Seized nipples on Aksium?

drhaggis Posts: 1,150
edited September 2019 in Workshop
Some alu nipples on my rear Aksium have seized, and some spokes have begun loosening. It's clear by now the wheel is out of true, and it's only a matter of time it becomes unusable. I'm very pissed with Mavic and my LBS who suggested these in the first place, but throwing away a wheel with barely 5000 km feels wrong.

Are rear Aksiums "repariable"? As in economical and reasonably doable. My LBS didn't suggest "repair" when I brought this to them a few months ago, but "use until untrue, and replace with something else". Surely it is possible to get spokes + nipples from Mavic for not much, and then keep the Aksiums running? Or maybe the Aksiums are simply unsuitable as everyday commuting wheels in Edinburgh.


  • david7m
    david7m Posts: 636
    Cut the spoke in two that is seized and replace?
  • I assume by Alu you mean aluminium.
    The Aksiums I had were fitted with brass nipples that included an insert of blue thread lock.
    This makes them difficult to undo but I managed to by dribbling some freeing oil down each nipple.
    You also need to grip the spoke firmly with some pliers and protection for the painted finish.
    You can buy a new spoke & nipple but they aren’t cheap. I seem to remember getting 2 or 3 for £5.

    I did manage to re-rim a pair of Aksiums but it wasn’t easy to get the tensions right and I wouldn’t do it again.

    If you can get the nipples to turn then it’s certainly worth retensioning the wheel but if it’s more than that then I wouldn’t bother.
  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    Barely 5000km? Seems like a fair amount of distance, for what is an entry level wheelset.

    But yeah, if they are under 6 months old and have failed then you have a pretty clear case for a full refund/repair/replacement under the consumer rights act.

    If they are older than that it gets more complicated. Certainly from what you're saying I'd expect the LBS to stand by their recommendation by sorting the wheels one way or another.
  • I have a ten year old set of Aksiums, still going strong on my winter bike so they are used in all conditions, they are great wheels for the money . . . I have had a couple of spokes replaced in that time, I think you need to try another bike shop . . .
    Got a place in the Pyrenees.
    Do bike and ski stuff.
  • I've done 5,000 miles in 9 months on a pair of Aksiums. Still in excellent condition. No loose spokes and bearings still smooth and freerunning. Rims straight and true. Been a good set of wheels.
  • used aksiums for years (¿10?) as all round wheels and never had any problems. then gave them to a friend who used them as all round wheels for another 2 years and the rims have just died - everything else is still good.

    bombproof. recommended.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    Thanks for all answers!

    First, by "alu" I really meant aluminium alloy, yes. I've tried turning the nipples that are loose (3 out of 20 on the rear wheel) with the spoke key on my multitool. Spoke and nipple turn together, and several counterclockwise turns (looking from hub to rim), didn't seem to do anything.

    I raised the issue about the warranty to my LBS (who are a Mavic dealer!), and didn't want to repair, or pass the ball to mavic. Right after a full strip clean + bottom bracket + fork bearing replacement service. Where I've serviced my bike yearly since I bought it. Claimed it was lack of maintenance/abuse that caused the seizure. In lawyerspeak, the LBS might be right, as the Mavic manual claims wheels have to be cleaned after every wet ride. This is pretty much after every winter commute in Edinburgh so, no, I don't clean my wheels that often. Seizure happened more than 6 months after purchase, so out of luck on that side.

    There's clearly a division here: TimothyW thinks 5000 km out of Aksium is OK, while others have had better experiences. I'll start thinking this depends on road gritting. I've got another set of Aksiums on a Triban 540 at my parents' which will never see grit. These have 2500 km, two summers, and seem to be in much better condition. We'll see how they fare.

    In any case, I've got replacement wheels (Zonda) from somebody else, but if I can repair the aksium and get a few extra miles, especially in the deep of the winter, that'll be great.
  • Your local bike shop are wan kers treating you as a mug.
  • Mavic do have spokes available for there current wheels.

    A spoke holder is required to turn the nipples with aero spokes. If so a spoke holder will help. If the wheel has round spokes it wont.

    The lbs however are speaking from experience. When truing a wheel that's gone out, especially if replacing a spoke you often have to turn several nipples to get the wheel true again. If nipples are seized the wheel can become untruable. It not just a case of replacing the seized spoke and getting them up to tension. Your wheel will most likely be not true if that's all you did.

    The Alejandrosdog will no doubt think and say I am w*****r too for saying this but having attempted repairs on many wheel like this I know it often quicker to rebuild the wheel with new spokes. The problem is new spokes for your askiums and labour will cost as much as a new wheel.

    Op your only annoyed because you got the answer you did not expect. It however is still the answer.

    Alloy nipples by themselves are not the issue. Threadlock can limit/stop the corrosion. I took apart a set of borg31 yesterday where the rims had worn through. Each nipple un wound easily because of the loctite I used. Your wheels went out of true which means the threads are not locked securely, a loctite/corrosion inhibitor was not used and they are not stiff enough to prevent spoke losing tension. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    Thanks for the answer, Malcolm. I can see how getting 10 spokes (at least three are seized) plus labour makes it not cost-effective.
    Op your only annoyed because you got the answer you did not expect. It however is still the answer.

    Guilty as charged. I must admit my expectations with the wheels were far from the eventual result. Another bit I found annoying is being told I should treat wheels on a commuter bike as yet another disposable. I am not disputing this, mind you, but it is way beyond what I thought was normal only a few years ago. Then again, my father was probably just as shocked when I told him chains last me under a year.
  • How old are the wheels?
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    How old are the wheels?

    Bought in late February 2018. Seized nipples by April 2019.
  • DrHaggis wrote:
    How old are the wheels?

    Bought in late February 2018. Seized nipples by April 2019.

    Thats not old at all. Ive no idea where youve used them or how and in what condition you store them but if they were mine id be cheesed off. Ive got some very early ones that i use in the winter when its icy/ salty and then dont touch again once things improve. So really a january to march use. I dont look after them at all really but i know things arent seized after i used them recently to try a bit of off road and they needed a tweek.

    Some people have some serious disposable income on here and can treat wheels as almost short use disposable items.