1. I bought a new rear hub, same exact size as old, original spokes were 281mm however spokes i bought by mistake are 284mm, can i still use them to rebuild? I have deep double walled rim with lots of extra space for the spokes to stick out, however spokes have thread smaller than the spoke diameter and spoke does not screw past spoke cap, so i don't know where the extra length will go?

  2. Spoke caps i bought are not same length as original, bought two variants - first is longer and second is shorter than original spoke cap, does it matter?

  • 1
    Depends. The hub may be "identical" and still vary by a mm or two. Double wall rims help, but you don't know how the original spokes were sized. Apr 25, 2021 at 21:27
  • What do you mean by spoke caps? Is that the nipple - the specialised nut that secures the threadded end of the spoke to the rim?
    – Criggie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 0:01
  • If you have these spokes and need to use them, a Snowflake pattern will use up the extra mm difference. This is the main reason to make a snowflake! A single twist is enough to lose 2mm from the effective spoke length.
    – Noise
    Apr 26, 2021 at 16:06
  • JoeK wish there was a video on how to make that Snowflake pattern i have no idea.
    – LilBro
    Apr 27, 2021 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


The new hub means you'll need to do re-do your spoke calculation anyway, unless it's the same dimensions.

Nipples of different lengths have different amounts of thread. The only good way to address that fact is to take an ERD measurement based on the nipples you'll be using. Published ERDs are always simplifications for this reason.

If 281 was a good size spoke for a given build, good defined as having nearly complete thread engagement, 284 would be way too long, and into the realm where running out of threaded length would be probable.

If you have a shop local with a production type spoke machine like a Phil or Morizumi, making your 284s into 281s is a fast job. I've done this sort of thing for people with mis-ordered spokes before.

  • You can, if you're sufficiently desperate and have the time, use a spoke nipple to extend the threads on a spoke. I managed to do it once, but I would absolutely refuse to do it for an entire wheel's worth of spokes.
    – DavidW
    Apr 26, 2021 at 0:17
  • Turning 281 into 284? Or the other way around?
    – MaplePanda
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:52
  • Well provided i pay 8 cents a spoke in a local store, i can go and buy another set.
    – LilBro
    Apr 26, 2021 at 7:24
  • The nipples i use all have the same amount of thread regardless of 12/14/16mm. Which brand do you use that differs?
    – Noise
    Apr 26, 2021 at 16:08
  • @JoeK I got intimately familiar with the issue when I worked at a fairly major North American repair wheel producer. We used Sapim 16mm nipples primarily, why is another question, but they had a longer threaded section than a typical 12mm nipple, which is what published ERDs usually account for. Take the same spoke and screw it into various 16mm nipples you come across and you will find some where you run out of thread before the top of the spoke can be flush with either the top or bottom of the screwdriver slot. Apr 26, 2021 at 16:54

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