Sometimes custom isn't the right answer, Actually, when you're just getting started custom is almost certainly not the right answer. So I've been working to come up with a series of basic, versatile, quality wheels to have on hand to address that. The first in the series is the basic road wheel.
The basic road wheel is born from my experience as a mechanic. I spend a lot of time building road bikes, and much of the time I spend on that task is getting the wheels right. The bearings need adjustment, the spokes need to be seated, brought up to tension, and stress relieved. Then I have to true them and clean them and they can go on the bike. And even with all that work, they're just not that good. Wheels are an easy place for a factory to save money, and so they use substandard components that wear out and fail quickly. This is one of the main reasons that upgrading your wheels from stock can make such a big difference. Unfortunately, wheel upgrades are often tied to deep carbon, fragile featherweights, or otherwise costly things. Which is a shame. The concept of the stock wheel on the bike was fine, it was just executed badly. So I tried to make it better, and the basic road wheel is the result.
I started by picking hubs. The goal was to balance quality, weight, and cost. Fortunately, there are many good options. These particular ones have sealed bearings from enduro (which are serviceable and replaceable down the line), a wide flange spacing, and a classic look.
The rear hub is SRAM/Shimano 11-sp compatible (and comes with a spacer), and can be converted to Campagnolo. With six pawls and 48 teeth, engagement is both quick and solid, and there's stainless inserts on the freehub shell to prevent the cassette from biting in. Oh yeah, and it's serviceable and replaceable.
The rim is Kinlin's excellent XR-19W - 20mm wide, 21mm deep, and polished until you can see yourself on the sidewall. Oh yeah, and it has eyelets. I'm a sucker for eyelets. The extra width gives a bit more tire volume for better vibration damping and grip, while the oversquare depth keeps everything stiff. Of course, that's not to say that it's heavy. The whole wheelset laced together with Sapim's "Race" 14g/15g double-butted spokes comes in at just 1,480g. I build each set to tolerances that fall squarely in the "obsessive" category, and the result is terrific stiffness and strength from a wheelset that's lighter than stock. There's no need to be fancy with a basic road wheel, as long as it's good. Being shiny helps too.
If you're interested in picking up a set, I have them in the store. Check it out!