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Thread: Nipples

  1. #1
    McNightrider
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    Nipples

    Hey all',

    Planning to build new wheels, just wondering what is the different between AL, brass and alloy nipples?
    Also a quick question on spokes, straight guages or double butted for road use?

    Cheers,
    Dubbo

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    AL= aluminum or alloy Brass is are plated brass nipples.
    Al = lighter Brass = heavier but much more durable.
    DB unless you are as wide as you are tall.

  3. #3
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Al and alloy are the same thing. It means they are aluminum. Alloy nipples are a little lighter and can be bought in a variety of colors. They tend to be harder to keep from stripping as you near the max tension. Brass are far more durable but available only in black our silver.

    I use double butted for increased durability and lighter weight. There are numerous threads detailing why this is so do a search to learn more but basically, the fact that they "give" a little in the middle, they reduce stresses on the elbow and nipple ends.
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  4. #4
    Your mom
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    Aluminum means you don't want them. Brass means you do. I'm scared of Al nipples.

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    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Colored Al nips are really cool "looking". I for one am more interested in the performance than the "look". Aluminum can be made to work just fine but there is a much higher likely hood of stripping and they are just not as durable. So, if your focus is on a particular look and/or you are a weight wienie, alloy may be a good choice. I like to ride my bike lots and don't want to be sidelined by parts that don't hold up. What is really cool to me is a bike that works all the time with a minimal hassle.
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  6. #6
    WNG
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    Stick with brass nipples and save yourself some heartache. I have a rear wheel with AL nipples, although it's noticeably lighter, it's less reliable. I didn't spec it that way, just happen to come that way.

    I guess Ti would be the ideal choice, but it's too costly.
    “You meet the nicest people on two wheels!"
    "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." ~Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Are there corrosion (galvanic) issues with aluminum and brass, when paired with stainless steel spokes?

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    I wouldn't worry much about galvanic corrosion, unless you intend to store your bike outside near the ocean in a tropical environment. I know that stainless steel and aluminum can be a bad combination under severe conditions, but not usually a concern for bikes as far as I know. I expect that brass and aluminum are similar to steel and aluminum. Brass and steel are close together on the galvanic series, so should be less of a problem.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    I think there is a bizarre amount of fear surrounding aluminum nipples. I'm sure they are less reliable than brass nipples, but they aren't THAT troublesome. I built up a set of 29er wheels (Salsa rims, DT Swiss double butted spokes, White Industries hubs) over a year ago with aluminum nipples and have beat the crap out them with zero problems. And yeah, they look really cool (red!). Nothing wrong with that.

  10. #10
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    If you do decide to go with alloy nipples, just keep in mind at some point you will be replacing them, and sooner than brass nipples. Aluminum can take less fatigue cycles than brass. Once they start breaking, replace them all.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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    "I think there is a bizarre amount of fear surrounding aluminum nipples." QUOTE.

    +1


    Regards,
    J T

  12. #12
    Svr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    I think there is a bizarre amount of fear surrounding aluminum nipples. I'm sure they are less reliable than brass nipples, but they aren't THAT troublesome. I built up a set of 29er wheels (Salsa rims, DT Swiss double butted spokes, White Industries hubs) over a year ago with aluminum nipples and have beat the crap out them with zero problems. And yeah, they look really cool (red!). Nothing wrong with that.
    +2

    Yes, aluminum nipples require more skill and knowledge to build a reliable wheel. I've got a set of 26" MTB wheels going on 11 years old built with aluminum nipples, no failures yet. -Knock on wood-

    Why do people blame the nipples instead of their own mechanical ineptitude?

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    +3
    I prefer DT Swiss aluminum alloy nipples, no problems at all.
    (FWIW, brass is also an alloy)

    Al

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    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svr View Post
    Why do people blame the nipples instead of their own mechanical ineptitude?
    The problem is entirely that Aluminum is weaker than brass. The wrench flats round off more easily, the threads strip more easily, and they break more easily when an object gets between the spokes when riding. They have been known to fail in use without abnormal incident. ~Jobst Brandt
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  15. #15
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Just have point out that this thread has been posted to 14 times and viewed 234 times.

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    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Just have point out that this thread has been posted to 14 times and viewed 234 times.
    I'll bet they were disappointed when they found out there was no pr0n.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

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