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  1. #1
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Electrical tape as rim tape?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for advice about whether electrical tape is a reliable substitute for cotton rim tape. I installed new tires for a friend yesteday, but the fit was so extremely tight that I was initially unable to mount the tires. So I removed the cotton rim tape and replaced it with electrical tape, dusted the rim with talcum powder, and was then able to mount the tire with only a minor struggle.

    Is this a reliable solution? If not, what else should I try instead?

    Here are all the details of the parts involved: The rims are 700C Campy Omegas, the new tires are 28mm Pasela Tourguards with wire beads. The tires I replaced were 23mm Continental Gatorskins with wire beads. The front rim had Velox rim tape, and the old gatorskin tire was so incredibly tight fitting that I had to cut the beads to remove it. The rear rim had a thin rubber rim strip, and I was able to remove the old rear tire with some difficulty. I don't have a bead jack, and would prefer not to have to use one to mount my friend's tires because we do long rides and get pretty far from home.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    Electrical tape may or may not be satisfactory. It tends to stretch and the adhesive tends to creep, especially under elevated temperatures, so it may fail over time. A better alternative may be filament-reinforced packing tape, the reinforcement helps prevent it from stretching and the adhesive does not creep as much as electrical tape. My rim strip of choice is Continental Easy Tape. It is thinner and slipperier than Velox cloth tape which makes tire mounting easier and does not stretch appreciably. No messy adhesive to get all over, either

    +1 on not needing unavailable tools on the road for predictable needs like changing tires.

  3. #3
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    there's 'electrical tape', then there's 3M Super33+ Electrical Tape. the generic stuff is junk even for electrical applications, it turns to crusty goo.

    still, neither are what I'd want to use for rim tape. IF your rims are double wall, so the spoke nipples are down inside the holes, an alternative to rim tape are these little rubber plugs you put in each hole, like Veloplugs...

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    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowebr View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for advice about whether electrical tape is a reliable substitute for cotton rim tape. I installed new tires for a friend yesteday, but the fit was so extremely tight that I was initially unable to mount the tires. So I removed the cotton rim tape and replaced it with electrical tape, dusted the rim with talcum powder, and was then able to mount the tire with only a minor struggle.

    Is this a reliable solution? If not, what else should I try instead?

    Here are all the details of the parts involved: The rims are 700C Campy Omegas, the new tires are 28mm Pasela Tourguards with wire beads. The tires I replaced were 23mm Continental Gatorskins with wire beads. The front rim had Velox rim tape, and the old gatorskin tire was so incredibly tight fitting that I had to cut the beads to remove it. The rear rim had a thin rubber rim strip, and I was able to remove the old rear tire with some difficulty. I don't have a bead jack, and would prefer not to have to use one to mount my friend's tires because we do long rides and get pretty far from home.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
    If your tires in this case are inflated to higher pressures, and your rims
    are box sections with a space between the spoke head and the inner wall
    that carries the tape, electrical tape (and even a lot of the plastic rim
    tapes that are made for this) will stretch into the empty space and eventually
    cause a puncture or a blow out of the tube.

    Other than cloth rim tape, a lot of people use fiberglass filament reinforced
    strapping tape cut or ripped down to the appropriate width. One caution is
    that sometimes it can be difficult to remove.but it seems to work quite well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. It seems the electrical tape is only suitable as a temporary fix. I'll order some Continental Easy Tape as suggested by dsbrantjr and give that a try. One quick question for 3alarmer: does "fiberglass filament reinforced strapping tape" = duct tape?

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    and on single wall rims.. Velox cloth will resist the PSI from the tube , spanning the holes in a double wall rim.

    "fiberglass filament reinforced strapping tape" = duct tape?
    NO.

  7. #7
    absent Ferrous Bueller's Avatar
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    It's this stuff.

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    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    As said before, electrical tape is a poor substitute. I've seen some "ghetto" rims like this before. Cleaning off the adhesive is an onerous chore. A better quick fix would be the rubber rim tapes, work fine for me on flip bikes.
    Put me back on my bike! -- Tom Simpson

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    Senior Member OldRoadman's Avatar
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    My substitute has been Johnson & Johnson 1/2" inch waterproof tape. Basically cloth tape impregnated with rubber. Cheap, sticks good and applies easily. Any drug store has it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    In an emergency, electrical tape might work if you put down maybe three, four layers of it, as the material is too soft to resist splitting or cutting by possible sharp edges from the holes at the spoke nipples, especially if you have a tire/tube that requires high pressures.
    Bottom line is, rim tape is not a good area to skimp. Just buy the right stuff and you will be more confident that you don't get a blow-out during a ride because you used the wrong tape on your wheels.....you might be saving yourself from major injury or worse....

    Chombi

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    I use Velox rim tape. I suspect that my Michelin Pro Race 3 tires fit tighter than Gatorskins.

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    In the heat and over time anything with glue will turn to goo. This = mess

  13. #13
    absent Ferrous Bueller's Avatar
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    Longest I've successfully used electrical tape on a particular (mtb) rim was a paltry 15 years. Use at your own peril.

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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrous Bueller View Post
    Longest I've successfully used electrical tape on a particular (mtb) rim was a paltry 15 years. Use at your own peril.
    mountain bikes are maybe 50PSI.

    road bikes can be 120psi or higher. rubber tape deforms under that sort of pressure.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    I use Velox rim tape. I suspect that my Michelin Pro Race 3 tires fit tighter than Gatorskins.
    Is that with Campy Omega rims?

  16. #16
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrous Bueller View Post
    Longest I've successfully used electrical tape on a particular (mtb) rim was a paltry 15 years. Use at your own peril.
    I do wonder how long it would last, the 28mm tires will only get inflated to 70 or so psi...but there's no reason not try something better.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowebr View Post
    Is that with Campy Omega rims?
    No, DT Swiss RR 265, RR 210, and Mavic Open Pro.

  18. #18
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    No, DT Swiss RR 265, RR 210, and Mavic Open Pro.

    Ok thanks, good to know. I found some references on the forum about the Campy Omega rims being difficult to mount tires on, and I can now confirm that for sure.

  19. #19
    absent Ferrous Bueller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    mountain bikes are maybe 50PSI.

    road bikes can be 120psi or higher. rubber tape deforms under that sort of pressure.
    Yes. Probably maxed at 40 because it's on a bike that actually goes mountain biking.
    I didn't mean to suggest it was appropriate for all pressures, just that it works well for some.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    mountain bikes are maybe 50PSI.

    road bikes can be 120psi or higher. rubber tape deforms under that sort of pressure.
    I used electrical tape without any problems with my first narrow clincher rims, Rigida 13-19s, for over 20 years until the brake surface wore out. Tire pressures ranged from 100 - 125 psi.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Used to use friction tape. It seems to have disappeared from the market
    Pronounced "Murkle"

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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I used electrical tape without any problems with my first narrow clincher rims, Rigida 13-19s, for over 20 years until the brake surface wore out. Tire pressures ranged from 100 - 125 psi.
    Did you use the "friction tape" Flying Merkel referred to? It was cloth, not vinyl, and had much less stretch than the new vinyl tape.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Why not just buy regular rim tape and take care of the problem once and for all? One of the most miserable rides I've ever had involved having two flats on the same ride. I had bought a new wheelset that came with some flimsy rim tape that worked well for about four rides, then boom, the fifth ride resulted in two flats at different times, and since I only carry one spare tube (and was sure if I patched the new flat, it still wasn't gonna get me home), I had to make a telephone call for the "shame car ride" 40miles from home. My then wife was not amused.

    Now, I don't mess with "make do" rim tapes. Velox is what I use now.
    Regards,

    Jed

  24. #24
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
    Used to use friction tape. It seems to have disappeared from the market
    closest thing I can think of is gaffers tape, but it normally comes in 3" and wider rolls, and rather LONG rolls too, and is fairly expensive. its a cloth tape with a synthetic adhesive, normally matte black. its primary use is by theatrical stage electricians ('gaffers'), they use it to tape down wiring on the stage floor. its designed to peel completely clean after a month or two of use. its very sticky too. its probably too thick for use as rim tape, however.

  25. #25
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
    Why not just buy regular rim tape and take care of the problem once and for all? One of the most miserable rides I've ever had involved having two flats on the same ride. I had bought a new wheelset that came with some flimsy rim tape that worked well for about four rides, then boom, the fifth ride resulted in two flats at different times, and since I only carry one spare tube (and was sure if I patched the new flat, it still wasn't gonna get me home), I had to make a telephone call for the "shame car ride" 40miles from home. My then wife was not amused.

    Now, I don't mess with "make do" rim tapes. Velox is what I use now.
    I agree that I need reliable rim tape. But the tire is impossible to mount by hand when using traditional cotton rim tape, and I have confirmed that the model of campy rims is known to have issues with mounting tires. I'm going to try one of the slick rim tapes recommended above.

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