THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Safety warning about Mavic wheels!

“I sure hope I don’t have to ask you for a new set of nipples!” a customer jokingly e-mailed me this week. While funny, this comment also represents a safety challenge we faced this week at Flatbike, alerted by another of our sharp-eyed recent customers (Thanks, Jeff!).

Mavic wheels are popular, industry-recognized, high-quality components that ship on our highest-end bikes. And yet, they have a known problem with routine shipping that we just discovered on Monday.

The problem starts here, with this standard add-on piece of disposable plastic used to protect bike wheels during shipment.

In most cases, a wheel purchaser just pulls off this piece of plastic, inserts a quick-release hub, mounts the wheel, and is off and riding. But with Mavic wheels, this sometimes happens…

Hidden inside that black disposable part is sometimes a black non-disposable part. A part of your wheel.
There seems to be no official industry name for this part, going variously by hub adaptor, fixing bolt, axle end cap, axle nipple. But it belongs on your wheel.

How big a problem is a missing axle nipple?

Safety impact

Well, this nipple is part of your wheel attachment, so its absence is a serious safety concern, particularly if you’re doing any jumping.

Mountain bikes typically have a significant indentation in the fork for the ends of the quick-release axle. If you cinch your wheel down tightly, you may not even notice a missing nipple. But if you install and remove your wheel frequently, you’ll probably notice increased time spent setting the wheel accurately and securely.

Range of impact

On most shipped bikes, front and rear wheels may be shipped unattached, with plastic protective doodads, so the problem could be on either axle. But because CHANGE bikes can fold in half, they ship with the rear wheel already attached, cutting the scope of the problem in half. Only front axles can be affected.

At Flatbike, we take a further quality step, unpacking the wheel, inspecting it, and repacking it for the customer with our own method that reduces customer effort at the receiving end. Obviously, axle nipples are now added to our inspection checklist–and we suggest this for all bike shop owners. For us at Flatbike, all the disposable plastic parts for 2017 were still in a bin in the shop, and we could count the parts/customers with a problem.

In the end, we had just five affected mountain bike or hybrid owners. We have already tracked down four, shipped them their missing nipples, and will be starting call-downs soon to identify the mystery fifth affected customer.

Have Mavic wheels? Look for this part on your bike at both ends of the axle.

What this means for Mavic wheel owners.

  • If you have a bike other than a CHANGE bike, look at both ends of both axles. Missing one or more nipples? Take your bike to your local bike shop and get this fixed.
  • If you have a CHANGE bike, your rear wheel is not an issue. Remove your front wheel and check for a problem at both ends of the axle. You may be the one remaining mystery customer with this problem! Call us at Flatbike so we can re-unite you with your long-lost nipple.

Thanks, and safe riding.

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave
President, Flatbike.com

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425-985-6219

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