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I've read you can reuse rim tape if it's still in good condition. I would like to do that because I'm rebuilding a bike right now and don't have any on hand.

My old rear wheel has rim tape installed that still looks very healthy to me. It's the looped variety that comes already in a loop.

Is there a way to get this off the old wheel without trashing it?

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  • 1
    Usually you can get under there with finger nails and tyre levers. Other flat objects should work as well.
    – Michael
    Sep 18, 2022 at 6:48
  • I think people sometimes use "rim strip" to refer to these one-piece, snap-on rim tapes.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Sep 19, 2022 at 13:52
  • 1
    @WeiwenNg Yes, it appears that is another term for this type of rim tape. I've updated the title and created/added a tag for rim-strip. Thanks.
    – SSilk
    Sep 19, 2022 at 14:02

3 Answers 3

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Well I guess I could have spent more than 30 seconds trying to do this before posting that question. I just got it off really easily so I'll share what I did. I'll leave the question open for a few days in case someone else has a better approach.

I took a wooden BBQ skewer and slipped it under the rim tape at the valve opening:

enter image description here

Then used that to lever the tape up just enough to slip a dispoable wooden chopstick under it in the same position:

enter image description here

The chopstick, being stronger, allowed me to lever the tape up enough to jam another one in crosswise, straddling the rim walls:

enter image description here

Then I was able to pull the first chopstick back out and put in in parallel to the second one so they were both straddling the rim walls and I could start sliding them apart:

enter image description here

Then it was just a matter of sliding one of the chopsticks about 6" along the rim so I could grab some of the rim tape between them and pop it over the rim wall:

enter image description here

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At that point I just pulled it a little more and the whole loop popped off.

Hope this helps others.

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  • 1
    Great solution and well documented.
    – Criggie
    Sep 17, 2022 at 21:57
  • I did the same to a couple of rims a few years ago. I didn't use chopsticks, but something similar did the trick without damaging the rim strip or scratching the rims. Good documentation of it (felt like I was going back in time reading it).
    – Ted Hohl
    Sep 19, 2022 at 15:16
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My method is very similar to yours, but I avoid the rim hole because it is thinner there even though its double-thickness.

I use a sharp right-angled pick to get under the edge of the tape, then work the rounder back-corner of the tool underneath and up to the opposite rim.

My rims are all aluminium, so a scratch is harder to do than carbon-fibre and harmless if scratched anyway.

After that the turn-off is the same as your method.

Generic photo of a pick, AKA o-ring tool

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I did this recently by a different method that worked well on my rims but depends on their profile.

I pulled the tape to the side using friction with all my fingertips, exposing a gap under the far side. Once there I could free up one hand to slip a screwdriver (but a tyre lever would have been better) under the far side and lever the strip off the rim.

This relies on a fairly curved well in the middle of the rim, with tape wide enough to come part way up (i.e. not the absolute minimum width, but normal size)

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