Previous Page
Urban Velo
Next Page

DIY Nipple Driver

Brad Quartuccio

Losing spoke nipples in the rim during a wheel build or spoke replacement can be a frustrating experience. Deep section rims popular on urban builds make it even that much more likely, as the spoke bed rests a thumb’s width away from the inner wall where the tire sits, and where you have to fish the nipple through to meet the end of the spoke. Commercially available nipple drivers are available that hold the nipple and allow you to thread it onto the end of the spoke without dropping it inside the rim, but they remain pricey and out of reach of most home mechanics and even small shops.

For a number of years now I’ve been using a simple, DIY nipple driver to hold each nipple as I lace up a wheel. Using an old spoke with the elbow end cut off, I bend it to have a T-shaped handle, add a few rounds of tape for a grip and thread a nipple onto the spoke as far as it will go, snugging it up as tight as can be with a spoke wrench. The short length of remaining threads is just enough to catch on the backside of the nipple you’re lacing up, allowing you to easily place it through the rim wall and start threading it onto the spoke you’re working on. Once the nipple catches, a simple quarter turn back releases the tool for the next spoke. Load, thread, release. Never lose a nipple inside of the rim again.


Prolly is not Probably


Alliance for Biking & Walking

Cyclocross Magazine

Velo City Bags

Ant Bike Mike