How to Install a Bicycle Rim Tape

If you look closely at your bicycle wheels, you will see that the heads of the spoke are mounted and protrude alongside the outside of the rim. These metal studs can easily pierce your delicate tube, giving you a flat tire, unless you cover them with rim tape. Bicycle rim tape comes in a variety of materials, including cloth, plastic and a material many swear by called Velox. Choose the rim tape that's right for you and read on to learn to install it properly.

Take your built-up wheel with the tire removed and clean the rim thoroughly. Know how wide the wheel cavity is. If you don't know, measure it with calipers. Purchase bicycle rim tape designed for your wheel's width.

Set the end of the rim tape within the wheel's cavity carefully. Line up the tube valve hole with the hole in the rim tape and have the adhesive side down. Be certain that it's aligned and straight along the wall and covers the spoke ends entirely.

Begin pulling the bicycle rim tape along the rim. Make sure that it is tight enough; keep it fairly snug so that there's a slight stretch to it as you unravel it, but not so tight that you strain to pull it around the rim.

Keep pulling the tape around, making sure that it fits within the wheel cavity snugly. Once you reach the beginning point again, don't simply overlap the ends of the rim tape. Take the excess and cut it precisely so it fits perfectly against the beginning of the tape.

Run your fingers over the now-installed bicycle rim tape to make sure that it's in firmly and won't shift. Ensure it can't creep up the bead of the tire.


If you have a very tight fit for the rim tape, you can wet it with a little soapy water to lubricate it. Once the water dries, the soap becomes sticky.

Things You'll Need

  • Bicycle rim tape
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