06 April, 2018

Brass Accent Spacers

By Scott

Our friends at Blue Lug in Japan have started making headset parts using a unique material - brass. While brass has been used for lots of other applications - plumbing parts, camera bits and most famously, musical instruments, you don't see a lot of it on bike components or accessories.

In the lot, we brought in brass stem caps and a tapered spacer. For those of you using threadless headsets, this tapers from the width of the stem down to the outside width of the bearing cover for a very clean look.

We also got a range of spacer heights: 2, 5, 10, 20 and 35mm in 1 1/8 size, 2 and 5 mm in 1 inch sizing.

Brass is lovely as an accent color, especially if you have dark colors on your steerer tube or frame or have one of our brass bell's that's been "adjusted" by Tomii cycles.

And before you ask, yes, these spacers do weigh more then the same size in carbon fibre. But does carbon fibre have a lovely patina created by sweat, rain, and memories? I think not.


Hobbes vs Boyle said...

Can you say how thick the spacers are? They look about the same as regular aluminum spacers. I've been looking for thinner-wall spacers to match my tube thickness of my steel threadless stem for quite a while.

Anonymous said...

How tall is the tapered spacer?

VeloOrange said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VeloOrange said...

@ Hobbes vs Boyle- the spacers are 1.5 mm thick. That is for both the 1 inch and the 1 1/8" sizes.

@Anon 11:52- The tapered spacer is 12 mm tall.


velo-hobo said...

These look lovely, but do be careful with this if you sweat a lot and place the brass adjacent to raw or polished aluminum, as it will likely corrode the aluminum parts.

Brass and aluminum are fairly far apart in the galvanic series and sweat can be an excellent electrolyte. It somewhat depends on the exact alloys but generally they aren't a good match for mating surfaces.

That said, anodizing makes for a pretty decent insulator so long as it is intact and has been applied after all machining operations etc.

Anonymous said...

Love the spacers,

However a minor correction, the photo is of trumpeter Jon Faddis, not Dizzy Gillespie.

VeloOrange said...

Thanks, post edited.

Unknown said...

I am not an expert on galvanic corrosion, so I had a question for Velo-hobo. Spoke nipples are usually made of brass, and I didn't think corrosion with the Al rim is generally a problem. Is that due to plating or the specific alloys involved? Just curious; as I said, I don't know much about this. Thanks.


velo-hobo said...

responding to Jon,

I'm no expert either, but my work often entails design and maintenance in a marine environment, so I've seen what can happen and I have to take this phenomenon into consideration in my projects.

It's an ongoing learning process for me, but aluminum alloys are generally very reactive, meaning they don't perform well next to more noble metals in the presence of an electrolyte.

So the issue not just proximity but environment. Metals which are some distance apart in the series can live happily next to one another in controlled environments, but in more extreme environments this goes out the window - salt water, sweat, anything electrolytic.

I think it's certainly possible to witness galvanic corrosion in the spoke/rim interface depending on the specifics of the wheel and if you ride around on salted winter roads or live near the sea.

However, many rims are anodized, and the resultant coating makes for a good insulator. Non-anodized, polished aluminum rims would seem to be more at risk of galvanic corrosion than anodized rims in salty conditions.

Also consider that many rims have steel eyelets in the spoke holes, which themselves may be plated, quite possibly with nickel, so in that case there is essentially zero galvanic potential with a nickel-plated brass nipple.