These appeared on my rims after taking my bike to a repair shop. Does anyone know what these are and how to remove them?

up close

angled shot

seen on both sides

  • 37
    I'm pretty sure that is an ancient cuneiform script. If I'm reading it correctly, it means "do not remove"
    – cory
    Jun 29, 2017 at 17:09
  • 2
    It's actually the number "5". Probably each one is a 5-gram weight.
    – alephzero
    Jun 29, 2017 at 19:41
  • 14
    @alephzero That's very unlikely as arabic numerals were not invented for thousands of years after cuneiform writing was invented.
    – cory
    Jun 29, 2017 at 20:00
  • @alephzero Nah, the 'S' stands for the number 6. 18grams total.
    – Mathemats
    Jun 30, 2017 at 5:11
  • 1
    Well, if you want them removed - just be patient, as I wonder if the surface was cleaned properly before they were applied or have you done a lot of riding since then to put the dust back?
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 30, 2017 at 6:52

2 Answers 2


Those are wheel weights. They are to balance out imperfections in the weight of the tire to avoid vibration at speed. I would recommend not removing them. If you're concerned about them standing out against the tire, you can remove them carefully with a flathead screwdriver, scrub off the remaining adhesive, and replace them in exactly the same spot with exactly the same number of weights of the same weight per weight of a different color (i.e. black) or paint them.

  • 30
    Double plus on not removing them. If one doesn't like the look, paint them black to match the rim. Jun 29, 2017 at 13:27
  • 1
    If you really really hate having them on there you can try to find a shop that will do weightless balancing, which usually involves weights inside the tire, or else drilling and packing holes in the wheel itself. A huge pain IMO, and completely wasted as soon as you hit a pothole, but whatever makes you happy.
    – barbecue
    Jun 30, 2017 at 2:28
  • 3
    Paint? Buy a sharpie.
    – Rich
    Jun 30, 2017 at 17:33
  • @Rich - Paint, color, Sharpie ... no matter ... but good point :o) Jul 2, 2017 at 1:23
  • Can you really see them driving down the road? LOL.
    – Moab
    Jul 2, 2017 at 1:36

They are wheel weights, and are usually divided between both sides of the wheel.

A wheel assembly can be unbalanced in more than one plane, and modern digital balancing machines take this into consideration and indicate the amount of weight and the placement of each weight on the wheel. The weights are not always at the exact center of imbalance, but divided equally, both radially and tangentially, to each side of the lightest point on the wheel. This gives better results than a single-point weight of a larger size. They are stick-on to prevent damage to the rim.

Simply paint them to match the rim. No one will notice when the wheel is in motion anyway.

Of course,the NSA could be tracking you! ;)

  • i thought it might be some kind of RFID for use in the shop
    – xst
    Jun 30, 2017 at 23:11
  • 1
    In the last photo I see some on the other side of the wheel. A little lazy of the balancer to use three weights right together rather than one larger weight in that spot.
    – Criggie
    Jul 1, 2017 at 9:30

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