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A spoke broke at/inside the nipple on my rear wheel (Rohloff hub with a VIPER19 622×19C rim) so I need to replace it. I figured out the spokes and nipples to buy, but what I'm not clear about is if I need to replace the rim tape. A youtube video on replacing a spoke suggests I do, but the author rides tubeless whereas I have a conventional bicycle tube with a 37-622 tyre, which might make a difference (or not?). I think I will need to remove the rim tape before I can replace the nipple, but can I then put back the old rim tape, or do I need new? I imagine it might not glue very well after removing it, or perhaps removing is a destructive act anyway?

3 Answers 3

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Rim tape is surprisingly stretchy. If you can get one pick or screwdriver under it, then work a second stick of some sort underneath, it should be possible to flip the whole ring of tape off the rim in one piece. This should not require glue at all.

The tape will "compress" or shrink/tighten itself back down onto the rim after reinstalling.

If you've had to cut the tape, then yes its time for a new one, or if the rim tape feels "thin" and is allowing the sharp edges of spokes or holes to press through and damage any tube.

If you're talking about tubeless rim tape specifically, the same applies but it has to be airtight.

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  • Ah, I thought it was taped to the rim, as in adhesive tape, but it's just a roll that stays in place elastically? I've never had a need to touch my rim tape.
    – gerrit
    Commented Apr 28 at 21:15
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    @gerrit for tubed tyres its basically a big rubber band, though the materials vary. Some are even cloth-based with a rubber backing.
    – Criggie
    Commented Apr 29 at 2:29
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    At the shop, i use an adhesive cloth tape which is not stretchy and can't be reused, for standard rims. If you do need a new tape but you need the bike to go and get it, a couple of layers of electrical tape can be used temporarily
    – Noise
    Commented Apr 29 at 8:00
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    @Noise I like the Velox cloth tape, which is also self adhesive. I have been able to reuse it by not completely removing it (so it's still anchored) then smoothing it down into place. There was just enough adhesive left to hold it while refitting the .tyre and tube, then the sustained pressure helped it to stick again.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 29 at 10:06
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    good points all. The schwalbe cloth tape on the 50m roll really doesn't like being reused though. The only advantage is cost, really. And versatility.
    – Noise
    Commented Apr 30 at 8:21
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It depends on the Rim Tape. Some variants are closed rubber or PU rings of flat material and can be easily removed with a tire mounting tool. If you don't rip them apart on disassembly, you can of course reuse them.

Others are textile adhesive tape, that is glued to the rim (and have open ends). If you remove this, it sometimes is not sticky anymore and therefore will not stay where it should.

In case of tubeless tires the tape is often adhesive and makes the rim (spoke holes) airtight. Therefore replacement is often mandatory to keep the rim airtight and failures will be noticed very soon (as flat tire). So you probably always use new one ...

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Look very closely at the tape. Are there any cracks? Micro-mili-cracks? Does it look look like anything remotely similar to when purchased?

Then it's fine, spokes don't pierce intact rubber.

Also gluing it in is entirely superficial. A completely separate topic obviously.

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