How to remove aluminum rim strip (Ritchey Zeta II Disc) aka - where'd my spoke holes go?!

Yesterday towards the end of a 70 mile gravel ride, I broke a spoke in my rear wheel. After getting the bike all cleaned up and back on the trainer today, I thought I’d break down the rear wheel so I could fish the nipple out of the rim and take the spoke to my local shop so they can cut me a new one. Once I popped the tire off and cleaned all of the sealant, I was surprised to find that instead of normal rim tape or rim strips, these Ritchey Zetas seem to have a solid aluminum strip in the rim bed covering the spoke holes. I’m completely at a loss for how to remove this without damaging the rim. I tried to slide a pick under the aluminum strip at the valve hole, but no luck. Does anyone out there have experience with this type of rim strip or know how to remove it?

I don’t have these wheels, but the nipples probably screw in from the outside. The hole is probably threaded.

Take a close look, to be sure.

So i’ve done a little more research - looks like there’s such a thing as rims with no spoke holes in the rim bed. This wheelset apparently uses that style rim. To replace a nipple, you have to use a piece of thread to pull it from the valve hole over to the spoke hole (similar to routing internal cables). Yes, this style rim makes tubeless setup a breeze, and you’ll never have compromised tape stop you in your tracks, but man are they a pain to service. I don’t even want to think about how much fun a set of these would be to build - it wasn’t a big deal to replace one, but doing that 52 times and not being able to use a screwdriver to run the nipples down would be a real pain in the butt!

Anyways, problem solved. Just thought I’d put what I learned up here in case anyone else runs in to the same issue later down the road.


Wow that’s annoying, lol.

The externally threaded nipples or the nipple cups that Mavic used seems like a better solution.