Dirt Treaders

Wheels, spokes and nipples
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Author:  325racer [ Tue May 15, 2018 1:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Wheels, spokes and nipples

So I was out for a Road ride sunday afternoon and had the unfortunate experience of breaking a spoke.

Normally not a huge deal, but on the 24 spoke road bike, with 1 spoke down, the wheel pulled out of true enough to rub the brakes and the frame to the point it was unrideable after 100 yards.

So looking at the fix, it appears that the head of the nipple broke as opposed to the spoke, however, the spoke was bent a bit during the break.

Upon inspection and measurement, it appears that this spoke and all the other spokes on the wheel are about 2mm shorter than they should be. I've never really looked close at the spoke/nipple connection before now, so this is an Ah hah or hmmm, moment.

When I look at the rest of the spokes on this wheel, they all appear to be closer to the left/middle length (reference picture below) as opposed to the right. Everything in the Sheldon Brown article says things should look more like the right spoke/nipple combo.



So the question is, do I just replace the 1 spoke/nipple with a longer spoke to get this one right, or do I rebuild the entire wheel with new spokes/nipples to ensure proper interface? Is it even worth it? I bought the wheelset for $150 used, it's only a $300ish wheelset to start with...

Author:  Dirtrider [ Tue May 15, 2018 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wheels, spokes and nipples

I had broken two spoke nipples on my used 27.7 + wheelset and had only those fixed. Two rides later I broke two more. Had them all changed out front & rear and haven't broken any more. I say do it right the first time based on what I learned & paid for.

Author:  325racer [ Tue May 15, 2018 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wheels, spokes and nipples

Did you replace just nipples, or all new spokes and nipples? I think to "fix" mine correctly would be all new spokes and nipples. These being Aero Road spokes, it's about $100 for the wheel.

Author:  Dirtrider [ Tue May 15, 2018 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wheels, spokes and nipples

Mine had the tops of the nipples broken off at the same place so he replaced just the nipples. They were aluminum nipples also. Let an expert take a look but maybe the spokes are too short too

Author:  Ld00d [ Tue May 15, 2018 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wheels, spokes and nipples

It's not too hard to lace it, and it's actually kinda fun.

Author:  325racer [ Tue May 15, 2018 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wheels, spokes and nipples

I figure I could just go through and do 1 spoke at a time. All spoke barely hit the bottom of the screwdriver slot, some don't even extend that far.

I think I need to go about 2mm longer on both sides.

I just question if I should spend $100 for 1 wheel that started as a $150 set.......

Author:  325racer [ Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wheels, spokes and nipples

To update on this.

The wheel manufacturer sells spoke/nipple kits for $25 a wheel. I ordered a set for the rear wheel which was popping nipples.

I spent a bunch of time researching how to build a wheel, there are a million and half videos and articles. One specific article was very, very well written and I felt much more complete than many others, once I find it again, I will post a link.

It took a few evenings to put the wheel together how I wanted and get the right spoke tension. I used a few simple tools, Park spoke tension gauge, inexpensive repair stand mounted truing stand Park TS-25, a nipple driver and standard spoke wrenches.

Once the wheel was all together, the spokes seem to have about 1mm more engagement than the previous build did and so far after 100+ miles of road use the wheel seems to be holding up.

At the same time, I also purchased 2 wider rims for my Santa Cruz. They were the same brand style, but a 29 vs 23mm width, these used the same spoke length, so I transfered, hubs/spokes from the narrow rim to the wide rim. Overall everything on those seems great, with the exception that the front wheel doesn't want to seal up well, I think it has to do with some weld spots that are not being taped up good enough.

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