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Broken nipple

Old 07-11-19, 01:25 PM
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Broken nipple

A nipple broke on my commute yesterday, leaving the spoke to flop there uselessly

The wheel immediately went pretty far out of true

Is this a sign I should replace the rim or should I just replace the nipple, re true and keep riding?

the rims are arraya gold 700c clinchers laced to suntour cyclone track hubs so yeah, not new...
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Old 07-11-19, 01:39 PM
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Just an update - forgot to mention - I was climbing a very mild hill when this happened, did not hit a pothole or anything out of the ordinary - literally my everyday commute.
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Old 07-11-19, 02:55 PM
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Before you start, examine the rest of your spokes checking carefully to see if they are long enough. Each of your spokes should at least reach the bottom of the screwdriver slot in the head of the nipple. If they don't reach that far, it is very common for nipples to break off at the head
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Old 07-11-19, 02:55 PM
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I wouldn't expect a nipple to break unless the spokes are too short.
Are you sure you didn't break a spoke AT the nipple?

A pic may be useful.
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Old 07-11-19, 03:15 PM
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Aluminum or brass nipples?
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Old 07-11-19, 04:03 PM
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Which side of which wheel?
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Old 07-11-19, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Aluminum or brass nipples?
AL

good question
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Old 07-11-19, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Which side of which wheel?
Rear. About 1/4 from stem left row
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Old 07-11-19, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I wouldn't expect a nipple to break unless the spokes are too short.
Are you sure you didn't break a spoke AT the nipple?

A pic may be useful.

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Old 07-11-19, 04:55 PM
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alcjphil has a good point. I"m guessing that probably most of those spokes on that side have the same issue. If it were me, I wouldn't panic. I'd just get a handful of those nipples, carry three, a spoke wrench and make a nipple started from a matching spoke. (To make a nipple starter, cut a spoke in half. Screw a nipple on backwards all the way and tighten with a spoke wrench. Now you will see just enough threads showing to start a new nipple at its top. Bend a nice handle into the cut end of the spoke. Now you can easily drop a new nipple into the spoke hole and hold it steady while you start it on the old spoke. (If your rim is an older, single wall rim, ie no hollow area to lose spokes in, forget the nipple starter.)

Now, mark any spokes you change nipples on and replace them at your convenience with longer spokes.

Nipples for too short spokes will break, one by one. But the point where this starts happening a lot may be many thousands of miles away. Ultimately, the wheel will want a rebuild with spokes probably 2mm longer, but that is nearly the work of building a wheel from scratch, so why sweat it until it's an issue? (Unless you are about to go on a venture where reliable wheels are required or spoke breakage is unacceptable. Touring, racing ...) Now it is also possible that this is the only short spoke (the builder ran short of the right ones). Good spokes will come to the tops of the nipples or a little beyond (on double walled rims; extended spokes puncture tubes in single wall rims).

Ben
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Old 07-11-19, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Davei,
By now you should know that the wheel owes you nothing. Twenty plus years of service and a broken spoke is the only problem? I would re-build the wheel. Loosen the non drive side first and then the drive side to prevent damage to the rim, buy a new set of both sides of the rim spokes and replace them.
A good re-build will keep you going for as long as the old set of spokes lasted. For the most part a broken spoke should not let the rim get too far bent to make it useless. Lowering the tensions slowly should keep the rim reasonably intact for a re-build.
I do a lot of re-builds for the local co-op by saving good rims and hubs and doing a complete re-lace of the wheel (even with old spokes). Do check a spoke length via one of the calculators on the web, or just measure the ones you take out of the wheel. HTH, MH
But first, look at brake wear. No point in investing in a rebuild if the sidewalls are worn. Lay a straightedge across the rim. Is there a deep hollow? Consider replacing. Shallow hollow? Maybe just take my approach above, knowing they are not going to last forever. Almost no hollow and the rim spins straight (of at least did until the spoke broke)? OK, invest in a rebuild.
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Old 07-11-19, 06:15 PM
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Since the "button" broke off the barrel of the nipple, that shows too short of a spoke.
Think of the button as the nut that holds the bolt from the other side.
The barrel is just an assembly aid so you can get all the nipples started on the spokes before you start to add tension.
The end of the spoke should reach (or mighty close to) the screwdriver slot in the nipple.

Is that a replacement spoke that was too short?
It appears to possibly be a different color???
Looks like you have problems with more than 1 spoke?

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 07-11-19 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 07-11-19, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
alcjphil has a good point. I"m guessing that probably most of those spokes on that side have the same issue. If it were me, I wouldn't panic. I'd just get a handful of those nipples, carry three, a spoke wrench and make a nipple started from a matching spoke. (To make a nipple starter, cut a spoke in half. Screw a nipple on backwards all the way and tighten with a spoke wrench. Now you will see just enough threads showing to start a new nipple at its top. Bend a nice handle into the cut end of the spoke. Now you can easily drop a new nipple into the spoke hole and hold it steady while you start it on the old spoke. (If your rim is an older, single wall rim, ie no hollow area to lose spokes in, forget the nipple starter.)

Now, mark any spokes you change nipples on and replace them at your convenience with longer spokes.

Nipples for too short spokes will break, one by one. But the point where this starts happening a lot may be many thousands of miles away. Ultimately, the wheel will want a rebuild with spokes probably 2mm longer, but that is nearly the work of building a wheel from scratch, so why sweat it until it's an issue? (Unless you are about to go on a venture where reliable wheels are required or spoke breakage is unacceptable. Touring, racing ...) Now it is also possible that this is the only short spoke (the builder ran short of the right ones). Good spokes will come to the tops of the nipples or a little beyond (on double walled rims; extended spokes puncture tubes in single wall rims).

Ben
Excellent stuff here. Thanks!!

my commute is only 8 miles One Direction and I am never out side of Uber range

Itís a re-purposed track bike so itís not really suitable for long rides anyway
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Old 07-11-19, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
But first, look at brake wear. No point in investing in a rebuild if the sidewalls are worn. Lay a straightedge across the rim. Is there a deep hollow? Consider replacing. Shallow hollow? Maybe just take my approach above, knowing they are not going to last forever. Almost no hollow and the rim spins straight (of at least did until the spoke broke)? OK, invest in a rebuild.
Excellent thank you
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Old 07-11-19, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Since the "button" broke off the barrel of the nipple, that shows too short of a spoke.
Think of the button as the nut that holds the bolt from the other side.
The barrel is just an assembly aid so you can get all the nipples started on the spokes before you start to add tension.
The end of the spoke should reach (or mighty close to) the screwdriver slot in the nipple.

Is that a replacement spoke that was too short?
It appears to possibly be a different color???
Looks like you have problems with more than 1 spoke?
Itís entirely possible. I didnít have a truing stand when I built this bike so I took that wheel to my local bike shop and he trued it for me and replaced a few spokes. Heís kinda lazy but cheap🙄

I am all set up for wheel building now so I can tackle it, just didnít want to if it wasnít worth saving
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Old 07-11-19, 08:48 PM
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What I would do is remove the rim strip and inspect each nipple to see if the spoke reaches the screwdriver slot or is very close. (1/2 thread?)
If it's just a spoke or 3, I'd replace them with the correct length.
If all are too short, at least you know what you have and can proceed from there.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
What I would do is remove the rim strip and inspect each nipple to see if the spoke reaches the screwdriver slot or is very close. (1/2 thread?)
If it's just a spoke or 3, I'd replace them with the correct length.
If all are too short, at least you know what you have and can proceed from there.
I like it thanks
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Old 07-12-19, 12:31 PM
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Thanks again for the feedback all!

I found an extra longer spoke in my garage and threw it on there.

The rim has pretty intense brake wear, but I remined myself I brake almost entirely on the FRONT rim so not worried about it getting much worse.

Trued it up (or pretty close, for commuting purposes only LOL) … just need to reinstall rim tape, tube, and tire!

Bonus - while I had my commuter on the stand (rare, very reliable low maintenance single-speed) I threw my little brother's Brooks saddle on there so we'll see how my butt enjoys that!
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Old 07-12-19, 01:56 PM
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I think that there is much ado about nothing about spoke length into the nipples. I built one wheel with Al nipples and after a few years and over 20k miles the Al got brittle and broke when I tried to tweak the wheel's spokes.
I always build with brass.
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Old 07-12-19, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
I think that there is much ado about nothing about spoke length into the nipples. I built one wheel with Al nipples and after a few years and over 20k miles the Al got brittle and broke when I tried to tweak the wheel's spokes.
I always build with brass.
I replaced it with brass - I think rebuilding this particular wheel with all brass is a little bit of a fool's errand considering the wear on the brake track.

Also, I have been just SEARCHING for an excuse to run tubular tires on this bike so my next set of wheels may be just that (as controversial as that sounds)
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