Wheelbuilding - Best threadlockers that help to avoid spoke wind-up
As a pro builder when using thin gauge butted round spokes my main concern when building a wheel is avoiding spoke wind-up, a situation where the spoke gets twisted between nipple and hub when turning the nipple wrench.
It has a very negative effect in the overall built quality. If a spoke gets seriously twisted, it is already damaged that much that it will never reach its maximum strength anymore not to mention that the wheel after the first ride will run untrue. It destroys your wheelbuilding image when you sell a wheel outside your town and the client needs retruing
Considering I have no access to round Sapim spokes with TCS technology (a square taper section close to the threaded end) I need to find the best compromise between spoke threading lubrication and the choice of nipples. Brass is not an option unfortunately as costumers demand aluminium ones these days.
The options I've tried:
- DT Swiss Prolock nipples come with a high friction spoke freeze in my view. High tension carbon wheels (rear driveside flange) are a hassle to lace with these nipples and spoke wind-up is common when using <1.7 gauge swaged spokes. Expensive an so on... like the bloody DT Swiss spoke freeze.
- Sapim SILS nipples. Never tried.
- Pillar Taper Grip nipples. Apparently designed to achieve maximum grip without the need for thread lock. The upper portion of the threads on the nipple is tapered inward to lock the spoke in place during the wheel build. Unknown for me as well.
- Loctite 222. This has become last two years in my fave locking compound. The less tension the bigger is the drop I use in the spoke as a rule. It dries fast, the wheelbuilding needs to be fast.
- Wheelsmith spoke prep. Ease the build reducing friction, but it has little locking power. It worked great for me during years but now with high-dished rear wheels it is not that efficient. You have to let it dry endlessly and is also expensive and hard to find here in Europe.
- Lindseed oil. Already superseded.
- Antiseize compound. Great for rebuilds-repairs but jeopardize wheel trueness. Achieving the proper tension is not always possible when using 1000Nm (100kgF) max tension rims which non-drive side spoke flanges result in 600Nm (60KgF) average tension.
Which is you best nipple-freezer combination?
I recommend and use oil. Thread locking compounds are unnecessary at best and detrimental at worst IMO. A properly tensioned wheel will stay tensioned.
Spoke windup on even Sapim Laser is not an issue to get concerned about. The "two steps forward, one step back" method of turning nipples works fine - feel the amount of twist and back the nipple off by that amount. But if you're a "pro builder" you already know this. The windup is about 1/6th to a 1/4 of a revolution - for me anyway.
Originally Posted by fernandoj
Thread lockers and nipple freeze? I've just used anti-seize for decades and never had an issue and can't remember the last nipple that uncrewed.
That statement is really baffling. I've been using the stuff for over 40 years.
Antiseize compound. Great for rebuilds-repairs but jeopardize wheel trueness.
That argument doesn't help either. My builds are not trekking-easy mountain bike wheels where I never experienced problems using antiseize.
Originally Posted by Mike T.
The new wheel geometry (extra dish - radial lacing) and the low max tension you can achieve in certain alloy rims donīt get on well with antiseize-oil and alu nipples. That is my experience.
Building a light road set for 11 speed (for example B.O.R. 373 rims + Laser + Alu nipples + 11 speed novatec hubs: 1282 grams) with radial rear left flange I came to a conclusion: donīt even try to use oil or something that ease the threading. Spokes are below 600 N.m (60KgF) on average on that flange or even less and become loose after few rides.
Everyone knows that tension is crucial for longevity, but sometimes you cannot get a desired spoke tension due to a wheel design.
Yeah I'm aware of tension variance due to hub flange spacing but for me, it's never caused a problem and there hasn't been a NDS nipple (or a DS either) that didn't get the anti-seize treatment. And no nipples loosened.
Light coating on grease on spoke threads and nipple seats, tension adjusted if accordingly on certain rims that show a large drop in spoke tension when tires are mounted.
Anti-seize, never had a problem.
If you're having that much of a problem with loosening nips/ losing tension, mix in copper anti-seize in small amounts until it grabs to your liking ; )
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From experience, I second J.B. Weld's oil recommendation and Mike T.'s backing off to eliminate windup suggestion. Specifically, as an adherent of the cult of Jobst, I like 90w gear oil.
Ride like the one-eyed jack of diamonds with the devil close behind.
Sorry fernandoj but on MTBR we are pretty much anti-threadlocker board.
Years ago when building 100kfg max Stans rims i couldn't get the nds over 60 kfg either. I called the Stan's guys and asked if it would be a problem, turns out they build to 110 kfg. That got my nds closer to 70 kfg.
Anti-seize and oil is not an option for you since they can reduce nipple torque 30-50% aiding in your loosening. All the others you mention have a good reputation as a threadlock, really I'd like you hear your opinion what is best.
Ratt thanks for posting. I'm getting great results after using Loctite 222 the past two years. But I'm still open to find new and better products. Spoke Prep served me well but it is slow to use and not really powerful.
Loctite low strength theadlocker really locks the nipples, and wheel building is not a drama. My advice is to use the correct amount of Loctite, which is almost nothing, and thread the nipple inmediately unlike the Wheelsmith SpokePrep that you must let it dry first.
The wheel service is good. You will hear the unique noise of the nipples breaking loose. Nothing to worry. Be ready to pain if you want to dismantle the whole wheel on the other hand.
Surprisingly, threadlockers are not the worse enemy to nipples. Now that almost everyone run tubeless, the chemicals act as a nipple freeze and corrode the alloys (how many Roval with DT Swiss Prolock nipples I've changed!).
In the future I'm going to experiment with Sapim SILS nipples and those nipples with a nylon insert. I liked the nipples that come on Rolfs and Mavic Aksiums for example.
Are you implying sealant accelerates corrosion between the spoke and nipple? Why would sealant ever get at the nipples to begin with?
Originally Posted by fernandoj
While I am typically an anti-threalock builder, I do occasionally use it on disc wheels with straight pull spokes. I've seen a few issues on machine built wheels of this nature where spokes going slack under braking load will allow them to spin loose from the nipple. Though, to be fair, I've only seen this on machine built wheels. I still like to play it safe. I have been using DT Spoke Freeze because it's been laying around my shop for a while (it barely gets used), but I'd probably go with Wheelsmith Spoke prep next time. Having a strong bond is not really a priority.
What's the matter with linseed? Its an oil so it lubricates when you're building. It will stay slick for a few days so you can ride the wheels in and then adjust, but after a week or so its locked down.
I've often thought that the best solution would be a pair of rubber jawed pliers that you you could use to hold the spoke above the nipple when the tension is getting high to avoid wind up.
Many people run some sort of jerry-rigged setup where the sealant can leak through the tape and get into the rim. Or sometimes the tape gets damaged or partially peeled off from repeated tire changes, once again sealant gets into rim and does its thing. Or someone didn't use wide enough tape, or sometimes the rim bed has a wonky profile that the tape won't fully conform to.
Originally Posted by Matty F
My personal opinion is that if a wheel needs threadlock it shouldn't have been built in the first place. The only way a spoke loosens off is if it's sufficiently de-tensioned from riding loads, and if the spokes are getting unloaded to that extent the wheel's going to have a shortened fatigue life anyway, regardless of whether the spoke nipples loosen off or not.
As for machine built wheels, at my old shop we'd de-stress and true up every single wheel as they came out of the box, it was the only way to keep the breakage at an acceptable level. Otherwise, we'd literally wear out our truing stand.
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