What's a good substitute for rim tape?
August 4, 2006 8:02 AM   Subscribe

What's a good substitute for rim tape?

So I went to fix a flat tire this morning and realized the giant rubber band inside my wheel was snapped... not knowing what else to use, I wound some electrical tape around in there and remounted the tire... is this good enough? if not, is there anything that would be a suitable substitute for rim tape? or will I have to break down and go to the bike store?

posted by cusack to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
Strapping tape: the kind with glass strands in it. Lay it on taut; one layer will do (if you're hardcore, you'll only place it around the spokeholes and leave it off the solid parts of the rim—to save weight, of course)

I don't think electric tape will quite do it.
posted by adamrice at 8:11 AM on August 4, 2006

Go to the bike store and get a roll of Velox, a cloth rim tape. Thin tapes like electrician's tape may not adequately protect your tube. Mountain bike wheels are less prone to punctures from bad tape because the inflation pressure is low. On road bikes never scrimp on rim tape. Here is a good faq on the subject.
posted by caddis at 8:23 AM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I agree with adamrice, the electrical tape is not going to do it, and you'll end up with a puncture. Your best bet is probably just to suck it up and go buy some real rim tape, but, barring that, I like the suggestion of strapping tape. Definitely better than electrical, which will get gummy and torn almost immediately.
posted by dseaton at 8:26 AM on August 4, 2006

Yea bro, don't do electrical. Velox is the way to go, it's not expensive, but if you are very far from the bike shop or very broke, you may use duct tape - you'll have to trim it to fit your rim of course. I did that when I was a broke-ass courier and it worked fine until it didn't, which was a matter of 6 or 8 months.
posted by Mister_A at 8:30 AM on August 4, 2006

Velocity Veloplugs. People swear by them, they'll last a hell of a long time, and aren't that expensive. And they've received great reviews.
posted by The Michael The at 9:12 AM on August 4, 2006

Velox. In the absence of Velox, strapping tape will do, but it just doesn't last. Duct tape and electrical tape both suck. Velox is two or three bucks per roll, so four or six bucks to do both wheels is pretty cheap and a lot of piece of mind.
posted by fixedgear at 9:59 AM on August 4, 2006

Rim tape is cheap -- a couple of bucks per wheel at the most -- and it does what it's supposed to do. A trip down to the bike shop now will save you the hassle of being stuck with a flat in the middle of nowhere at the worst moment possible.
posted by randomstriker at 11:10 AM on August 4, 2006

Another vote for velox. I havent gotten a flat in about 6 months (though i've burned through a few tires)
posted by atom128 at 11:50 AM on August 4, 2006

Another vote for velox tape. I have had it hold up through years of riding in all kinds of nasty weather.

If your bike shop is charging $5 for a roll of rim tape, maybe you should find a different bike shop. I don't think I've ever paid more than $2.
posted by trouserbat at 12:45 PM on August 4, 2006

cusack, the electrical tape will do as a holdout until you get something better.

I completely and utterly Nth the Velox. it's all I use in my personal wheelsets. I have 5 bikes and about a dozen sets of wheels.

to those of you dissing electrical tape, just so you know yea it does suck if you only use a single layer, but its a very, very common holdout that I've even seen professional trade team wrenches use in emergencies. the trick is to use multiple layers, at least 3, and to pull/stretch it nice and flat so it doesn't roll up at the edges. It will deff hold in an emergency long enough for you to go purchase some Velox to put in there.

Almost every bike mechanic has electrical / black tape in their box for finishing bartape, marking seatposts, tying computer cables, etc... very few of us, otoh, have strapping / fibreglas tape just lying around unless we've recently moved.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:48 PM on August 4, 2006

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