Blog: FAQ

01 Mar 2016

Nipple length


The DT Swiss spoke length calculator has an option for nipple length. What’s that about?

DT Swiss deals with the issue in a complicated way, which is the reason their calculator asks for nipple length. Standard DT nipples are 12mm long. When you use longer DT nipples, such as 14mm or 16mm, you need to shorten your spokes. This is because DT Swiss adds internal threads as nipples grow — so you need a shorter spoke to avoid bottoming out. As a result it’s best to pretend DT nipples longer than 12mm don’t exist, particularly in the case of aluminum nipples.

If you use the DT Swiss calculator, be aware of how it works. DT offers suggested spoke lengths that are rounded from theoretical spoke lengths. When you specify a nipple in the DT calculator, it rounds using nipple-specific logic to reflect the reality described above. So if you use their calculator, or any calculator that includes nipple selection, take the theoretical spoke length and round to the nearest millimetre yourself. This applies to all lengths of Sapim nipples.

03 Sep 2015

Cassettes and spacers


I’m often asked what adapter spacers to use when mounting different road cassettes. The answer depends on your freehub and cassette. If you’re a Campagnolo user, the good news is no spacers are required if you’re using 9, 10 or 11 speed cassettes. Shimano is more complicated.

Shimano-compatible freehubs utilize the same design for 9 speed and 10 speed (ignoring the special outlier case of Dura-Ace 7800 hubs). If you want to run 9 speed with such a hub, no spacers are required. If you want to run 10 speed, a single 1mm spacer is installed behind the cassette. This spacer is packaged with 10 speed cassettes.

When using 11 speed Shimano-compatible hubs with 11 speed cassettes, no spacers are required. 11 speed hubs are backwards compatible with 9 speed when a single 1.85mm spacer is installed behind the cassette. To run 10 speed, install the 1.85mm spacer in combination with the 1mm spacer (2.85mm total). The 1.85mm adapter spacer is usually packaged with 11 speed hubs — if you’re missing this spacer and need one for compatibility, email me and I’ll sort you out.

16 Feb 2015

Tire check every time


Sometimes it’s the simplest things that get overlooked. When mounting tires, are you checking the bead is seated evenly? All the way around? On both sides? Not pinching the tube?

If you care about true wheels, you should care about true tires. You should give this topic special consideration if you run tires with supple sidewalls (e.g. Compass/René Herse) and it’s mandatory to ensure your tires are well-seated for stable tubeless applications.

Last month I replaced a worn set of tubeless tires with fresh rubber and overlooked the bead not being seated evenly in one spot. I achieved a tubeless seal so surely everything was fine? No — over a span of a few centimetres I allowed the bead to fold under itself. It was immediately obvious that alignment was lost because a big wobble developed in the rim. I inspected it in the truing stand and the wheel was physically out of lateral true by over 2mm! I pulled the tire off and the wheel sprung back to fine form with runout less than 0.2mm (that’s also low spoke count wheels for you).

28 Feb 2014

Rim tape options


Do you stock Velox rim tape?

No — it may be heresy but I don’t recommend cloth tape like Velox. As a dealer I know customers are concerned about tire mounting difficulty. A thin tape not only weighs less but its lower profile leaves more room in the rim well for tire beads. The result: easier tire mounting. I use Stan’s because they were the first and their tape works tubeless too.

10 Feb 2014

Radially lace my hubs


My rims are shot so I’m looking for new rims and spokes. My hubs are going strong so I’d like to re-use them. This time I’d like to lace the front wheel radially…

It’s a pleasure to ride nice hubs and, like this customer found, they can survive many sets of rims. But I’ll only re-use your hubs with the same lacing pattern used before. This is for safety. Changing from a cross pattern to radial is the most dangerous case and a notorious cause of hub flange cracks. So let’s re-use your hubs, lace them smart and stay out of the dentist’s chair.