If you just built or purchased a set of quality bicycle wheels, the last thing you want to do is skimp and put some of those cheap plastic rim strips on them. By doing that, you might save $2, but you set yourself up for unnecessary flat tires that will cost you more time and money in the long run.
What you want to do is get cloth rim tape, which has great performance and long-term durability. Velox is the gold standard when it comes to rim tape, but you can also get Forte cloth rim tape from Performance Bike.
From what I can see, this stuff is the same thing as Velox. It is a cloth tape with a light adhesive backing, so it’s easy to install and it stays in place.
To install it, you simply unroll it inside your rim and press it down, making sure it is centered in the rim bed and that the valve hole in the tape lines up with the valve hole in the rim.
When installed properly, it should stay in place and prevent punctures from any sharp edges of the rim. It won’t shift around and it won’t dry out and crack (the two major problems with cheap plastic rim strips.)
The only downside to cloth tape is that it’s thick, meaning it takes up some extra space in the rim bed. If you have tight-fitting rims and tires (such as the Neuvation M28 Aero3 wheelset,) the cloth tape will make it a tiny bit harder to remove and install tires.
But the pros outweigh the cons, so trust me – you want to use cloth rim tape!
In the end, I can only find two minor differences between Forte and Velox tape. First, price. Both Forte and Velox are listed at $3 per roll, but Forte is typically on sale for $2.50 per roll.
Second, size. The Forte tape comes in 11mm, 17mm, and 22mm widths. Velox comes in 16mm and 22mm widths.
Most rims will take the 16mm size, although the 17mm Forte tape worked fine for me.
My final verdict is…
This Forte tape has proven just as good as Velox, so get whichever one you can find.
If you buy from Jenson USA, get Velox, since they usually have it in stock. If you shop at Performance Bike, get the Forte brand – it will serve you just as well.