Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
Right, the freewheel version has a fairly thick washer on each side of the axle; by removing these you can narrow the hub a bit with no risk of adverse effect. If you really need to, you can remove more washers and replace them with thinner ones or do without; you can also grind down the locknuts and that kind of thing, shave another one or two mm somewhere. The more you do of this kind of thing, the greater your risk of adverse effect. The drum brake version of the hub is wider, and if you make the axle shorter you will have problems.