I always recommend DT Swiss components for hand-built wheels as a first call as they represent excellent value for money and amazing versatility with easy serviceable hubs, swappable end-caps and superbly made rims whether sleeve joined or welded.
Anthony from Nottingham wanted a very strong set of wheels for audaxing / long distance riding with luggage, and I immediately suggested going for the new DT Swiss RR 511 tubeless rims with 32mm profile and 18mm internal width. Laced up with DT’s 350 ‘Hugi’ Classic hubs and using Sapim Race spokes with brass nipples in a 32/32 3X configuration, the wheels weren’t light, but at under 2kg they weren’t too heavy for a ‘touring’ wheelset and will be sure to handle very rigorous conditions very well.
Phil from North Derbyshire was after a rebuild of his factory Hope MTB wheels onto wider rims and opted for some DT Swiss 27.5 XR 391 rims. I rebuilt the Hope Pro 4 hubs onto these rims using Sapim Race black spokes and silver brass nipples. They ended up weighing in at 1790g – silly light for a set of wide alloy MTB wheels.
Andrew from Hertfordshire wanted two wheelsets that had the same spec hubs for each of his touring / gravel / adventure bikes – one had standard 700c wheels and the other, 27.5 / 650b wheels. They needed to be be strong enough to carry rider and gear for multi-day long distance riding on poor road surfaces.
The 700c wheelset was built on DT Swiss RR 421 DB asymmetric disc brake rims with White Industries CLD 142 x 12 thru axle rear hub and SRAM XD driver on the rear and SON Delux 12 thru axle dynamo hub. Laced 28/32 with Sapim CX-Ray spokes and black brass nipples the wheels weighed in at 1913g.
The 650b wheelset was built on DT Swiss R500 gravel-specific rims with the same hubs and spokes as the 700c wheelset and weighed in at 1972g.
Mark from London was after a build for his Cannondale SuperX cross bike and needed the wheels to be dished according to Cannondale’s specifications for their AI frame settings. The point of this is to un-naturally give the non-drive side extra tension to bring it closer to the tension of the drive side and compensate for the odd dish from an 10/11-speed freehub.
The build was a little tricky to get spot on, but with a bit of instruction directly from Cannondale, I managed to offset the rear wheel spot on for Mark. It was built with DT Swiss components – 350 hubs and the new RR421 rims with 20mm internal width. Laced up with the Sapim CX-Ray spokes 28/28, they weighed in at 1626g.
Liam from Nottingham wanted a semi-deep yet light carbon build on quality hubs. I suggested going for a set of tubeless ready 50mm XCS Carbon rims (25mm wide) laced up to DT Swiss 240s hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes. He agreed and I built them up during December – 20-spokes front radial lacing and 24-spokes rear with 2X lacing.
Despite using brass nipples for longevity, the build came out to a featherweight 1530g before fitting tyres and only cost Liam £1000. I also fitted a set of Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres with Stans sealant ready for collection.
Richard from Gloucestershire was interested in having two identical hand-built wheelsets for two of his bikes and opted for Shimano CX-75 28-spoke hubs laced to the new DT Swiss R421 asymmetric endurance disc-specific rims using Sapim Race spokes. I built them up using a 3X pattern throughout for extra strength and they weighed in at 1803g per set.
Andy from Nottingham wanted a light set of tubeless carbon wheels for racing on next year and chose a set of Light Bicycle 25mm front and 35mm rear rims laced to a set of super-light Bitex hubs. I used Sapim Laser spokes on the front to keep both costs and weight down, but used Sapim CX-Ray on the rear and brass nipples throughout. I also fitted for Andy a set of Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres with Stans valves and sealant. The set without tyres ended up weighing 1356g.