Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Bikes: Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
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All you can do in terms of building your own "kit" is shop around and by at the best prices for what you want that you can. No one I've ever seen sells a pre-selected kit of items.
I don't think you'll stay in your budget but you shouldn't have to go more than a few bucks over the top end.
Hubs and rims will need to be selected. And don't be afraid of used for these items as long as they are rebuildable. If they show up and are 100% servicable afer a clean and re-lube you just saved some coin. Rims and spokes I'd buy new though. Discs and cassette will push you up over the $200 by a goodly amount unless you score some real deals on the hubs and rims.
Outside of that haunting Ebay will often net you a pair of rims at a good price as long as you're the only or least cheap of the bidders. Sometimes that route takes some patience and you need to know what you're willing to pay and let all the eager types get their loot first then you swoop in to pick up the leftovers the next time someone posts.
36 sounds like a wise plan. Aerodynamics ain't gonna play a big part in SS off roading....
Don't shy away from butted spokes but use the larger of the options. Butted spokes can often be more resilient to drops but you don't often see them in off road bikes other than the weight weenie bikes. But they can actually produce a wheel that is less prone to damage. But sticking to straight 15 ga (ie; 2.0 mm) spokes makes for a little easier build since you don't get the windup that the butted spokes have to a small degree.
For where to buy? I'd suggest you drop by www.mtbr.com
and check on the suppliers link. That'll get you a good list to shop from. And I know that at least a couple of the online shops in those links have some decent prices on butted spokes and the straight gauge ones are cheap as dirt.
Don't neglect Ebay since you can find some pretty decent stuff there as well.
But you know this is going to cost you, right? I recently got a set of cyclocross wheels (29'er stuff) off ebay for my Double Cross build and they came in with LX centerlock disc hubs and Sun rims at $150. I looked around and couldn't find the stuff to build them for that much by a long shot. But if you're patient you can do it. I wasn't though so I went prebuilt and I'll find tune them if needed before hitting the road. There is even single speed suppliers on Ebay that have track and off road SS prebuilts for pretty decent prices.