Airlite hubs - British Hub Co.
Posted: Thursday 11th June 2020
A V Tutschek sent in this technical information on the Airlite hub:
The pre-war Airlite Continentals were made for both solo and tandems. The diameter of a solo front flange is 82mm with a normal axle. A tandem front is 91mm in diameter and has a 3/8″ axle, the same as a normal rear. The distance between locknuts are 98mm and 106mm respectively.
The QR and solid axle rears are totally interchangeable but the fronts differ by having a thicker barrel to take a thicker axle, presumably as the 5/16” axle would be very weak when drilled out. Ray Booty always used an Airlite small flange Q/R, in the front wheel only, on his road/path machine. On the rear of course he would have had had fixed or occasionally a Sturmey gear (Raleigh contract you see). If you are using thicker Q/R front axle you may find it a little too large for some of the older fork ends, this problem can easily be solved by filing flats on the hollow axle, if you are nervous about that then the fork ends have to be filed out.
Colin Lines points out
that although the front Airlite QR hubs had a fatter barrel and axle he remembered that, in the early fifties, he had fitted some Gnutti QR axles and skewers straight into a pair of Airlites with 5/16” front axle.
Amir Avitzur sent these images of the various barrels and flanges used to create the range
Here are some of the more unusual Airlite hubs: