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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While doing a general clean + maintenance run of my A bike, I noticed that this winter's extremely foggy rides have left behind rust points on a few of the drive side spokes behind the cassette.

The spokes look structurally sound, but I'm wondering whether I should be replacing them, rather than risk a failure on the road.

Browsing some wheel-building pages, I've come across the suggestion that somebody with no wheel-building experience, such as myself, shouldn't begin with low spoke count wheels, for they are more unforgiving.

At the same time, I see that un-tensioning and re-tensioning the whole wheel is the recommended course of action for replacing spokes.

I already have Park's bladed spoke holder and the appropriate spoke wrench, as I've used those for minor adjustments over the years.

However, I don't have a truing stand, dishing tool or tension-meter.

How hard would it be, for a total noob, to get the wheel back together as good as it is now without those tools?
 

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Forever a Student
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Just clean the rust spots with T-9.

Ride the wheel until it breaks.

Buy something better... not Mavic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Done so already, and that's what the bike came with. Personally I have no beef with Mavic, the wheels are durable and reliable, both on and off-road, the spokes are reasonably priced and spares easy to find.

That's beyond the point, though, wheel building seems a useful skill, this starting point could be as good as any?
 

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Banned Sock Puppet
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I am guessing the rust you see is staining from rust on the cassette which usually has carbon steel cogs. Spokes are stainless steel. So no, your spokes are not rusting.

Want to find out for sure. Put a magnet on each one. Carbon steel is magnetic, stainless steel usually is not.

That being said, if your nipples are aluminum alloy, that could be a problem if you ride in damp conditions a lot. Aluminum does corrode.
 

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Yea, your big problem is the nipples. Some stainless will rust, but I don't think your spokes are.

Ride them till they fail or sell them now and build some new wheels.
 

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If you have an Aksium the spokes are magnetic not-stainless steel that can rust, but the coating is pretty good and it would rust in the nipple threads not where it meets the plastic hub. Ive seen it make red rust there and searching the net it looks that many others also have.

I think though that the rust you saw would probably been from your cassette.

Rebuilding a 20 spoke wheel is a real pain compared to even 28. Every error you can make happen and makes much bigger errors to correct.

I made all those tools from lumber in my garage and they were ok but really dont start with 20 spoke wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just fished it out of paint thinner, can't see any rust on the cassette, a PG-1070 unless some clown has swapped the lockring.

If Mavic hasn't changed anything, both spokes and nipples should be steel, no mention of it being stainless, though. Cassette and spokes are magnetic, but the shiny (nickel I assume?) finish of the cassette looks fine, will confirm when I'm done cleaning it.

Rust was found where the spokes are laced and on hub ends, great spots for water to stop. Also some light rusting on the freehub body, roughly under the 8th sprocket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@je-, yes Aksium Race 2011 The coating has been coming off for a long while now, the midsection looking off-white (the underlying primer I assume).

Rebuilding a 20 spoke wheel is a real pain compared to even 28. Every error you can make happen and makes much bigger errors to correct.

I made all those tools from lumber in my garage and they were ok but really dont start with 20 spoke wheels.
Gotcha, thanks.
 

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Banned Sock Puppet
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If Mavic hasn't changed anything, both spokes and nipples should be steel......
Steel nipples? Are you sure?

Cassette and spokes are magnetic, but the shiny (nickel I assume?).......
Not nickel. No plating that I know of.
 

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They are brass, mine are. :D
I don't see where the OP mentioned which Mavic wheels he has so I don't know why you assume they are the same as yours; but some Mavics do have steel nipples and I think it's a fair assumption the OP knows what wheels he owns and could obtain information on what they nips are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Of course I'm open to the notion that reality may be different from published specs, however I'm not quite sure how to conclusively tell a plated brass nipple apart from a steel one, any suggestion?

FWIW while the spidered bit of the cassette is still in the ultrasonic cleaner, I couldn't spot any sign of corrosion on it. The teeth do show some wear, but that is par for the course given their mileage, and there was some small rust on the inner surface of the last two cogs, although there was more of it on the freehub body, I'm guessing the latter is to blame.

I don't normally grease the splined surface, guess that's going to change.

PS: looking at the rear wheel in daylight, I just found more rust on non-drive side and on some spoke heads.
 

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Spokes are likely ferritic stainless steel, cheaper than austenitic because the lower nickel content, but also more prone to corrosion.
 

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I don't see where the OP mentioned which Mavic wheels he has so I don't know why you assume they are the same as yours; but some Mavics do have steel nipples and I think it's a fair assumption the OP knows what wheels he owns and could obtain information on what they nips are.
It's post #8

Non-stainless steel is magnetic (actually it's ferromagnetic, brass is not. Steel is also hard to mash but a brass nipple deforms very easily. So maybe yours arent the brass... after all? Does it matter to the discussion???
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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Rebuilding a 20 spoke wheel is a real pain compared to even 28. Every error you can make happen and makes much bigger errors to correct.

.
How true. Also, any 20 spoke rim would have to be extremely stiff radially, and radially stiff rims are a real b!tch to true because if one spoke is less than about say 5% less tension than the others, it can go slack, which makes a "plinking" noise, and eventually ends in fatigue failure. I've found that aero rims that are 'less than true' are best to be 'tweaked' before lacing, to avoid just this scenario. A high-spoke, box section rim, OTOH, you can rely on just the spokes for most of the truing.

Also, on the brass-vs,-steel nipples: I think that considering the tensions needed, a brass nipple may be too weak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How true. Also, any 20 spoke rim would have to be extremely stiff radially, and radially stiff rims are a real b!tch to true because if one spoke is less than about say 5% less tension than the others, it can go slack, which makes a "plinking" noise, and eventually ends in fatigue failure. I've found that aero rims that are 'less than true' are best to be 'tweaked' before lacing, to avoid just this scenario. A high-spoke, box section rim, OTOH, you can rely on just the spokes for most of the truing.

Also, on the brass-vs,-steel nipples: I think that considering the tensions needed, a brass nipple may be too weak.
Thanks for the valuable input.
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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....

Non-stainless steel is magnetic (actually it's ferromagnetic, brass is not....
Actually, not all stainless grades are non-magnetic; many of the 400-series stainless steels ARE magnetic, some strongly, others weakly. So, the old 'magnet test' only works with some stainless grades.
 
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