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Recently I bought a set of Campagnolo Zonda C17 wheels and found that the rear wheel has a tiny hole drilled on the inside of the rim. The diameter could be slightly less than one millimetre and it is present on the rear wheel only. The front wheel is without any extra holes.

I am afraid that tube pressure will make it prone to punctures on the inside, so I am going to patch it with a tape and ride, but I wonder if it was drilled with a purpose.

My another speculation is that it was drilled by the customs, but it makes little sense, because valve hole is just few centimetres away and rims are empty.

Will appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

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  • I'm not sure what it's for, but the rim tape you should have anyway will easily take care of it
    – Chris H
    Sep 14 '20 at 13:36
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    Thanks for the comment. Zonda wheels normally do not require rim tape, that is their selling point, so I do not think it will solve the issue.
    – Rilakkuma
    Sep 14 '20 at 13:42
  • Fair enough - the lack of rim tape comes from designing for a clever if fiddly-sounding build process
    – Chris H
    Sep 14 '20 at 13:52
  • I've read a number of articles in cycling magazines that those rims shouldn't be used with tubes and rim-brakes without a rim-tape anyway. The brakes could overheat the rim and cause the tube to explode. Especially with heavy riders and on long descents. The tape insulates the tube.
    – Carel
    Sep 14 '20 at 18:56
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Rims usually have small holes inside to vent the inner chambers of the rim extrusion.

All rims need them, but rims with welded seams need to have more and larger vent holes because otherwise the welding process will cause pressure to build up in the closed chambers and "spit" the molten metal. The spoke and valve holes are not sufficient venting because rims are rolled and welded before the spoke holes or valve hole are drilled. Plus, the spoke and rim holes don't always go through chambers at the edge of the rim. Often you see vent holes at the edge for this reason. Bike frame tubes always need some kind of vent hole for the same reason (welding and later draining).

I just built up a Rhyno Lite XL rim last night that had 8 different vent holes! I always make sure the holes get covered with tape, but some of these were at the corner where a regular rim strip wouldn't cover them. So perhaps it is OK to put the tube directly over them? I would welcome input from other mechanics about whether the inner tube can always be placed directly on these holes. My road bike, which I run at 120 psi, was built up without the vent holes covered. Because I was fighting mysterious flat tires, I used epoxy to smooth over the rather large vent holes (no room for tape in that case).

Even if the rims don't have a welded seam, they may still need to vent the hollow extrusion to keep water or pressure equalized.

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  • Thank you for the answer. Indeed, welding vent seems like the likely answer, but by lighting inside of the hole I have found that its borders are not anodised, which means it was made after welding.
    – Rilakkuma
    Sep 15 '20 at 12:12
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Campagnolo's metal rims are built from extruded profiles that are then bent into circles and welded. Up to that point the holes for the spokes and the valve have not been drilled. Because the air inside the rim would cause the pressure to rise in the welding process, the seam would be problematic. The tiny hole prevents built-up of pressure through heat and gas.

The drilling process is one of the following steps. Also, the spoke holes are only drilled away from the centre on the inner edge and don't go through and through. Thus no tape is required. With tubeless rims the hole has to be plugged, obviously.

Other curious fact on the side: when building or repairing such a wheel a short steel screw is threaded into the brass nipple before it is introduced into the rim through the valve-hole. It is caught with a magnet from the outside and guided to the intended spoke-hole. Campy rims always come with this screw and magnet.

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