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Roll on Spring Time!
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I have found a sucker who is prepared to build my wheels here in freezing South Korea. I will supply all relevant bits to go with my pro 2's which so far include 721 rims and DT spokes. I just need to sort out the nipples and I can only source aluminium localy in a length if 12mm. According to CRC they use 14mm. So would 12mm aluminium nipples be a sound choice?
 

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4,370 Posts
I would use brass

I had hope II's laced with DT swiss spokes and DT 5.1's with aluminum nipples and I must have broken 7-8 nipples the first year I had them. They were built by a reputable builder and their main use was trail riding with small 2-3 ft. drops on a 5 inch travel Motolite. I will never use aluminum nipples again.
 

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Knolly wannabe
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86 Posts
Alloy Nipples are great for weight-weenie or XC race bikes but only if you ride it rarely are very gentle and not particularly heavy. I think there is only about 40 grams difference (Australian grams-not the ones that relate to the ounce), but brass is a lot more reliable and you easier to work with for the wheel builder.
 

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Double-metric mtb man
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4,482 Posts
Both will work if done right but there are pros and cons to both. Alu will save some weight, but tends to be a little more brittle. Brass is heavier but a little more robust.

If this is going on a Knolly and you're using 721's, chances are brass would be a better choice for the pounding these will take...and my personal preference if you're using straight gauge spokes would definitely be brass.

FWIW, my first build was Pro II's/DT Swiss comps/brass nips/Mavic XM819's and they have been nearly bulletproof.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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40,241 Posts
Save yourself the pain of aluminum nipples. Yes, you can build a wheel and tension it evenly to start with, but then as things go on the wheel eventually goes a little out of true, when that happens the weakness of aluminum nipples starts to show, because you can't tension them nearly as much and you have a much higher possibility of rounding them out while trying to tension them. It's just not worth it in the long run. I've built and ran wheels with aluminum nipples successfully, and by that I mean that I didn't have to true them hardly ever, but just from the bigger picture having built many wheels, it's not worth the headaches that you can encounter, especially if you're putting the wheels on ANY knolly type bike.
 
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