Alloy nipples or brass?

giant_man
giant_man Posts: 6,878
edited September 2010 in Workshop
Can anyone tell me the strongest nipples to get for a handbuilt wheelset, I have a choice of coloured anodised alloy or brass, is one better than the other? The alloy ones are slightly dearer so what is the best, or doesn't it matter?

Comments

  • sub55
    sub55 Posts: 1,025
    brass every time
    constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly
  • dodgy
    dodgy Posts: 2,890
    Brass, tiny bit heavier (the cumulative impact will be how many spokes are on the wheels), but you'll be glad you chose brass when it comes to truing the wheels in 18monhts time and they haven't corroded.
  • Another vote for brass. I have to use my bike for mtb but also commuting duties (live in London you have to rationalise!) and with alloy nipples I constantly tore spokes out of the rim as they failed over time.
    Scott Ransom 10

    Stumpy FSR Comp

    Wilier Izoard

    1994 Shogun Prairie Breaker Expert...ahhh yesssss

    'I didnt need those front teeth anyway..'
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I built one pair of wheels with alloy nipples - Open pros on Record with DT Revs - they corroded after 3 months and started breaking. Rebuilt with brass - haven't touched them since - 18 months later
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Brass every time.
  • Nipples every time

    Lycra Man
    FCN7 - 1 for SPDs = FCN6
  • +1 Brass unless you're weight weenie-ing
  • I've just bought a bunch of spokes (what is the collective noun for spokes?) and they came with 14mm alloy nipples. From what I understand, the preference is to use longer nipples if they're alloy, to ensure that you get enough thread contact.

    My first reaction is to ditch them and get brass instead. (To the OP: alloy is for light racing wheels that you probably use for a season, they can seize and corrode. But if light is your priority then fine. But for a more durable and hard wearing wheel with a longer life expectancy and ease of maintenance then brass is a better choice IMO.)

    So my question: Is there any issues with going with 12mm brass nipples even though the manufacturer (Sapim) supplied their spokes with 14mm alloys?
  • rake
    rake Posts: 3,204
    why take the chance over 2mm?
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Thanks guys I've heard enough to convince me to go for brass, as weight isn't the major factor here, thanks ...
  • I've just bought a bunch of spokes (what is the collective noun for spokes?) and they came with 14mm alloy nipples. From what I understand, the preference is to use longer nipples if they're alloy, to ensure that you get enough thread contact.

    My first reaction is to ditch them and get brass instead. (To the OP: alloy is for light racing wheels that you probably use for a season, they can seize and corrode. But if light is your priority then fine. But for a more durable and hard wearing wheel with a longer life expectancy and ease of maintenance then brass is a better choice IMO.)

    So my question: Is there any issues with going with 12mm brass nipples even though the manufacturer (Sapim) supplied their spokes with 14mm alloys?

    Depends on the rim to whether you use 12 or 14mm nipples
  • rake wrote:
    why take the chance over 2mm?

    I'm trying to understand the best way to reconcile what could be considered contradictory advice on the topic:

    a) not to go with nipples that are too long as this can interfere with the spokes exit angle from the rim. (If I'm using Sapim's polyax nipples then, supposedly that's not an issue)

    b) If using alloy nipples, try and maximize the amount of thread contact, hence longer nipples.

    @stellite: In what way does the rim matter? I'm using Ambrosio excellence, so no deep rim. And I factored in 12mm nipples when calculating the spoke length.

    Any thoughts?.... Otherwise I'll go with the 14mm brass jobbies and have a bunch of 14mm alloy polyax's for sale :D
  • In answer to my own question. I E-mailed Sapim and got a response advising that the 12 and 14 mm nipples have the same thread length and there shouldn't be a problem using either.

    So even thought they ship with 14mm alloy nipples I can use 12mm brass. Since these are commute wheels I want strength and reliability hence the brass nipples.

    That is all.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    If using alloy nipples then you need a slightly longer spoke to ensure full contact or they may shear. Also, you'd best use a compound to prevent corrosion.

    Some useful info here from a well respected industry chap -

    http://wheelfanatyk.blogspot.com/
  • satanas
    satanas Posts: 1,303
    FWIW, I have a pair of MTB wheels built in 1992 with DT 15g alloy nipples that are still going strong (due to ceramic rims) and have had zero problems with the nipples.

    However, I used Wheelsmith SpokePrep when I built them, and oiled the nipple/ferrule gap when they needed significant truing. (That only happened once when a large stick ripped out two spokes.)

    I have also had zero problems with alloy nipples on front wheels, or on the LHS of rear wheels. I *would not* recommend them for the RHS of heavily-dished road wheels, especially if these are built with a lot of tension; the RHS nipples can be impossible to turn without rounding in this instance. For MTB wheels with less dish it's less of an issue.

    Having said all that, brass nipples are undoubtedly more reliable, but a little heavier. It depends on what's important to you.

    If the wheels are built and cared for properly they shouldn't really need *any* truing unless they are crashed or otherwise seriously abused, so IMO alu nipples are entirely acceptable, given enough TLC is applied when necessary.