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nipple reuse?

Old 12-05-23, 09:45 AM
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nipple reuse?

I'm replacing the rim of a rear wheel that has significant cracks around the nipples. I plan to use the technique described by Ali Clarkson in his video "How to Replace a bike rim". I'd like to know if I can reuse the nipples rather than replace them (to save time in ordering etc). Thanks for any input.

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Old 12-05-23, 09:55 AM
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I don't see why not if they are in good shapes ..!!
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Old 12-05-23, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BNB
I'm replacing the rim of a rear wheel that has significant cracks around the nipples. I plan to use the technique described by Ali Clarkson in his video "How to Replace a bike rim". I'd like to know if I can reuse the nipples rather than replace them (to save time in ordering etc). Thanks for any input.
Yes, but… If any of the spoke nipples are deformed or become deformed during detensioning, replace them. It’s a good idea to have a few spare spoke nipples around for just this case. Brass (or aluminum) is soft and easily deformed. Proceed accordingly.

Do yourself a favor and get one of these spoke wrenchs. It helps prevent rounding better than traditional spoke wrenches.
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Old 12-05-23, 10:21 AM
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Brass nipples can be reused unless, as noted, they're buggered up. Aluminum nipples? Replace them with brass ones. The weight difference isn't worth trying to clean up corrosion before the re-use, nor after the wheel's rebuilt.
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Old 12-05-23, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Yes, but… If any of the spoke nipples are deformed or become deformed during detensioning, replace them. It’s a good idea to have a few spare spoke nipples around for just this case. Brass (or aluminum) is soft and easily deformed. Proceed accordingly.

Do yourself a favor and get one of these spoke wrenchs. It helps prevent rounding better than traditional spoke wrenches.
+1 I get 6 nipples "just in case". I like to have 2 or 3 spokes as well. You may need two of those wrenches. I don't know what spokes you have now. Most of the current spoke nipples are the standard of the Park SW-0/40 with the black handle and your replacement nipples will almost certainly be that standard. You may also need the wrench that fits your spokes. I bolded that because that is critical. Yes, 99% of the current cycling world of modern 700c wheels is the black Park SW-0/40 but if your spokes are not, this will turn to a s*** show very fast.

I've only used the simpler single digit Park series. They don't have the 4th side locking feature but with a little care, they are also excellent. But it the old nipples are going to be hard turning, the better two digit series Parks will pay their way. (And for the minuscule price difference, why not?) I build my wheels with DT or the like spokes, brass nipples and generous marine grease on the threads and never need better than the single digit series when it comes time to re-rim a wheel except for those one or two cantankerous nipples (hence the spares).
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Old 12-05-23, 01:08 PM
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New nipples will give you a much better "feel" when tightening. Clean the threads on the spokes with a wire brush too.
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Old 12-05-23, 05:35 PM
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Thanks for the input. fwiw, the spokes are Sapim CX-Sprint with Sapim Brass Hex 12mm nipples. I did not build the original wheels though I was given 2 spare spokes. I'm not trying for lightweight - this is the rear wheel on a rear-heavy tandem. The rim is Velocity Cliffhanger. It might be worth a complete rebuild with something stronger overall but for now I will just replace the rim.
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Old 12-09-23, 01:57 PM
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I'd re-use spokes but not nips. False economy in my opinion.

/markp
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Old 12-09-23, 07:25 PM
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I used to re-use spokes and nipples on my Raleigh Super Course when I was a college student with no money, but I gave that up when I became an amateur racer with no money.
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Old 12-09-23, 08:46 PM
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It's more about time than money. Isn't there a saying about that? Wheel is built - I will check it frequently.

Originally Posted by mpetry912
I'd re-use spokes but not nips. False economy in my opinion.

/markp
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Old 12-09-23, 10:33 PM
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I just rebuilt a 1986 Trek wheel that someone had been screwing around with the lacing. The 40 year old brass nipples tensioned up just fine.
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Old 12-09-23, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BNB
...reuse the nipples rather than replace them...
Replace them. Why take the chance? But then again its the Walrus Protectors that are hard ta get...

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Old 12-10-23, 06:40 PM
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I save old nipples if they are in a good shape (not deformed), give them white spirits bath and put them aside. When possible, I prefer to use new ones, but keep the old ones for some builds. The same with spokes. In my experience new rims, spokes and nipples make wheel building a bit more pleasant, but certainly there's nothing wrong with re-using old components.
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Old 12-10-23, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Do yourself a favor and get one of these spoke wrenchs. It helps prevent rounding better than traditional spoke wrenches.
I prefer these.
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Old 12-10-23, 10:15 PM
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You have had cracked rims at the spokes, chances are fairly high that spokes and therefore nipples have been exposed to higher than normal tension. In wheel building, nipples are the cheapest components. I’d suggest buying new nipples - it’s not worth risking your safety.
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Old 12-12-23, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Do yourself a favor and get one of these spoke wrenchs. It helps prevent rounding better than traditional spoke wrenches.
I still don't know why Spline Drive nipples never gained popularity. Never rounded one of those.
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Old 12-12-23, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
I still don't know why Spline Drive nipples never gained popularity. Never rounded one of those.
Other than widespread unavailability, incompatibility with existing tools, and fighting with a "good enough" base, I don't have a clue.
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Old 12-12-23, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Other than widespread unavailability, incompatibility with existing tools, and fighting with a "good enough" base, I don't have a clue.
I don't consider square alloy nipples to be "good enough", but you got me on the other points.
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Old 12-12-23, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
I don't consider square alloy nipples to be "good enough", but you got me on the other points.
Try a Spokey spoke wrench and they might be good enough.

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Old 12-12-23, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Other than widespread unavailability, incompatibility with existing tools, and fighting with a "good enough" base, I don't have a clue.
I agree. I use Wheel Fanatyk splines on all my builds. They come in a variety of colors as well.
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Old 12-13-23, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Try a Spokey spoke wrench and they might be good enough.
True, as well as the one cyccommute posted, but at that point you're getting into the territory of specialty tools just as much as the Spline Drive ones.
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Old 12-13-23, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
True, as well as the one cyccommute posted, but at that point you're getting into the territory of specialty tools just as much as the Spline Drive ones.
How so? Bike shops have been using four sided spoke wrenches for a couple decades. It is simply a better version of an old tool and works on everything 3 sided wrenches do.

$7.
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Old 12-13-23, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
How so? Bike shops have been using four sided spoke wrenches for a couple decades. It is simply a better version of an old tool and works on everything 3 sided wrenches do.

$7.
I guess you’re right. It’s what they have on hand and it works.
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