Thanks mate, I do like the idea of a hand built wheelset made to my exact needs. I'm slowly learning more about servicing my bike - I've learnt how to service wheel hubs and am about to start tackling my bottom bracket. Building wheels will have to come next!bobones wrote: ↑Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:00 pmI'm in the UK too, and do a fair amount of wet weather riding. There are 2 schools of thought with winter wheels: either buy cheap and cheerful like Shimano R501, RS11, Mavic Aksium, Prime Peloton (Wiggle) and toss them away when the rims are shot. These will weigh in at 1700-1900g and cost around £90-150. Otherwise go the handbuilt route with cheapish rims and serviceable hubs where you can keep the hubs and spokes though several iterations of rim replacements. The handbuilt options will generally have more spokes, and so be a bit sturdier than the cheap factory jobs, and you can spec them with nice hubs if you want to.
I don't think the cheap Shimano wheels have particularly wide rims, but the Aksium and Prime Peloton have 17mm internal width, which is not bad.
After trashing a couple of sets of Aksiums in less than 5000 miles each, I now prefer the handbuilt option. I got my first set of cheap handbuilds (Ambrosio Evolution on 105) from by the legendary Alistair Gow (Big Al from Wheelcraft in the Campsies), and after having a go at re-rimming them myself, I now build my own winter wheels. It's not all that hard at all, so maybe this is something to consider?
I don't think it makes sense to spend a lot of money on rims if you're going to wear through the brake track within a couple of winters so I would rule out the £140 HED Belgiums, lovely though they are. My preferred cheap rim is currently the DT Swiss R460, which have an internal width of 18mm and they're not at all bad to look at. You can get a pair of these for less than £60 delivered, but there are plenty of other options out there.
Being a cheapskate, I tend to look to hubs at the lower end of the price range, such as Shimano 105 or whatever Novatec rebrand Planet X are punting. Shimano hubs are very nice, but they're not light and aside from Dura Ace you can only get 32 or 36 holes. The Novatecs are a good bit lighter, but they usually come with inferior cartridge bearings that can develop roughness or play relatively quickly. Not a problem as you can easily change them out with superior SKF or NTN bearings for a very small outlay and these will last a good bit longer. Other cartridge bearing hubs such as Miche Primato or DT Swiss 350 have better sealing against the elements so will require less frequent attention. You can easily kill a set of Shimano cup and cone hubs with neglect but cartridge bearing hubs be left to rot then ride like new with replacement bearings.
My current ride is DT R460 on Planet X Selcof Olimpico (Novatec) 28/28 with ACI Alpina DB spokes that cost less than £130 to build. I'm running them tubeless with 25mm Hutchinson All Season TLR tyres and they're great, but at just under 1700g, they're probably too light for you!
With your budget, I'd be tempted to go for Ultegra (32/32 or 32/36) or DT 350s (28/32 or 24/28) with aformentioned R460 rim as these will build into a wheel that will be a pleasure to own and ride and last for many years if looked after, but I am sure your local wheelbuilder can come up with some great ideas for you.
I was considering a set of DT 350s but the Ultegra are another good option. Is the Ultegra freehub body titanium like the Dura Ace hubs? It does annoy me a bit how easily DT Swiss freehub bodies gouge.