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Alloy or Brass nipples on my wheelset?(12 posts)

Alloy or Brass nipples on my wheelset?dawgcatchr
Jul 22, 2003 5:32 PM
I am building up a tubular wheelset (Mavic GL330, 2X, 15/16 spokes up front, Campy Barcelona 3X 14/15 rear) and I would like the wheels to be as light as possible without sacrificing too much strength (I am 150 lbs and will be racing and sometimes training on these wheels). Should I use alloy or brass nipples on these wheels? Should I use a combo (brass up front, alloy in rear) and why/why not? I am thinking that alloy is lighter, brass is stronger, but in what sense? Only if the rim needs truing? Or do spokes have an effect on the flex and stress characteristics of the whole wheel?
Jul 22, 2003 5:39 PM
BTW, these are 28 hole wheels.
Jul 23, 2003 11:14 AM
go alloy front with alloy rear non-dirve, and brass drive side.
Heh Heh, he said nipples. nmTREKY
Jul 22, 2003 6:25 PM
You're joking...........right? nmTower
Jul 22, 2003 6:33 PM
Alloy will be finespookyload
Jul 22, 2003 6:55 PM
I built many sets of wheels for MTB racing using alloy, and that included front wheels radial laced which have super high tension. Just take your time when building and make sure to get some wheelsmith spoke prep. If not that then use the DT spoke prep.
Jul 22, 2003 7:01 PM
If you're really concerned about weight, go with alloy. It should never be a real problem with truing. Just make sure that you put some good spoke prep or grease on the threads before attaching the nipples. Also, a good spoke wrench will make a world of difference. I'm partial to the Spokey, but the Park tool is equally awesome. At any rate, get one that contacts all four sides of the nipple for greatest reliability.

My other two cents... Why are you building tubulars? For training, they would be a pain in the neck (at least if you get flats). For racing, the advantages are dubious at best. Tire choices are much more limited and usually a lot more expensive. Like I said, just my two cents...
If you really want to use alloy nips, use them in front only.MR_GRUMPY
Jul 22, 2003 7:01 PM
After a year, you won't be able to turn them, but that's OK in front. Front wheels rarely go out of true unless you tweek the rim in a crash. Don't.....I repeat....Don't use them in back, unless you want to cut out your spokes every year.
Are you serious?Matno
Jul 22, 2003 7:06 PM
Maybe that was your experience, but I had a wheelset with alloy nipples that lasted ten years before I sold them in good condition. Right before I sold them, I rebuilt them because I was worried about the alloy nipples being seized. They weren't. Well, a couple were, but not so badly that I couldn't turn them. About the only fault I could find with them was that they oxidized somewhat on the outside, probably from being left outside for a semester while I was in college...
Nonsense! I MTB on alloy nips, they'll handle the road no prob!BergMann
Jul 23, 2003 9:40 AM
I weigh about 165 and have been MTBing on alloy-nip wheels for years -- through stream crossings, snow, sand, bogs, you name it.

Like any competently built wheel, an alloy-nip wheel should have a small drop of oil or spoke-prep applied to each thread interface when building it up.

I've _never_ had an alloy nipple seize on me, not even here in NJ where they salt the roads like Mofos in the winter.

Caveat: If you're riding on really rough roads, you will have to true an alloy nip wheel more often than one with brass nipples. Spoke count, lacing and spoke gauge also play a role (the more flex there is in the rest of the system, the more your nips are liable to back off). If you've got decent mechanical skills, this shouldn't be much of a problem though.

Do you want absolutely bombproof wheels? Go 36 X 14g straight-gauge spokes with brass nipples. I've got an old set of campy wheels laced this way and they're indestructible.
Want lighter wheels & better performance? You'll have to make some compromises.

IMO a 28 spoke, butted, and radially laced front wheel with alloy nips and a 32 spoke 3-cross butted rear with alloy nips is more than strong enough for someone at your weight.
You are talking about 40gburdiman
Jul 23, 2003 6:04 AM
and for my money and peace of mind brass is the way to go. It is more reliable and stronger. Alloy however, would probably suit you. Quit worrying about it - geez.
Alloy's probably OK at your weight, but...Silverback
Jul 23, 2003 9:11 AM
I've got about 75 pounds on you, and I've had trouble with EVERY alloy-nip rear wheel I've ever used, even the expensive hand-built 36-spoke ride-to-Alaska same-as-the-mechanic-uses-on-his-tandem ones. I don't fool with them anymore.