This is a project I did early in the year for the ratrodbikes.com Muscle Bike Build-off. It turned out very successful and wanted to share it with others... Please remember this is only an idea being provided, how good it turns out is up to the individual builder, I take no responsibility for anything you might create using my ideas, so please use your common sense! Also make sure you use personal safety gear while doing this!
There are more pictures of the finished bikes and some videos of them on the last page.
"I just finished making this rim up for my "Muscle bike build off" bike, and thought I would share the process of building a wide freewheel hub. I have noticed many bikes using wider and wider tires and rims, some like the sand and beach bikes would be a good project for a scratch builder if they could get the rims and tires cheap enough, if you build some of these hubs and the following wheel set up and find some used motorbike tires you should be able to do it for next to nothing, depending on what pieces you have available to you of course... The finished hub cost me nothing, I had all the pieces I needed in my bike stockpile, the rim I show later cost me $10 for the car wheels I used to make it, the motorbike tire I will end up using was free from the bike shop, it saves them from paying to dump it. Total cost for the entire wheel, hub and tire combination: $10.
This can even be done without the use of a welder if you are widening by 2 inches or less, if widening by more than that you will probably need a welder to widen the axle anyway. (If you can find the correct endless threaded rod mentioned later, you could theoretically build one as wide as you want without any welding at all.)
For reference a 16inch motorbike or car tire can be fitted to a wide 20inch bmx style rim for the perfect beach/sand cruiser combination!
To do this you will need some knowledge of how to dismantle and rebuild a standard wheel hub.
Step 1: Starting point.
First gather your needed parts, The best hub to use for your parts is one that is even across from side to side, you can do it with the dropped center ones but it will be harder especially if you are building a hub 2+inches wider than standard, I will explain why later.
This photo shows a car rim as well, I will add the process of joining a hub to a car rim later but this first part will work for a normal spoked rim as well so I will keep them separate.
First thing you want to do is cut your hub in half, then you need to find a piece of tube that fit snugly either inside or outside your hub tube, if you are using a hub similar to mine you may find that a mountain bike seat tube is a perfect fit inside.
Cut the tube to the right length to make your hub the width you require, insert your bearing cups if they have been removed before doing this, as they take up some room inside the tube. My hub is going to be 85mm (3+3/8inches) wider than standard.
After trimming to the right length, clean off any paint or powdercoat on the tube you will be welding in, and weld it up! If you are spoking this up to a normal rim, you may not even have to weld it, as the spokes will pull the hub together tightly once they are done up.
This photo also shows the two end caps for my hub, they are both drive side threaded endcaps because my bike will be dual drive, they have also been modified to mount brake discs to, you only need to do this if you are running a car wheel, in fact you cant do this if you will be using normal spokes as the brake disc mounts to where the spokes were before, so you can just ignore that if you will be spoking this hub up as normal.