Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

If you’re running tubes, your rim strip plays a pretty important task in keeping your rims from causing a flat, but it is an often overlooked place of improvement on a lot of bikes. Typically, rim strips come in three flavors – cheap rubber, cloth tape, or plasic/reinforced nylon. The three varieties have different attributes and some function better than others, but what if there was a cheap way to save up to an ounce per wheel? That’s what Ryan Melnyck is asking with rICKERS? kit from his company, lbs. bikes. In his time with Tioga, Ryan says he came up with the idea for their Psycho Genius line of tires along with other products, but is now setting off on his own with simple, yet functional products.

rICKERS? are indeed lighter than just about any rim strip, but are they worth it?

Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, rICKERS? are essentially stickers that are made out of 3M’s Scotch Guard protective film. I have used the stuff for years to protect the paint on a number of bikes, but the process of cutting and applying the pieces is extremely time consuming. rICKERS? are a pre-cut, peel and stick affair with colored dots in the middle of each sticker to use as a spoke hold placement guide. Similar in concept to Velocity’s Veloplugs, rICKERS? replace a one piece rim strip with individual pieces for each spoke hole. This cuts down on total weight from the unneeded sections between each valve hole, and theoretically allows for easier wheel repair since you only have to remove one sticker instead of the whole rim strip. Pictured above are the rICKERS? standard (red) and reinforcement (yellow) stickers – the standard are used on mountain bike wheels at pressures up to 60 psi, if you need higher pressures you will need the reinforcement kit which is place directly over the red sticker.

Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

Installation is pretty straight forward, but time consuming. To start you need to sand each spoke hole with the included squares of sand paper to ensure that there are not sharp edges which will cut through the rICKERS?. After thoroughly cleaning the rim with the included alcohol swabs, you can begin installing each of the rICKERS?. Since all of my mountain bike wheels have dedicated tubeless systems, I decided to try out the rICKERS? on the front wheel of my gravel bike which has a 24mm wide rim – so not far off from many 29ers. Due to the construction of the rim with a very deep center groove and high sidewalls, installation of the rICKERS? was fairly difficult and I ended up having to replace 3 or 4 due to them not being centered over the hole. It’s important to note that your hands should be extremely clean and dry or you risk ruining the adhesive if you touch it.

While we haven’t set them up yet, rICKERS? can be used to convert rims to tubeless as well though it requires and extra step for installation. Using a spray bottle and soapy water, you would spray down the rim which will allow you to push all of the air bubbles from underneath each sticker for an airtight fit.

Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

As mentioned, for higher pressures the reinforcement kit is needed and since I typically run around 60 psi for this bike on the road, I went ahead an installed it. On the left is the rim with the standard rICKERS? kit, then the reinforcement kit in the center. On the far right I used an additional sticker on the valve hole since I didn’t like the idea of there being no protection at the base of the valve.

Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

Time to weigh in – from left to right we have the front wheel with the standard nylon rim strip (1,020g), no rim strip at all (1,000g), and then the rICKERS? kit + reinforcement kit installed (1,010g). So rICKERS? only saved 10g per wheel, was it worth it? Well, there are few things to consider – since this is a 32h wheel, more rICKERS? are needed than with a lower spoked wheel which would increase the weight savings. Also, this wheel required the reinforcement kit which roughly doubled the weight of the rICKERS?. Performance of the rICKERS? while riding has been perfect, with no issues caused by failed stickers even after some aggressive riding.

Ultimately rICKERS? boils down to how much time you have and how determined you are to decrease rotating weight by any means necessary. rICKERS? definitely work, and at $12.49-$13.95 a set, it’s an interesting way to go tubeless or lose a few grams. If the individual stickers are too much work for you, Ryan mentioned he will have a one piece strip available as well – much like a lot of the tubeless tapes on the market today.

Highs:

  • Tubeless compatible
  • Makes it easier to install tight tires
  • Saves weight
  • Fairly inexpensive

Lows:

  • Time consuming to install
  • Not reusable
  • Doesn’t save that much weight

Ditch Your Rim Strip with Rickers?

In addition to the rICKERS?, Ryan has a few other products like rOAM? which is a lightweight tire sealant “enhancement.” Supposedly adding rOAM? to your tire sealant will allow it to seal larger holes, and seal them faster – a claim we will be testing once the trails around here dry out.

Comments

Topmounter - 03/26/13 - 2:17pm

Pasties for your (bike) nipples!

Langers - 03/26/13 - 2:21pm

That ROAM? stuff might be good. Similar to what Schwalbe have done with their doc blue sealant I suppose.

Yoshi - 03/26/13 - 2:32pm

I agree, they should have called them Pasties… Not to mention if pasties were the size of rICKERS they’d be so much better…

nathan - 03/26/13 - 2:56pm

I’m not sure I buy the tubeless compatible claim. In many tubeless systems a rim strip plays a part in creating the socket for the bead to set in. ( http://media.bontrager.com/images/spotlight/201003_why_tubeless/tubeless_ready_system.jpg )

Fred - 03/26/13 - 3:00pm

Unless the stickers are heavier than the aluminum in the rim itself, lower spoke count wheels will see less of a weight savings with the stickers than higher spoke count wheels. Instead of covering the “hole” with the sticker, the hole will be filled in with aluminum instead. The higher the spoke count, the more aluminum removed, the more stickers, the greater the weight savings.

Tes - 03/26/13 - 3:24pm

Anyone that is this degree of weight weenie would have sanded away the burrs of their spoke holes long before this project began. Therefore, the 10g weight savings may be inaccurately high by 1-5%.

Zach Overholt - 03/26/13 - 3:32pm

@Fred the weight savings isn’t referring to the rim – it’s the weight of the rim strip vs the rICKERS. Fewer spoke holes means fewer rICKERS so less weight, but you would still need the full rim strip regardless of the number of spoke holes. The weight of the rim is a constant. If you had a 24h rim you would need one rim strip or 24 rICKERS. If you had a 32h rim you would need one rim strip or 32 rICKERS. So there would be a weight savings of 8 rICKERS on a 24h wheel vs a 32h wheel.

JimB - 03/26/13 - 3:48pm

Fred,
I think you may have meant that for a rim with fewer holes the weight savings as a percentage of total weight will be lower since the rim itself will be heavier.

The rim strip weighs the same no matter what the number of spoke holes is. The rICKERs total weight is directly proportional to the number of holes you need to cover. The total weight of the rICKERs on a 32h rim would weigh exactly twice that of the rICKERs on a 16h rim. The corollary of this is that rICKERs saves more weight the fewer spoke holes there are.

Fred - 03/26/13 - 4:01pm

Sorry, Zachary, but you have to factor in the extra rim material that’s removed to make more spoke holes.

Bayard - 03/26/13 - 4:11pm

Was it anNoYING to typing rICKERS?

Bill B - 03/26/13 - 4:22pm

Why not use ROX rim tape? Same cost, more weight savings and less hassle.

Zach Overholt - 03/26/13 - 4:35pm

@bayard – copy and paste, sport ;)

THAT GUY - 03/26/13 - 5:25pm

Fred, are you drunk?

Patrick - 03/26/13 - 6:18pm

Fred are you ok? The statement is that using these will make your setup lighter than with a rim strip. If you have a 24 hole rim with a rim strip, you will see greater weight savings by using rICKERS than you would using a 32 hole rim because it would require more rICKERS. It isn’t comparing the weight between the 32 or 24 hole rim, just saying that the more rICKERS you use, the closer it would be to just using a rim strip. Ya dig?

Sevo - 03/26/13 - 6:29pm

I just use electric tape. Two layers of it, never had a problem even on the hottest days of RAGBRAI in Iowa to Las Vegas heat….running 120psi+ tires. $3 a roll. Does 3-4 sets of wheels. Done. :)

Being doing that for 10 years. Works just fine.

Porky - 03/26/13 - 7:54pm

An alternative would be Velocity Velo Plugs…

- Lighter than many rim strips.
- Makes tight tire installs a bit easier.
- Reusable.

- Not compatible with double eyelet rims.
- Not for going tubeless.

Or… you could just use rim tape like 95% of the cycling population.

C3po - 03/26/13 - 8:11pm

So they’re pre-glued tube patches… ok…

Mallory - 03/26/13 - 8:40pm

Fred you seem to be missing the point here…
Although I understand and agree with your points, JimB nails it,
The discussion is rICKERS vs a typical rim strip.
More precisely, the weight of varying number of rICKERS needed vs the weight of a typical rimstrip.
Material exising or not in the rim structure is not the discussion here…
It is only the potential weight savings of one product vs another.
You seem to be introducing a discussion that isn’t pertinate to the topic at hand.

Aaron - 03/26/13 - 9:08pm

This is dumb. Just use Veloplugs. They weigh next to nothing and are reusable. I have them in all my rims nowadays, and vow never to go back to rim tape. Buy them in bulk on eBay and you’ll be happy for years.

Chainwhipped - 03/26/13 - 9:11pm

We are such a bunch of dorks.

JonDanger FTW - 03/26/13 - 9:59pm

The rOAM stuff is just glitter minus the stripper.

rob - 03/26/13 - 10:18pm

I’ll throw in my two cents and say “Velocity Veloplugs are the go”. They come in two diiff sized, can be reused and have a positive placement (the stickers can move about).

stephend9 - 03/26/13 - 10:19pm

I use 3M strapping tape for rim tape on my road bikes (with tubes) and mountain bikes (tubeless). It’s been a while since I measured the weight, but I’m pretty sure it was about 4 grams per wrap on a 700c rim. I usually do 2 wraps just for extra assurance and haven’t had a problem in years.

Alan - 03/26/13 - 11:27pm

So just to recap: We’ve got pasties, glitter, no stripper, and a comment thread full of dudes… bummer

kyle - 03/27/13 - 12:02am

that is the worst reading article ever. please change the punctuation and capitalization of the product names. it hurts my eyes.

Joshua Murdock - 03/27/13 - 12:34am

This is a cool idea for super light wheel setups where every last gram counts. Otherwise, I find that electrical tape works excellently. That’s just my experience, though.

Gabe - 03/27/13 - 12:51am

rut roh raggy, rut rappened ru ra rooby racks? rooby rooby roo! What do veloplugs weigh? I guess the tubeless thing is an advantage over those. Neat idea but I just use gorilla glue and am holding air fine with some stan’s goo.

isaac - 03/27/13 - 3:56am

Stans tape weighs approximately 5grams per 700c circumference with the added security of covering the whole damn rim. For non tubeless rims, strapping tape weighs about 2 grams per circumference. Rickers is the heavier less functional option. It is fun to say ricker though.

Troy - 03/27/13 - 4:35pm

A nice benefit to this might be when gluing tubulars. No glue down the spoke holes and easier to apply.

Greg C. - 03/27/13 - 4:52pm

I can’t believe I just read all these comments…

Aaron - 08/19/13 - 4:23pm

Rox rim tape. 2g per wheel. Works great for me.

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