the early 1980s.
  2. 585e62d1f88b8216e3712812d167d709.jpg

    03/11/2022 at 11:41
    What about rim strips/tapes that have smooth and rough sides, which side is better facing the rim or tube ?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      Relja Novović
      04/11/2022 at 05:59
      Hi Mantas,
      A very good question – I should add it to the article.
      – If there is a brand name printed or similar decals, they go on the outside (towards the tube).
      – If there is a sticky side, it goes towards the rim.
      – Without any of those present, the rough(er) side goes towards the rim, and the smoother side towards the tube.
  3. 3d04f3ecf887644d0391eb93328c908a.jpg

    Mark Petrof
    10/11/2022 at 05:42
    What are your thoughts about using the little plastic plugs that go in the spoke holes?
    • 3fd0d771d754ced79ca6b702635900b5.jpg

      Relja Novović
      11/11/2022 at 07:28
      Hi Mark,
      I haven’t used them ever, so don’t really have an opinion. They don’t look like a better, more practical solution, but again, I haven’t used them.
  4. de4d1da7a06161b8dbb2b410a2151e77.jpg

    13/12/2022 at 06:32
    they dont look like a very good option to me,out of all types of rim strips i have used over the years i can only recommend two types,stretchy nylon ones,and sticky cloth ones like velox or zefal,these types you will hardly ever need to worry about if you put them on correctly,i have never had these fail,not once,the rubber rim strips allways fail,thin plastic stick on ones fail as well,my rim tape top of the bunch would be these new stretchy nylon ones and its much easier to fit on a tight tire with the nylon strips and they are easy to remove,cheers
  5. d2299c293719170701f4e3446aef7618.jpg

    27/03/2023 at 14:40
    Great article, thanks!
    I have a question: what about the hookless wheels? By having the tape “climbing” the side walls, isn’t there a risk of the tyre to slide out in a very dangerous way?
    I have Giant hookless wheels with 19.6mm rim, what would be the suggested type width? 23/24mm? 25 maybe?
    Thank you!
    • d693f26dcd2fedd28dfc1ad7a66e01a2.jpg

      27/03/2023 at 21:27
      Hi Alen,
      That’s a reasonable concern.
      Hookless rims with tubeless tyres are far from ideal or flawless. I wrote at some length about hookless rims, and tubeless tyres, explaining their pros and cons.
      Regarding the rim tape width, too much or too little can cause problems. Rim tape should not climb the sidewalls too much – as then it might prevent the tyre from seating well (and make mounting the tyre more difficult).
      For 19.6 mm inner rim width, I’d go with about 4 to 5 mm wider rim tape (it does stretch a bit, and needs to cover all the curves, getting effectively narrower than its straight-line measured width). So, for the 19.6 mm rim, 24 mm rim tape should fit nicely, or 25 mm if that’s only available width. 26 might be a bit too wide, but it might just fit OK (i.e. worth a shot if nothing else is available). Likewise, 23 mm is just at the limit of being too narrow for that rim, but if that is the only easily available width, I’d give it a shot and see how it looks when fitted.
      I’d not go with rim tape wider than 26, nor narrower than 23 mm for that rim.
Not open for further replies.


Top Bottom