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I've seen several sites that have custom wheel builder apps and started poking around. This brought about a few questions that hopefully can be clarified.

1) 32h vs 36h wheels. What is the benefit/drawbacks of one vs the other?
2) For rear hubs I see values like 150mm x 12mm and 135mm x 12mm. What dimensions are these values representing. Again, benefits/drawbacks of the 150 vs 135.
3) For front hubs I see 20x110mm and 20x100mm, same question as #2.
4) How would I calculate the spoke length needed if I were buying the parts and doing the assembly myself, then taking them to my LBS to true them up?

One of the sites I saw (AEbikes.com) charge $76 labor for building a set. I was thinking of doing the work myself, saving the green and learning something in the process. Do you feel this is a worthwhile idea? Or am I just better off paying them to do the work and not hassle with it?

The wheelset build I was looking at is:
Stan's ZTR Flow 29" 32h Black
DT Swiss 440 FR 32h Rear 6-Bolt Disc 12x150mm
DT Swiss 440 FR 32h Front 6-Bolt Disc 20x110mm
Alpine III 2.3/1.8/2.0 triple Silver spokes
Black Brass 12mm nipples
Total with assembly: $648 (good deal?)
 

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>1) 32h vs 36h wheels. What is the benefit/drawbacks of one vs the other?

32h seems to be adequate for almost everybody, using appropriately strong rims. 36h does build a stronger wheel.

>2) For rear hubs I see values like 150mm x 12mm and 135mm x 12mm. What dimensions are these values representing. Again, benefits/drawbacks of the 150 vs 135.

Axle width and diameter, which depends on what frame you're using.

>3) For front hubs I see 20x110mm and 20x100mm, same question as #2.

As above, depends on fork.

>4) How would I calculate the spoke length needed if I were buying the parts and doing the assembly myself, then taking them to my LBS to true them up?

Search for "spoke calculator". There are a few; I use the spocalc spreadsheet and the DT online calculator to check myself. Make sure you're using the correct hub flange dimensions. If you're going to have the LBS finish the wheel, I'd just let them spec the spoke length and lace it, too. Then it's their problem if the spoke length is incorrect, not yours. The cost shouldn't be that much different for tension and true vs. complete build (lacing doesn't take very long if you do it right the first time, which is not trivial). Not all shops have a good wheelbuilder, do some research, or use one of the guys discussed on this forum that have a good rep.

>One of the sites I saw (AEbikes.com) charge $76 labor for building a set. I was thinking of doing the work myself, saving the green and learning something in the process. Do you feel this is a worthwhile idea? Or am I just better off paying them to do the work and not hassle with it?

I enjoy it, so it's worthwhile to me, but you generally will not save money. There's a pretty significant learning curve, and you will probably want to buy (or build) a truing stand and a tensiometer.

>The wheelset build I was looking at is:
Stan's ZTR Flow 29" 32h Black
DT Swiss 440 FR 32h Rear 6-Bolt Disc 12x150mm
DT Swiss 440 FR 32h Front 6-Bolt Disc 20x110mm
Alpine III 2.3/1.8/2.0 triple Silver spokes
Black Brass 12mm nipples
Total with assembly: $648 (good deal?)[/QUOTE]

Nice wheels, although most people don't need the Alpines. How much do you weigh, and what's your intended use?
 
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