The short answer is YES.
Not using ENVE Tape, Valve / Pressure Relief Nut can cause damage and frustration when using ENVE’s Tubeless System.
From the beginning, ENVE has been a proponent of tubeless rim and tire technologies. We believe in the benefits of tubeless, namely, the ability to achieve optimal traction through lower tire pressures and the increased flat protection that comes with tubeless systems. At the heart of a good tubeless experience is the seal between tire and rim that in ENVE’s case is provided by tubeless rim tape.
Why Does Rim Tape Matter?
The primary purpose of tubeless rim tape is to seal off the spoke access holes which in turn allows for a sealed air chamber. The rim’s bead seat diameter along with tubeless tire sealant then carry the responsibility for locking the tire onto the rim and ensuring that any porosities are sealed. Tape therefore must be the right size, the right material, and correctly installed.
Why Do I Need to Use ENVE Rim Tape?
Over the years, we’ve tested nearly every type of tape on the planet to identify the perfect tubeless rim tape. When considering tubeless rim tapes, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the overall performance of the tape. These factors include strength, weight, stretch, pliability (ease of install), and adhesion. In our opinion, we believe that the ENVE Tubeless Rim Tape strikes the best balance of performance available on the market today.
Each and every tubeless rim we’ve developed in recent years was qualified and tested using this tape. As such, we are confident in its ability to provide optimal tubeless performance for tubeless compatible ENVE rim models.
ENVE Tubeless Rim Tape ensures that:
- You have the perfect width for your rim. If rim tape is too narrow, the risk of air leaking into the rim cavity increases exponentially. Rim cavities are not designed to be pressurized and if this happens due to improper tape width, the rim can be delaminated by the air pressure. To avoid this, ENVE tape is cut to specific widths which mate up to each generation and model of ENVE rim. We provide a chart of these widths here.
- You have the perfect thickness for your rim. ENVE tubeless rims are designed to meet a target bead seat diameter as defined by the ETRTO for tubeless rim function. Tape thickness is calculated into the rim’s bead seat diameter measurement. Failure to use ENVE rim tape can negatively impact tire installation and tubeless performance.
- You have peace of mind. Some tapes may not work with some rims in the marketplace. ENVE tape has been tested and qualified for ENVE rims specifically. There is no need to put your body or rims at risk by using unproven tape.
Will other brands’ tubeless tapes work?
Yes, other tapes may work, but using our tape eliminates a key variable that could affect your tubeless performance and the overall tubeless ride experience.
In short, we do not recommend that riders use other tapes with their ENVE wheels.
If your tubeless tape does not cover from edge to edge you risk sealant getting under the tape and compromising your system. This could lead to pressurization of your rim which could cause a sidewall blow out.
When your tape is edge to edge with it pushed down into the center drop channel your rim tape will last longer without leaking. Always make sure to run the correct width tape.
What is the Pressure Relief Valve Stem Nut and Why is it Important?
Over the years, we have seen a variety of tubeless mishaps that stem from a poor or compromised tape job. If the tape’s seal or adhesion with the rim is compromised, air can travel into the rim cavity, pressurizing it. Rim’s are not designed to be pressurized like an air cylinder. When this happens, the sidewalls of the rim can burst, irreparably damaging the rim. There a several ways to mitigate this risk:
- Always prep and tape the rim carefully. The better the tape job, the better the tubeless performance.
- Always use the Pressure Relief Valve Stem Nut. Yeah, it’s a mouthful, but it’s the canary in the coal mine for tubeless setup. This special valve stem nut allows for a high volume of air to rapidly escape from the rim cavity should there be a breach in the tape. If air is whistling through the PRVSN, your tape job needs to be reviewed and likely redone. The PRVSN is included with all ENVE tubeless kits, and sold separately on ENVE.com.
Why not just drill a hole in the rim?
In short, we did, and we found that it was still possible to damage a rim unless the hole was quite large. In short, we believe that the PRVSN is a better, more effective solution.
Check out our deep dive on the PRVSN here.
Where do I get it?
The PRVSN needs to be installed on all tubeless ENVE wheels to ensure safety and performance. It ships with every new ENVE wheelset, tubeless kit, and is available for purchase here.