Sunday, March 16, 2014

How to drill your rims.

We've all seen the "holes in the rim" look seen all those expensive fat bikes. Well, You can do that yourself, on the cheap, and save some weight. Here's how to do it:
1. Take the wheel off the bike.
2. Take the tire, tube, and rimstrip off the rim.
3. Mark out your center holes. They should be equally spaced between each spoke, like so
I kept away from the tubes valve hole. the 1.5" just seemed too close. I heard you could use a 1'' one but, I didn't have one on me.
I set my wheels on my workbench, pressed up against the wall, on two 2x4s to give me a flat and steady surface to work with. This kept me from bending the brake rotor or putting unstable pressure on the axle.
4. Take a small drill bit and drill out a pilot hole. You do this to ensure accuracy of the hole saw
5. Take a bit larger than the one you just used but, smaller than the hole saw drill bit, and drill your pilot holes bigger. You do this to make sure the hole saw bit doesn't catch, bind up, and break.

6. Get an 1.5" hole saw and a drill. I used an electric drill. I knew it'd be a lot of drilling and the batteries on my drill aren't the best, anymore. The benefit of a battery drill would be instant stop when you let go of the trigger. While the electric one keeps spinning for a while. I use these things all the time at work and have the feel for it so, I knew I'd be safe.
7. It's going to get messy. Put a sheet down to catch all the metal shavings.
[Not the one off your bed. That'll pis your wife or mom off}
8. Drill, baby, Drill! I kept the rim secure by having it on the floor between my legs. Worked fine. Make sure as soon as the hole saw goes through you pull it back up. It'll mangle your spokes if you don't. You also want to drill straight down. Not like it looks in the picture. That was for illustration purposes only. Also, spray some oil on the rim where you are drilling. It'll save your bit and it'll cut quicker.
9. Once you're done drilling, go back onto your 2x4 platform and take a rounded file and get rid of all the extra metal hangnails. Smooth out the edges of your holes. I picked up this file at a home improvement store for 8 bucks.
10. Give the rims a good wipe down from all the metal shavings. Inside and out.
11. Now you need to cover the holes with something. Some people use gift wrapping ribbon for special colors. I thought about white but, it would get really dirty and I didn't want to have to take them apart all the time. I stuck with a black waterproof gorilla duct tape. I wrapped around the rim twice with the black side facing the holes. I put the rimstrip then over the duct tape.
12. Replace tube and tire and you're ready to roll!
Now everyone will want to ride your fattie!


  1. How have the rims held up after this mod, and how much riding have you done. Thanks for posting these instructions.

  2. They are holding up fine. I've done a couple of 18 mile rocky single track rides recently with it. Throw in a couple of drops and log overs and they're are strong as ever. As is the bike.

  3. Did you weigh the wheels before and after?

  4. I have a modded Dolomite. Was gonna drill the same pattern. Did you use a 1" diameter?

  5. I have a modded Dolomite. Was gonna drill the same pattern. Did you use a 1" diameter?

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  7. I have a dolomite my self and was inspired by your article. I used the same hole pattern and hole size. In addition I replaced the tires with 4.5 kenda juggernaut and gave it a slick look of a high end fat bike.

  8. Do you know how to remove the brake thingy from off the hubs? they are preventing me from spoking the rim. help please

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    2. I have an article on that if you go to the main page.