Rim bands for outer laced wire wheels

After having a flat tire on my XK140, I’ve ordered a new tube and rim band. The problem is my wheels are outer laced with all spokes going to the outside of the rim, but the rim band tends to fall to the center of the wheel as it’s a narrower diameter in the center which then leaves the spoke nipples exposed. What should be used to cover the spoke nipples to prevent further flat tires?

I’m curious about what kind of wheels are those with the spokes laced like that. Are you saying they are laced in the bead area? For leaky disc wheels shops often have a gook called “bead sealer” that brushes on but I can’t picture using it there. And who has 16" tubes available right now?


Apart from the question what rim you have, I used two (different) rim bands: one for the center and one for the outer section. The outer rim band is in fact for a “bicycle” of some sort with the dimensions 1.25" x 16/17". This is a European version/brand but I guess similar rim bands will exist in the USA as well. Just to be sure, I used a bit of (modern) glue to keep the rim band in place during tire fitting.

Bob K.

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Bob, your wheels are REALLY nice…

You can cut a 15" tube to fit the entire inner surface of your wheel. Use contact cement to hold it in place when mounting the tire.

Good solutions, Thanks guys!

My spoke wheels also have the spokes on the outer side of the rim - not centered. I use Rim Tape (Protective tape, also known as rim tape, is nothing more than a tape positioned between the inner tube and the tire and is available in different widths.)

Original 54 spoke and 60 spoke 16inch wire wheels have all their spokes entering the outer bead area of the wheel rim, and no spokes in the centre well of the wheel rim.
The whole purpose of the rim band - made of rubber - is to provide some further cushioning and protection for the tube against the steel well of the wheel rim, and indeed if there are any edges or rough areas as when there has been some minor corrosion… There is zero need, and indeed risk of adverse side effects putting a rim band around the outer bead area to cover over the spoke nipple heads and indeed any protruding spoke thread (which if so, should be ground flush anyway). THe very strong/reinforced Tyre Bead sits over this area, so totally pointless/couterproductive adding any extra interlay such as a rim band. The only other area that may be an issue is around the tyre valve hole, which can have a sharp edge, but the normal TYRE VALVE Stem is very much reinforced/thick rubber, so the only concern is the diameter of the Tyre Valve stem where it goes through the hole. XK wheels require a TR15 Tyre Valve stem, which is 0.65in diameter. Thus best to buy new 6.00 - 16in tubes with an offset TR15 Tyre Valve stem and everything is OK. But more modern made tubes are now more often made with TR13 Tyre Valve stems are 0.46in diameter so are to small for the larger hole in the wheel rim, and if used that way, allows the valve to excessively move within the hole and eventually cut/fracture… The expedient is there are plastic collars or bushes available that fit over the TR13 valve stem, increasing there 0.46in diameter to something close to 0.65in diameter, and being made of hard plastic adequately protects the TR13 Valve Stem from both cutting/fracturing and movement within the rim hole. Its a band aid solution, that personally I don’t like/try to avoid apart from looking horrible seeing this black plastic collar around your valve stem - but it works, and has been such a common fix now for many years that tyre/ tube retailers dont give it a second thought - but its not ‘authentic’ either, if that matters to you.

Back to the rim bands - they are made of rubber, same as a tube, and when sitting in the centre well of the wheel rim dont present any hard/sharp edges for the inflated tube to rub against. Avoid using any plastic type tape as an expedient - as the hard/sharp edge (despite being minimal thickness) is enough to rub against the inflated tube and eventually cut the tube - and yes, when I was a beginner at such matters, I found out the hard way as did a number of my then beginner friends…
What we did when we couldnt get proper rim-bands was to use a second hand tube out of a Mini (the original 1960s/70s Morris/Austin ‘Mini’ ) which had 10inch tyres/tubes. We would cut out a rim-band from the 10in tube keeping its width the fill the base only of the rim well as anything that carried up the side of the well would present an edge for the tube to rub against. And being 10in diameter rubber, it would stretch easily enough to fit, and sit snuggly in the rim-well. And NO - we never used any glues nor adhesives - again a correct fitting rim-band, a correct tube and valve stem, and with the tyre bead sitting as designed, directly onto the steel wheel bead area, zero need for any glues/adhesives, and also no risk of any adverse side effects of adhesives subject to heat/pressure and ageing…
Do it properly, keep it simple, don’t deviate from the original design practice and intent and you wont have any problems at all. As soon as you start modifying the original design intent - you are on your own, unless of course you think you know better than the original wheel, tyre, tube, valve engineers/manufactures…
I don’t have first hand experience with RIM TAPE instead of a RIM BAND, but if made of similar soft rubber and correct width to fit within the rim-well and not extend up the sides (and thus present an edge) I cant see any potential problems.

Steve’s efforts with a 15" tube covering entire inner surface and contact cemented in place - no way in a million yeras would I personally do that. Doesn’t achieve anything better that a proper Rim Band (correct width for just the rim well), and all sorts of potential problems…

Thanks Roger, That explains a lot!