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  • Specialized Roval wheels – aluminium nipples ?
  • Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    I have a set of Roval control 29er rims, on specialized propriety hubs as came as standard on my 2013 stumpy FSR. Recently I have been breaking spoke nipples at quite a rate. Never once broken a spoke, just the head shearing off the nipples. The wheel is true, spoke tensions are correct and even, and the rim is undamaged. I am 10 1/2 stone so not normally a wheel destroyer. As I have been going on I have just replaced the broken nipples with bog standard brass ones from my LBS, re-tensioned the wheel and de-stressed all the spokes The ones I have replaced as I have gone on haven’t broken again. Just wondering whether Specialized use aluminium spoke nipples on their builds and maybe this is the problem (corrosion possibly). The issue is only at the nipple never the spoke or rim. ?? Just curious

    Premier Icon PJM1974
    Free Member

    I’ve never seen a nipple break there, I’d agree that the nipples must be made of a soft metal, probably unsuited for the task.

    That’s probably how Specialized shave a few precious grammes from their wheels for bragging rights.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Full Member

    It’s how virtually all top end wheels come, when buying people judge weights more than durability, and the reality is that alu nips do save a reasonable amount. No way are Spesh alone!

    That said, Spesh do seem to use particularly shit alu nips, I had several break (although they tended to split, rather than heads pull off) on some Roval Controle SLs years back. I’ve broken a couple of Sapim “Polyax” ones with CX-Ray handbuilts previously, but never broken a DT alu one.

    Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    Yep, thats where they go in the same way. That image was the three I replaced yesterday, and previously a couple of rides back it was 2, so 5 so far in total on the some wheel. In one way its an easier fix, just annoying that something seems amiss due to the spoke tensions being normal and balanced and subsequently the spoke being perfectly intact. Its just getting irritating having to reset up the tubeless tyre each time

    Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    It’s how virtually all top end wheels come

    Strange thing is they actually aren’t a particularly light or top end wheel. They are the OEM set supplied on the Stumpy FSR 29er comp carbon, and to be honest they are a bit rubbish, Roval control trail rims, on specializeds dreadful Hi-lo hubs. with 32 non butted 2.0 DT spokes. Weird how they’d use lightweight nipples on that set, however if they’re wheel assembley factory has buckets of 500,000 ally nipples then I guess thats the answer. Do they use Ally ones on all their wheels NJEE20 ?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Full Member

    Top end was possibly excessive, virtually every bike over £2000 will have alu nips. It’s an easy weight saving, it’s the same with lightweight tubes. AFAIK all their wheels use alu nips, always used to, I’ve not checked recently.

    It isn’t weird really, it saves weight at negligible additional cost. How often have you read threads saying “I like x bike, but it seems a bit heavy”, versus “I like X bike, but I worry about the durability of the nipples”…?

    Premier Icon Rorschach
    Free Member

    The vast majority of specialized wheels come with alloy nipples.I spend an inordinate amount of time at work replacing/rebuilding them with brass ones!I don’t think it’s necessarily alloy nipples per se (they ALL corrode eventually) ,just the crappy ones specialized use 😕
    The reason they use them? They’re cheaper than brass.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    My Rovals all have DT alu nipples- I think Prolock. I’ve never broken one quite like yours but had a few crack- mostly when truing, they get a bit siezey then pop. IIRC I’ve only had one break while in use but even then I was suspicious that it might have been damaged before.

    But Specialized have diluted the Roval brand to the point it’s more or less meaningless, it used to be their quality inhouse brand, then they started sticking it on any old crap.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Full Member

    Yep, as NW says, Roval was high end standalone wheels with DT240 hubs, then they started using Roval branded rims on their own bikes at lower price points, but the alu nips pre-dated Roval wheels!

    Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    Yep, all sounds like the failures are pointing to crappy ally nipples. I think it must be age and corrosion/fatigue because the failures have been so far in the front wheel. And initially that mystified me, but then I remembered, I have had the bike for approximately 18 months and have ridden it through fair weather and foul alike. However after about about 9 months the rear freehub failed completely (pawls broke in half) as it was an OEM hub no spares were currently available so they warranty replaced the entire wheel. So the back wheel is essentially 9 months old as opposed to 18 months old like the front. And in that respect is due to start spewing its spoke nipples out in a few months like the front….Oh deepest Joy 🙂

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    I don’t really know if this is all that clever, so I won’t call it advice, but with my alu nippled wheels I like to go round the wheel every so often and just give them all a quarter turn out and back, just to keep them moving. Don’t know if it’s actually made any difference, but the set of Traversees I did this with is holding up much better than the first set I got which are the ones I learned about seized nipples from 😆 It got rebuilt with brass eventually, the other one is doing alright on alu.

    Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    Yep I can sort of see how that may help. But I’d possibly think if they are seated correctly in the rim, I’d tend to leave them. Maybe a drop of oil onto the head may help every now and again also. Who knows.

    Premier Icon PJM1974
    Free Member

    I’ve just bought a Spesh 29er with Roval wheels, the front bearing is already leaking rust on the maxle. I’ve a set of Hope hubs currently doing nothing so I plan to build a set of new wheels sooner rather than later.

    What’s the consensus on Roval’s rims? Spesh have thoughtfully printed the rim dimensions on the side, so I plan to simply build them up with the Hope hubs and new spokes, unless anyone can think of a better alternative?

    Premier Icon centralscrutinizer
    Free Member

    I had this problem with the same type of wheel a couple of months ago.
    On a week in the Lakes, went for a ride, came back minus 2 spokes, took the wheel up to Whinlatter, 2 new spokes installed but 2 more pinged out while being tensioned, another ride, another failure, one new installed and another pinged out in the workshop. Rubbish aluminium nipples failing after approx 9 months.

    Took the wheel back to Bikescene (where the bike came from) they got in touch with Specialized who let me have a replacement wheel for half price. I’ll be rebuilding this one with different nipples at some stage.

    Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    2 more pinged out while being tensioned

    Funny you should say that but it seems that they really are that weak, I came back from my last ride with two definately broken nipples and when I came to a final check realise another had pinged off on the other side. Now I am sure that one was fine after the ride, and can only presume it let go whilst I was installing and tensioning the others. Ah well…5 replaced so far only 27 to go 🙂 and then the rear will no doubt start

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    PJM1974 – Member

    What’s the consensus on Roval’s rims?

    Much the same- the name means little. Mine are all the older sort- 2 sets of hammered Traversee ELs and a lighter set of Control ELs. I’d say the rims in them all are decent- fundamentally Stans copies but with eyelets, not particularily light and a wee bit soft. I’d never choose one to build a wheel with, I’d just buy real Stans instead, but if I had them lying around I’d put them on a new hub I think.

    The Traversees are pretty impressive, in a sort of 100-flesh-wounds-but-still-not-dead kind of a way- they weigh 1550 grams and they’ve been dying since the day I got them but I’ve only killed one rim, despite uplifts, enduro racing, etc. I’ve no idea how many dents I’ve extracted, and one of the rear’s getting pretty spoke-fatiguey and isn’t really up for the hard life any more. (the other rear rim got to the point that it was more dent than straight so I replaced it with a Lightbicycles one)

    Premier Icon philwarren11
    Free Member

    Had loads go like that on my roval wheels from my 13 stumpy Evo, pieces of crap, the whole wheelset was binned within 10 months.

    Premier Icon devash
    Free Member

    Specialized generally spec rubbish wheels on all but their top end builds.

    If you buy one of their bikes I’d always ask the LBS you purchase it from if they can give you a discount on a different wheelset instead of taking the stock ones.

    Their HiLo hubs are especially obnoxious.

    Premier Icon downthemiddle
    Free Member

    Their HiLo hubs are especially obnoxious

    Yep they are pretty horrendous, as I said the rear freehub disentegrated from the inside, literally (and excuse the cliche) as I was “riding along” When I investigated I found Pawls and springs in various shapes of shrapnel. The Pawl/s would appear to have split in half down the length where the groove for the spring sits. Probably the first went like that and the other two followed as the load increased on the two remaining ?? When I spoke to the Big S for a warranty claim they were super helpful and efficient, no questions asked. However it was obvious from the conversation that they had zero confidence in that product (hub) and said that they don’t really carry spares for OEM hubs as they are a bit of a “throw away” bearing in mind that Yes you can spend more on a bike and it is the entry level carbon Stumpy FSR, yet its still 3 grand. So not an insignificant amount of money for a bicycle by any means and worth of slightly better engineering ? Hey ho just an opinion

    Premier Icon ThePinkster
    Full Member

    It’s not just Specialized that have this problem.

    I don’t understand the point of using alu nipples on wheels like this. As has been said earlier, it’s not like they’re top end race wheels.

    Premier Icon Tracey
    Full Member

    Two sets of Roval Traverse ELs here. They have been hammered all over the Peak and in the Alps, only managed to break two spokes in mine, one on potato alley with a big rock interface on the front, and one on the back when it got stuck on a strap hook when lifting it of a trailer. Both sets are running true, not had any problems with the nipples yet. My set will be going onto a different bike once I get round to it as I’ve got a set of carbon wheels for the new Enduro

    Premier Icon njee20
    Full Member

    I don’t understand the point of using alu nipples on wheels like this. As has been said earlier, it’s not like they’re top end race wheels.

    Again… Saves weight. People care what their bike weighs. What proportion of returns do Spesh get globally because of nipples? Tiny!

    Premier Icon JCL
    Free Member

    The upper end Rovals that you can buy as standalone wheelsets all have the DT internals and DT spokes and nipples. They’re great but all the machine built stuff is crap, just as it is on cheap Giants etc.

    OP just replace all the nipples with DT brass and you’ll be fine.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Full Member

    Nope, my expensive Controle SLs still had shit nipples.

    Premier Icon devash
    Free Member

    Exactly the same happened with the HiLo freehub on my Camber. Disintegrated after two months. Specialized warrantied it straight away but I’d already upgraded to something a bit better by then so sold the wheelset.

    Premier Icon JCL
    Free Member

    DT’s on mine have been like every other DT alloy nipple I’ve used for the last 15 years.

    Premier Icon Euro
    Free Member

    Was just googling replacement nipples when this thread came up. Three nips went on my 26 Roval last week (exactly the same as OP) but i didn’t notice ’til i grabbed the bike this morning. I have a spare regular wheel in the shed and the Roval spokes look to be intact, so is it just a matter of borrowing a few nipples from it or would it best to do the whole front wheel?

    Premier Icon PJM1974
    Free Member

    Probably best to buy a load of brass nipples and redo it in one hit.

    FWIW, the first thing I did with my Stumpy was to rebuild the wheels with Hope hubs and brass nipples.

    Premier Icon Euro
    Free Member

    Cheers PJM, think i’ll do just that. There’s a new bike shop in my town and i was hoping to give him a bit of business but i didn’t need anything done, until now 😀

    Premier Icon timshel
    Free Member

    I know that this is an old thread but, in my own research on this issue I came across this technical bulletin from Roval/Specialized which acknowledges the issue and recommends replacing with brass nipples. It implies warranty for original owners too.
    http://service.specialized.com/asc/Content/Tech%20Pubs/Technical%20Bulletins/0000047037.pdf

    Below is the text of the bulletin.
    QUOTE:
    TECHNICAL BULLETIN 0000047037
    Date: August 20, 2014
    From: Roval Engineering
    Subject: Nipple corrosion on Roval wheels
    To: Specialized Service Centers & Dealers

    There have been a small number of cases in which the alloy nipples on Roval wheels have corroded
    enough to cause the nipples to break (see photo below). This is not a problem unique to Roval; in
    order to determine the scope of the issue, we are requiring that geographic and setup information
    be obtained from the rider upon submission for service replacement (use the table at the bottom).
    Communicate this by submitting the information in the table below along with the wheel when sent for
    service; or, if the dealer is performing the rebuild, please communicate this information to the Service
    Center.
    For original owners of Roval wheels who are experiencing nipple corrosion issues, it is recommended
    that the alloy nipples be replaced with brass DT Swiss Prolock nipples (see table below). Rebuilds are
    to be handled by Specialized Authorized Service Centers or Authorized Specialized Dealers.

    SBC P/N DESCRIPTION (DT SWISS P/N)
    S152900001 NPL DT MY15 ROVAL STANDARD HEAD BRASS PRO LOCK NIPPLE 1.8MM BLACK (NPBA18140S0500)
    S152900002 NPL DT MY15 ROVAL STANDARD HEAD BRASS PRO LOCK NIPPLE 2.0MM BLACK (NPBA20140S0500)

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