How to Install Tubeless Rim Tape Correctly Like a Pro

The biking world is undergoing/experiencing a quick surge of technological transformations. In fact, tubeless technology is now dubbed to be the new standard for road bikes, gravel bikes, and mountain bikes.

Yes, more bikers and athletes are now embracing the tubeless trend in cycling. This new trend in biking has allowed more freedom and versatility in the way you ride. In fact, you will see more bikers now with tubeless-compatible tires and wheels.

Switch to Tubeless Technology!

It may be a bit intimidating or challenging to set up at first, but the advantages of adopting a tubeless technology should be worth the switch and investment. With that in mind, it’s an advantage to know how to install tubeless rim tape.

Going for a tubeless setup helps you ride with confidence and added safety or security because you will experience fewer flats. It's also very low-maintenance, which is one of the perks of using tubeless technology.

A tubeless setup allows you to achieve peak performance levels from your tires. You'd expect more control and comfort when you ride because your tires are running at lower pressure levels.

More so, with a tubeless system, you won’t likely experience any punctures on your tires that could disrupt you while you’re on the road.

This also improves rolling resistance. And this is in contrast with what could happen when you’re driving a tubed tire.

Aside from being more expensive than tubeless setups, tubed bikes are more prone to punctures from snakebites or any sharp objects lying on the road.

You’re riding with reduced pressure, so you get that advantage of riding smoothly even with road obstacles.

The tires easily deflect and roll over these obstacles, unlike with tubed tires where the bike would have to move up and down when driving with obstacles around.

What Is Tubeless Technology?

The traditional clincher system in bikes has been the norm for decades. It's the only option that bikers have, which makes use of inner tubes in bike tires.

These standard clincher tires aren't airtight, so basically, the air is contained mainly inside the latex or rubber inner tube with the valve for the purpose of inflation.

Once inflated, the inner tube would push the tire bead to the rim walls in the effort to secure the tire in place. Overall, this tubed system is very easy to maintain.

In the case of tubeless technology, the tires would contain air pressure without any inner tube. Tires used for tubeless systems have the same installation process and look a lot like clinchers.

Tubeless technology would be categorized into either tubeless compatible or tubeless-ready, which is revolutionary. Tubeless-ready has an airtight sealing system with the use of a tubeless-ready rim.

This efficiently seals the entire tire casing to shield from punctures caused by sharp debris, rocks, and even thorns when you ride.

How to Choose the Right Rim Tape?

The tubeless rim tape refers to the plastic adhesive tape that is used to primarily act as a sealant to prevent any air loss in the rim bed.

Tubeless rim tapes are also very lightweight, so this would not add excess weight to your bike.

When choosing the right rim tape for your bike, you would need to match the rim tape to the diameter of your wheel and the width of your rim.

Also, you would need to determine whether the rubber or the fabric type of rim tape would match your bike. The fabric type is heat-resistant, and so is ideal for warm or temperate climates.

How to Install Tubeless Rim Tape

  1. Prepare the rim bed. Wipe the rim bed with acetone or alcohol using a clean cloth. Let it dry.
  2. Measure the inner width of your rim and then add around 3 to 5 millimeters to get your tape width. Stretch the tape tightly so that it would be wide enough and fall flat at the center of the rim. Also, keep it straight and wrinkle-free to prevent any air leakage.
  3. Do a double wrap of your rim tape. This prevents leak while keeping the sidewalls durable.
  4. The installation procedure would also depend on your bike type. If you have an MTB which has one layer, allocate some space of at least 2 holes away from its valve hole, so you create a double layer.
  5. With a road or gravel bike that has two layers, start immediately after the first valve hole. Install the tape with the wheel in the truing stand while your bike is flipped upside down. Make sure to pull the tubeless rim tape while installing it.
  6. Make sure that you work on the tape side to side to flatten it at the center of the rim. It should be flat and not suspended to avoid any rips or damages while you’re at it.
  7. Place the tire lever around the rim while you push the tubeless rim tape down at the rim sidewall and bead shelves.
  8. Poke a small hole through the rim tape with a screwdriver or anything pointy.
  9. That’s it. You’re done!

Benefits of a Tubeless Cycling Technology 

The tubeless cycling technology provides you more ways to cut on expenses and also enhance your riding experience.

  • Lightweight

With a tubeless technology in place, the bike is actually lighter because it doesn’t have any inner tubes which decrease its overall weight and rotating weight. This facilitates quick and easy pedaling plus also improves on speed or acceleration.

  • Reduced Air Pressure and Rolling Resistance

There is a reduction in air pressure with tubeless tires because flats or punctures have been eliminated or dramatically decreased. This allows your tires to conform to the road or terrain better.

This also amplifies surface tension and reduces rolling resistance, especially in rough or rocky surfaces.

  • Avoid Encountering Problems with Flat Tires

Tubeless sealants also help prevent problems with flat tires. However, tire sealants can only seal as much, so flats are still inevitable in some situations.

Although with the introduction of tubeless systems or technology, flats have been very rare.

Final Words

The tubeless technology also calls for tubeless-ready or tubeless-compatible tires and wheels that promise a tight seal system. This is achieved with the use of a tubeless rim tape or a non-porous rim tape.

Knowing how to install tubeless rim tape correctly will help you save on costs while providing you the best ride of your life.

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