So I end up with this old Vigo Mountain bike frame. Appears front hub needed is 90mm and rear is 122mm.
This is per local bike shop. I have seen 100 for front and 126 for rear but that is smallest I've ever seen or heard of. Bike is all chrome and made in taiwan. Help, how do I find wheels for this thing. 4130 steel.
Your lbs is probably (definitely) wrong about the spacing. Measure it yourself, and keep in mind that a steel frame can expand a few mm's easily.
It would easier to replace the frame with something normal, rather than find narrow hubs... Might as well try to bend them wider...
looking for experts
I know someone out there knows the progression of wheels and hub sizes as Mountain bikes progressed. I know I could buy a new frame but want a vintage project to build up. I am much better versed in road bikes and thought I could get some info here. Is there a proper way to pry a fork out a bit for a larger wheel/hub.
Did mountain bike start as 15 speeds in the early days. What size hub would that be.
Almost all front hubs are 100 mm, although I read a post on another site about a guy trying to fit a Chinese-manufactured motorised front wheel and getting into trouble due to another hub width.
Steel however takes to spreading and cold setting nicely, so I'd have no qualms about simply prying the fork apart until it'd accept an normal front hub.
On further thought I think I have had a really old bike that came with plenty of spacers between the locknuts on the front wheel too, so maybe there are some narrower hubs around.
Rear hubs with external gears I believe don't get any narrower than 126 mm. But unless you feel like doing some cold setting there too(sheldon brown has a good instruction) they're far easier to tinker with due to the big stack of spacers usually found on the NDS side of the axle. If it's one solid spacer, replace it with a smaller stack made out of ordinary washers, redish the wheel and ride.
If possible you might want to remove a spacer/washer from the drive side as well.
Track hubs (can) have 120 mm width, (if you want to turn it into a SS/fixie) and internally geared hubs can be even narrower.