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Nipples-Aluminium or Brass?(14 posts)

Nipples-Aluminium or Brass?C40 Mark
Nov 24, 2001 12:28 AM
OK guys I am building up some training wheels which I am planning to ride mostly on the road but also a few miles a week on a dirt road. They will be build with Campi record 10sp hubs, mavic Open pro CD rims, 14/16 gauge Wheelsmith spokes laced 3 across 32 front and back. I weigh 172LB's would I be wrong to try and use AL nipples verses brass? Also who makes the best nipples? I think I heard Velomax has stong AL nipples-possi
bly out of 7075 alloy.
Brass!!!!Rusty McNasty
Nov 24, 2001 6:44 AM
Aluminum nipples aren't very strong. They break easily. If you are gonna race the wheels, and really need the 10 grams/wheel they save, then yeah, take the risk. But for training wheels, and on dirt roads, yet?? What's the point? Fughettaboutit!!!!
10gm difference?dope
Nov 24, 2001 7:10 AM
think again
yup .... bigger difference.CT1
Nov 24, 2001 9:28 AM
I can't find my notes right now but I think the difference is about 0.6-0.7gm per nip.

For whatever it's worth I've been using DT alloy nips and not had any problems. My wheels are less than a year old though..... I do have big miles (8K) on them though.

Per Damon RinardTJeanloz
Nov 24, 2001 9:29 AM
The difference in weight between 14gauge Wheelsmith nipples (brass & alloy) is 23.584g. Alloy, of course, being lighter.
Per Damon Rinardkoala
Nov 24, 2001 12:04 PM
Is that per wheel?
Nov 25, 2001 7:55 AM
That's per 32 nipples.
Brass all the way.Twilight
Nov 24, 2001 2:05 PM
In case you're not familiar with how a spoked wheel works (you'd be very surprised to know just how many people don't), the wheel gains its strength mostly through spoke tension. Higher tension produces a stronger wheel - its more resistant to being knocked out of true and round. Brass nipples are tougher to strip and round-over than Aluminum ones, and are thus able to handle more tension.

Every set of mountain bike wheels I've owned use brass nipples (including the wheels I use on the disc brake equipped bikes), the only Alloy-nipples wheels I've got are the Mavic Heliums on my roadie. Had I not gotten such an incredible deal on those wheels (2/3 off retail), the set I was planning to build used Brass nipples.

As far as I'm concerned, the weight penalty for brass nipples is easly outweighed by the stronger wheel they build.
Go w/ alum nipps road...breck
Nov 24, 2001 8:36 PM
My component pic [except for the fine Campy & Wheelsmith components you have chose] for road would be alum nipps. I have found no failures using aluminum nipps on the road bike after thousands of hours of hard riding. In the beginning i used 32X front and rear; brass nipps; 14/15 DT spokes, but found the road bike front end harsh, even more so than the Klein mountain with no suspension. After much experimentation settled on the following:

For the '96 OCLV Road Bike on these hard riding local rough back country pave steep mountain roads, run alum nipps front and rear; Ultegra hubs; Open Pro rims; 28 spoke 3x DT 15/16 front; 32 3x DT 14/15 rear; Dura-Ace steel QR's; Velox rim tape; 25mm Conti 3000 GP tires & full size Conti butyl tubes. Air courtesy of Silca.
Reasonably light & Bullet Proof.

For the '95 Klein Mountain Bike on sum of the roughest steepest terrain in the county, run brass nipps front and rear; White Industries hubs; older Mavic CD rims [231 front; 117 rear]; 32 spoke 3x DT 14/15 front and rear; Ringle Ti Twisters QR's; Air-B Kev Tex rim tape; Ritchey Z-Max WCS skin wall 2.35" tires & Air-B full size latex/butyl tubes [no suspension]. Air courtesy of Zefal Double Shot [older twin tube model].
Reasonably light & Bullet Proof.

Btw, weigh 167 lbs. on my calibrated 5-cent 1950's Watling Fortune Teller scale [no springs!]. Soree for all the text but it's finally raining & am in the mood, etc. for bike-notes :)

cheers all,
back country
San Diego County
re: BrasstachShoppe
Nov 24, 2001 11:33 PM
from my experience working at a shop, i would say use brass nipples. If you're using the wheels as training wheels only, the weight difference between alloy and brass is irrelevent. the heavier the wheels, the faster you'll be when you're riding your race wheels. Brass nipples will last much longer, they rarely freeze onto the spokes or rim, and they're also much harder to strip while truing.
recent threadsJofa
Nov 25, 2001 4:36 AM
This one has come up quite a few times recently, and many of us stuck our oars in. Go back a couple of pages and check out the wheelbuilding threads if you want more indepth opinions than you could possibly need.

For what it's worth, these are training wheels! Does weight matter? haven't you thought too much about them already? get brass nipples and put them on your bike and ride them pronto, which will give you more time to decide which breakfast cereal to have this morning.

FWIW, I've broken alum, but never brass (nm)cory
Nov 26, 2001 8:58 AM
How long do you want the wheels to last?grzy
Nov 26, 2001 9:29 AM
Aluminum nipples will corrode much sooner than brass and will leave you unable to adjust them after a while. This is worse in a salty and wet environment.
Brass brass brass...Leisure
Nov 27, 2001 11:35 PM
If you were not planning on abusing them or were a fairly recreational rider aluminum would be fine, but yeah, for the long haul brass is better, particularly if you're planning on doing semi-trail stuff.