Custom Bicycle Rim Tape That Works!





As mentioned earlier (in two of my 'ibles) I ride BMX - I sometimes crash and get flat tires too - and I am always looking for places to make improvements in along the way.

So far I have done an 'ible on making your own shin pads for BMX and I have also done a tutorial on putting a light on the front of a bike!

So, with a little insight into what I do, here is another extremely useful hack for your bicycle :D

A few things in this 'ible are hard to explain "out of context" so please take a full read through before you start so you know why you'll need the things listed :)

This Instructable will guide you through the basic task of making new rim tape to protect the inside of your bicycle tube, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below!

Lets move on :D

Step 1: What You'll Need:

To make rim tape to suit your bicycle, you will need the following:

  • Old bike tube, preferably bigger than your rim size (for a 20" I used a 26" tube)
  • Electrical tape.
  • Scissors.
  • Ruler (or other flat object).
  • Two heavy objects.
  • Some simple know-how.
  • a bicycle!

OK, if you have all that you can make the rim tape!

If you don't have all that stuff you can pop down to your local walmart and get everything on the list from there :D

Step 2: Measuring Up.

To begin making your rim tape you will need to get an accurate measurement of the rim you will be protecting.

Pull out the stock standard rim tape (if you have any) and then grab the tube.

To do this you will need to cut a section of tube (or paper) and sit it where the rim tape goes.
When you have the perfect measurement you can go ahead and follow the next step!

Step 3: Cutting the Tube.

Now it is time to cut the tube to make the base of the rim tape.

Start by neatly piling the tube onto a table and put the ruler across the end of the tube (shown in photo 1) Put the heavy objects onto the ruler to make sure it stays in place.

Now you can get the scissors and start cutting the tube - grab the measuring piece and line it up with a continuous point of reference, you will notice there are lines running the length of the tube, use one of these.

Make sure you cut the tube so it is straight - your rim tape should be made out of the top and bottom of the tube and not the sides.

When you have started cutting, keep a straight line until you have cut about 5" above your desired length, you will need some overlap.

Once you have cut the base of your tape you can move on.

Also, don't throw away the valve stem - you'll need that later ;)

Step 4: 7 - 8, Lay Them Staight...

Once your rim tape is cut you can go ahead and lay it onto the rim itself.

Start a few inches away from the valve hole and wrap around the rim making a full circle - you should have a few inches of overlap - that is fine.

Tack the ends in place using some electrical tape and slide the center of the overlap to the opposite side of the valve hole.

You should put the overlap to the other side of the valve stem for balance, the overlap will be heavy and the valve cap should equal it out.

When you are happy with the position of the rim tape you can move on!

Step 5: Taping.

Now you have the base layer of the rim tape you need to put the top layer on.

Use the electrical tape to make the top layer, wrap the tape on the same way the base layer went (or you will un-wrap it...).

You need to apply even pressure to the tape and keep it fairly tight.

Go around for two wraps and then cut the tap and finish it off.

I put a scrap of tape on the side of the rim to make sure I did exactly two wraps - the tape marked the end of the first wrap.

When you have finished this step you can move on for the last time :D

Step 6: The Valve Hole.

Now it is time to cut the hole for the valve stem.

This is the hardest art because tubes aren't meant to have holes cut in them...

Grab a pair of small scissors ad work your way around the hole making sure not to scratch the rim.

I didn't find an easy way to cut the hole so you need to work out what you like best!

Once the hole is cut, check it with the valve stem you put aside earlier - if it fits you are done - if it is too tight you need ti trim the hole a little more.

Once the valve stem fits well through the hole you can put the old rim tape on and re-assemble!

Thanks for reading, I hope this reaches the people it needs to - it took me 5 flat tires to think this solution up and I have not had another flat since! So I would love for it to help others get there quicker!

If you liked this 'ible - please chuck a vote here and share with your friends!



  • Tape Contest

    Tape Contest
  • Trash to Treasure

    Trash to Treasure
  • Gardening Contest

    Gardening Contest

27 Discussions


1 year ago

Very cool. I also add a small rubber O-ring to the base of the valve stem (on the inside of the rim). This helps prevent the valve hole in the rim from chafing the valve stem.


2 years ago

I did this put i used a hole punch for the valve hole (the type used to punch sheets of paper. This gave a perfectly round hole that resisted fraying.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

That is really cool! I'm glad it worked out for you :)


4 years ago on Introduction

This is a great instructable, having my own bicycle repair business, most of my work is fixing flat tires. I will be using this with all the old tubes. If I may be permitted to add to your intractable, you can use a hole punch kit to punch holes into the tubes for the valve stem, simple hit with a hammer and you will have a perfect size hole. Thanks for sharing.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Gummy duct tape in the heat??? Hmmmm ... actual duct tape is designed to seal leaks in heating/AC vents so its adhesive is designed NOT to break down in the heat. What you have experienced is counterfeit/mis-labled utility tape not designed for duct work. Personally, I've had more gummy adhesive issues with electrical tape. Actual rubber rim strips are glued at the ends; likely with the same rubber cement found in tube patch kits.They also are somewhat undersized so that, after they are stretched onto the rim, they snuggle into the spoke-head channel. I suspect there's plenty of material along the outside of any bike tube to make a rim strip for the corresponding rim. If the strip is not taped to the rim, you could mark the stem hole, take the strip off and cut the hole with scissors or a sharp knife.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Right, I definitely must have been using a knock-off brand of adhesive tape :(


4 years ago on Introduction

Clear instructable, good photo's.

I don't really think that this is suitable for high pressure, as both the tube and tape are flexible. I wouldn't recommend this for racebikes or high presure tires. Rim tape is cheap (3 dollars worth is more than enough for 2 wheels, and that lasts thousands and thousands of km's...) so don't cheap out if you plan trips far from home.

4 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

No one here sells rim tape or rim strips; no bike shop in community of 60,000! My last flat WAS from a rim hole because rim strip deteriorated; running ATB tire @65 pounds likely increases the odds. Rim tape can be cheap online; even Amazon has a wide selection ... but when you need a new rim strip, you probably cannot wait. So this offers an immediate and well-described solution.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction


And on the high-pressure, I ride 110 and haven't had a problem since on any of my rides :)

My rims are top quality so I thought the tape would have been good too - it wasn't.

Racebikes might be different but mountain bikes and BMX bikes - it works very well :)


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Well in that case I will definitely remember this trick if I get a problem on the road. I allways have a spare tube with me and if I ever get a rimtape problem i'll solve it with the old tube and replace it with the new one.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I hope it works out if you ever need to end up using it :)

I can't carry a spare tube due to weight reduction on the bmx though :(


4 years ago on Introduction

I guess I've always had RIM Pad that works.

All my recent flats are puncture thorns, nails and one spade bit that went through my car tire and the aluminum rim $$$.

Never heard of a spoke flat before.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Spoke flats aren't as uncommon as people think - it is mainly because brand name rim tape works!

Me personally, I have had about 8 flats from spokes :(


4 years ago on Introduction

Nice! I voted. (Of course. :)

Etape is such good stuff, isn't it! I have a BMX bike, but I have outgrown it. The back tire is completely flat anyway.

As always, you did a great job!