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Old 09-07-12, 01:35 PM   #1
Bikey Mikey
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Popped a nipple today.

After 4500 miles since late March on the new Defy 1, I popped a nipple today, a spoke nipple. I was in the last 4 or 5 miles of my 40 mile ride when I hear a spoing. Stopped and I found one of the spokes was loose on the rear wheel--it was around 06:40. I biked the rest of the way home, got the cycle up on the stand and removed the rear wheel. I noticed the nipple was missing. Anyway, I took it to my LBS when it opened, told they'd do it right then, and replaced the nipple(the old one seemed to have just come unthreaded, but the mechanic put a new one on). He checked the wheel for being true and made a few adjustments. The charged me only $10(normally it's $20 but I bought the bike from them) and I was out the door in less then 10 or so minutes.

Had this not happened, I was thinking of doing 50 miles or a metric century, but I didn't want to do that many more miles with a loose spoke.
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Old 09-07-12, 02:04 PM   #2
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Brings to mind some reference somewhere, I forget what book or movie, about some buxom female with such huge assets that she could poke your eye out with her nipple, or something like that!

But back to wheels; I normally break every rule in the book when I rebuild a wheel. If it's the same hub and make/model of rim, I just reuse the spokes and nipples. The spokes seldom break, but I've broken several nipples. They come apart at the flange, so you've got the slotted section rattling around inside the rim well, and the spoke just hangs out there with the other part of the nipple still threaded on.

There was a time when spokes cost maybe $0.25 each. Now that they're a buck each, I figure they're worth reusing. And at least when I've gone to buy one or two replacement nipples, the shop usually just gives them to me for free. Back in the old days, whenever I needed to rebuild a wheel, the old spokes got cut off and replaced with new ones. Now I actually take the trouble to unthread all the nipples. Very time-consuming.

And then most "bought wheels" today are LSC (low spoke count). So one broken spoke (or nipple) tends to really pull the wheel out of true. And with the limited clearances, I'm not sure you want a tire rubbing at every wheel revolution against your carbon fiber chainstay.

Luis
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Old 09-07-12, 03:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
Brings to mind some reference somewhere, I forget what book or movie, about some buxom female with such huge assets that she could poke your eye out with her nipple, or something like that!
....

And then most "bought wheels" today are LSC (low spoke count). So one broken spoke (or nipple) tends to really pull the wheel out of true. And with the limited clearances, I'm not sure you want a tire rubbing at every wheel revolution against your carbon fiber chainstay.

Luis
Thanks for the visual!

But I have been wondering about your last comment about low spoke count wheels being common. Why is that? I guess I could see it on a road bike where every gram counts. But I am seeing it on hybrids and other bikes... It seemed to me that the "standard" was always 36. Now, 32 seems a lot and I have seen some at 24.

That just seems like asking for trouble. Not only does it make it more likely you will bust a spoke because each is bearing more weight and pressure from road bumbs, but losing one is more likely to cause serious problems.

I just don't understand the rationale there...
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Old 09-07-12, 06:13 PM   #4
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My wheels are 28 spoke.
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Old 09-07-12, 06:40 PM   #5
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Next time you have the tires off, remove the rim strips and shine a light in the spoke holes and have a look at how far into the nipple the spokes are threaded. Having the head pop off the nipple is usually a sign that the spokes are too short. Having supposedly high zoot wheels is no guarantee against this either. I saw a few Zipp(itydoodah) wheels come through the shop that suffered this symptom. You'd expect the high end products would have these bases covered, but it ain't necessarily so.
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Old 09-08-12, 01:03 AM   #6
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Low spoke wheels are OK if they are a good make- are looked after when storing and riding and do not have a "Heavy" rider using them. But they do take some looking after. I have a set of 16f-20r that ride fantastic but only used for special rides where bling may be required and they are 7 years old now with 6,000 miles on them.

If it had been a single spoke that had broken then I could be worried. Strain could have been put on the others suddenly but a nipple unwinds gradually so lessening the shock. But why did the nipple come undone? I have come across nipples that always loosen off and need some assistance to stay tight but only a couple in 20 years of riding.

Providing the wheel was retrued then I can see no problem unless there is a fundamental problem with the wheel. 4,500 miles is not much but it may take another 2,000 for it to happen again if there is a fault with the wheel so a metric will not be a problem.

Incidentally- one wheel I did have problems with was a Giant wheel- not one of the current ones though- and that was replaced by Giant under warranty- and that was breaking spokes.
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Old 09-08-12, 04:31 AM   #7
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I had a nipple come off a spoke on a rear wheel just a few weeks ago, right before the end of a ride. It was the first time I'd seen that happen. The nipple ended up inside the rim (it's a modestly-aero box section clincher), rattling around like a loose stone in a hubcap. Since the wheel was purchased with a "protection plan" I returned it to the builder to deal with, rather than mess around trying to fish it out myself.
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Old 09-08-12, 06:27 AM   #8
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The LBS retrued the wheel after replacing the nipple with a new one. They removed the rim strip(also to get the nipple as it was inside the rim) and looked closely at all the other spokes. Obviously if I have another nipple issue, I'll see if they think it should be replaced under warranty and have them handle it. They have wheels I can borrow if that needs to be done. I have had some rough roads to deal with a while ago--one area they were repaving and I had to pull up so it wasn't a hard impact where the prepared area met the new paving(stood up so my weight wasn't on the seat as the tires went over)--BTW, as it has been noted, I'm a lightweight--was mid 140 lbs when I started and only 141 now.

Interesting salesman was at the shop--Continental Rep was there(loved seeing I was using Gators)--he said that if I think of an upgrade, get some hand built wheels(don't go nuts with fancy-shmancy expensive ones). He hasn't had a spoke problem since he got hand builts and he rides his road tires off road.
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Old 09-08-12, 06:31 PM   #9
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You got better mileage than me, I had about 1300 and I had a spoke on cassette side of rear wheel break at the spoke hole in the hub, the LBS fixed it asap and charged me very little, then 2 months later I had a 2nd. spoke break on the same side, rear wheel. The LBS only charged me for the spoke, no labor. This is a 32 spoke wheel and it had a 28 spoke front. I decided to switch wheels with my wife as she's 100+ lbs lighter than me and her rims, are touch wider seem a bit more HD, so I put them on my "utility" bike. She's had the wheel's for several 100 miles miles now and had NO problems at all! I guess the wheel's didn't like my "clydesdale" weight, (235), the strange thing, I have the SAME type of wheel's on my "road hybrid", a 32/32 set up and I have MORE miles on them and have had ZERO problems, that seems quite odd?
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Old 09-10-12, 12:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
Brings to mind some reference somewhere, I forget what book or movie, about some buxom female with such huge assets that she could poke your eye out with her nipple, or something like that!
I believe you may be thinking of Jane Russell. Howard Hughes had a special bra built for her- cantilevered was it?- so her bosom would be adequately lifted and separated. The story goes that it worked so well that when she was onscreen and turned from one side to the other the whole audience ducked.
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