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spoke/nipple seizure(11 posts)

spoke/nipple seizureroybite
Aug 1, 2001 5:53 AM
What is the best way to prevent spoke and al. nipple seizure? I have 9 spokes currently seized on my mtb rim ( not ridden much for the last few years) and before replacing them wanted to know if a little anti-seize applied to the spoke thread prior to install is the best way to prevent this problem. I have also been told that if you use stainless steel nipples this problem doesn't occur. Is this true? Thanks in advance. Roy
nipple prepak
Aug 1, 2001 6:24 AM
when you buy a box of DT (or Marwi) spokes, it usuually comes with a little tube of nipple prep, but all you really need is a decent oil. I usually use Phil's Tenacious Oil or a wet chain lube (pedros road). Really it can be anything as long as it is going to get between the spokes and the nipples. I try to avoid anti-seize in general. Ti spokes should get Ti-prep. I usually use alloy nipples and havn't had a problem yet. I've been getting paid for building high-end custom wheels on the side for about three years.
SS nipples?Kerry Irons
Aug 1, 2001 4:38 PM
I think the message might have been SS spokes with brass nipples. I've not seen SS nipples. At any rate, you can buy commercial spoke prep, you can use linseed oil, or regular oil, or my favorite, grease. In any application, grease will resist oxidation and drying out better than oil, and so is better for any threaded situation. I've had 9 year old wheels (50K + miles) with no spokes siezed using grease. OTH, I've seen 4 year old wheels with alloy nipples where nearly every one had siezed. Anything is better than nothing, but I think quality grease is your best bet.
Objective?grzy mnky
Aug 1, 2001 4:50 PM
It kinda comes down to what you want to do. Linseed oil is used b/c it gums up over time and keeps the nipples from loosening. Using grease or an anti-sieze product would work the other way. Most of the publications advise that you use something to keep the nipples from unwinding. DT even makes a special nipple now with a dab of thread locking compound. I'm definitely in agreement that what the nipple is made of makes a big difference. If they're alloy then, yup corrosion is a big problem - dissimilar metals and electrolosis. So maybe the anti-sieze approach is best (we use zinc chromate for Alu. spars around boats). Ask any sailor, put aluminum in contact with stainless steel and you don't have to guess what's going to happen in time. If they're brass then the corrosion thing doesn't seem to be a problem so thread locking might be the way to go. Of course the alloy nipples have great apeal due to their lower weight. Ultimately you get what you pay for: if you want light wheels that may not last that long the go alloy, you want something that's going to last go brass (plated). It's a trade off. I've seen lots of wheels with totally seized alloy nipples, but linving near the coast this is to be expected.
why I hate brass nipplesak
Aug 2, 2001 8:38 AM
I've never had this problem on any of my road bikes but I've seen it on many others & LOTS of mtn bikes. the problem I see is that brass simply isn;t as strong as alloy. If you've ever thrown a wheel way out of true but not to the point where they can't be fixed, then you'll know that a strong nipple is a good thing. Brass nipples crack and strip an basicly suck if you've ever got a difficult bend in the rim. They're just not that strong, and replacing five to ten nipples on a rim that you're struggling to true isn't fun at all.

If you've really got a problem with the seizing (I'm not on the coast, so it's never been much of a threat) then anti-seize isn't going to hurt, but it might mean you have to re-true them often.
Fair 'Nuffgrzy mnky
Aug 3, 2001 8:26 AM
Mostly what I see are either siezed or broken alloy nipples. Wanging a wheel can definitely mess things up if it's bad enough. any one try the new DT nipples with the thread locking compound?
forget the tubulars....C-40
Aug 1, 2001 2:32 PM
Save the tubulars for racing only, carrying a spare tubular and dealing with the all the glue mess is just plain stupid for everyday use and training.

Your bike shop guy is correct that a good set of custom built wheels is the best value. The lower rim weight that he mentioned may be accurate, depending on the particular boutique wheel in question. Lower rim weight lowers the moment of inertia and improves acceleration, but this is usually only considered important in criteriums, where frequent accelerations occur.

If cost is an issue, custom built wheels are hard to beat. If you want cheap Ksyriums or Nucleons, try or From these sources the boutique wheels are about $200 more than a similar pair of custom wheels.
buy good tubularsRusty McNasty
Aug 2, 2001 7:38 AM
the kind which have better flat protection (Conti Sprinters, Tufo s33 or better, Vitt Corsa, etc.), and you will be better off than clinchers for weight, ride, and puncture vulnerability. Don't listen to the tubular-bashers.
well you have choicesJofa
Aug 1, 2001 3:04 PM
One of your prime concerns seems to be aerodynamics. Although we'd all like to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible, there isn't a great deal of difference between wheels in this respect. The most aerodynamic of wheels- discs- reduce wheel drag by about 50%. This sounds impressive until one remembers that the proportion of total drag which the wheels contribute, is minute; and in any case, discs are only allowed as rear wheels because of crosswind instability, and the rear wheel is largely faired by the front, and the frame and rider. Any wheel of a design inbetween a disc and an ordinary spoked wheel wheel exhibit a varying aerodynamic effect, but will never be more slippery than the disc- which might benefit a rider's overall efficiency in the order of one or two percent, maximum.

My point is that aerodynamics aren't significant to wheels in normal use, with the exception of time-trials, whose specialisation is such that these tiny differences are detectable: we'd all like to finish 25 miles 30 seconds earlier for a given effort, and maybe this is worth £1000+. If this advantage was effective in road-racing, then surely all professional cyclists would be demanding aero wheels for everyday use: they are not. Many wheels are currently sold which include rims that are deeper than they are wide. This characteristic is judged to be aerodynamic by the manufacturers. The aerodynamic effect is clearly insignificant: the design is for aesthetic and marketing appeal. The only wheels excepting discs which show any aero advantage are those with truly deep rims, such as those made by HED. The drag figures are publicised- and are minimal- but it is up to the consumer to make up his or her mind whether they'd like to benefit from these differences or not.

All of which is a circuitous way of saying that 'aero' is a pointless basis from which to judge a wheel destined for overall use. Once this factor is removed, then all these prebuilt wheels which might be described as 'boutique' lose a little of their gloss. They are, at least the best of them, probably perfectly functional; but without any significant advantage, and at twice the price, then I have to agree with your 'bike shop guy'. To an extent: I don't say the ride would be better with any wheel or another: there isn't a detectable difference. But properly built wheels made to ordinary design will be light, strong, and last indefinitely. Reducing the spokes to 28 will only increase the likelihood of spoke failure. In my judgement it's not worth it: stay with 32 or 36. Mavic Open Pro's are not without their problems but are fairly standard now, and generally are OK.

The tubular issue has been covered here thousands of times. I'd say, as I think Doug did recently, that if you don't know about them already, then don't bother. They allow a significantly higher pressure, which in turn offers lower rolling resistance; this is offset by the increase in drag caused by squirm in the glue which is used to secure them. The net advantage is effectively none. Clinchers are easier to deal with if slower to change, and are ultimately a lot easier to live with, as well as being the current standard.
To Jofa and C-40I'llridethrushit
Aug 1, 2001 7:08 PM
Your advice was great - thanks a lot.

he is rightWoof the dog
Aug 4, 2001 5:51 AM
To the original poster: forget airdynamics unless you do like only time trials. You do need a very deep/wide/high rim like HED, preferably made of carbon fiber to get airdynamic. But then you have more weight closer to the outside of the wheel. You are more of a climber, why not develop in that direction. A lot of races are decided on the climbs, while in the pack airdynamics don't matter. A shop is about to build me new wheels: durace hubs, Velocity aerohead 28 hole front and back- these babies are at 405 grams a piece (almost two replaceable derailure hangers lighter than open pros) and no eyelet noise like in Open pro. 2x front and back with some light spokes (not sure what they will use) I just hope those rims will turn out to be as good as they sound. You can get Vredeisten Vortezza tires that go up to 160 psi (probably 140psi realistically speaking). They corner well even in 20c width (is that really a height measurement?) They are good racing tires.
50 for spokes and nipples (think that will cover it)
100 for rims (from your bike shop)
160 for hubs (
8 bucks for rim strips
60 for building the wheels.
total about 380$...not too bad.
Good luck,

Woof the dog