I'm looking into getting a new rear wheel built for my hybrid since I just broke my third spoke in about as many months last Friday. (I'm a 6'1", 300# and slowly dropping, daily commuter w/ over 1500 miles on the bike since June. I had bought some spare spokes at the LBS and was able to pull the freewheel and replace the spoke for free this weekend at a bike co-op, so no expense there (spare the spoke, the time, and the aggravation) and no commuting time lost.
I e-mailed a local wheelbuilder who I've heard has a good history of building strong wheels for touring, tandems, and, of course, clydes. I explained my situation, and his recommendation basically boils down to this:
I think a minimum of 36 spokes are in order, and 40 would be better. I built a similar wheel for another guy a few days ago using a Velocity Deep V rim and velocity mountain bike, 135mm cassette hub. Which rim is best would depend on the widest size tire you would want to use.
He charges $60 labor per wheel, plus the cost of components. I did a little quick searching around last night and this is my preliminary estimate on the wheel:
Velocity Deep V Rim (700c, running up to 40 mm tires) - $70
Spokes (36-40) - $40
Cassette - $30 (hopefully 7 speed so as to be compatible with my current derailluer and indexed trigger shifter)
Mountain bike freehub - $50 (???-This I'm having a hard time finding a price on this one, since I hope to go seven speed)
The cassette and freehub would have to be new, b/c my current config is a freewheel, which he is advising against due to the likelihood of bending (or already having bent) the axleLabor - $60
Now, this amount seems almost a bit silly since I bought my whole bike new for just over $200 (it's a big box store Schwinn, but not a complete el cheapo). I know crappy wheels kept the price down (I already replaced them once with some lightly used MTB wheels from a bike co-op), and I also know that a good wheel is not cheap and should last me for a long time. That said, this would still be a BIG outlay. I plan on going in to the shop to talk to this guy at some point and getting his sense of how much this would cost and what my options are, but I was wondering if anyone could offer any ideas as to the following:
1. Is my above estimate realistic, too high, too low?
2. What kind of price range should I reasonably expect to have to pay for a decent quality rear wheel, even if using other components?
2. Are there other options equipment-wise I should ask him about that might be a little more affordable?
Thanks in advance for any responses.