I've decided to cycle to work and got myself a new bike.

When the bike arrived I inflated the tyres to 80psi (20 below recommended) using a track pump. Instantly the inner tube blew up. I thought the one that came with the bike may have been poor quality. So I inserted a new continental tube and inflated it, and it too blew up.

Then I figured out the problem. The inner side of the rim has holes where spokes connect to the wheel. When I inspect the inner tube it seems to have small bumps on it corresponding to these holes. It seems when I inflate the tube to high pressure it tries to expand into these holes. It is exactly at one of these holes that the tube punctures and leaks.

I think the the rim should provide a smooth flat surface for the tube. But this is my first bike and I'm not very knowledgable. Is it common for bike rims to have this structure?

If not, what can I do to fix this problem? I'm thinking of filling up these holes with glue gun.

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  • 3
    Yep, the rim is missing a "rim strip". The cheap ones are rubber circles made out of thin inner-tube material. Better ones are a purpose-made adhesive tape. In a pinch you can use electrical tape or duct tape or some such, but you need SOMETHING. Jun 19, 2016 at 21:56
  • In addition to Daniel's correct comment, In the past I've used three layers of painter's masking tape in lieu of rim tape, but that was directly onto nipple heads. These holes look quite a lot larger so you might consider a strip of nylon carton tape first, then adhesive tape on top of that. You could even use a rubber hole grommit in each one, but that would be fiddly, heavy, and expensive.
    – Criggie
    Jun 20, 2016 at 1:42
  • 3
    Filling the holes with a glue gun would certainly be the worst solution. You'd never be able to have a spoke replaced or the wheel trued!
    – Carel
    Jun 20, 2016 at 7:55
  • @carel spokes can be adjusted using a spoke key on the other side of the rim. However hot-glue is quite dense, and adding sticks of it to the wheel will increase the rotational weight. The glue can be remelted to remove it, but its going to be messy. You're right, hot-glue is a bad idea.
    – Criggie
    Jun 23, 2016 at 23:36

2 Answers 2


I figured out a solution. The thing that is supposed to stop the inner tube from expanding into spoke holes is called a rim tape. The tape that came with the bike is really flimsy. I'll purchase and apply a high pressure rim tape.

Hopefully that would fix the problem.

Update: I've decided to go for a cotton rim tape as they're more durable than rubber ones. And after installing the tape, hey presto, the problem is gone.

  • You should mark this as the accepted answer when you've done and tested the solution.
    – Criggie
    Jun 20, 2016 at 1:43

A cheap solution: regular Duc-tape works really well. Put a separate piece over each hole, in case you need to replace a spoke. I've also used it to tape the rim tape directly to the wheel when an old one broke.

  • Welcome to Bicycles @DeLacey. Regular duct tape is stretchy, so it only works for a short time with high pressure tubes. (I find that even high pressure rim tapes deform over time.) But going with the low cost theme, gaffer tape would be better, because of it's cloth backing.
    – andy256
    Jun 21, 2016 at 14:11
  • If you are going to use duct tape (which I successfully have in the past) you should reinforce it with something like cloth ribbon. Many years have been spent patching weight saving holes in single wall fat bike rims with decorative cloth ribbon and a duct or strapping tape backer. Jun 21, 2016 at 19:22
  • He could also cut up and reuse the old inner tube as a rim tape substitute (less messy than duct tape - imagine the mess left behind when it needs to be removed for wheel truing for instance)
    – Hitchmo
    Jun 22, 2016 at 11:59

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