Mountain Gear

Tech FAQ: Packing Tape Rim Tape?

Mylar packaging tape in lieu of rim tape? Find out what master mechanic Lennard Zinn has to say about that.

-Dear Lennard

After a couple years of year-round riding, the cotton rim tape on my mountain bike rims always comes unglued — from numerous water crossings no doubt. I’m wondering about resurrecting an idea someone proposed many years ago, which is using fiberglass reinforced mylar packaging tape in lieu of rim tape.

I used it once on the road bike, but gave up on it because it was such a gooey mess to take off. But now I’m intrigued to try it on the mountain bike. It would serve double duty being waterproof and acting as a seal to keep water out of the tire. And I think talc would mitigate any tape goo.

Does this sound a good idea, or is there something better you would recommend for mountain bike rims?


Dear Steve,

I think it’s a great idea. I’ve used that method for years and still do from time to time.


Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (, a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

Follow Lennard on Twitter.