Ah, tubeless rim tape...that mighty ribbon of plastic. While understated and often overlooked, the best tubeless rim tape for MTB tires can actually make or break your tubeless riding experience. Good rim tape will ease the tubeless setup process and prevent flats and leaks when paired with the best mountain bike tires. Poor rim tape meanwhile will have you frustrated with slow leaks, never-ending flats and ultimately wasting time with the best tubeless tire sealant refitting everything when you could be riding.
Most of the best mountain bike wheels will come with rim tape pre-installed, but there are scenarios where you may be looking to buy more of the best tubeless rim tape. While less common nowadays, you'll need rim tape when converting a non-tubeless rim into a tubeless setup. You will also need rim tape when building a new wheelset or if your new wheelset does not have rim tape pre-installed. Even if you run tubes inside your tires, you need rim tape in order to protect the inner tube from being punctured by the spokes.
Check out our rankings of the best tubeless rim tape, or scroll to the bottom of this page to find out everything you need to know about the best tubeless rim tape.
Best tubeless rim tape
Muc-Off’s hot pink and slightly see-through tubeless rim tape sure stands out among the various autumnal colored tapes out there. While the pink is in line with the rest of the brand’s bold image, the translucence is meant to help you locate the valve hole once the installation is complete.
Made of proprietary performance material, the rim tape has a pressure-sensitive adhesive and a little bit of stretch to make installation easy. One wrap around the rim will suffice so the 10-meter roll of tape should be enough for four applications. Four Seal Patches are included in case of a leak or tear in the tape.
The tape is available in a variety of widths to suit road, cx, gravel and mountain bikes alike. Compared to some of its competitors on this list, the tape is good value as well.
German tire manufacturing giant Schwalbe knows a thing or two about tires, tubes, and everything that goes along with them. It’s of little surprise then that they carry one of the largest selections of rim tape. Its tubeless rim tape alone comes in no less than nine different widths.
The tape comes in Schwalbe blue and is thick enough that one wrap will seal the rim just fine. With a strong adhesive and some pliability, the tape is lauded for its ease of installation, making it a favorite among those new to DIY tubeless setups.
The 10-meter roll should be good for three or four applications but even so, Schwalbe’s rim tape is on the pricier end.
While potentially suitable for rims of similar widths and depths, ENVE’s tubeless rim tape is specifically designed around ENVE rims for optimal compatibility with the designed bead seat diameter and the best possible tubeless seal. Now sold on its own rather than part of the ENVE tubeless kit, the red tape is meant for those needing to refresh their current tape.
Installation is made easy thanks to the tape’s flexibility, and the roll should provide enough tape to wrap three rims.
Stan's NoTubes yellow rim tape has become a bit of a standard in DIY tubeless setups and for good reason. As the name suggests, Stan’s NoTubes have long held the belief that mountain bike wheels are better without tubes. Stan's are one of the pioneers of tubeless sealant and its technology paved the way to where we are today.
The tape, of course, plays a critical part in the no-tubes setup, and Stan's is made of a non-porous, low friction material backed by a natural gum rubber adhesive. When applied correctly, the tape provides a durable, long-lasting seal that won’t leave any sticky residue on the rim after removal.
It is, however, not the most pliable of tapes so beware of creases or air bubbles when installing. For 45psi or less, one layer of tape will be enough to seal the rim. For higher pressures, a double wrap is recommended.
Hoping to ease the tubeless conversion or setup process for cyclists everywhere, Swiss-based company Effetto Mariposa has an alternative to rim tape: an adhesive-free, puncture-proof, reusable polymer rim strip.
Once your rims are clean and dry, the rim strip can be stretched over the sidewalls and placed inside the rim channel where it can easily be smoothed out and recentered due to the lack of an adhesive. The precut valve hole and valve stem will keep the strip in place.
What’s neat about the strip, is that it can be used to set up tubeless-ready rims as well as traditional rims for those wishing to convert. Additionally, the strip can be removed and reused on the same or a different wheel with similar dimensions.
At $11 / £8 per wheel, it’s certainly more expensive than tape, but if you keep the strip clean, it can be used time and again.
The OEM tape for Wiggle’s line of Nukeproof and Prime wheels, the Lifeline Tubeless Tape provides a functional seal at a wallet-friendly price.
However, the tape’s adhesive isn’t as strong as others on this list, which makes the tape more likely to crease or form air bubbles during installation. If you’re running higher pressure, be sure to give it an extra wrap to ensure a good seal.
Like ENVE’s rim tape mentioned above, WTB’s tubeless tape was specifically designed to be part of its complete Tubeless Compatible System (TCS), which includes rims, tires and this rim tape.
That’s not to say that the tape should only be used with WTB rim and tires, though it would be ideal for setting up tires like the WTB Vigilante. If you buy the right width tape for another brand's rim, it’ll perform just fine. To that end, while most manufacturers suggest you should buy tape no more than 2mm wider than the inner rim, WTB actually recommends you use tape that is 5mm wider than the inside edges of the bead hooks to accommodate the depth of its rims.
The tape isn’t the most flexible of the bunch mentioned here but has a nice adhesive for a long-lasting seal. Plus, unlike the standard 10 meters, you actually get 11 meters of tape on the TCS roll, which is good for five wheels.
Everything you need to know about the best tubeless rim tape
What is rim tape?
Traditionally made of cloth, rim tape is meant to cover the spoke holes to prevent the spokes from poking through and puncturing your inner tube or tire. Similarly, it’s meant to cover any rough edges to the rim’s material that could puncture the tube from within the tire.
In a tubeless setup, the rim tape plays an even bigger role. Tubeless rim tape has evolved to not only cover spoke holes, but it’s also intended to fill any gaps in the rim that could allow air to escape, causing your tubeless setup to go flat over time. Tubeless rim tape is made of synthetic material with an adhesive backing to ensure airtightness, clean removal and is impervious to liquid sealant so that the sealant won’t soak through the tape. Poor tape placement or quality can cause the sealant to seep underneath the tape causing bubbles and consequently, the tape seal will lose its seal and you will have a tire that won’t hold air for long.
How do I choose tubeless rim tape?
First, look up your rim’s recommended rim tape width. You’ll want a bead-to-bead seal with the slightly recessed center channel taken into account. When using a tape that’s too narrow or too wide, you’ll compromise the airtightness. Additionally, a tape width that is too wide will interfere with the tire bead. Most brands recommend to try and get tape that is around 2mm wider than your internal rim diameter although it's worth checking what each brand recommends.
You’ll want a plastic-like material and a good adhesive backing. Even so, help the adhesive out by making sure your rims are clean and dry before installation. Some flex in the material will help prevent any creases or bubbles from forming when applied to the rim. Finally, while duct tape and gorilla tape might do the job in sealing the rim, they’re a pain to get off your rim, will leave residue and will break down over time.
Do I need rim tape?
If you have any spoke holes, absolutely. When running a tubeless setup, it all comes down to the whole system being airtight. Even if you’re running inserts, rim tape is still necessary.
Now, some tubeless specific rims don’t require rim tape. These don’t have any nipple holes in the center channel. Instead, they’re covered by a piece of solid material to ensure that no spokes will poke through and that the tire will seal properly. But if there are any holes or rough material or inconsistencies in the rim, tape is always a good idea.