I'm trying to adapt a 130mm over locknut distance (OLD) hub to a 135mm OLD frame. Sheldon Brown suggests that I can just add in spacers between the cones and the locknuts.

Sheldon doesn't say, however, where I can find good spacers for this. Can I just go to a bike shop and buy some 2.5mm spacers? Do 2.5mm spacers even exist? Or do I have to jury rig it with washers from the hardware store?

  • Have a look at the velosolo site, which is very good for single-speed stuff. I've seen spacers on there. Also it might be worth pointing this question at the guy who runs the site, I questionned him about something for my fixie and he was very helpful. Whether or not you buy from them it'll give you an idea of what's out there.
    – PeteH
    Jun 4 '14 at 19:16
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    Though the purists have a conniption, you can generally get away with simply flexing a steel frame by 5mm, one direction or the other. Yes, it throws the dropouts slightly out of parallel, but not enough to matter. Jun 5 '14 at 2:23
  • @Daniel R Hicks I'm not about to say that it was definitively caused by this, but I did the 5mm frame flex with a previous steel frame which recently got a crack in the chainstay. Thus, I sort of want to get this one exactly right. Oct 11 '14 at 1:35

I have figured out two options:

The less elegant option is just putting some washers on the end of your axle, such that they lie between your locknut and the dropout when the wheel is installed. You have to fiddle with the washers every time you take off your wheel, but they will do the job.

If you want to avoid that, you have to put them inside the locknut. If your wheel is such that the bottom of the locknut is outside of your cassette or freewheel - i.e. above your lockring, if you have a cassette - you can just put a washer between your locknut and cone. If the bottom of the locknut is not exposed, you may be able to still put in a washer, but it may block the splined locknut/freewheel remover.

In that case, you have to use a part that is specially made for the task, usually called "axle spacers". You can find them on the internet by searching for "bicycle axle spacers", and they come in a bunch of sizes down to 0.5mm, so you should be able to find the perfect combination for your setup. You can put these between your locknut and your cone, and they will leave room for inserting the splined freewheel/lockring remover.


Pretty much any washer that will fit will do. And if you can't find 2.5mm washers, 2mm will be fine, 1mm either way won't damage your frame. As long as it's a steel frame.

  • Yeah, go to a good hardware store and tell them what you need. Best if you have the wheel or an old axle to try the washers on, to assure the right diameter. Jun 5 '14 at 2:21

I've used a short length cut from a steel pipe in the past. As long as the Inner Diameter is barely more than the OD of the axle it will center well enough.

The pipe's wall needs to be thick enough to not crumple under pressure.

The only trick is to make sure your cut is parallel to the end, and that it is nicely de-burred and any raw steel is painted with zinc primer, or well greased to prevent rust.

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