Do you grease your nipples ?

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  • Do you grease your nipples ?
  • My front wheel ( a DT Swiss M1600 ) has developed rust and bubbling on the rim around the spoke nipples/eyelets and the valve area. As its only 18 months old i have requested a warranty replacement from the retailer as DT Swiss provide a 2 year warranty. They have just come back to me having inspected the wheel to say that its wear and tear due to poor maintenance and there is no warranty claim.
    When i spoke to them the warranty agent suggested i should be putting lube/grease around the spoke nipples/eyelets every month as part of basic maintenance and should remove the rim tape regularly too. Ive checked the user manuals and the technical manuals and this is not mentioned anywhere.

    I have been riding mountain bikes on and off for 20 years now and have never had this problem, nor have i ever greased the nipples as he suggested. None of the group i ride with have this problem ( on a variety of different rims )and i have rims that are 10 years old that have been subject to the same basic clean and occasional bearing change regime as the new one and are still perfectly fine.

    I suspect i’m being fobbed off here… anyone else follow this advice or have i just been lucky with my wheels until now ?

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t accept that. I’m in the smae boat as you – never greased as part of ongoing maintenance, only replaced rim tape when it looks too manky (barely ever), never to check condition of rim bed.

    I wouldn’t be happy in your poisition of being told the problem was my fault.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Having said that, I’m sure it’s possible to create that sort of problem through poor maintenance – riding through salt water, cleaning once with brillo pad, daily salt water riding for 18 months, no more cleaning and keeping the bike in a warm, damp basement.

    Thanks ned… im not happy about the response and have demanded they send them to TF Tuned for a second opinion. I wouldnt have an argument if i’d done any of the stuff above but i generally take care of my bike… parts are too expensive to replace to neglect them. The bike and wheels get cleaned after every ride with Fenwicks bike wash, no aggressive cleaners, chain lubed then its stored in a dry outbuilding. Every so often i’ll do a full strip down re-grease on all the major parts but thats it

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    I think they’re having a laugh, personally.

    Maintenance is one thing, and I agree that never cleaning your bike counts as self inflicted, but oiling nipples other than during wheel assembly and monthly rim bed inspections are insane

    bencooper
    Member

    Rust? Or corrosion/pitting of aluminium?

    Either way, no – nipples don’t need grease, certainly not to protect them.

    torsoinalake
    Member

    Too much like hard work. Unfortunately aluminium corrodes in wet and salty conditions – something the UK excels in. I would just ride the rim until it dies, then chuck it away and rebuild the wheel with brass nipples.

    bencooper – it looks like rust around the eyelets. The paint has cracked/split and is brown coloured on the edges. The paint is bubbled around the valve quite extensively… might be corrosion i suppose.

    clubber
    Member

    It’s a tough one.

    No, I don’t believe that you have to maintain them – I certainly don’t and I’ve never seen it written anywhere (might be worth a quick check on their manuals!) that you need to.

    But 18 months is plenty of time for components to corrode if left damp and salty so in that instance I don’t think they’d be being unreasonable.

    You say you washed it, etc but how is it stored and could water get in the rim and then corrode from there even post-wash?

    clubber – stored in a dry outbuilding. Up off the floor on a bike rack, but hung horizontally. Outbuilding is water tight and dry. 6 other bikes in there and none of them have this issue

    rudispanner
    Member

    Relative newb here, but my two penn’orth is that a) it’s galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals, i.e. your eyelets (steel) and rims (aluminium). If the nipples are aluminium, you’ll get the same; b) nipples aren’t wear parts, so how can it be wear and tear? c) no wheelbuilder work their salt puts lube on nipples because it can allow them to slacken off over time; and finally d) what maintenance do DT Swiss recommend in their owner/user manual? Throw that back at them and see what happens.

    Thanks rudispanner…. DT Swiss makes no mention of lubing the nipples in their user or tech manuals. Just thats its cleaned post ride ( which i do ) that its not an aggressive cleanser ( which its not ) that you dont use a pressure washer ( which i dont ) and that you check the spoke tension and rotation every 10 hrs. Thats it. To be fair to TF Tuned they seemed very reasonable on the phone. Will see what they come back with after inspection

    clubber
    Member

    clubber – stored in a dry outbuilding. Up off the floor on a bike rack, but hung horizontally. Outbuilding is water tight and dry. 6 other bikes in there and none of them have this issue

    Certainly sounds perfectly reasonable and as you say, no other wheels have had the issue.

    Premier Icon hopkinsgm
    Subscriber

    c) no wheelbuilder work their salt puts lube on nipples because it can allow them to slacken off over time

    Actually… a little oil on the tip of the spoke helps avoid the spokes from becoming twisted as you build a wheel. A little oil on the rim drilling helps the nipple turn in the rim whilst you’re building the wheel. Both of these practices are recommended in the WheelPro book. I’ve built a few wheels based on the advice in the WheelPro book and haven’t had any issues with spokes coming loose.

    julianwilson
    Member

    worst i have seen is alloy nipples corroding but this is white powder (presume aluminum oxide?) not red rust, which must be from steel eyelets rather than brass/alloy nipples or rim. Not all rims created/finished equally though: seen loads of paint lift off brown ones as featured on “That Crap Run Of DT Wheels That Kept Breaking On Specialized Circa 2008”, whereas we have some many years/rides old black ones with and without eyelets that are still lovely.

    Also +1 to lubing nipples when you build, but this is for building/holding off spoke twist/deflection, and not protection against corrosion. (Wheelpro book sayeth so, and this has done me very well over 25 or so of mine and mates’ wheels) Also top tip for less spoke deflection (and that awful feeling when you stress the wheel sideways on the floor and all the twisted spokes ping their way back out of tension), once your wheel is laced up and not loose-but-not-tight, get a bit of lube in where each spoke crosses and rubs against the other too (but clean it all off with a paper towel when you are sure you have finished tensioning.)

    As a rule lube/oil is not good for tyres or tubes, not sure how happy I would be deliberately and regularly applying it so near by, especially with cloth rim tape and tubes.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    As we all seem to have missed an opportunity here…..

    Yes, but it will cost you extra, big boy! 😉

    Baznav
    Member

    problem with dt is they paint to much of their stuff and it always ends up bubbling and chipping off and looking shite, anodize it FFS.

    try5
    Member

    Eliminate them.

    An update for those who may be interested. TF Tuned have assessed the corrosion damage and have agreed to supply me with a new rim under goodwill. They mentioned it could have been poor paint application at the factory ? Either way ive got a new rim coming… i wont be lubing the nipples on the new one every month though. Lets see how this one stands up

    I have noticed that DT Swiss paint on hubs and rims ain’t what it used to be…

    Premier Icon zbonty
    Subscriber

    Fairplay for sticking to your guns. I’d be inclined to say wear and tear tbh but i’m not familiar with these rims/their finish.

    I had a similar issue with a Syncros rim where it was cracking along the join after very little xc use. Stif and then Jungle said no, Syncros said fair enough. The bloke on the phone at Stif said pinned rims often move at the joint like that, its fine- BS!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    To be fair, if they laid on thick indestructible paint peopel would complain about the extra 5 grams.

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