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Old 02-28-14, 09:13 AM   #1
rhm
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how do you measure spoke nipples?

Okay, first of all, pardon me for being a cheapskate! I take recycling seriously, that's all.

Short version: how can I measure spoke nipples to figure out whether they will fit the spokes I'm using to rebuild a wheel? I have a lot of nipples in the bin, and I can't tell if they're all the same size or not.


Long version:

A few years ago I built a wheel, using a Sturmey Archer AW hub (alloy shell, 36h, very nice) and an unremarkable recycled 27" rim. And apparently I didn't tension the spokes right; after a couple years of commuting I broke a spoke. A couple months later I broke another one. Then I broke two. And I concluded, time to replace all the spokes.

Fortunately, I had 36 spokes of the same length in my spoke drawer, so I just rebuilt the wheel. Or so I thought.

But no. Now the nipples pop off the end of the spoke just before I get them up to tension.

I presume I have the wrong size nipples on the spokes.

Obviously I could just buy new spokes with matching nipples. In fact it will probably come to that. But if there's a way to measure the nipples in the bin, and find the correct ones for the spokes I'm using, that would be my first choice. Suggestions?
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Old 02-28-14, 09:23 AM   #2
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Okay, first of all, pardon me for being a cheapskate! I take recycling seriously, that's all.

Short version: how can I measure spoke nipples to figure out whether they will fit the spokes I'm using to rebuild a wheel? I have a lot of nipples in the bin, and I can't tell if they're all the same size or not.
Simple. You need a 2.0mm spoke and a lot of spare time. There are two diameters of spokes in common use. 1.8mm and 2.0mm. You have discovered that a 1.8 spoke in a 2.0 nipple will thread fine, but won't hold once tension is applied. So, you will need to do a go/no-go test on all your nipples. A 2.0mm spoke won't thread on a 1.8mm nipple. If you come across a very large nipple like the .105 size, you'll know. Set it aside. You can even sort them according to spoke wrench size, since it isn't cool to have to use 3 different spoke wrenches while truing a wheel! Have fun!
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Old 02-28-14, 09:36 AM   #3
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Yeah, you seem to have 1.8 mm spoke threads and 2.0 mm nipples. You can't check them on a 1.8 mm spoke, because they fool you until you get up to near end point tension. So you need a 2.0 mm spoke to test them. The ones that thread on are 2.0, the ones that don't are 1.8 and will fit the spokes you are trying to use to rebuild the wheel.
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Old 02-28-14, 10:00 AM   #4
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I'd just get a drill bit that will barely slide into a 2.0mm nipple but not a 1.8mm.
Probably a 49

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 02-28-14 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 02-28-14, 10:02 AM   #5
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I'd just get a drill bit that will barely slide into a 2.0mm nipple but not a 1.8mm.
Yep. That should work too.
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Old 02-28-14, 10:16 AM   #6
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I'd just get a drill bit that will barely slide into a 2.0mm nipple but not a 1.8mm.
Probably a 49
If you're going to go to all the trouble of sorting spoke nipples, wouldn't you also want to make sure the threads are good?
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Old 02-28-14, 10:20 AM   #7
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Faster way to check.

Cut the threads off a 15g spoke (or cut a 14/15g spoke in the middle). The bare 15g (1.8mm) wire will not slip through a 15g nipple, but will pass through a 14g nipple. So you hnw have a fast reliable go-nogo gauge for spoke nipple classification.
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Old 02-28-14, 11:07 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I should have thought of this myself!
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Old 02-28-14, 11:21 AM   #9
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I have a box of brand new DT 15g nipples, if you want some.
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