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I'm going to build a training road wheelset for my touring bike. I wonder what should be criteria for choosing hubs and rims and spokes. I'd prefer cheaper options as long as they are durable and not too heavy.

Hubs: which are considered serviceable as opposed to disposable? And which require relatively little maintenance? My bike has 135mm rear dropouts, so I need MTB rear hub, but for front - search for MTB or road?

Rims: there are many budget models with slight variations in weight and strength. I'd like to find one with maximum strength / weight ratio, but how can I estimate the strength? Say, AlexRims DA22 is advertised as butted but it weights same as 1.5x cheaper Mach1 non-butted rims. Is butted any better if it's not lighter?

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    Is building the wheels part of the exercise? I mean, if they're just cheap training wheels you're looking for, I'd wonder whether it would be cheaper to buy than to build. If you do decide to build, might be worth talking to some shops to see if they have any end-of-line hubs or rims etc. that they can let you have cheaply, just to take the stock off their hands – PeteH Jul 30 '14 at 22:04
  • I couldn't find any budget wheels in nearby shops. I'm not going to lace the wheels myself actually, just take all this to a mechanic. – modular Jul 30 '14 at 22:16
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    noob question: what is a "training road wheelset"? – Max Vernon Jul 31 '14 at 16:17
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    The biggest issue with factory built wheel sets is that all rims bend in time. Spare parts for factory wheels are harder to find and more expensive. A hand built wheel on a good value hub will allow you to change our a single rim instead of replacing a whole wheel set. – DWGKNZ Jul 31 '14 at 18:47
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    Factory wheels are far more likely to have proprietary technologies that make it more difficult to replace individual components (I didn't say impossible). I've got a set of Easton and a set of Fulcrum wheels, one has double threaded spokes and the other a 2:1 spoke count. Great wheels purchased at a great price but next time I'm investing in good hubs and good value rims. – DWGKNZ Jul 31 '14 at 23:34
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Front hubs on mountain bikes and road bikes are all the same width, 100mm (except for some downhill hubs with through-axles). So you could use either type, they would fit in your forks fine.

Note nearly all current mountain bike hubs are designed for disc brakes, so include mounts for attaching a rotor. You can still use them on a bike with rim brakes, just don't fit a rotor. The disc part would increase the weight a bit, so they will be a bit heavier than an equivalent road hub. Also the disc mount means the hub is not symmetrical, so the wheel has to be dished. This makes it a bit more complicated to build, ie it needs different spoke lengths on each side. But this doesn't really matter, you can still build a strong wheel with either sort of hub. And disc mounts would be useful if you wanted to fit disc brakes in the future.

As for which hub, generally mid-range Shimano hubs are good. eg Deore or LX for mountain bike, or Tiagra or 105 for road. Usually they just work fine for years, with hardly any maintenance. Shimano hubs typically use cup-and-cone bearings, so they can be serviced, and the bearings replaced, but this may be a bit fiddly.

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