With three kids (including myself) bike racing, believe me, for an OCD person (lol) it's a full time task to pick the best performance tools at an affordable price ....
My limited budget is forcing me to choose alternate options.
I still succeeded in building some decent road bikes under 17 lbs for the girls at under $900.
For tubulars, it's a personnal prefference. At 80-85 lbs, I'm shure the girls won't flat very often on them. Last summer, I had to change tubes 4 times on their clinchers, and mostly due to defects.
I use tubs 95% of the time. This summer I used mt TB25 wheels all summer and couldn't be happier. They still don't roll as fast as my FFWD F6R, but as a do-it-all, they're perfect.
I didn't have to buy tubulars this year, on the other hand it cost me $300. in tires and tubes for the 2 "road kids". So in the end, tubulars are costly, but hey, all good material is costly.
But I maintain my point. I'm shure it's not that hard and costly to change the pattern of a tool that's machining aluminium rods. The rest of the manufacturing process is the same. Kinlin rims are already cheap at around $40. a piece. I know they're not the nicest in terms of finish (hence keeping the manufacturing cost low), but the deeper ones are tough, I have some XR270 that have 30 000 "bad weather" KM's on them and still straight as an arrow, and round.
It's all a matter of will.
Carbon is taking over the bike frame industry. Probably costs a lot less to produce than aluminium.
Even our famous local frame builder Marinoni is giving up aluminium in 2013, because of the process involved. They are focusing on building steel and Ti, and branding carbon...
It certainly takes a big manufacture to accomplish this. Cannondale is, for shure NOT, still producing the CAAD's because it's such a great material and great product. They're doing it because they lowered the manufacturing cost, and they're still making a decent mark up
I'll keep on dreaming...(that and cheap OEM 35mm deep carbon tubular rims