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Alloy nipples + rims w/o eyelets(7 posts)

Alloy nipples + rims w/o eyeletsOver-the-Hill
May 14, 2002 3:40 PM
It has been suggested that alloy nipples can be used with rims that do not have eyelets if the nipples are lubed with a high-quality waterproof grease during wheel construction. This is supposed to greatly reduce the incidence of alloy nipples seizing to the rim over time.

Does anyone have experience with wheels constructed in this manner (e.g. Velocity Aeroheads with alloy nipples)? Is it better to stick with brass nipples?
re: Alloy nipples + rims w/o eyeletscurlybike
May 14, 2002 6:20 PM
I prefer brass for adjusting ease, if you must have alloy, use sizing lube for cartridge case resizing. Sold at sporting goods stores or gun shops.
re: Alloy nipples + rims w/o eyeletsgtx
May 14, 2002 7:58 PM
I've done it--it's not a huge deal, though brass will still be a better bet in the long term. And I'd still go brass on the rear drive side. I always use oil (Phil's Tenacious) when building wheels--but you can use grease, anti-seize, whatever. The only thing I don't like is Spoke Prep. And if you ride in the rain a lot, you should lube the nips from time to time.
no problems so farjw25
May 15, 2002 5:53 AM
I built up some Velocity Aeroheats with Wheelsmith alloy nipples, and haven't had any breakages, seizure, or whatnot. I did make sure the rim drilling was smooth (all were - Velocity makes good rims), and used plenty of waterproof boat bearing grease (it was on hand).
I built these with Wheelsmith XL-14 spokes, though, so the final tension is a bit lower than, say, 14/15's would be. If you're bigger, or hard on wheels, I think brass drive-side would be a good idea, and if you're very nervous, brass all-around only adds 20g total, I believe.
May 16, 2002 10:25 AM
You gotta realize that there aren't any hard and fast rules, but rather a bunch of tradeoffs. Seizing is just one issue with alloy nipples, but it's easily overcome. Waterproof grease isn't really the answer b/c is doesn't do any thing significant from a chemical perspective to arrest the galvanic corrosion between stainless steel and aluminum. They're pretty far apart on the scale and as anyone around a marine environment will tell you the aluminum loses every time. There are better products on the market for this. Besides greasing the threads isn't really what you want to do - you want things to stay put, not loosen. The real issue is that over time, the alloy nipples and rims w/out eyelets will fail if tensioned correctly. There is a good reason why Open Pros come with eyelets, not that it can't be done without them - it just takes a lot more material. So you spend all the time and money for something that is marginally lighter, but prone to fail in time. Then you get to start all over again. I have a small collection of wheels like this - all failed and awaiting the hubs to be salvaged.

It really comes down to your objective: lighter wheels at any cost, or something that will last.
What about alloy WITH eyelets?Matno
May 18, 2002 8:08 AM
I've got eyelets on my new rims. Is there still a good reason to go with brass nipples (besides price) over alloy? Rotational weight is always nice to reduce, but not at the cost of durability. I only weigh 140 though. Will alloy nipples work just fine?
What about alloy WITH eyelets?curlybike
May 18, 2002 7:35 PM
Alloy will work fine now, but will seize to the spoke about a year down the road. I have had to cut spokes out because they were seized so tite.