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Fitting Wrench on Nipple
#1
Recently the front wheel on my 2012 Specialized Sirrus Sport became wobbly. I'm the kind of guy who would normally just take this to the shop to get trued by a professional, but I'm planning a long bike trip this Fall and decided I need to learn how to keep my wheels true myself. I went down to the bicycle dealer and bought two things: a triangle-shaped spoke wrench that fits three size nipples (0, 1, 2), and a $100 truing stand. I wanted to do this right.

I was not expecting the problem I ran into: I could fit the wrench (size 2) onto about 2/3rds of the spoke nipples, but for the life of me the wrench just doesn't fit on the other nipples. I can't be the first person to run into this challenge. It appears the nipples were cheaply shaped by a quick-and-dirty stamp process. Some of the nipples have two opposite sides that are parallel, and the wrench fits on snugly. Other nipples are a little bit bigger and seem round most of the way around, and I just can't get the wrench onto it.

I can't be the only person to run into this. What is the solution? A size 3 wrench? Trying to reshape the nipples with pliers? WD-40? A hammer?
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#2
I use Wheelsmith spokes and nipples for all my builds, the black wrench fits.

If I ran into the issue you did; I would just rebuild the whole wheel with new spokes and nipples - after verifying that the rim and hub were in good shape.

What caused the wheel to start wobbling?  A well built wheel does not suddenly start to wobble.  The last wobbly wheel I had was a hub failure - a section pulled out releasing two adjacent spokes.  It was an older hub that had been built into at least four different wheels over its life.
Nigel
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#3
(07-13-2015, 07:34 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  I use Wheelsmith spokes and nipples for all my builds, the black wrench fits.

If I ran into the issue you did; I would just rebuild the whole wheel with new spokes and nipples - after verifying that the rim and hub were in good shape.

What caused the wheel to start wobbling?  A well built wheel does not suddenly start to wobble.  The last wobbly wheel I had was a hub failure - a section pulled out releasing two adjacent spokes.  It was an older hub that had been built into at least four different wheels over its life.

That might be the best way to go. The rim and hubs are fine as far as I can tell. How difficult is it to rebuild a wheel? Would you do it by replacing spokes one at a time, or would you remove all of them at once and start with an empty hub and rim? I fear that if I started this route, I might get frustrated and end up buying a new bike (which might not be a bad way to go anyway).

How did it get wobbly? A combination of a few things: the bike has narrowish 700x32c tires, which I pound with my 185 pound body riding over curbs somewhat regularly. A couple of the spokes were noticeably loose--just tightening those helped. The bike cost $600 new, and I'm guessing that in that price range "well built" wheels aren't something I could count on from the factory. My issue with the nipples makes me think they cut corners on this part of the bike.
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#4
(07-13-2015, 07:59 PM)Analytics Wrote:  
(07-13-2015, 07:34 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  I use Wheelsmith spokes and nipples for all my builds, the black wrench fits.

If I ran into the issue you did; I would just rebuild the whole wheel with new spokes and nipples - after verifying that the rim and hub were in good shape.

What caused the wheel to start wobbling?  A well built wheel does not suddenly start to wobble.  The last wobbly wheel I had was a hub failure - a section pulled out releasing two adjacent spokes.  It was an older hub that had been built into at least four different wheels over its life.

That might be the best way to go.  The rim and hubs are fine as far as I can tell.  How difficult is it to rebuild a wheel?  Would you do it by replacing spokes one at a time, or would you remove all of them at once and start with an empty hub and rim?  I fear that if I started this route, I might get frustrated and end up buying a new bike (which might not be a bad way to go anyway).  

How did it get wobbly?  A combination of a few things: the bike has narrowish 700x32c tires, which I pound with my 185 pound body riding over curbs somewhat regularly.  A couple of the spokes were noticeably loose--just tightening those helped. The bike cost $600 new, and I'm guessing that in that price range "well built" wheels aren't something I could count on from the factory.  My issue with the nipples makes me think they cut corners on this part of the bike.

(07-13-2015, 07:59 PM)Analytics Wrote:  
(07-13-2015, 07:34 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  I use Wheelsmith spokes and nipples for all my builds, the black wrench fits.

If I ran into the issue you did; I would just rebuild the whole wheel with new spokes and nipples - after verifying that the rim and hub were in good shape.

What caused the wheel to start wobbling?  A well built wheel does not suddenly start to wobble.  The last wobbly wheel I had was a hub failure - a section pulled out releasing two adjacent spokes.  It was an older hub that had been built into at least four different wheels over its life.

That might be the best way to go.  The rim and hubs are fine as far as I can tell.  How difficult is it to rebuild a wheel?  Would you do it by replacing spokes one at a time, or would you remove all of them at once and start with an empty hub and rim?  I fear that if I started this route, I might get frustrated and end up buying a new bike (which might not be a bad way to go anyway).  

How did it get wobbly?  A combination of a few things: the bike has narrowish 700x32c tires, which I pound with my 185 pound body riding over curbs somewhat regularly.  A couple of the spokes were noticeably loose--just tightening those helped. The bike cost $600 new, and I'm guessing that in that price range "well built" wheels aren't something I could count on from the factory.  My issue with the nipples makes me think they cut corners on this part of the bike.

The other thing you might do is buy a spoke wrench with every size in it, around $9, and get some practice trueing the wheel before you take on a whole new rebuild. It's not all that easy the first few times.
"Where ever we go, there we are"
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#5
Quote:..How difficult is it to rebuild a wheel? Would you do it by replacing spokes one at a time, or would you remove all of them at once and start with an empty hub and rim?...


Difficulty - not much; follow Sheldon Brown's instructions and it will be fine.

I have done the replace one spoke at time method once, and would NEVER do it again.

I'd take it completely apart, and make sure that the rim is not bent - it should lay flat on a flat surface.

Curbs - destructive.  If you are going to continue with that, get a Velocity 48H NoBS rim and Wheelmaster 48H tandem hub.
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/rim-vel-700-nobs-48-sl-mill
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/hub-ft-aly-sf-qr-48h-tdm-sld-sl
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/wheelsmith-2-0-1-7-x-290mm-silver-spokes-bag-of-50
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/wheelsmith-2-0-x-12mm-silver-brass-nipples-bag-of-50
Nigel
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#6
(07-13-2015, 10:00 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  
Quote:..How difficult is it to rebuild a wheel? Would you do it by replacing spokes one at a time, or would you remove all of them at once and start with an empty hub and rim?...


Difficulty - not much; follow Sheldon Brown's instructions and it will be fine.

I have done the replace one spoke at time method once, and would NEVER do it again.

I'd take it completely apart, and make sure that the rim is not bent - it should lay flat on a flat surface.

Curbs - destructive.  If you are going to continue with that, get a Velocity 48H NoBS rim and Wheelmaster 48H tandem hub.
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/rim-vel-700-nobs-48-sl-mill
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/hub-ft-aly-sf-qr-48h-tdm-sld-sl
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/wheelsmith-2-0-1-7-x-290mm-silver-spokes-bag-of-50
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/wheelsmith-2-0-x-12mm-silver-brass-nipples-bag-of-50

Thanks for the shopping list! Perhaps new 48-spoke wheels is the way to go. I was planning on adding a low-rider front rack to my bike for the big trip, so beefing up the front wheel now makes a lot of sense. Building this myself would be a lot cheaper than buying a new bike.

I will say that I'm harder on my back wheel than on the front. I'm pretty good about lifting up the handlebars when I go over curbs, but I don't have a decent "bunny hop" action for my back wheel, and it tends to crash into the curb more brutishly. Never the less, the back wheel has stayed much truer than the front.

But on the big trip I'll be loading gear onto the back of the bike too, and I'd feel better if I replaced that wheel too. How much harder is it to build a rear wheel?
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#7
Rear wheel has different length spokes on the left and the right (usually only about 2mm difference) - VERY important to keep lefts and rights separated, and grab the correct one.   This is the only thing you really have to pay attention to.

As the wheel gets tensioned, the left (non drive side [NDS]) will end up with about 70% of the tension of the right side (DS).

In either case, plan on having to take the 2nd wheel you build partially apart due to something like using the wrong set of holes in the rim.  On the 1st, people go really slow, and triple check everything.  On the 2nd, people try to go a little faster, and end up making small mistakes.

Rear hub - what is your drop out spacing (aka Over Locknut Dimension O.L.D.)  If it is 135mm, you are in luck - lowest cost rear hubs are 135mm.  130mm is another possibility.  And there are less common O.L.D.s.

Make sure that you use all the same spokes - they need to be the same stiffness for a wheel to work correctly. DB (double butted) spokes give a bit more compliance than SS (straight gauge), which results in a stronger wheel. The spokes themselves are not stronger, the little extra compliance results in loads being better spread out over more of the wheel and not concentrated.

For these particular hubs and rims, the rear uses 288mm spokes on the right and 290mm on the left; front uses 290mm only.

135mm rear in black: http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/hub-rr-wm-mt1110-qr-sf-9scas-48x135-sb-bk out of stock in silver. I did not check if they have the 48H front black in stock or not.
Nigel
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#8
(07-15-2015, 12:48 AM)nfmisso Wrote:  Rear wheel has different length spokes on the left and the right (usually only about 2mm difference) - VERY important to keep lefts and rights separated, and grab the correct one.   This is the only thing you really have to pay attention to.

As the wheel gets tensioned, the left (non drive side [NDS]) will end up with about 70% of the tension of the right side (DS).

In either case, plan on having to take the 2nd wheel you build partially apart due to something like using the wrong set of holes in the rim.  On the 1st, people go really slow, and triple check everything.  On the 2nd, people try to go a little faster, and end up making small mistakes.

Rear hub - what is your drop out spacing (aka Over Locknut Dimension O.L.D.)  If it is 135mm, you are in luck - lowest cost rear hubs are 135mm.  130mm is another possibility.  And there are less common O.L.D.s.

Make sure that you use all the same spokes - they need to be the same stiffness for a wheel to work correctly.  DB (double butted) spokes give a bit more compliance than SS (straight gauge), which results in a stronger wheel.  The spokes themselves are not stronger, the little extra compliance results in loads being better spread out over more of the wheel and not concentrated.

For these particular hubs and rims, the rear uses 288mm spokes on the right and 290mm on the left; front uses 290mm only.

135mm rear in black: http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/hub-rr-wm-mt1110-qr-sf-9scas-48x135-sb-bk  out of stock in silver.  I did not check if they have the 48H front black in stock or not.

Hi Nigel,

I started to put my order together, and they did have that front hub in black. That got me thinking about black rims to match the hubs. I then saw these black rims:

http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/sun-rhyno-lite-700c-48h-black-rim-with-silver-sides-presta-valve

Black is cool, and $50 less for the pair is very cool. That last point makes me a little nervous about compromising the quality/strength objective here, but how weak could a 48h rim be? Thoughts?

I've also got to admit that I'm a little bit nervous about my first wheel build being a pair of 48-spoke wheels. Is it just more spokes, or does adding the spokes make it more complicated/confusing/difficult?
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#9
Hi;

More spokes = easier wheel build.  It is MUCH easier to true the wheel with more spokes.

Regarding Sun rims versus Velocity.  The Rhyno Lite is a very strong rim, not very different from the NoBS.  Where Velocity is miles ahead is in flatness and roundness.  With Velocity rims the resulting wheels will have very close to the same tension in every spoke (DS and NDS will be different at the rear, with NDA about 70% of DS).  Sun rims are not as flat nor as round, so you need to use varying spoke tensions to pull the wheel to flat (side to side run out) and round.  

I have built wheel with Sun, Alex and Velocity rims.  For me the extra money for the Velocity rims is worth it because of the much easier and faster wheel build.

Also note: you need to run SPOCALC or similar to check the spoke lengths for the Rhyno Lite rims.  The spoke lengths will be different because the ERD is different.  The calculation is a bit complicated.
http://sun-ringle.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/SUN_website_rim_chart_2012.pdf

http://www.velocityusa.com/product/rims/nobs-622

I use SPOCALC Express.
Nigel
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