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My inexpensive strong 29 inch wheel
I am heavier than many cyclists. I ride longer distances then many cyclists. A lot of my riding is on rough tracks.

While riding my 29 inch mountain bike, spokes broke in the back wheel.


I replaced them with 3 mm spokes. Not long after, cracks formed in the aluminum rim in two places. It became obvious, I could not go on repairing this wheel.

I came to the conclusion, this wheel is just not strong enough for a person of my weight, doing what I do.

Everyone I heard, all said the same thing. Either buy an expensive bike, or expensive wheels.

I know, being expensive, does not guarantee it is strong. Many expensive wheels would break just like this one. There would be some expensive wheels, stronger than others, but it would be necessary to be selective about which expensive wheels a person bought.

But do I really have to get expensive wheels? Is there an inexpensive option? So I started my next experiment.

I rescued the wheels from two bikes being trashed.

One was a 24 inch mountain bike, with aluminum hubs, disc brakes, and a freewheel on the back. It is likely this bike was made in the 1990s. I used the hub from the back wheel.

The other one was a 27 inch ladies bike, with stainless steel rims. These rims were made by Bridgestone. It is likely this bike was made in the 1980s. I used the rim from the back wheel.

Some might have noticed, I need a 29 inch wheel, and I picked up a 27 inch rim.

You can convert a 27 inch rim (not 27.5), by cutting 25 mm, or one inch, out of the circumference, and joining the rim back together. It can then be used as a 29 inch or 700c rim, which are the same circumference.

I cut the rim, and took it to a place which welds stainless steel. Welding a bicycle rim only takes a few minutes. They welded it for a small fee.

I put new axle and bearings in the hub.


I built the wheel using 3 mm spokes.

I installed a new 8 speed freewheel.

I used the original brake rotor, rescued with the wheel.

It eventually went on the bike.

The complete wheel, including the freewheel and brake rotor, but not the tire and tube, weighs 3 kg. The freewheel weighs half a kg. So the wheel without the freewheel, weighs 2.5 kg. I did not weigh the original wheel when it was new, but I believe this wheel is less than one kg heavier.

The stainless steel which the rim is made from, is 1.5 mm thick. On the sides, it is doubled over.

This stainless steel rim is probably stronger than all aluminum bicycle rims. Aluminum rims crack, normally starting at spoke holes. I doubt this stainless steel rim will ever crack like that.

This rim, from a ladies bike, probably from the 1980s, is stronger than a new rim, made for off road trails.

This was the first time I experimented with this type of thing. I have been going through a rapid learning curve. If I did it again, I would do a few things better.

Most people will not want to do this, but it is a possible option, for those wanting a strong wheel. Some people may not find a stainless steel rim to use.

Recently, someone posted pictures of a bike with stainless steel rims.


If you cut and rejoin a rim like this, the spokes adjacent to the join are not evenly spaced. You can see this in the picture. Even with this odd spacing, I believe this rim is still stronger than all aluminum bicycle rims.

This wheel is really strong. It is worth asking, what is the maximum weight limit of this wheel?

The conclusion I have come to is, the weight limit of this wheel, is the weight limit of the tire put on it. With many decent quality mountain bike tires, a rider of 150 kg or 330 pounds, could ride a bike with a wheel like this on the back. A bicycle has more weight on the back wheel than the front wheel.

What if someone found a very strong mountain bike tire, that would take a lot of weight?

This wheel should be strong enough for anyone capable of getting on a bicycle and riding it.

For all those heavy riders reading this. If you buy a bike, look for a bike made for heavy riders, that is not expected to break. For those who have a good bike, and the wheel is already broken, consider putting together a wheel like this.

I am planning to put together wheels with stainless steel rims for a 26 inch mountain bike. In the past, a lot of 26 inch wheels were made with stainless steel inch rims.
I would have also suggested if you go aluminum, that you should consider dish rims, maybe triple wall.

They are both stronger and more rigid.

Rims with eyelets is another prime suggestion.
Anyone putting together a strong wheel for a heavy rider, be aware some hubs will break with heavy riders. So you need a strong hub.

I use a cast aluminum freewheel hub, from a mountain bike, rescued from the trash, maybe 30 years old. I use cartridge bearings.

Do your research. Don't just use any hub.

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