I need to replace my wheels pretty soon. The brake tracks are getting pretty concave. They're cheap wheels, and it doesn't make sense to rebuild them. I have a rain bike now, so I'm looking for "every dry day" wheels. I'm looking at two opposite ends of the spectrum, and hope people can share some useful advice.
Zipp 303 wheels are ideal except for their price. They're light weight, aero, fast, comfortable in terms of smoothing out the road buzz, and they felt comforting somehow, when I was using a borrowed pair. It was good to have them spinning underneath me. If I get the CX build, I'm very comfortably below their weight limit.
Boyd makes wheels with 24 and 38 mm rims; these are lighter than and about the same as the Zipps. A set of either is 1/3 the price of the Zipps. I'm over the weight limit of the 24s and just barely over the limit of the 38s, and realistically may gain a bit more before that trend reverses in the spring. Boyd suggested not buying their wheels because he can't guarantee they'll be trouble free for years. Of course, I could replace them twice and break even...
So how do I make up my mind? Apart from my weight, I do a lot of climbing, which stresses the rear wheel. Otherwise I mostly ride gently. How can I get some idea how long a wheel set would last me? (I know that Zipp has better aerodynamics, but I don't think the difference will be huge for my purposes.) What types of issues might I face? How much risk is there of a crash from a wheel failure, vs something that would force me to retire them?