Jan 24, 2012

Nipples of Doom

A few weeks ago I was coming back from a ride when a nipple connected to a spoke on my rear wheel exploded and pulled through almost sending me off the bike.

My first thought was that the massive power I was producing must have been too much for the wheels to handle. On remembering that I only produce about 230 watts, and some further investigation it became clearly apparent the issue was something else.

You can see from the photo above I had a serious case of corroded nipples (I hate it when my nipples corrode, they get so itchy). The little terrors were so far gone that I was only but a ride away from having some issues which would have been much bigger than mechanical alone.

The wheels in question have done a fair bit of work across two bikes and all manner of conditions. It's no wonder they were worn out and well overdue for some TLC.

Thankfully the problem was quickly diagnosed by mechanic Paul from Total Rush; who set about replacing the nipples and rebuilding my wheels. You can see in the photo below just how bad a condition the nipples were. The one standing up in the middle of the photo actually has a massive crack running right through the centre which can't be good for business.

So after a little summer break the S-Works SL4 is now back in action. One pleasant upside of the experience being the new black nipples which actually look a lot tougher than the old anodized red ones.

Let this be a reminder to keep a regular eye on your equipment to make sure it's functioning properly, and more importantly safe.

I was pretty lucky this time around, my wheels were just about ready for a catastrophic failure which would have almost certainly sent me towards a pretty big fall.

Ride safe.