The plastic and cloth rim tapes at my LBS come in a couple of sizes: too narrow and too wide. Too narrow barely covers the spoke holes (meaning, it doesn't). Too wide gets into the bead area, making it (slightly) more difficult to mount a tire, and worse, it catches on the tire when I mount or dismount it, and when I check the mount to make sure I haven't pinched the tube. Both plastic and cloth tapes move laterally, potentially exposing spoke holes. Aamof, the cloth rim tape I installed a couple of rides ago has already shifted a little. Once off center, both cloth and plastic tapes take a set, making them tend to stay off center.

Tubeless tapes have an actual adhesive backing, as opposed to the tacky stuff on cloth tapes, and nothing at all on the plastic ones. The adhesive should keep the tape from moving (right?). Some tubeless tapes are also very thin, so are unlikely to be pushed off center by the tire during mounting/dismounting. Obviously thin tubeless tape can take the pressure, but I don't know if will adequately protect a tube. Has anyone tried using tubeless tape with a tube on a tube type rim? How about thin tubeless tape?

For what it's worth, I ride 700 mm x 25 mm road tires, 100 to 110 psi. I don't get many flats due to rim tape failure--I check the tape when I repair a flat (which I do way too often).

I have another rim tape question. I'll post it separately. Thanks in advance.

  • That's an interesting thought - I'd expect tubeless tape to be a lot more expensive. Can you add the widths of rim tape you have access to? 15mm and 19mm would be common sizes.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 0:53
  • You could conceivably put some double sided tape between your normal rimtape and the rim itself, to help prevent creeping.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 0:54
  • I don't really know how smart it is to run road pressures with tubes on tubeless tape for long periods. It won't fail in the short term but it wouldn't surprise me if it had durability issues sooner than conventional tape. However it should be noted that in other applications, tubes on tubeless tape is 100% fine. Most nicer mountain bikes have been coming that way for years now. Commented May 2, 2018 at 3:38
  • I keep tape and the such on hand. The cloth tape package I'm looking at comes in widths of 11 mm, 17 mm, and 22 mm. I had a roll of 11 mm and a few rolls of 17. I tried the 11 mm first: too narrow. The 17 mm works, but it comes up the sides of the valley and gets pushed around by the tire bead. The rolls of plastic tape I have in my supply box are 18 mm. I replaced the original plastic tape, (about 19 mm), a couple of rides ago. It was deformed and wouldn't stay centered.
    – riderBill
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 7:01
  • 1
    Electrical tape is very elastic. My expectation is that it would deform into the holes until either it or the tube eruptures, or is cut on the edge of a spoke hole. The adhesive also turns to goo; I wouldn't expect it to stay put. Anyone tried using electrical tape as rim tape?
    – riderBill
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


The short answer is yes. Tubeless tape will support using a tube just fine. Tubeless tape does not stretch (much) so the indentation at the spoke holes is very minor. Remember it is holding back the same force per square inch as regular rim tape, if it gave way the edge of the spoke holes would cut the tape and the tubeless tape wouldn’t be doing its primary job of retaining air. Finally, while the adhesive does a great job of keeping tubeless tape in place, it can still shift if extreme lateral force is put on the tape (e.g., a very tight tire + tube+ rim combo)

  • Btw Gorilla tape makes a great custom rim tape. It can even be used for tubeless setups.
    – Rider_X
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 19:09
  • Thanks. That's what I was looking for. I knew the tape had to be strong enough to take the pressure, just like "ordinary" rim tapes do. It would be useless, otherwise. I was worried that tubeless tapes might stretch (substantially) into the spoke holes when the tire is pressurized, That wouldn't be a problem for the tape; it just has to seal the rim. But the deformation could allow a tube to stretch too much locally, or, especially with the thin tubeless tapes, be cut on the edge of a spoke hole.
    – riderBill
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 23:16
  • @riderBill tubeless tape is gives very little, so no worries there.
    – Rider_X
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 23:18

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