Drilled airfoil rims

I’m looking to have an airfoil drilled to save weight. Does anybody offer this service?

I have a drill press. BYO bit (for 1/2" chuck, or morse taper) and we’re in business.

We could get 'er done in an hour if you located the holes beforehand.

Jason, I both doubt it could be done that fast, and recommend against doing it that way.

Mike, send me an e-mail, and i’ll try to write up instructions on how to do this if you want to go ahead with DIY. It is feasible, but not my idea of a fun project.

You might PM unisk8r if he doesn’t jump on this thread. Not sure he offers it as a service, but pretty sure he’s done some of it, so may have some advice.

You can safely drill out most of the center section, beneath where the tire bead sits, as well as in valley between the spoke holes. I prefer to leave the outer surfaces undrilled, although some have ventured there before and lived to tell.

Once drilled and laced, you can use any tough thin tape to cover the holes. I like white athletic tape, and also the Rox sticky tapes.

It is very realistic to get the rim under a kg (<1000g).

Here’s an example of a “non-aggressive” rim drilling, that’s been bead-blasted and ready for paint. It ain’t perfect, but no one sees it anyway once the tire is mounted, and you definitely feel the lighter weight.


What’s not perfect about it? It looks fantastic to me. In fact, it’s a shame to cover it up with a tyre.


Beautiful work as always Pete!

Mike, I was thinking about this further, and I’ve figured out a setup that would work on any turret milling machine. If you haven’t found someone to do this for you by January (the next time I’ll be in SF), let me know, and I can do this using the milling machine at my house. Of course I would test my technique on one of the extra bike rims I’ve got at my house (an orphan 26" DM-24).

Excellent work Pete. I presume you think it’s not perfect since the holes aren’t perfectly spaced? It still looks great, even when looking for mistakes.

If you do this on Jason’s drillpress, use the stubbiest drillbit you can find. Otherwise, chatter and drift will be a huge problem with the canted approaches.

Good luck.

How much weight did it drop