View Full Version : Al or Brass Nips?

06-28-2005, 10:46 AM
I finally took the plunge and ordered a set of wheels from Mike Garcia. Here's the build:

Front - Black DT RR1.1 rims, Silver Speedcific hub, 32 Wheelsmith XL14/17 spokes laced 2X with silver Al nips.

Rear - Black DT RR1.1 rims, Silver Speedcific hub, 32 Wheelsmith spokes, non-drive side XL14/17 laced 2X with Al nips, drive side DB14/15 laced 3X with Brass nips.

After about three quarters of an hour on the phone discussing everything from my riding style to foreign exchange, we decided on this build. Mike was rather ambivelent regarding the nipple material, so I went with the lighter aluminum except for the rear drive side. However I'm still somewhat hesitant regarding the aluminum nipples. The weight savings is small but then again, it is rotational weight. At 155 lbs I could have gone with 28 spokes front and rear, but decided to err on the conservative side at 32. Should have I also spec'd brass nips all around?


06-28-2005, 10:49 AM


Big Dan
06-28-2005, 10:51 AM
Brass nips for me please.............Like 'em better......... :D

David Kirk
06-28-2005, 10:55 AM
I've never had trouble with AL nips on the front and non-drive rear.


06-28-2005, 11:06 AM
I weigh 20 pounds more than you and have never had problems with aluminum nipples on road or mountain bike wheels and some of my mountain bike wheelsets have over 10,000 miles on them.

06-28-2005, 11:10 AM
I have been using aluminum nipples on my wheels for roughly 65,000 miles with no problems. Granted, I clean my wheels up about once a week.

06-28-2005, 12:02 PM
I ordered my first set from Mike last week. I'd heard that I'd spend at least an hour on the phone with him, and was still surprised at how long the call went on! He told me all about DT Swiss' old and new plants, among other things.

Here's what I've got coming:

Front: DT Swiss RR1.1 rim, black;
Speedcific hub, black;
28 DT Swiss Revo spokes, 2x, black;
Brass nipples, black
Rear: DT Swiss RR1.1 rim, black;
DT Swiss 240 hub, black;
14 DT Swiss Revo spokes, 2x non-driveside, black;
14 Wheelsmith DB14 3x driveside, black;
Brass nipples, black

Pretty similar to your build - fewer spokes, and the 240 rear hub rather than the Speedcific. I'm also 155 lbs, and Mike & I agreed that 28 spokes would work for me. The cross-lacing seemed more important than the spoke count...

Mike did recommend the brass nipples to me, but I'm going to have more corrosion issues in Boston than you'll have in Cincy! I'm not sure why he recommended brass for the driveside spokes. :confused: But I think you'll be fine with Aluminum.

06-28-2005, 12:07 PM
Somewhere in here there's a joke about a witch ...

06-28-2005, 12:08 PM
i think it's every woman's right to choose brass or alu. i don't care what the supreme court says.

06-28-2005, 12:10 PM
Somewhere in here there's a joke about a witch ...
Or balls.................

Dr. Doofus
06-28-2005, 12:26 PM
the serotta board, spinsistah

these guys have them made of ti or ti/carbon

there is a vocal steel minority

(J.P. Weigle Ballsaver?)

06-28-2005, 12:43 PM
alloy nipples suck.

06-28-2005, 04:48 PM
Al-never had a problem-never had a problem with brass either except mine turned green :rolleyes:

Your light so go for the light stuff and be happy.

06-28-2005, 04:59 PM
Snipped from zap: Al-never had a problem-never had a problem with brass either except mine turned green

I think you can get a shot for that...... ;)

06-28-2005, 05:09 PM
I heard of them turning BLUE but never GREEN

Oh wait- nips. . . not balls. . . never mind


06-28-2005, 07:59 PM


06-28-2005, 11:09 PM

From my experience truing wheels built with aluminum nipples, they gall easily, they round off at lower tension during truing, they crack more often usually separating the flange from the body, and long term they tend to seize more so than brass nipples.

I don't think the weight savings will be the deciding factor for 99% of the riders out there on whether they win or not. If you don't mind the added risk, cost, and maintenance issues and can afford it, then there's no problem.

I can't think of any drawbacks to brass nipples.

06-29-2005, 12:19 PM
Brass on the drive side rear, alloy everywhere else for personal wheels. I don't like to use alloy nipples at all on rims without eyelets. When tensioning, I put a drop of Tri Flo between rim and nipple regardless of nipple material or eyelet presence. Something that is very important with either nipple material but more so with aluminum is that the spoke use ALL of the threads in the nipple. I do occasionally see a broken nipple and it is always with a spoke that doesn't quite come to the bottom of the slot in the top of the nipple. The nipple should be a tensioning device--it shouldn't have to take any of the load; that's the spoke's job.

06-29-2005, 12:22 PM

The nipple should be a tensioning device--it shouldn't have to take any of the load; that's the spoke's job.


06-29-2005, 12:41 PM
alloy nipples suck.

suck brassy nipples.

06-30-2005, 12:32 PM
Zap, let me clarify. The upper cap-shaped part of the nipple shouldn't bear any load by itself--it'll shear off eventually. The whole nipple needs to carry the spoke tension, not just the skinny part. Brass as well as al nips can break if there isn't enough spoke inside them. Seeing threads between the nipple and the hub almost always means too short a spoke.

06-30-2005, 02:52 PM
That makes sense.

Jeff N.
06-30-2005, 05:18 PM
Pink. Jeff N.