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  1. #1
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    Better to have spokes too long or too short? (Read on...)

    So, I used an online spoke length calculator and then purchased spokes of the lengths I needed. The spoke length calculator did not even ask about nipple length.

    Then I purchased Roger Musson's book, and found that I'd need shorter spokes by using 14mm nipples, as opposed to 12mm nipples. So, the spokes I've ordered are all 1mm too long, and on one side of the front wheel, 2mm too long. I cannot return them because they are 'custom' lengths. And they cost me $220, so I really don't want to chuck them.

    What problem will I encounter by having spokes that are 1mm (or even 2mm) too long, if any? will it simply be a matter of having threads that extend beyond the top of the spoke, or will the nipples "bottom out" on the threads and not allow further tightening?

    The confusion here arises from the fact that "nipple length" is not all threaded. There is a span of the nipple that is not threaded and simply sits over the spoke like a sleeve.

  2. #2
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    Recently there was a thread about all this, but to summarize - - nipple length is irrelevant. If the book says otherwise then it's wrong. And that's the reason the calculator didn't ask.

    The threaded portion is always towards the head, regardless of length. Longer nipples are needed in deeper rims in order to give the wrench something to grab.. Nothing more.

    Don't worry, be happy.

    edit. I see it was yourself that started the other thread with the same question. Was it not answered there? Why do spoke length calculators not ask about nipple length?
    Last edited by bikerjulio; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:14 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjulio View Post
    Recently there was a thread about all this, but to summarize - - nipple length is irrelevant. If the book says otherwise then it's wrong. And that's the reason the calculator didn't ask.

    The threaded portion is always towards the head, regardless of length. Longer nipples are needed in deeper rims in order to give the wrench something to grab.. Nothing more.

    Don't worry, be happy.

    edit. I see it was yourself that started the other thread with the same question. Was it not answered there? Why do spoke length calculators not ask about nipple length?

    https://ibb.co/





    I think you might be mistaken about your claim that the added length is unthreaded.

    if you look at this photo of these DT Swiss nipples, you'll see that in the longer nipples have a longer span of threads - which presumably means you need shorter spokes.

    So, according to Musson, Sapim nipples are as you described. So the question now is this:

    Can I use Sapim nipples with DT Swiss spokes? Are the threads compatible?

  4. #4
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    Spokes too long is non a issue unless they bottom out in the nipple. Since you own them, try the build. 1-2 extra will usually get by just fine if you measured to the nipple slot. If you really think it wont work, add a Sapim nipple washer.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    https://ibb.co/





    I think you might be mistaken about your claim that the added length is unthreaded.

    if you look at this photo of these DT Swiss nipples, you'll see that in the longer nipples have a longer span of threads - which presumably means you need shorter spokes.

    So, according to Musson, Sapim nipples are as you described. So the question now is this:

    Can I use Sapim nipples with DT Swiss spokes? Are the threads compatible?
    Same threads, same thread cutting Phil Wood machine for both.

    Those DT nipples may have been created for some specific goal, but any nipple that effectively prevents you from threading the spoke to the bottom is a nipple designed to fail if it only made or brass.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  6. #6
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    Sapim 14mm nipples have the same amount of threading in them as their 12mm. DT does make nipples as shown above. I avoid them for the same reason already mentioned.

    Phil Wood machine will give you 10mm of thread and if the calc and measurements were right should yield a build with the ends flush with the top. If they end up being 1-2mm too long it's not ideal, but fine. A steel spoke with just dig into the nipple where its not under particularly high stress. This makes them a lot harder to turn, but you aren't damaging the threads of the nipple up in the heads where all the strength needs to be.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    https://ibb.co/





    I think you might be mistaken about your claim that the added length is unthreaded.

    if you look at this photo of these DT Swiss nipples, you'll see that in the longer nipples have a longer span of threads - which presumably means you need shorter spokes.

    So, according to Musson, Sapim nipples are as you described. So the question now is this:

    Can I use Sapim nipples with DT Swiss spokes? Are the threads compatible?
    It's almost like you did not read the answers to your earlier thread at all. DT Swiss are the exception. Even though their threads also go all the way to the top. Yes, threads are compatible.
    We just don’t realize the most significant moments of our lives when they’re happening
    Back then I thought “well there'll be other days”
    I didn’t realize that was the only day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yrupye7B0

    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?
    One.
    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    Same threads, same thread cutting Phil Wood machine for both.

    Those DT nipples may have been created for some specific goal, but any nipple that effectively prevents you from threading the spoke to the bottom is a nipple designed to fail if it only made or brass.
    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Can you explain your post in more detail?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Can you explain your post in more detail?
    First paragraph: Can you mix brands of nipples and spokes? Yes, all the same threads and threaded section length, especially if custom cut. Using DT nipples on Sapim spokes is as normal as SRAM cables in Shimano shifters.

    Second paragraph: The long DT nipples are likely available to wheel building companies that have a sizable stock of the wrong size spokes, and these weak nipples are to be used by less-than-reputable wheel builders.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  10. #10
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    There is an acceptable range for spoke lengths which is generally +/-1mm.

    Spokes which are too long are at risk of bottoming out before you can achieve sufficient spoke tension. This is generally the "correct" length plus 2mm.

    Spokes which are too short will be weak as they will not reach the strongest part of the nipple - the nipple head. This is a recipe for early failure.

    There is no reason to use longer than the standard 12mm nipples except for aesthetics.

    Nipples are cheap, so if I were you, I would just eat the cost of those 14mm nipples and buy a set of 12mm nipples to build your wheels. I would consider this preferable to building up the wheel and finding out you have to do it over because you bottomed out.
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  11. #11
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    You never mentioned what brand 14mm nipples you purchased. If they are Sapim, you are fine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    There is no reason to use longer than the standard 12mm nipples except for aesthetics.
    Some rims like H+Son Archetype are easier to build with 14mm nipples. They come to a point and the flats of a 12mm nipple are almost flush with the rim. It's possible that some spoke wrenches scratch the rim when turning.

    Also, some carbon rims have a much thicker nipple bed so 14mm is required. To keep my inventory simple I just use 14mm nipples for everything. I use Sapim so I don't run into the problem mentioned above.

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