So you have a sweet set of super fat wheels for that snowbike of yours but they seem a bit heavy, Sure you could get some of the new generation of rims like the Rolling Darryl’s or some Uma II’s and re-lace your hubs onto those, but why waste a set of perfectly good rims? In this Post I’ll walk you through drilling out a set of fat rims.
What you will need.
1. A set of un-drilled rims or an undrilled wheelset.
2. An awl or some other scratching tool so you can lay out your drilling pattern
3. Hole saw of the appropriate size ( I used a 1.5in hole saw)
4. A drill or a big drill press
5. A smaller drill bit (I used 3/16)
6. A small File or Dremel tool
7. Beers for afterwards
8. About and afternoons worth of time
9. Some Gorilla tape and optionally some cool lookin ribbon.
Part 1 – Layout
First measure halfway between each spoke and mark it with an awl (23mm inside to inside of the nipples on Gracefull Fat Shebas)
I also marked the center of the rim as well, basically I’m trying to stay between the center ribs of the rim to keep the wheel as stiff as possible. with a 1.5 inch hole on a Gracefull fat sheba you have 2-3 mm of room to play with before you hit the side rib so you do have a bit of margin for error.
First things first, I made a little rim holder by cutting slots in a 2×4 scrap so my wheel would stay in one spot while drilling, not strictly necessary but very handy.
Next up you throw a 3/16 or some sort of slightly smaller bit in your drill and drill out pilot holes
Its probably easiest to drill out all the pilot holes first but I did drill one test hole to make sure everything looked good (although if it does not look good I suppose the rim is toast anyways)
After that its time to take your hole saw and drill baby drill.
Make sure you take out the leftover rim sections before drilling the next hole or you will end up with a useless holesaw in short order.
Also watch out for the spokes when you punch through, a hole saw will kill a spoke real quick, I pushed a bit too hard on one and nearly snapped a spoke, I had to replace it since it got pretty mangled but really as long as you are careful it should not be an issue.
Once you have the Rim drilled you need to clean up the holes with a file or dremel tool.
All you have to do now is wrap the rim with either just Gorlla Tape or add some sweet ribbon for a bit of color. I used this glitter green stuff I found at Wallgreens.
Wrap it around the wheel and secure with a small piece of tape. Then wrap it with Gorilla Tape – use half strips of tape to cover the edges.
Once you are done you can double check the true of your wheels if you want ( I didn’t need to re-true anything) and re-install the tire.
Now Do it all again with your other wheel!
Now you have some sweet Drillium wheels, I saved over 200 Grams per wheel doing this so in my mind its definitely worth the effort.
For other Bikebacking related DIY check me out over at Cales Travels