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· monkey with flamethrower
821 Posts
Its pretty much impossible to match the durability of a custom built wheel by a skilled builder. Most factory wheels use proprietary spokes, hub parts and rims that can make servicing them and replacing a pain in the ass.
For your application a nice custom built wheel is your only option.
My personal recommendation would be either a Velocity Dyad or Deep V or perhaps a DT TK 7.1 rim. Touring with weight on your bike puts a lot of stress on wheels. A Record hub would probably suffice, though if you are looking to haul a lot of weight on your racks I would strongly consider something a bit beefier like a Phil Wood but you would have to use a conversion cassette. 36 hole in the rear, 32 up front with brass nipples in a three cross pattern. Brass is much stronger than aluminum and will serve a commuter bike far better than aluminum. Speaking of brass, I love using brass washers at the spoke heads, adds some weight but just about eliminates and breakages at the head of the spoke. Something like a DT competition spoke will work fine unless you want to have bladed spokes for an extra sexy commuter wheel.
Built with Record hubs something like what I described will weigh in around 1900 grams and will be indestructible.
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