Mavic Zircal Spoke and M7 Nipple...Up close

by John Satory December 22, 2018

If you have been an owner of any Mavic wheel that has Zircal spokes and their FORE rim design, there’s a good chance that you have had to deal with the issue of the spokes seizing to the spoke nipple, the spoke nipple seizing in the rim, or both. When this happens, the wheel is still safe to ride but doesn’t allow you to true the wheel if the area of the rim needs to be aligned is at or near the spoke(s) that are seized. For several years I’ve been trying to come up with a way to prevent this from happening and/or a process to break the seized parts free without damage to the spoke, nipple, or the rim. For some reason, I just can’t let this go.
Besides the proactive approach of turning every spoke nipple (while holding the spoke stationary) and adding a drop of penetrating oil between each spoke and nipple every time I have a Mavic wheel of this design in my shop, there really isn’t much else that I could come up with. As a side note, in defense of Mavic and this design, I believe that one of the most significant contributing factors why this happens is because these wheels tend to stay true longer than the typical wheels, mechanics and folks that work on their own bikes tend to not put a spoke wrench to the nipples for an extended period of time...thus allowing this “seizing” to happen (at least this is my theory). Take a minute to google Mavic Ksyrium SL and Crossmax SL wheels, and you will see how durable and long-lasting this design is.
If one is honest with oneself, there comes a time when you know that you’re really far into the weeds, and you need to reach out to someone who knows a lot more than you about the subject. So, I tossed some new Zircal spokes and a few spokes with seized nipples to someone who’s in my inner circle who has spent more years in school and in a lab than I can remember. I asked him to figure out what’s going on. Here’s what he sent me...’s a SEM image.’s a SEM image.

Let’s see where this goes... -John 

2 Responses


December 11, 2022

Been using a heat gun on the nipples to unfreeze them with great success. Just a few secs and it will unlock and rotate freely. Zero damage if done properly. Then one FL 100% Teflon drop to each thread and it will never freeze again, unless of course lots of wash and rain but in this case just reapply every 3 months or so.
RogueMechanic replied:
Thanks for your comment Alex. Yes, a heat gun works some of the time. In fact, it’s usually my first approach when faced with this issue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on the vast majority of the seized spoke nipples that I have experienced. Your use of the teflon drip is also a great proactive approach. Thanks for writing! -John

Russell Cammell
Russell Cammell

December 06, 2021

Yes, aluminum corrodes and freezes to its companion metal. I have several Ksyrium wheels with the problem. A high heat industrial soldering iron to the nipple is the only chance of freeing them, but when the nipples have seen a lot of wet weather they tend to split in two when attempting to remove them by force

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