Talk to me about Nipples……

Home Forum Bike Forum Talk to me about Nipples……

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Talk to me about Nipples……
  • clubber

    up to 3mm is rarely an issue. I’ve built wheels with spokes that have been more out than that without problems but it can be tricky or not work at all depending on how everything actually works together.

    The difference in calculations is usually down to different default nipple lengths – 12mm or 14mm – or differences in the way of measuring the spoke length.

    There’s no consensus on nipple length – different brands just provide different ones by default.


    0.5mm is neither here nor there when spokes are sold in lengths that differ by 1-2mm increments.

    smaller nipples are fine if the spoke length is right and the nipples do not recess into tge rim too much, eg some double-eyelet jobs.


    do use a ‘spokey’ or similar that supports the nipple on three corners to avoid ‘twisted nipples’

    12mm is normal
    14mm is for machine built wheels generaly (guess they’re easier for machines to handle?), although CRC spokes come with 14mm nipples for an unkown reason. Some people say reduce the spoke length by 2mm if using 14mm nipples, others say the spoke should always fill screwdriver slot to reduce the strain on it and stop it cracking there, in which case nipple lengt would be irelavent.

    For that reason I always use 12mm and whatever the DT calc says so I dont have to justify it one way or the other!

    Alu nipples are bling, but almost always crack, so stick with brass. Some come with locking/anti sieze compound already applied, others need the spoke threads coating before assembly.

    If the rims don’t have eyelets (e.g. Stans) it’s better to use nipple washers to protect the rim.

    1-2mm won’t matter much, most shops only sell in 2mm incraments anyway, so either average the results or round down as spokes stretch about 1mm when you tension them.


    The rims have no eyelets ,probably going to be using DT swiss spokes so would it be good practice to get DT swiss nipples too are does it not really matter?

    Another question re.Spoke length
    According to the spoke calcs I need 16×284 for the disc side, 16×286 for the drive side on the Hope bulb hub.
    Is it best to get these exact sizes or as there is a bit of give in regards to tolerance just get 32×286.

    I’d guess the specific sizes would be best,yes?

    Back to the nipples I have read various differing opinions regards lube when building them up,
    Some say build them dry
    Sure I have read that one spoke manufacturer recommends using some light oil.
    And I have also read of people using linseed oil as it acts as a lube whilst building but drys quite sticky thus acting as a thread lock.


    Having read the thread title, rather disappointed now….


    Just for ‘nigelb001’


    If you do a calculation with 12mm then you need a 1mm shorter spoke to use 14mm and 2mm shorter spokes to use 16mm. Sometimes it is hard to get the correct spoke length due to most places carrying only odd or evens so using longer nipples allows you to make up the difference.

    Use the DT spoke calculator and play with the nipple sizes and you will see how it changes.

    Spoke length is pretty important as it is very frustrating to run out of thread or worse not have deep enough engagement of the spoke in the nipple and start having them pull out of break

    Never had an ali nipple break in 20 years of riding but they do round more easily so maybe not a good idea to use on your first few wheels (with a little lube on the nipple rim hole and some anti-seize on the threads I have never had an issue with stripping or spokes loosening)


    ….and Spokes .

    Going to attempt my first proper wheel build and need a bit more info on the above.

    I have rebuilt a Mavic crossride rear wheel before ,basically made 1 good wheel out of 2 bad ones but as the spokes and nipples where already there it was just a matter of putting them altogether.

    So I have been on the various spoke calculators and worked out what length spokes I need but there has been a variance of 1/2mm in the specified lengths req depending on which spoke calc I used.
    Question is how critical is spoke length?
    Also Nipple length ie.12mm,14mm had a look at my road bike which seems to have shorter nipples compared to my MTB just wondering what the consensus is.

    The wheels to be built are for a disc hubbed crosser,Hope bulb on the rear,Goldtec XC on the front and going to 32 holed rims with 3 cross lacing.
    Speak to me.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

The topic ‘Talk to me about Nipples……’ is closed to new replies.