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Are Rim Strip loops eg. Schwalbe High Pressure Tape Singles compatible with tubeless ready tyres and are there any caveats or tricks?

I installed some strips that were 1mm narrower than what my wheel manufacturer advised the rim's inner width was.

They seem fit the rim well enough although they are completely snug - there isn't any gap between the strip and the inner walls of the rim.

I've never had so much trouble reinstalling a tyre in my life after installing the strips though. I have a non-tubeless tyre on my other wheel and the install couldn't have been easier.


Edit for clarification:

  • I was running adhesive tubeless rim tape prior to putting the rim strips on (the kind that comes on a roll and needs to be cut).

  • The rim and tyre are both tubeless ready.

  • I am using tubes.

  • I replaced the adhesive tape after having two explosive tape failures at the same spoke hole. I've checked for burrs and there does not appear to be any. To be honest, this gave me the willies bad enough to not want anything to do with adhesive tape again.

  • The tubeless-ready tyre wasn't the easiest to remove while the adhesive rim tape was installed, but with a set of levers it took less than 5 minutes to get the tyre off. Replacing the tyre with adhesive rim tape installed took a bit more time -maybe 15 minutes- the last time I had to change an inner tube.

  • After installing the circular rim strip, the tyre took 4 hours with levers to get back on to the centre of the rim. Both sides of the tyre were off the bead while doing the reinstallation - one side of the tyre was on the rim centre, the other side was partly in the centre of the rim and partly off the outside as I tried to lever it back on the rim.

Is there anything I could do to get the tyre on in a reasonable amount of time or is this combination of parts not super compatible?

The only thought that comes to my mind is possibly running something several mm narrower, but I'm not sure how narrow the strips could safely be, or even if narrower rim strips would make it any easier to get the tyre back on the rim.

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  • 1
    I don’t think rim tape has an impact on how hard or easy it is to mount a tyre. As long as you are able to move the tyre bead into the middle of the rim bed during mounting (that’s the whole trick!) and the rim tape doesn’t fill up the “valley” there.
    – Michael
    Sep 23 at 12:16
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    I will mention as a general point that any rim/tire combo can be especially tight, tubeless or tubed, and there can even be manufacturing variations from one unit to the next, but tubeless tires are supposed to fit tightly, as Andy P mentions.
    – Adam Rice
    Sep 23 at 13:09
  • @Michael I wouldn't have thought it would make a difference either. The tyre took 4 hrs to reinstall with the strips on compared to 15 minutes for tape though. Same rim, same tyre.
    – Scottmeup
    Sep 24 at 8:53
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You could use the linked rim tape with a tubeless ready tyre, but you'd have to use a tube since it's not tubeless tape.

Tubeless tape typically has a sticky side and sticks to the rim causing an air tight seal. Schwalbe Tubeless Rim Tape would be the tubeless equivalent of the tape you linked.

It's normal for a tubeless ready tyre to be a tighter fit (and hence harder to mount) since they need to be tight enough to allow them to be initially inflated without all the air leaking out, and once inflated, the rim/bead interface is supposed to be air tight (although generally some sealant is required to make this a reality).

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It's also the rim being tubeless-compatible that's in question here. The tubeless bead on the tire is part of it, but if you took the same tire and put it on a non-tubeless rim, you could in most cases use any rim strip you want and it won't matter as much or at all.

Tubeless tape is very thin. Sometimes if you put a conventional rim strip, which are mostly thicker, on a tubeless-compatible rim, it gets very crowded in the bead area and/or the rim well. It can make it more difficult to get the tire off, both as you move the bead inward off the "shelf" area of the rim and also as you try to have the beads sit in the middle.

It's not an absolute rule, but when a rim strip or tape needs to be replaced I'm now in the habit of primarily using tubeless tape on tubeless rims, even for tubed application. I got there because otherwise it can be difficult to avoid creating a situation like the one you're in.

If this wasn't an option and you had to use a conventional strip or tape, some are thicker than others - get the very thin vinyl kind. You would basically want it to be as narrow as possible while still reliably covering the spoke holes, i.e. staying put in the middle well area while giving full coverage. Different tubeless rims can have a little different design so there is no absolute rule other than it has to cover the spoke holes and stay there. Avoid putting a rim strip any thicker than tubeless tape in the bead lock area, because most of the time there simply isn't room for it there.

If you're having problems with tubeless tape failing at spoke holes, the usual cause for that is running only a single layer in a high-pressure application.

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I think the key thing to look for is that the product should explicitly mention tubeless compatibility. It probably doesn't matter if the product is tape or a one-piece rim strip like you linked as long as it's designed to be tubeless compatible. Bontrager has a one-piece rim strip that are designed exclusively for their own rims. Here is a link that's correct as of the time of writing. If the link breaks, the product was called the "Bontrager TLR Rim Strip". I believe Specialized may offer some one-piece strips that are not proprietary to their own rims. For posterity, the product was called the "Specialized 2Bliss Ready Rim Strip", where 2Bliss is their synonym for tubeless.

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