Outex pads and tape
I belatedly came across Outex sealant tape which a mate has been using on his TTR for years. As with many of these DIY methods, some get on with it, some don’t as this post shows. Here’s another on adv. Central Wheel in the UK used to sell it but stopped, presumably due to unreliable results from customers. Basically, it’s a set of sticky pads for each spoke nipple, a very sticky and wide doubled-sided tape applied into the rim well with as few creases as possible. And then a thicker protective tape over the top. Application video below; a higher-res video here. Costs from £90 to £125 in the UK which seems a lot when you see the other tapes, below. As mentioned, I was about to fit it to my WR, but stopped once I saw my rims lacked the safety bead I go on about (seen love left). Take your time they say, to try and get all the air pockets out. Using an inner tube patch roller rasp (right) helps; you often get them with better puncture kits.
Way back in 2008 I bought the new XT660Z Tenere for a research trip in Morocco. I asked on Horizons if sealing the well of the spoked rims (left) was a good idea.
The discussion concluded it was do-able and had been done. I like to experiment with new ways of doing things, so I went ahead.
Full DIY XT660Z article here. Short version: I don’t think this stuff adheres well enough.
Glass sealant DIY
Another DIY suggestion is using glass sealant, being meticulous with your pre-cleaning and patient with your sealant curing – see below. Sounds similar to Cyb’s process in the links.
1. Glass (windscreen) sealant (right) which you can find in any hardware store.
2. 16″ Harley inner tube on ebay. 1″ smaller thann our wheels to make it tight fit.
3. Glass cleaner or oven degreaser.
4. Loads of spare time…
• Clean the wheels with the degreaser/cleaner, wash with water to make sure that any chemical is washed off. Wait for a day in dry, clean environment, blast of air if indeed, a great help.
• Apply the sealant to each spoke nipple, wait for a day to cure, apply another layer, wait again.
• Apply sealant to the inner part of the wheel. One layer for one day, do it twice then wait until it’s completely cured.
• Cut HD inner tube to size so it covers the inner part of the wheel. Cut a hole for the valve and you’re good to go.
Builders’ Sealing Tapes
One guy told me he simply taped up his rims with duct tape and topped up his tyres once a week. Using something more airtight might even enable a proper job. I’ve also seen 3M 4411 Extreme Sealing Tape mentioned (right; technical sheet). In neutral (N), grey (G) or black (B), it’s 1mm thick (more pliable than the 2mm 4412N) and comes in 50mm or 38mm (1.5 inches; product code: BLA193840) widths; the latter about as wide as you want to tape up a smaller rim’s well. A 5-m roll of 38mm costs £20 and is enough to do three ~1.5m circumference rim wheels once. Another mile-long thread on Advrider with some good ideas and solutions. This tape works best where the well/drop centre of the rim is nice and flat, like on a wide supermoto rim shown above. You’d imagine a curved profile will work less well with tape.
If I was doing such a DIY sealing job again, this time I’d forensically clean the rim with 3M Adhesion Promoter 111 (AP111; right; £20 for 250ml) (‘A quick wipe of AP111 on the ionomer is suggested for best performance of the overlapping tape. AP111 will approximately double Extreme Sealing Tape’s adhesion to its own ionomer backing).
I know from kayaking that brake cleaner, acetone (paint or nail polish remover) or any number of other highly flammable and noxious solvents like rubber or plastic-eating MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone, right) or Toluene will also work.
Then I’d seal each nipple with some runny glue so it seeps down the threads. Let that cure, maybe do it again and then a dab of silicon like Aquasure before letting it all cure again and taping it all up (so similar to Outex, then). I note Cyb says silicone is not as oil resistant as the glues he uses. 3M is a big name for industrial applications but there are all sorts of waterproof, self-amalgamating or self-fusing silicone tapes out there in rubber and plastic for household leaks. All it’s got to be is soft and pliable to contour the rim well closely, be stuck on to a very clean, oil-free surface, exceedingly non-porous and darned sticky, come what may. I’d hope 4411 or the DuPont equivalent: Tyvek, have all these properties.
I may try this on a future bike as long as I can source a 21-inch rim with the requisite safety lips. (I did).
Have I missed any ideas? Let me know.