Check your rim strips and rim tape

One part of bike maintenance that’s easy to neglect is the rim strips (or rim tape) that cover the spoke holes on your wheels. They’re a bit of a chore to inspect, since it requires removal of your tires.

Here you can see a rip in the rim strip. You’ll have to check for these every once in a while as they can give you hidden punctures.

If left unchecked, eventually they will get holes ripped into them as they age. Your inner tubes rest against the rim strip. Once the rim strip is compromised, you’re literally riding on a cause of punctures.

Fortunately rim strips and rim tape are fairly cheap. I’d advise getting something that’s in any other color but black, as this will help you check your inner tube for any pinching against the tire bead once you reinstall your tire.

Use a tire lever to pry out the old rim strip. You should be able to get a finger underneath it. Once done it’s all a matter of pulling it over the rim walls and yanking it free of the wheel.

Take your new rim strip. Match up the hole on the rim strip over the valve hole of the rim, then lay it flat along the rim bed. Make sure you cover all spoke holes.

For rim strips like the one I’m using, they’re supposed to be under tension so that they sufficiently cover all spoke holes. It’s normal for the rim strip to need some persuasion to cover the last bit of rim.

Correcting a twisted rim strip. The aim is to cover all the spoke holes – you can see one still exposed.

If the rim strip gets a bit twisted, pry it straight with your tire lever. Job done!


I hope this helped you. Let me know what other bicycle maintenance tasks you’d like me to write about in the comments.


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