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  1. #1
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    ENVE wheel nipple corrosion.

    Anyone had any problems with UST ENVE wheels regarding nipple corrosion ?

    My wheels are just over 18months old and have never been ridden in water, i live in the driest state on the driest continent on earth (actually a fact) so its not even moisture and rain is not an issue either.

    So approx at the 12-14 month mark i start hearing this rattling noise inside the "nipple chamber" on both wheels and think to myself its only some dirt thats got in there.

    But its taped tubeless so nothing can escape into the wheels or stans escape out. The nipples seal the hole from the inside so no dirt can get in.

    So then during a ride (November) i notice my front wheel is way out of true, when i get home i see that a spoke is loose but undamaged, i untape the wheel to see that all the nipples have a dusty white appearance (corroded), and 3 of them are nearly disintegrated but theres so little left of them i cant even get them off without cutting a perfectly good spoke.

    The rattling noise was shards of alu from the sides of the nipples and obviously the disintegrated one from the loose spoke that is nowhere to be seen. The shards looked to be stuck together in little balls as if they had picked up some of the sticky glue from the Gorilla tape that is sticky side down on the underside of the spoke access hole.

    Has some stans fluid possibly escaped into the "nipple chamber" and done this ?

    Gorilla tape IMO is crap so wont be using it again.

    Back wheel i stripped tonight has also 4 nipples in advanced state of corrosion. Cant do much about it as i dont have replacement Sapim CX ray spokes to replace the ones i would have to cut. I have replacement nipples but cant get a nipple driver to grab a corroded nipple

    So ive rinsed the chamber out on both wheels and will retape them with Stans tape tomorrow.

    Is there any fluid i could put in there to help reduce corrosion that WOULDNT damage the carbon fibre.

    I have no idea if this is an ENVE wheel design problem, nipple issue or what.
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  2. #2
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    I've never heard of this happening on a set of ENVEs but then again they are still a young company. If possible please take a pic of the white corrosion. From the sounds of it might be the aluminum it self corroding.

    With carbon composite layups I've seen where it will start to corrode an aluminum BB or head tube from the old school carbon frames. Wonder if this is the same reaction you are seeing.

    Very curious as I just finished building up a set of ENVEs myself.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by crux View Post
    If possible please take a pic of the white corrosion. From the sounds of it might be the aluminum it self corroding.
    Ive cleaned both wheels so no pics. Its definately is the alu corroding but its what has caused the reaction thats beyond me.... i'd see though it if i rode on a beach or through salt water.

    I have not taped them up yet but will be next to impossible to take a pic of a nipple down inside the "nipple chamber".

    The other strange thing is that theres only 3-4 nipples in each wheel that are badly corroded, the rest have the fluffy white corrosion look but it rinsed off with cold water and they look relitively undamaged whereas the others are completely fu%*ed including the one that let go without any trace.
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  4. #4
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    The white is AL Oxide. The AL is reacting to the dissimilar SS and possibly the carbon.

    There's no reliable way to stop it that I know of, you can slow it down by using some sort of lube or something to create a barrier; but that likely will create other issues.

    I also have a new set of Enve wheels my plan when I bought them is to check the nipples at least every 6-9 months and have them replaced at the first sight of any corrosion.

    You might give Enve a call (assuming you got them built from Enve) and see of they'll help you out with a rebuild under warranty; but I doubt they will as this is probably considered normal wear and tear. Does seem like it happened pretty quickly though.

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    I live in Kamloops BC and the climate is similar what you described. The dust seems to kill Alum nips all of the time. Most bike shops will not build wheels with Alum nips unless specified by the customer and event then they will warn people that the disentigrate over a season or 2.

    I had the nipples on my nomad do the same as you have described over 2 seasons. The rims were DT 500.s

  6. #6
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    I've been dealing with Enve for about 5 years now, built a bunch of their rims, and I've seen this a couple of times. However the only times I've seen this is on bikes that spent a lot of time in coastal areas. I would imagine in your case that the stans has massively accelerated the oxidation process and made a mess of your wheels. Might try something other than stans. I know some of the other formulas are supposed to be less caustic.

    Enve is a pretty stand up company, I'd give them a call and see what they can do for you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    Anyone had any problems with UST ENVE wheels regarding nipple corrosion ?

    My wheels are just over 18months old and have never been ridden in water, i live in the driest state on the driest continent on earth (actually a fact) so its not even moisture and rain is not an issue either.

    So approx at the 12-14 month mark i start hearing this rattling noise inside the "nipple chamber" on both wheels and think to myself its only some dirt thats got in there.

    But its taped tubeless so nothing can escape into the wheels or stans escape out. The nipples seal the hole from the inside so no dirt can get in.

    So then during a ride (November) i notice my front wheel is way out of true, when i get home i see that a spoke is loose but undamaged, i untape the wheel to see that all the nipples have a dusty white appearance (corroded), and 3 of them are nearly disintegrated but theres so little left of them i cant even get them off without cutting a perfectly good spoke.

    The rattling noise was shards of alu from the sides of the nipples and obviously the disintegrated one from the loose spoke that is nowhere to be seen. The shards looked to be stuck together in little balls as if they had picked up some of the sticky glue from the Gorilla tape that is sticky side down on the underside of the spoke access hole.

    Has some stans fluid possibly escaped into the "nipple chamber" and done this ?

    Gorilla tape IMO is crap so wont be using it again.

    Back wheel i stripped tonight has also 4 nipples in advanced state of corrosion. Cant do much about it as i dont have replacement Sapim CX ray spokes to replace the ones i would have to cut. I have replacement nipples but cant get a nipple driver to grab a corroded nipple

    So ive rinsed the chamber out on both wheels and will retape them with Stans tape tomorrow.

    Is there any fluid i could put in there to help reduce corrosion that WOULDNT damage the carbon fibre.

    I have no idea if this is an ENVE wheel design problem, nipple issue or what.
    Haven't read a single ****ing comment of this thread byt GALVANIC corrosion is something that you might wanna look into. Carbon fiber is a helluva conductor of electricity and you are riding on rubber tires isolating you from earth, and all isolated element build up static electricity by just being isolated, and its no joke e3ither..

    I'm guessing this is the first sign of the galvanic potential of carbon in practical use. You did good man. just get brass nipples from now on, preferably nickel or chromed ones.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    Haven't read a single ****ing comment of this thread byt GALVANIC corrosion is something that you might wanna look into. Carbon fiber is a helluva conductor of electricity and you are riding on rubber tires isolating you from earth, and all isolated element build up static electricity by just being isolated, and its no joke e3ither..

    I'm guessing this is the first sign of the galvanic potential of carbon in practical use. You did good man. just get brass nipples from now on, preferably nickel or chromed ones.
    If the wheels were built using a synthetic grease the galvanic corrosion is largely mitigated. If a petro based grease was used it will certainly make it worse.

    Can't use brass nips on Enve wheels, they use a semi-proprietary internal nipple.

  9. #9
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    I didn't know that.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  10. #10
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    Some interesting points... cheers !

    The wheels were ordered direct from ENVE so what ever lubricants they use to build wheels - if any, is the only stuff put on them. I taped them up with gorilla tape and started riding them with stans added.

    It has to be corrosion from the inside as the nipples are not exposed to the outside air/dust/moisture. Something has gone on inside the "nipple chamber" and the only things i can put it down to is a reaction from Stans fluid, Gorilla glue or now Galvanic corrosion..... though i have never had this happen with any other wheels before AND i build all my own wheel sets so i take good notice of what they are doing as far as nipples, spokes, tension and trueing.

    BTW there was no tell-tale signs that i was losing stans fluid inside the wheel, both wheels had 2 wraps of tightly wrapped gorilla tape on them and apart from sticking to tyres and leaving a mess when removed it had stuck quite well. Even through the tape at the valve hole was stans free.

    I got replacement nipples from my LBS through the Aussie agent, that took 6 weeks and people wonder why we buy everything online.

    Will contact ENVE and see what they think, i actually sent them an email on the 29/11/12 about sourcing new nipples and telling them i had one disentigrate but got no answer. I send a link to this thread too.

    Cheers for the help
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  11. #11
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    It's one of the disappointments of Enve rims, I have an Enve rim that I would like to change to brass nipples . Can any point me in the right direction? I'm almost tempted to buy standard nipples & grind out the slot.

  12. #12
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    Fwiw, I've got a set of 29 er wheels that's almost 5 years old with no corrossion. I've never even tried to run them tubeless though and I also live in the high dessert.

    Pillar makes enves so called proprietary nipples, if anybody does a brass version, its them. Whatever you do, don't drill out the holes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    If the wheels were built using a synthetic grease the galvanic corrosion is largely mitigated. If a petro based grease was used it will certainly make it worse.

    Can't use brass nips on Enve wheels, they use a semi-proprietary internal nipple.
    ENVE nipple holes are laid up as well (not drilled) which means that the nipple is not in contact with the fibers.

    Why would petro grease make it worse?

    Internal nipples are available in brass too.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    ENVE nipple holes are laid up as well (not drilled) which means that the nipple is not in contact with the fibers.

    Why would petro grease make it worse?

    Internal nipples are available in brass too.
    While it may not be in contact with the fibers it is in contact with the composite. There isn't anything isolating it from contact, like a brass washer. I don't think think the fact they net mold the spoke holes makes a difference when it comes to galvanic corrosion. Could be wrong though as this is pushing my knowledge.

    Synthetic grease is supposed to be low conductivity. I was told by a composites engineer long ago, if you need to grease carbon structures, use a synthetic grease. I've built 70 Enve wheels with it, and I've never had one with nipple corrosion problems, must be something to it.

    Pillar, who makes the Enve nips does not list that nipple as available in brass. Other internal nipples might be available in brass, but these are a little different. They're 7075 in case anybody was wondering.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    While it may not be in contact with the fibers it is in contact with the composite. There isn't anything isolating it from contact, like a brass washer. I don't think think the fact they net mold the spoke holes makes a difference when it comes to galvanic corrosion. Could be wrong though as this is pushing my knowledge.
    The resin, which doesn't conduct electricity, isolates the fibers from the nipple. Testament to this are the aluminum:carbon interfaces all over modern bikes. I was just adding to your point that galvanic corrosion is suspect as an explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Synthetic grease is supposed to be low conductivity. I was told by a composites engineer long ago, if you need to grease carbon structures, use a synthetic grease. I've built 70 Enve wheels with it, and I've never had one with nipple corrosion problems, must be something to it.
    Worth a look anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Pillar, who makes the Enve nips does not list that nipple as available in brass. Other internal nipples might be available in brass, but these are a little different. They're 7075 in case anybody was wondering.
    I think Sapim makes 'em.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
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  16. #16
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    Thanks for the replies, ive sent ENVE an email and link to this thread. Hopefully they might have a solution to stop this corrosion going any further.

    I dont want to tape them up and start riding them again if the nipples are going to continue to corrode effectively turning the wheels into a time bomb with the nipples disintegrating and spokes popping out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post

    I think Sapim makes 'em.

    They're Pillars, I've ordered them to build other wheels with directly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    haven't read a single ****ing comment of this thread byt galvanic corrosion is something that you might wanna look into..
    +one

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    Ive just had a look on the sapim website, they make inverted nipples in brass but not pillars. These would need a special tool where as the pillars just need a long series socket.

    EDIT: Just found a website that sells internal brass and the 3.2mm square tool. Will wait and see what enve says then i might rebuild both wheels with brass internals.
    Last edited by ozzybmx; 01-27-2013 at 10:26 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    Ive just had a look on the sapim website, they make inverted nipples in brass but not pillars. These would need a special tool where as the pillars just need a long series socket.

    EDIT: Just found a website that sells internal brass and the 3.2mm square tool. Will wait and see what enve says then i might rebuild both wheels with brass internals.
    Can you post a link to that website?
    I found the Sapim brass inverteds (Inverted | Sapim),
    but would like to see what you found.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo025 View Post
    Can you post a link to that website?
    I found the Sapim brass inverteds (Inverted | Sapim),
    but would like to see what you found.
    Here's the site

    $35 for 56 brass nipples and $9 for the 3.2mm tool.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    Here's the site

    $35 for 56 brass nipples and $9 for the 3.2mm tool.
    Thanks

  23. #23
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    I'm not sure of the root cause of failure, but just to throw this out there- Stan's has been known to corrode the inside of certain Shimano road rims, which apparently have little to no anodizing. I believe there's a lengthy thread on forums.roadbikereview.com.

    I wouldn't discount sealant corrosion, as I've seen multiple leaks through gorilla tape.
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    Same problem

    Hi ozzybmx, Just so as you donít feel alone in this issue. Iím in Qld and Iíve experienced this problem a lot. First of all was 3 or 4 years ago when I bought a set of DT carbon wheels.

    I found out one time when I banged the rear into a bank and the back wheel broke a bunch of spokes (bike stopped, I kept going and checked out the track more closely). Back at the LBS they pulled it down, the nipples were corroded and this had weakened the wheel (normally a rough roost wouldnít do that Ė the DT Cs were amazing in the rough and tumble).

    Refitted, special attention to taping etc, rode for a few months and the front broke a spoke. Should have pulled that down back then to, it was corroded. Replaced all nipples now, and then I had 3 more broken spoke incidents on 3 more occasions Ė all from corrosion. The downtime was frustrating. Special attention was given to cleaning and fresh tape each rebuild.

    I had a trip to NZ planned, which meant speed, berms, and berms (did I say that already, well there's so many of them....), drops, bumps and jumps. So I was a little worried breaking another spoke/s a month out or during the trip. I stripped both wheels (darn, had to put fresh rubber on Ė gotta love fresh rubber before a big trip), new spokes and new brass nipples. Rode this on the trip and for a good 9 months without a further issue, just the cracks in the rims were growing too big for me to keep running them and besides, I had another trip to NZ planned, more berms and jumps (did I mention that).

    I bought some Enves, and on inspection the same issue occurred a few months in Ė corrosion. Then I bought a 29er as well, and some more Enves, and I have corrosion in those nipples. And, yesterday I heard a rattle in the back tyre. Your thread is a timely reminder and has solved my rattle issue, bloody corrosion has struck again. Iíll be chasing some brass to shut down this corrosion issue.

    From my DT carbon experience, the Enveís have taken a lot longer to corrode the nipples. (The DT were great wheels, off the charts performance, just complaining about corrosion). I am saying this to indicate that I donít think it is a particular Enve specific issue and actually, they are better than another Carbon wheel experience I have had in terms of what I believe is sealant induced corrosion.

    And about the only solution is to go brass nipples. I firmly believe it is the sealant, not saying it is just Stans either as I did run another brand of sealant as well, it is the cost of running AL nipples. AL is hopeless with corrosion. Itís annoying as you want to keep the rotational weight on the outer edge down as much as possible and running brass nipples just feels a little counterproductive with carbon wheels, but, if it works and keeps the wheels together and keeps them rolling, then that will pay in the long run I guess. Besides carbon wheels isn't necessarily about the weight, it's the overal performance of them that is so impressive.

  25. #25
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    Cheers WilliamK, just got a reply back from ENVE and the Pillar (brand) nipples that they use are not a hard anodized alu so thats the reason for the rapid corrosion as they are soft alu.

    ENVE think its my climate caused it but im with you on the Stans theory coupled with the crap Gorilla tape that shouldnt be used on wheels at all... its dry and hot here with little rain and the corrosion happened on the inside where it was dry apart from the sticky balls of alu shards.

    Seems im on my own with the issue so i'll buy the brass nipples + the tool and rebuild them myself.

    Also i wouldnt worry about the weigh penalty of brass as the 1 wrap of gorilla tape weights more than the 20g extra per wheel running brass (30g) over alu (10g).

    Thanks for sharing
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