The Chainlink

As I am slowly becoming more mechanically inclined with my bicycle, I have arrived to a very foreign matter known as "The Wheels". So I purchased a set of wheels (just the rims and spokes assembled) for a really good deal since mine are really warped and dented, but I have never replaced the hub and or swapped wheels. As I eagerly moved my tube and tire to the new rims and started pumping the tire I heard a pop...of course. There was no "fabric" around the wheel well and the tube tried to expand in the multiple little holes and popped. Can I purchase the "fabric" and is it easy to assemble. Last question, is it easy to install a flip/flop gear without much knowledge. 

Thanks again for helping a wheel newbie.

Rico

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You're looking for a rim strip or rim tape. You can get a rubber rim strip in the size of your wheel for probably a few bucks from an LBS (maybe less), and installation is simply stretching the rubber so it sits in the recess of the rim, and aligning the hole in the strip with the valve hole in the rim. take care with the rubber near the hole, as it's thin and hence a bit delicate.

I don't have personal experience with flip-flop hubs, so that'd be better answered by someone else.
I think you can buy the fabric type rim tape for just a few dollars.

Sheldon Brown has answered every question I've ever had for bikes Click here

re: "flipflip gear": this means that your rear hub would have threads on both sides of the axle - see photo attached.
if your hub is so designed, then you can thread on two different-sized cogs (ie, 15 tooth and 17tooth). Makes it easy to 'change' your gear on the road by removing the rear wheel, 'flipping' the wheel and putting the chain back on the new cog.

Getting the cog on the hub tight enough is key, and most would argue that a lockring (reverse thread) would be the best. If cog is not on tight enough, yes the chain will tighten it as you ride, but if fixed there is the possibility of spinning the cog off when backpedaling. Kinda a bummer when you are trying to control you speed haha. Best tool to tighten a cog onto a hub is a chain whip (longer lever arm)
I AM SORRY ABOUT THE GUY SAYING fixie ALL THE TIME......it's annoying to our cool kid ears .. but old nice guys are like that..
Very nice, thanks again for everyones help. I shall start with the rim tape and go from there.
If you have deep section rims, one way to overbuild, for safety sake even though rim tape may be enough, is to put cork in the holes to keep the tubes from pressing into the void.

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