Low spoke-count wheels have an aerodynamic edge for time-trialling at a very
high level, but are best saved for race days.
I generally build rear wheels with thirty-six spokes. The extra spokes make the wheel much more reliable If you want to save some weight, it is better to stick with thirty-six in the rear and reduce the number of spokes in the front.
At present, I can source rims weighing from 430g (light road racing wheels) to 745g (very heavy duty touring wheels). Sprint rims weigh from 360g.
I use brass nipples. Although aluminium alloy nipples save a little weight (where it counts, at the rim), they are prone to corrosion. This makes the wheel difficult to retrue. Brass nipples are important to a long-lasting wheel.
Front wheels always have double-butted spokes. They are thinner in the middle, which makes them more resilient to changes in tension. The thicker ends add strength where it is needed.
At the rear, I build with Sapim Strong single-butted spokes on the drive side. This compensates for the extra tension in the spokes. This tension is necessary to allow room for the sprockets. There is a small increase in weight (roughly twenty grammes) but it is a very worthwhile improvement in the wheel’s longevity.
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