16 inch rim for Flathead

Wheels, hubs and tires
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DuoGlide62
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:21 am
Bikes: 1962 FL
Location: Chicago, Ill.

16 inch rim for Flathead

#1

Post by DuoGlide62 » Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:45 am

Hi guys. I'm a Panhead owner (22 yrs) and I'm starting a WL project. The front wheel has the hub with the brake-drum built in. It has long and short spokes laced to an 18" rim. I've seen 16" rims with these hubs, and spokes are available, but the 16" rim is seemingly hard to find at a reasonable price. Does anyone have a spare laying around ? Is there a modification that can be made to use a "star hub" rim ? I'm in the dark here. Thanks,... Rick



Kurt
Posts: 256
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:18 pm
Bikes: 1942 U
1942 WLA
1995 Ultra
2008 Ultra

Re: 16 inch rim for Flathead

#2

Post by Kurt » Wed Nov 26, 2003 1:51 am

Rick,

The 16" front rim for a WL model is a very rare find, and even more rare in good condition. There are N.O.S. ones out there, but they're a lot more expensive than a repro if someone knows what they have. That's another problem, it's hard to tell the difference between and interchangeable rim and a WL because the spoke hole angle is so slight, but it is there and is needed to align the spokes on the drum side. The new repros were released last year and are a bit pricey as you said.
To do a change over to the WLC/Big Twin style set-up is fairly easy, but you end up having to modify the WL forks by drilling the rocker stud hole out to 1/2". If you choose to do this, you'll need a Big Twin rocker set, Big Twin brake assembly, interchangeable hub, Big Twin front axle assembly and a new fender with the proper braces. The WL fender will not work because the braces when bent to fit over the rockers will put the fender too far away from where it bolts to the fork. This way really isn't a lot of work, (a couple hours), but it's pricey to do. I personally like the Big Twin setup better than the WL, I feel it's easier to maintain and a lot stronger.

Kurt

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DuoGlide62
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:21 am
Bikes: 1962 FL
Location: Chicago, Ill.

Re: 16 inch rim for Flathead

#3

Post by DuoGlide62 » Fri Nov 28, 2003 2:59 pm

Hey Kurt,. thanks for the tips. One question, is it possible to modify an interchangable rim to fit the brake drum hub ? For instance,.. using a die grinder to "massage" the nipple holes to match the angle of the short spokes. Thanks again, Rick

Kurt
Posts: 256
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:18 pm
Bikes: 1942 U
1942 WLA
1995 Ultra
2008 Ultra

Re: 16 inch rim for Flathead

#4

Post by Kurt » Fri Nov 28, 2003 9:27 pm

Rick,

I've seen it done this way and I've also seen people use an interchangeable wheel without modifying the holes.
Here's the problem with both of the above: if you were to angle the hole so the spokes are lined up with a drill or dremel,.... the way the rim is pressed at the factory, the nipple hole doesn't allow the nipple to sit flat. You still have pressure being applied unequally to the nipple and this "may" cause a failure of the spoke, especially the cad plated or chrome spokes.....the stainless spokes are a lot more duriable. Plus, the rim looks modified when done.
If you just install an interchangeable rim, which is the way it was done "a lot" before the new original style rim was produced....the only spokes that would work were the stainless, but the spokes really bent when everything was tighten up. The stainless spokes were the only ones that could handle the pressure....... when they did fail, it was right at the end of the nipple and the threaded part started to bend, usually from fatigue.

Personally, I would spend the cash for the correct rim, just for ease of mind.

Kurt

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Cotten
Posts: 6791
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: 16 inch rim for Flathead

#5

Post by Cotten » Sat Nov 29, 2003 3:46 am

I've done some interchangeables with Buchanan spokes and "finessed" holes.
Not only are they risky, they look stoopid. I have been asked where the rest of the spokes are, since they only cross twice on the brake side.
Kurt's absolutely right: We are lucky to have repops, even at a chin-scratching price.

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