The requirement for this build was a set of do-it-all road wheels for a very fit rider. That means training, some racing, gravel and whatever the day calls for. That means a preference for lightness without entering fragile territory. I put together this package of White Industries T11 hubs, H Plus Son Archetype rims and Sapim Laser spokes. The spoke count, 24 front and 28 rear, combined with a light butted spoke help keep weight down. It’s still enough spokes and uses a stiff enough rim that they’ll be plenty resilient. For style points, check out the blue hub and matching alloy nipples.
These wheels are built for stiffness and strength thanks to DT Swiss Competition spokes and a deep rim profile. They’re not light wheels but weight is often misunderstood. More weight means more energy is required to propel the bike forward, most noticeable when accelerating. But when cruising at high speed, heavier wheels have a flywheel character that makes the bike feel like it wants to keep going. Light wheels may climb best but heavier aerodynamic wheels improve descending.
Similar to a previous set but with Shimano XT hubs. I recommended Center Lock rotor attachment, which I like for its relative ease of installation and removal. Typically CL hubs are a little lighter too. The rims are H Plus Son Archetypes in the premium grey finish. I’m not a fan of conspicuous branding — these rims may have the cleanest branding of any bicycle component.
I’ve become a big fan of dynamo hubs. For commuting it’s great to have bright lights without charging batteries. For touring I feel the same and rely on dynamo power to charge the gizmos I can’t live without. Apart from the weight penalty, hub dynamos are pretty terrific.
Check out this upgrade for a rider’s Surly Long Haul Trucker. This wheelset re-uses the stock Shimano XT rear hub and adds a new XT dynamo front. Since this LHT is ridden unloaded too, I’m mindful of weight and mitigated the dynamo’s added mass with lighter Mavic rims and butted spokes. Surly uses straight gauge spokes on their stock wheels, which targets price rather than function — butted spokes are a must for touring in my book. Spare spokes included!