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New nipples

Mike67Mike67 Posts: 585
edited October 2010 in Workshop
I'm about to enter the dark world that is wheelbuilding and change the rim on my front wheel.
It's looking a bit concave and could probably double up as a handy water trough for the garden birds. :D

What's the concensus on using the existing nipples, and for that matter, spokes?

I've read that the spokes should be good for at least a second use having been proven on the first set. Not so sure how nipples stand up to multiple uses though!

It's a Mavic Open Pro, Sapim spokes on Shimano 105 hub if it helps.

Any advice appreciated.
Mike B

Cannondale CAAD9
Kinesis Pro 5 cross bike
Lots of bits


  • If you buy top quality spokes, like DT competition, you will spend 25-30 pounds of spokes on a website like Pedalon for 32 of them

    I think it's worth investing those extra quid... if the rim is gone, chances are your spokes will soon start developing fatigue related problems...
    It might well be that they will last another 5 years on a new rim, it might not... the hassle of having one or more failures and possibly spoiled days on your bike (imagine if that happens during a sportive) is worth over 25 pounds, in my view.

    If you are on a budget, you can get ACI DB spokes for even less or DT Champion straight gauge for 50 p each or so. They all come with brass nipples, which are still the best choice
    left the forum March 2023
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Spokes can be reused. Use new nipples
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I've re-used spokes that are 25 years old - a correctly built wheel should have an almost infinite fatigue life and certainly don't need replacing after a couple of years. Certainly replace nipples if they're looking a bit corroded or sloppy.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    I have spokes that are on their 4th rim. Also the nipples. I would not re-use alloy ones but brass if not rounded at all no problem.
    If you are just re-rimming then slacken off all spokes. Tape the new rim to the old one. Make sure the valve is in the same place then transfer the spokes across, side nearest the new rim first. Remove old rim and take up the slack in the spokes evenly. Check how much thread is visible or how far down the nipple the spoke end is. Done with care very little truing is required.
  • Mike67Mike67 Posts: 585
    Cheers guys.

    Thanks for all the info.

    Think I'll give it a go with the current spokes as they look in good nick. Not sure if the current nipples are brass as they are silver in colour (guess I need to give one a scratch and see.)
    I may well invest in new ones though in case I'm a bit heavy handed with the spoke key and round one off. My LBS has Sapim brass ones on offer at 5p each so nothing to lose really.

    It's going to be a spare cross wheel so worst that can happen is I get stranded half way round a lap and not 30 miles from home. :lol:
    Mike B

    Cannondale CAAD9
    Kinesis Pro 5 cross bike
    Lots of bits
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,565
    Along the lines of your original suspicion and subsequent comments, original spokes may actually be preferred over new, because those prone to failure will have been weeded out a long time ago. It's fairly academic as spokes are all pretty good these days, but the principle still stands.

    I think you should do just as John T says, for replacing the rim.
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