My spokes are described as follows:

American Classic round spoke (butted 14/15 gauge; 2.0/1.8mm), black 286mm (without nipple).

Does this imply that the correct nipple to go with them would be 15 gauge? I assume that the thicker gauge is at the outer ends, if I've understood butting correctly.

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    Keep in mind that with "gauge" sizing, a larger number is a smaller diameter. Most spokes are either single gauge or "double butted", so that both ends are the same gauge. Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


I have the same double butted spoke on my bike and the correct nipple size is 14 gauge. Here's a note from my bike store:

The 14/15 gauge measurement on the spoke actually refers to the fact that they are a butted spoke, 14g at the ends and a narrower 15g in the middle (to make them lighter but still strong)... Yes, 14G is the size for the spoke nipple.

The next thing to determine is the correct length of the nipple you need since they come in varied lengths. Note that it is easy to make a mistake on the length, unless you have samples to compare sizes. I had to return a purchase 14G/14mm since the right size is 14G/16mm.

Good luck.


With wire (and spokes) a larger number for gauge is a smaller diameter.

This is why the metric conversion seems the other way around.

14 / 2mm is the larger diameter here, and yes, it's at the ends, or rather, the hub end.

Straight spokes are straight, single butted are thicker at the hub end, double are thicker at both ends, and triple butted are thickest at the hub end, narrow in the middle and slightly thicker at the nipple end. Says Sheldon.

A Wire Gauge

  • 3
    This is correct, but misses the actual answer to his question, which is that he needs 15g/1.8mm nipples if the spokes are single butted, and 14g/2mm nipples if they are double butted. I expect they are double butted (i.e. both ends are thicker, not just the hub end), but the linked description doesn't make it clear. If they are spokes he already has, James can just look at his to check though.
    – armb
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 11:43
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    Thanks both. Yes, I already have these spokes on my bike. Is it that obvious just from looking/feeling? It seems like a very small difference and I don't have a caliper/micrometer to measure them. Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 12:04
  • I did have a recommendation in one edit, but removed it in favour of the information he needs to find the correct nipple himself. Due to the vagueness of the description on that website. I didn't want to be the one responsible for a purchase of that magnitude.
    – alex
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 5:15
  • Hehe. Well I tried but I can't really tell how they're butted by running my fingers along the spoke. I'm not surprised as any difference would be a gradually-changing 0.2mm. Perhaps I should just guess the size of nipple and see if it fits. Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 8:10
  • 1
    If I had to guess, for that spoke it'd be the 14 / 2mm. Good luck :D
    – alex
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 8:17

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