I was fixing a flat on a newish bike and noticed these bumps from the spokes around the inside of the rim. The rim tape is reassuring and I assume it's all fine, but I don't really know what is supposed to look like. Is what's seen here normal? The bike is a Trek Precaliber.

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


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Without being pedantic you’re seeing the top of the nipple making an impression on the rim tape.

It might be OK. Lift the tape/liner with a blunt edge and have a look under. As long as the nipple is flush with the rim bed and the spoke isn’t significantly exposed (< 1mm) above the nipple head it’s all good. The rim liner is strong and tough to protect the tube.

enter image description here

The last image is what you are looking for and shows that your rim has a flat spot or the nipple has come loose. Carefully tighten the nipple down without bringing the spoke through and check the rim for trueness correcting if needed.

  • 1
    That's just what I need. Thank you Warren!
    – user605331
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 19:11
  • I like the drawing. Where is it from?
    – Robert
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 22:31
  • 1
    Isn’t it pretty okay and normal for spoke ends to stick out of the nipple by a millimeter or so?
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 6:35
  • 3
    @Robert I made it myself on my iPad with Linea Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 7:44
  • 3
    Very small suggestion Warren: optimally the top of the spoke is up in the head of the nipple. This is important to help support the head and prevent breakage when nipples are aluminum instead of brass. wheelfanatyk.com/blogs/blog/…
    – mander
    Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 16:18

As long as nothing is poking through the rim tape it’s fine.

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