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  1. #1
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    nipples...alloy nipples

    Building new wheels. Anybody have problems with alloy nipples breaking on rear wheel drive side? Wheel dish is equal, but lots of torque in the hills. I'll probalbly stick with brass, but just curious.

    Anybody watch roadracing on OLN last night? WOW...tight shirts on women rule!

  2. #2
    The Top Cap Guy
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    All my bikes (except the tandem) run alloy nipples. With a good build you should be safe.

    FF
    "If I'm leading, I'm bleeding."

  3. #3
    One gear to rule them all
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    Good job!

    Same here, all of my wheels have alloy nipples, no problems.





    Quote Originally Posted by CBass
    Building new wheels. Anybody have problems with alloy nipples breaking on rear wheel drive side? Wheel dish is equal, but lots of torque in the hills. I'll probalbly stick with brass, but just curious.

    Anybody watch roadracing on OLN last night? WOW...tight shirts on women rule!
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  4. #4
    SS Grrrrrrrl
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBass
    Building new wheels. Anybody have problems with alloy nipples breaking on rear wheel drive side? Wheel dish is equal, but lots of torque in the hills. I'll probalbly stick with brass, but just curious.

    Anybody watch roadracing on OLN last night? WOW...tight shirts on women rule!
    I asked my LBS about this specifically regarding the last set of wheels I built. He said alloy is fine. But, buy a couple extras and stick them in your camelbak because his comment was that if they break, it's usually a problem with that specific nipple not alloy nipples in general. And he said it tends to happen in batches. The bad ones will fail relatively quickly.

    I have a wheel that was built up in 2000 with alloy nipples and very soon after (within 5 rides) three of them broke during a ride. I swapped them with new alloy nipples and haven't broken another one since. Wheelset is going on 4 years now. His comment made a lot of sense after the fact when I thought back to that problem.

  5. #5
    all hail der Fuhrer Bush
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    yup, alloy nipples suck

    if you're going for the hour record or racing the mt. washington hillclimb, go with alloy; otherwise, stick with brass. alloy nipples definitely break, the ends snap right off, happened to me many many times. they also suck when truing, the round out easily. even worse when you come back later to retrue an old wheel, then the round out like crazy. I will never again in this lifetime build myself a wheel with alloy nipples. never.

  6. #6
    I am the owl
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    Alloy nipples - why, why, why?

    Never could understand this. Save approx. 20 grams of rotating weight per wheel for something that fails easier and costs more. That's less than 1/4 ounce! Rotating weight? Bah, especially on a mountain bike. But hey, if you've got the team support car following you, go for it!

    Rant off, not directed to anyone in particular on this thread.

    32 alloy nipples weigh approximately 10 grams.
    32 brass nipples weigh approximately 30 grams.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  7. #7
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    Alloy nipples save rims!

    when you get a big old stick in your wheel, the nipple will break, saving your rim from the unfortunate brass nipple pull-through that tears the whole eyelet out.
    Yeah 20g of weight and the cost is slightly more, but nipples are ALWAYS cheaper than rims and wheelbuilds.

  8. #8
    I am the owl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixeyfreeride
    when you get a big old stick in your wheel, the nipple will break, saving your rim from the unfortunate brass nipple pull-through that tears the whole eyelet out.
    Different strokes for different folks I suppose.

    I've tacoed rims, exploded the side walls on a few, flat spotted, crushed 'em and gotten lots of big ol' sticks jammed in the buggers but I've never pulled an eyelet out in the process and I always use brass. But if the alloy nips work for you, keep on keeping on!
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  9. #9
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    One more vote AGAINST.

    Quote Originally Posted by bulC
    I will never again in this lifetime build myself a wheel with alloy nipples. never.

    I've built a handful of wheels, with surprisingly good luck (and a tensionometer). The only problem I've ever had is with alloy nipples. Granted, I tend to use a wheelset for a couple of hard years before getting bored and building a new set, but the alloy nipples in my current back wheel have apparently reached their maximum fatigue life. I've replaced 6 now, and it's exactly as Club described... the head pops right off. As for this being a "rim-saving" feature, I'm not so sure. Make your own call. But every shot nipple gets replaced by a brass one (and a silver spoke, because I usually have to bend the loose black one around a couple of others to finish the ride, and because my LBS doesn't have any black in my size, and I'm too lazy to order more).

    I also will never again in this lifetime build myself a wheel with alloy nipples.

    In my opinion, this hassle (or even the chance of this hassle) is in no way worth the 20ish grams saved.
    No way.
    Last edited by PBnJ; 04-16-2004 at 08:44 PM.
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  10. #10
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    With the right size spokes alloy nipples will last a long time. I have found though that some of the wheels that I built 7 or 8 years ago the nipple are starting to break. This must be due to the continous stress that the nipples are under for such a long period of time. Back when I was riding a lot I would generally go through the rim before I had any spoke or nipple failures on my mountain bikes. This would almost exclusively be due to dents in the sidewalls. I will continue to use alloy nipples with all my wheels because I like to lift up a light bike, I like the way light wheels ride and I like to have rossey nipples. For the people that say alloy nipples are used to save the rim from bending they must be riding some pretty shitty built wheels. So in short, If you want your wheels to last 10 years go for brass, if you only want your wheels to last 5 years go for alloy.

  11. #11
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    stainless steel?

    Does anybody make stainless steel nipples?
    I worked in a screw factory for 5+ years... brass didn't seem much harder than aluminum.
    For 303 SS, we had to run the machines much slower...

    C Jones

  12. #12
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    alloy nipples

    I've always perfered pink or brown ones.

  13. #13
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Freddy
    All my bikes (except the tandem) run alloy nipples. With a good build you should be safe.

    FF
    Goes for me, too. I have no problems with alloy nips. I like the colors.
    mtbtires.com
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by riderx
    Alloy nipples - why, why, why? Never could understand this.
    What's so hard to understand? I have built hundreds of wheels including my own. I ride trials, single speed, road, etc... I log at least 3000 miles a year. I have alloy nipples on all my bikes and have yet to experience nipple failure. Did I mention I weigh in at 230 lbs.? Maybe alloy nipples are more susceptible to problems IF you don't take care of your wheels. Otherwise, no problems here.

    dd.''

  15. #15
    I am the owl
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodjy
    What's so hard to understand?
    Paying more money for something that saves 20g in weight and has a higher material failure rate.

    I don't use them simply because I've never seen a good reason to "upgrade" to them when building a wheel, but plenty of people seem to have similar problems. Plenty of people also seem to use them without problems. If they work for you, great, but I don't need pretty colors and I'm not a gram shaver so I stick w/ brass.
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  16. #16
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    Idea!

    Fair enough, they are all well reasoned opinions (within generally accepted contexts). The thing I don't get... Why enter a debate (by making an obviously biased anecdotal statement) that very clearly has multiple right answers dependent on context? I know the main idea is to help the individual asking about people's experiences with alloy nipples, but the fact is, the wise individual should expect to hear a range of good to bad opinions. Maybe the take-home message is take care of your wheels and make the decision based on a 'balanced' desire for the following traits: color, weight (both static and rotational), strength, etc. Now, that seems to be a balanced opinion (as opposed to the ever present extremes).

    dd..';'

  17. #17
    I am the owl
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodjy
    The thing I don't get... Why enter a debate (by making an obviously biased anecdotal statement) that very clearly has multiple right answers dependent on context?
    Bit confused on this, my first post was clearly a rant, not debating anyone else's post. Biased ancedotal statement? I'm still looking for that in the initial post too. Facts I stated:
    -Cost more - true
    -20g less in weight - true
    -Fails easier - true, aluminum is a softer material
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  18. #18
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    Idea!

    Confused? Read again... Think about it... Repeat as necessary. What I am saying isn't that difficult to understand.

    Facts?

    Cost more -- true --- That is DEPENDENT on what spokes you desire. Alloy nipples do come 'stock' with a certain level of spoke... Cost more? Maybe, but so do the higher end spokes. Still true? Not as much as previously stated (unless you can quantify the actual price increase).

    20g less in weight -- true? Sure. Duh.

    Fails easier -- true? Has not been my experience. While they may fail quicker because they are a softer material, maybe you should define some other relative points so that others will better understand. Of course, this is tricky which is likely why it is not common knowledge. But let's entertain the thought. How much pressure is needed to deform the rim of a wheel? Where does this load relate to the point of failure of alloy nipples? I will bet you will find them to be quite close which is why they were able to market them as an upgrade and avoid litigation due to failure. The companies that produce them would not be able to stay in business if the failure rate was as high as perceived in this thread. Of course, in the final analysis, it all depends on:
    How and what you run the bike into?
    How much you take care of your equipment?
    What is your riding style and body type?

    Otherwise, based on their relative function, they do every bit as good a job as brass nipples (all things considered).

    dd..';

  19. #19
    I am the owl
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    I can not believe I have spent this much time talking about nipples that are not attached to tits!
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  20. #20
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by riderx
    I can not believe I have spent this much time talking about nipples that are not attached to tits!
    I know... it is not right. Shall we agree to disagree and call it all good?

    dd..''

  21. #21
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    Done!
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  22. #22
    try driving your car less
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBass
    Building new wheels. Anybody have problems with alloy nipples breaking on rear wheel drive side? Wheel dish is equal, but lots of torque in the hills. I'll probalbly stick with brass, but just curious.

    Anybody watch roadracing on OLN last night? WOW...tight shirts on women rule!
    tight shirts OFF women are even better. especially with the AC on.

    as for the nips, match them to the wheel build. if you are going super light (but less durable), go with alloy. if you are going for strength with some weight penalty, go brass.
    it doesnt make sense to use alloy nips on a DH rim. and using brass nips on some weight weenie rim that you paid extra $ for in order to save 20 grams also doesnt make sense.
    i think for a decent all around wheel, brass is good. i have alloy nips on my wheels because they came that way and i am not about to swap them out or anything.
    really, it doesnt make some enormous difference either way.
    Only boring people get bored.

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