Spokes And Nipples

We’ve been partnered with Sapim for over 7 years as our spoke and nipple provider.  Their industry leading technologies have resulted in some of the strongest and lightest wheel building components available. Whether it’s a svelte,  podium focused XC wheelset or a durable wheelset for park laps, a wheelset built with their components is sure to impress.

Sapim Double Square Nipples

Sapim’s double square nipples have full thread engagement, while traditional nipples can only reach a ⅔ engagement under the best possible conditions. These nipples also have a larger taper, resulting in lower stress at the nipple bed, a better angle (in line with spokes), and a secure lock feature that prevents unwinding.

Do not build with alloy nipples that have traditional heads. These heads can shear off easily after 6-12 months of use if moisture is present. DT Swiss, Sapim, and some other brands manufacture nipples with a raised head (Squorx, Hexagona, etc.), and using slightly longer spokes with this nipple style builds a stronger wheelset.

Sapim Brass and Alloy Nipples

Alloy Nipples

Sapim’s heat-treated 7075 series alloy nipples are harder than other leading alloy nipples, and less prone to rounding out. Salt spray tests also show better results than brass nipples. The alloy nipples also have a special coating to reduce friction . Additionally, a drop of oil on the spoke threads reduces wind up even further. (Wheel Fanatyk is a great product for cleaning the wheels afterward). Or use Stan’s Spoke Powder, which is even easier to clean off than oil and is fantastic for friction reduction.


Brass Nipples Sapim’s alloy nipples are corrosion resistant and harder than most other nipple brands. In our experience there is no need to use brass nipples any more.


Wheel Building Tools

While low profile nipple wrenches exist, many only hold the nipple on three sides, making stripping an issue at higher tension. It is easier to wheel build to full tension with double square or hex/squorx head nipple without stripping them. We build from the outer diameter of the rim so as to not scratch the body of the nipple.


Front wheels generally take far less abuse than rear wheels, therefore it makes sense to build front and rear wheels differently. Some may argue that the front and rear should remain the same, and in these cases the front will be left slightly heavier than is typically required. We prefer traditional J-bend spokes because they are widely available, have a wider bracing angle than straight pull spokes, and are often easier to build with because they do not rotate in the hub while tightening or loosening nipples. J-bend spokes put a bit more stress on the hub flanges, but this is not an issue with higher quality hubs. There are far more hub choices designed for J-bend spokes, especially in 28 and 32 hole counts. Straight pull spokes have some engineering victories and do work well, but in our business few J-bend spokes are broken.

Torsion Control Squares (TCS)
TCS spokes have a “square profile” by the threads, and are traditionally used by lacing and truing robots to grasp the spoke and prevent windup or twisting. Many road riders prefer straight pull spokes, so we use Sapim’s TCS spokes with specialized tools to grip round spokes and prevent twisting during building.


Italian Trulli

Sapim Weight Chart


Sapim D-Light Spokes

Sapim D-Light (263 mm) (28 count)

Sapim D-Light 263mm (32 count)

Sapim D-Light Characteristics

  1. Thread length cannot be cut
  2. No 2.0mm barrel = lower rotational weight
  3. Lightest double-butted round spoke that doesn’t twist and stretch badly
  4. Elasticity gives it strength
  5. Medium stiffness, but great for carbon rims
  6. Easy to build with
  7. Most companies (like DT Swiss) hammer the wire, whereas Sapim pulls the wire. This makes stronger spokes that don’t twist so easily, and molecules go in one line.
  8. Has a TCS option

Sapim CX-Ray Spokes

Sapim CX-Ray (254 mm) (28 count)

Sapim CX-Ray 254mm (32 count)

Sapim CX-Ray Characteristics

  1. Light, aerodynamic, and strong, the CX-Ray is a high-performance spoke
  2. Elasticity gives it strength
  3. Spoke length can be cut (we suggest bringing your spokes to a bike shop for cutting)
  4. They go through an extra forging process, starting out as a laser spoke.
  5. Strong enough for competitive use
  6. Easy to build with spoke holder
  7. Sapim was the first company to make this kind of spoke
  8. Has a TCS option

Sapim Race Spokes

Sapim Race (262 mm) (28 count)

Sapim Race 262mm (32 count)

Sapim Race Characteristic

  1. Stiffer wheel build
  2. 2mm barrel, so they’re suitable for spoke cutting/re-threading
  3. Elasticity gives it more strength than a straight gauge spoke 
  4. Double-butted spokes stay true longer than straight gauge
  5. More resilient than a straight gauge spoke 
  6. Handles trail debris and abrasion
  7. Easiest spokes to build with
  8. Most companies (like DT Swiss) hammer the wire, whereas Sapim pulls the wire. This makes stronger spokes that don’t twist so easily, and molecules go in one line.
  9. Has TCS option

J-Bend In Hub

Straight Pull Vs J-Bend

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