The Purpose of Bicycle Rim Strips
A flat tire will put a halt to an enjoyable bicycle outing. While there is little you can do about potholes or debris in the road, properly outfitting your bike can help prevent flats that could result from wear and tear. Made of rubber or canvas, a rim strip fits over the metal inner rim of the wheel, protecting tube in the tire from knobs and sharp edges on the rim.
Parts of a Bike Tire
At the center of the wheel lies a metal tube called the hub, where the wheel attaches to the bike frame. The hub connects to the rim via metal bars called spoke. An inflated inner tube sits in the rim and is covered by the rubber external tire. The rim strip wraps around the metal rim below the inner tube.
The ends of the wheel spokes pass through holes in the rim and are held in place by spoke nipples. These spoke nipples can be sharp and can wear and puncture the inner tube of the tire. Even excess holes in the rim not filled by spokes have sharp metal edges. The rim strip protects the inner tube from these sharp edges.
Advantages of a Rim Strip
Simply, a rim strip can extend the life of your tire and help protect you from flats when you are out riding. Rim strips can be made of a range of materials: cloth, rubber or plastic. Typically, wheels come with a low-quality plastic rim strip. These plastic strips may not be secured in place and can become brittle with age.
To replace the rim strip on your tire, first remove the external tire and the inner tube. Remove the existing rim strip and any tape that may be securing it to the rim. Clean the rim with rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth to remove any dirt or tape residue that can interfere with the installation. Align the valve hole in the rim strip with the valve hole in the rim to allow it to be inflated and stick down the new rim strip, making sure to cover any holes in the rim and spoke nipples.
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