I just bought a set of Bontrager paradigm tubeless ready rims that are set up as tubeless right now. If I'm planning on going with an inner tube and a clincher Tire can I remove the plastic seal strip provided by Bontrager that is on the wheel now? I've heard that strip makes Tire changes more difficult. Should I leave that strip in place when I go to a inner tube or remove it and use Rim tape instead? I'm fairly new to the tubeless ready setup and trying to learn all I can. I love all the advice that has given here

  • A photo would help. But you can leave the tubeless tape in place. That’ll be helpful for if/when you got back to tubeless.
    – Paul H
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 3:19
  • If the tubeless tape significantly increases the wheel diameter and an ordinary tape would not, removing it could indeed help. But I am dubious it is actually the case. Most likely the tape is thin and even if it covers a valley in the rim, it would have been likely covered by any other tape as well. Show us the details please. Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Presumably the rim strip in question is a Bontrager TLR strip. Distinct both from regular tubeless rim tape and also from regular non-tubeless plastic rim strips, the Bontrager TLR strip design has a more sophisticated cross-section that is designed to match the rim and establish the bead lock properly. They come in different widths and colors, and each applicable rim only takes one variant.

If you take it off and replace it with tape or a conventional rim strip, the rim hook will hold the wheel securely for tubed use. What it won't do is provide anything like a proper tubeless bead lock, which the TLR strip is instrumental in creating in the rim designs that use it. So if you ever wanted to go back to tubeless, you're probably buying new ones. They don't tend to come off reliably without getting damaged. It's possible to use conventional tubeless tape instead, but it typically takes many layers to begin to create a proper lock, and even then doesn't work as well. It's not recommended. This is a controversial topic and the kind of thing where you can find many forum posts with people saying they've set up their Bontrager TLR rim with Stans tape etc. It can be made to work but absolutely does not work as well or as easily as just using the strips.

Without the bead lock acting as intended, yes the tire will be much easier to unseat. In many cases this issue is better solved with good technique, but there are also some tire/rim combinations that are just extremely difficult, so depending on the circumstances it could be reasonable to do this.

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    Is unseating really the issue? I normally struggle with getting the tyre over the rim wall. It often requires heavy use of tyre levers and heavy use of swearing. But just for changing an inner tube one does not have to do that, that is true. Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 18:12
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    @VladimirFГероямслава It usually isn't or doesn't need to be, but there are some situations where it is anyway. Also hand strength is one of those more variable things in humans it seems. Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 19:12
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    And thank you Nathan on the great information about tlr and Bontrager specifically with the factory supplied plastic Rim strip. I guess I'm leaning towards just going ahead with tubes and a clincher style Tire. I guess you are saying I can remove the factory supplied plastic Rim strip and install normal Rim tape to protect the tube and then go ahead and install a clincher Tire without the Bontrager plastic strip. That would imply that I have a hooked style rim which I'm not sure if the Paradigm is hooked or unhooked. Hooked rim I think I can go tube and clincher without factory plastic strip
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 20:40
  • Yes I was talking about the Bontrager Factory supplied strip. I guess I'm wondering if I can go tube and clincher and remove that factory seal strip. I know when you purchase the Wheels online it is not installed the buyer has to do that. So does that mean it's the buyer's option to not install it and then go with a tube and Clincher setup? My understanding is you can only go tube and Clincher if you have a hooked style rim. Does the plastic strip make that rim hooked and able to use a clincher or can you use a clincher without that Factory strip and then just apply normal Rim tape
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 21:45
  • @Michael The Paradigm is almost certainly hooked. There is no cost to changing an aluminum rim mold to add hooks, but they make carbon construction more complex. Generally, if hookless, the information page will say so explicitly. Also, hookless rims can run tubeless tires with tubes. They must be hookless-compatible tires.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 14:23

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