Reverence: Velox Fond de Jante Rim Tape

Reverence: Velox Fond de Jante Rim Tape

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The very first time I ever pulled a tire and tube off of a rim it made an impression on me and it still does. I’m not sure I expected to find anything other than the tube between the rim and tire but there it was, some sort of tape. The French words, “Fond de Jante” and latin “Velox”, written in blue, lightly stamped upon woven adhesive-backed cotton-canvas. It had at once both a timelessness and a retro look. Running my forefinger over it as it covered the eyelets of my rims I imagined a French bicycle mechanic of old masterfully building wheels that pro teams from the 60’s and 70’s might use.

We can still look at our machines and see flares of tradition that remain from technology which has trudged on. Round drop-bars and gleaming bits are remaining vestiges of the classic machines of our sport.  These throwbacks are often obscured by contemporary things like modern materials, ergo shapes and compact geometry. But hidden between layers of rubber and aluminum, like a business suit belies fine lingerie, adheres Le Fond de Jante, literally the “base of the rim”.  The true story of Fond de Jante can be found here.

You might say all this pradling on about rim tape may be much ado about nothing. However, no detail is too small nor can it be overlooked by the Velominatus. I’ve heard other companies manufacture and sell rim tape but when you’re given Rochefort 8 for your first beer there’s no use in even considering anything else. So chapeau to our friends at Velox for making the finest rim tape that’s ever protected a tube from puncture.

// Accessories and Gear // General // Nostalgia // Reverence

  1. You know what really kicks ass? When you have occasion to remove that tape and you find the builder has signed and dated the wheel on the rim cavity along with the racer who specified the build and will/did race on them.

  2. Ironically, the illustration used to head this post shows the downside to Velox tape – that if you get the wrong width the nipple beds/eyelets can be exposed, causing cuts in the tube. Plus the adhesive often fails, causing the tape to slide around and bunch up. I like the Ritchey tapes as they are much more consistent and reliable, albeit not so old-school cool.

  3. When I got my Open Pros last Spring, they were driving me completely nuts with this little squeak it would let out on every wheel revolution. Tire seated correctly? Check. Apply nipple lube? Check. Tighten all spokes? Check. Nothing helped. Pulled out the shitty Mavic rim tape that came with them and chucked in some good ol’ Velox and problem solved.

    My issue with the stuff, though, is they do a sloppy job cutting the hole and it leves a lot of the hole exposed. My trick from that, which I learned from @Tim on the Whidbey Island Cogal, was to put a stip of electrical tape over it and it fixes the problem. In fact, that little trick solves all manner of problems; stopes valve rattling, etc. Handy.

    @Steve Wilson
    +1

    @Oli
    Re: width – Funny, I noticed the same thing, though to be fair – all rim tape has that problem.

    @G’rilla
    Favorite cycling book. Period.

  4. @frank
    No it doesn’t! There are different width rim tapes – Velox has at least two, and between brands you can find almost any width going. I stock several different brands for exactly this reason. Matching the rim tape to the rim is vital.

  5. @Oli

    I like the Ritchey tapes as they are much more consistent and reliable, albeit not so old-school cool.

    Unless you fail to notice that the blue Ritchey tape, which has a tiny, tiny dot on the back with a pin prick in it, is made for a 26 inch wheel. And it won’t stretch to a 700c wheel, no matter how much you can’t be stuffed going back to the shop.

  6. @minion

    @Oli

    I like the Ritchey tapes as they are much more consistent and reliable, albeit not so old-school cool.

    Unless you fail to notice that the blue Ritchey tape, which has a tiny, tiny dot on the back with a pin prick in it, is made for a 26 inch wheel. And it won’t stretch to a 700c wheel, no matter how much you can’t be stuffed going back to the shop.

    Ritchey do the yellow for 700c. I like the Ritchey ‘tape’ too, reusable, snaps on, doesn’t creep to the side of the rim which Velox can do, and has done to me in the past.

  7. @Oli

    @frank

    The pic was taken today as I was swapping out Gatorskins for retired slicks to ride bike #3 on the rollers. The rim pictured is an Open Pro and I can’t remember if that’s the tape that came on the rim or if it’s what I had in the shop when I purchased the wheels. At any rate, I thought about the coverage issue but it’s been a non-issue thus far. I hypothesize that while the entire eyelet is ideally covered, covering the hole is the most critical as it backs the tube and keeps it from dimpling in the eyelet as it’s inflated. Nevertheless, I have yet to puncture or see any slits from these rims. Probably just luck or Fond de Jante is just that good that it’ll make up for the mechanic’s shortcomings.

    @Steve Wilson
    Indeed. The wheels pictured have such an inscription. (builder, not race)

  8. Very timely as the truing stand I needed showed up yesterday and that wheel I ventured to build is mostly true. I realized while truing it today, I don’t have any rim tape. Now I know what to buy.!

  9. Any Stan’s users out there? I converted the mtb to tubeless this fall, to stunningly great effect. Thinking about doing Bike #1 next.

  10. @Oli
    I’m with Oly, the Ritchey is tops though I do love the old Velox, it eventually got really sticky.

  11. @sgt

    I have Ultegra 6700 hoops, and ran them tubeless all summer with hutchinson 25mms on and stans sealant. I was really impressed with the ride quality and the grip. The road tubeless set up has a lot of nice features, but the rubber is expensive!

  12. I also run tubeless, on bike #1, with Campagnolo Eurus and Hutchinson. It’s great – nice ride without too much hassle, and you can always chuck a tube in if you need to.

    No idea what Stan’s is but I do use sealant.

    I find it is brilliant at avoiding slow leaks and small punctures, which is a very common hazard here with lots of little bits of metal and debris from trucks.

    But as Rookie said the only downside is that Hutchinsons aint cheap and I find them a bit more susceptible to a disastrous gash than other tyres.

  13. @Oli

    @frank
    No it doesn’t! There are different width rim tapes – Velox has at least two, and between brands you can find almost any width going. I stock several different brands for exactly this reason. Matching the rim tape to the rim is vital.

    That’s what I mean – any rim strip that is bought in the wrong size will have this problem. Its not Velox’s problem, its the person who bought the wrong width.

  14. @all
    Am I the only one that just doesn’t like Ritchey products on a road bike? Given the choice between two products of equal value and performance, I’ll take the other every time.

    Love the shit out of them for off-road, though.

  15. Ran tubeless for cross this fall, had quite a few mishaps- flats n burps; albeit related to the low pressures which gave great traction in the little mud we did have… A bit irritating as some of the punctures made a whole tire useless (or at least unappealing to run tubed).

    My question, tho (im also on the 6700s), is that I’ve heard the road tires that seat well are frustrating to remove when roadside reinflations are unsuccessful. Any such experience?

  16. Nice Marko. Whenever I get a new wheel set, the first order of business is replacing whatever inferior tape/ plastic rim strip comes standard and upgrade.
    I’ve never had the problems @oli mentioned. Just pick the correct width, warm up the tape and rim a bit stick it, and never think about it again.

  17. @frank

    @all
    Am I the only one that just doesn’t like Ritchey products on a road bike? Given the choice between to product of equal value and performance, I’ll take the other every time.
    Love the shit out of them for off-road, though.

    If I was going to replace bar, stem and seat post I would go with 3T or maybe FSA. I agree that Ritchey does not catch my eye the way those two brands do.

  18. @frank

    @all
    Am I the only one that just doesn’t like Ritchey products on a road bike? Given the choice between to product of equal value and performance, I’ll take the other every time.
    Love the shit out of them for off-road, though.

    What about a Ritchey frame set? As I’ve mentioned before, I love mine.
    I do agree that their components aren’t as “finished” as others though.

    Pretty:

    Meh:

  19. @RedRanger

    @allAm I the only one that just doesn’t like Ritchey products on a road bike? Given the choice between to product of equal value and performance, I’ll take the other every time.Love the shit out of them for off-road, though.

    Don’t understand why you don’t like “Ritchey”. I like their products fine and their customer service is great. I have always had a good experience whenever I had to get someone on the phone, etc.

  20. @scaler911

    Those pictures kind of stack the deck there. You can get absolutely beautiful carbon bling by Ritchey. And if you ride a bike you’re pretty much aware of that since it’s everywhere.

    However, I am with Frank on this. Off road only. I don’t know why except that TR made his bones off road I guess but it does just seem wrong on a road bike.

    3T ftw!!

  21. @Marko

    I hypothesize that while the entire eyelet is ideally covered, covering the hole is the most critical as it backs the tube and keeps it from dimpling in the eyelet as it’s inflated. Nevertheless, I have yet to puncture or see any slits from these rims. Probably just luck or Fond de Jante is just that good that it’ll make up for the mechanic’s shortcomings.

    Fair enough with good, solid intertubes – but be careful if you ever switch to latex – little issues with rim strips and valve holes have been the bane of my existence when using too-thin tubes. Yuck.

  22. @paolo

    @scaler911
    Those pictures kind of stack the deck there. You can get absolutely beautiful carbon bling by Ritchey. And if you ride a bike you’re pretty much aware of that since it’s everywhere.
    However, I am with Frank on this. Off road only. I don’t know why except that TR made his bones off road I guess but it does just seem wrong on a road bike.
    3T ftw!!

    True. But Tom did make nice road bike for awhile too:

    And there is absolutely NO fucking around with his ‘stach.

  23. @Gotta Ride Today, @scaler911, @paolo
    They make great parts and great stuff, and Tom Ritchey is an American Legend. The Bridgestone bikes used to come laden with their stuff. I would not hesitate to buy a Ritchey 29er. But their stuff just doesn’t strike my fancy for the Road. No good reason, it just doesn’t capture my imagination the way 3T or Deda does.

  24. @frank

    @Gotta Ride Today, @scaler911, @paolo
    They make great parts and great stuff, and Tom Ritchey is an American Legend. The Bridgestone bikes used to come laden with their stuff. I would not hesitate to buy a Ritchey 29er. But their stuff just doesn’t strike my fancy for the Road. No good reason, it just doesn’t capture my imagination the way 3T or Deda does.

    Totally understand. I feel the same way about Cavandish.

  25. @RedRanger

    If I was going to replace bar, stem and seat post I would go with 3T or maybe FSA. I agree that Ritchey does not catch my eye the way those two brands do.

    Ritchey gear is the business, as has been established by this very site. I built my cross bike starting with Ritchey WCS classic bend bars and moved backwards and downwards to frame, wheels, and gearing.

    They are 50g lighter than the 3T Rotundos.

    I hope to find another pair under the tree this weekend which will free up my 3T Ergonova bars and stem for bike #3.

  26. One thing you cant take away about the city I live in is that Cycling is huge here. Competative Cyclist , the team, is gonna have their training camp here. Maybe I can get some pictures of the team training and their gear.

  27. @frank

    @all
    Am I the only one that just doesn’t like Ritchey products on a road bike? Given the choice between two products of equal value and performance, I’ll take the other every time.
    Love the shit out of them for off-road, though.

    I’m sure I’ll catch hell from someone regarding this, but that’s the same way I feel about Thomson seatposts and stems.

  28. @gaswepass

    @ChrisO

    I had a disastrous gash about a month ago, which gave me my cue to switch to my winter (tubed, with Spec Armadillo Elite 25mms) set up and save the $$$ rubber for spring. Changing it on the side was actually just fine – but it does require some effort to push the bead to the center of the rim. not too bad, if my candystick arms can manage it roadside. just booted the gash and stuffed a tube inside. Made it 20miles back home after that.

  29. Best, “Best of Craigslist” posting ever: http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sea/1192150038.html

    Enjoy……..

  30. @scaler911

    Class.

    “While we’re at it, you recumbent people scare me a little. Don’t bring that lumbering fucking thing anywhere near me.”

  31. @scaler911
    “because sharks are FUCKING AWESOME”

  32. @scaler911
    Did frank ghostwrite that?

  33. @scaler911
    FTW!

  34. @Chris

    @scaler911
    Class.
    “While we’re at it, you recumbent people scare me a little. Don’t bring that lumbering fucking thing anywhere near me.”

    I arrived at the library today to do work only to find that my lock-up spot had been stolen. By a recumbent. That was foldable.

  35. @Nate

    @scaler911
    Did frank ghostwrite that?

    It certainly wasn’t any of this lot.

    (I know it’s not nice to make fun of those less fortunate than ourselves but sometimes I can’t help myself)

  36. @Ron

    Do mankind a favour and donate an old D-Lock to the cause. Drop the key down the nearest drain.

  37. @scaler911
    My favorite part:

    A DEDICATION TO ALL THE HIPSTER DOUCHEBAGS:

    -If you shitheads had any money, you wouldn’t NEED a vintage Poo-zhow to get laid. Go have an ironic mustache growing contest in front of American Apparel, so that I can continue selling $300 bikes to fatties, which is what keeps the lights on.

    – Being made in the 80’s may make something cool, but that doesn’t automatically make something good. The reason that no one has ridden that “vintage” Murray is because it’s shit. It was shit in the 80’s, a trend it carried proudly through the 90’s, and rallied with into the ’00’s. What I mean to say is, no, I can’t make it work better. It’s still shit, even with more air in the tires.

    Heh, heh.

    @Chris
    RBR posters; Dopey Fuckers (note to self, must stop swearing)

  38. @VeloVita

    @frank
    I’m sure I’ll catch hell from someone regarding this, but that’s the same way I feel about Thomson seatposts and stems.

    LOL. Serves to reason, I’d be running the Thomson gear on my MTBs (seatposts & clamps). I just do not have a flashy style preference. I like all logos to be understated, with a touch of class. I have pretty much been running the Ritchey pro logic gear on all of my road bikes, stayed away from the “wet” finish in favor of the matte finish, and insist that all of the components match (red or blue logo). My wife thinks I’m nuts, but conceeds putting up w/ a couple red bikes in the garage (s-1) is preferable to me buying a red sports car and running off w/ the secretary at the office.

  39. I like some Ritchey stuff, such as the slick wet white stems they have. I also like some Deda stuff. However, being Italian, their gear tends to be quite a bit more expensive, such as…double.

    I don’t think I can toss out anyone or solely choose anyone at this point – I still need to balance what I want on my bikes with what I have in my bank account, and when you have N+1 bikes, well, you gotta compromise sometimes.

    Thomson stuff – some I like, some I don’t. It could even be color, black or silver which throws me off.

    All of them offer nice stuff. They key is to match the bits to the bike to the bicyclist to the Casually Deliberate approach though, right?

  40. G’rilla, that stem, bars, yellow wrapping job look the business! Nice effort, nice eye for detail.

  41. @scaler911

    Best, “Best of Craigslist” posting ever: http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sea/1192150038.html
    Enjoy……..

    hah! That was awesome! And oddly familiar. Confessions about hating people are only really appreciated by other people who work or have worked in retail.

  42. @Ron
    Thanks, man. I’m really glad with how it turned out.

    There’s one more cyclocross race here in January. If I ride 300km in deep sand twice a day between now and then, I might finish in the top 50%.

  43. @G’rilla
    Surely your Melbourne summer cycling regime will have prepared you for cross in the US in January?

  44. @Marcus, @G’rilla
    Yeah, I hear you got to practice your mount/dismount in the middle of busy intersections?

  45. @Ron
    Ron, I hope you took out your mini tool and dismantled that thing to pieces. Or maybe just “rearrange” the parts.

  46. @Marcus I’m still confused as to why we finished a fast 40km and then talked about cricket for an hour.

  47. @G’rilla

    It would take an hour just to get a basic intro into how that silly sport works, yeah?

  48. @frank

    I like the new cobbled background, BTW.

  49. Best rim tape? Conti Easy Tape HP.

  50. Still like the Velox, always worked for me!

    As someone said above, I can deal with Ritchey on a MTB but on a road bike it must be Italian…

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