Wheel Fanatyk spline nipples bring back the unfinished work of the Spline Drive design from a decade or more ago with their new alloy offering.

The benefit? Better interfaces with the truing tool mean less stripping when fixing or building a wheel. They’re also lighter because there’s less material than the standard square design. Yet Wheel Fanatyk founder Ric Hjertberg says they’re so strong that if you use a thread lock on it and keep tightening, you’ll break the spoke before you break the nipple.

At retail, they’ll be about $0.60 each when factored into a wheel build. Weight is about 0.31g per nipple, versus 0.35g for a square alloy nipple. But brass nipples are about 1g each, so the real upgrade is getting all the durability and strength of the brass but much less rotational mass on a complete wheelset.

Available now in green, silver, black, blue, purple, gold, red and blue. They also have the splined wrench to fit them.

Not shown, they also have a new foot pedal for their digital tension meter that quickly captures each spoke’s tension and records it so you don’t have to stop after each one and wrote down the measurement, which can speed up building considerably.



  1. Dork on

    Liking what I’m seeing, looks like nice execution. No mention of the new CLEAR oil?
    Anyway, wheelbuilding has benefited greatly from Ric’s efforts to bring quality and intelligence to this segment of cycling.

  2. Aaron on

    Great looking nipple with thoughtful design! But, I am strictly against aluminum nipples of any kind on my wheels. The problem does not arise from rounding out the nipple whilst truing (while that is definitely a problem for some), but that an aluminum nipple just fatigues and breaks over time. That’s just one of the physical properties of aluminum, and that weakness is amplified in a system that experiences millions of fatigue cycles over a small cross section. Also, anodizing fades in the sun over time. Great for racers who count grams and trash wheels after one season, terrible for everyday use. Thus, I would love to see this ideology and design applied to a brass nipple.

  3. Collin S on

    The brass sounds like a huge upgrade, but the alloy is going to make broken nipples even more prevalent as its thinner. No matter the brand, your going to get stress cracking and eventually failure on alloy nipples.

  4. JonB on

    DT swiss used splined nipples as recently as a few years ago on the Tricon mtb wheels. Worked just fine, but were kind of a pain in the ass to find in a pinch, and required their own truing key, which isn’t such a big deal in the workshop, but is a big pain in the ass if you ever had to touch up a wheel in the backcountry.

  5. Veganpotter on

    I wish these were available in brass too. It wouldn’t take much salt to make these brittle with how thin they are. You tighten, the nipple disintegrates… you don’t break a spoke.

  6. Justin on

    Hopefully more reliable then the DT tricon nipples, only worked on a few but those thing stripped like crazy, and the torx spline at the hub stripped, and it had that stupid insert in the rims, and the centerlock hubs that would creak like crazy… man I hated those wheels.

    Knowing wheel fanatyk this should hopefully be a better design, have a nipple shuffler and tension tool and both work great.

  7. wunnspeed on

    I still have some of the original splined nippled and the adjuster in my tool box out in the garage. They were some of the first nipples I ever used when I learned to build wheels back in the late 90’s.

  8. Kernel Flickitov on

    Hex head nips are better by design, especially for aluminum. You should only have to use the outside barrel part of a nipple, square or spline, in emergency truing situations. That being said I’ve been a Wheel Fanatyk supporter since the beginning. Own most of the tools that Ric sells, but I won’t be buying these.

  9. greg on

    Most aluminum nipples break at the head, especially if the spoke doesn’t protrude through the flats for the nipple driver. It looks like these have a taller head(?). Still, hex head is my go-to because of that. And they all disintegrate when left in a coating of sealant that leaked past the tape…

  10. TheKaiser on

    My experience with the original Spline Drive nips was that they were more durable from an overall strength perspective vs. reg alu nips, spline aspect aside. I have popped the heads of tons of alu nips from fatigue, overloading, or corrosion, but never had one pop with Spline Drives. Not sure why that was, but the anodization did seem more durable on them, and also the radius from the nip barrel to the head seemed to have a more gradual curve, both of which could play a role.


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